WELCOME TO MADRID
At the entrance of the Prado Museum before visiting Velazquez and Goya's masterpieces
The Spring 2014 Orientation began by welcoming students at the airport. CIEE Madrid Spanish Students Network helped the Student Services Coordinator to greet students in Barajas' main terminals and take them home to meet their homestays. After some resting time, the group met for the first time with the Madrid staff to get to know each other and find people with similar interests through a fun activity.
The day after, presentations began reviewing all the important information students need to learn to survive during the first days, staying safe and adapting to their new homes smoothly. A welcome lunch was organized in a new and trendy spot where all our hosts shared a relaxed atmosphere while building a new bond.
The Orientation week brought a lot of opportunities to learn about the city as well as to start getting ready for classes. There were not only sessions on academic life or class registration, but also individual academic meetings with the Program RD to choose courses and resolve any doubts. This was combined with walks around the city center, a guided visit to the Prado Museum, a bike stroll along the river, a graffiti tour, a taste of tapas at a popular place, a walk along the Retiro park, and even the celebration of the 21st birthday of one of the students in the program.Several days after their arrival, Orientation continued at the university campus. Students were welcomed by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid Vice-rector who stressed the contribution of foreign students in the internationalization of the campus, on of the goals of a university that has been ranked among the world's best. Presentations were held by professor on their courses, in addition to sessions by different university organizations and students providers who discussed cultural and leisure opportunities. The university Orientation ended with a security talk by a US Embassy Representative which students highly appreciated.
Appetizers and refreshments at the university welcome event.
To end this fantastic week, students were invited to dinner and see a Flamenco show which was a colorful closing to an Orientation intented to make students at ease with the city and the program and that accomplished its goal without any problems.
A TASTE OF CHOCOLATE (WITH CHURROS)
Becoming "madrileños" in San Ginés chocolate factory
Learning Spanish traditions is an important goal to start helping students with their intercultural development of our students. Therefore, the winter temperatures offered the perfect context to attend Madrid's most emblematic chocolate factory, known for its famous "churros con chocolate" that attract thousands of madrileños every year. The tasty hot chocolate and the warm churros was a way to introduce some of the local habits to students and show them what many Spaniards do to socialize.
IN THE LAND OF BULLS AND WINE
A monument to the bull in an area known for its rich livestocks
For the first day trip of the Spring 2014 we choose to visit Tordesillas. This medieval little town in the province of Valladolid, was very important in the 15 and 16 centuries, when the kings of Spain and Portugal signed a treaty (Tordesillas Treaty) dividing the Atlantic Ocean and its conquered lands overseas. Visiting the Museum dedicated to this treaty, the LA group learned that the concept of America was created when it was not geographically explored in full, merely checked with the use of old maps that led to the important consequences and arbitrary decisions. Tordesillas is also known for being the place where Queen Juana (daughter of the Catholic Monarchs) was locked inside her home by order of her son, Emperor Charles V. She remained there for 46 years in order to have her removed from the throne. This little town also is the place for the magnificent Monastery of Santa Clara, a precious jewel of Moorish art beautifully preserved where nine closure nuns are living today without any outsider contact.
Barrels of wine for an unforgettable visit
The visit was completed with a tour at a local winery, where the group went over the process of making wine. Tordesillas is in the area of Rueda, famous for its quality white wines, and this was the perfect opportunity to learn the differences in the process in making white, red and sparkling wines, the different type of grapes used to elaborate each of them and the different needs of every type of wine. Some wine tasting followed with the consumption of some local products such as chorizo or cheese providing a new learning scenario about Spanish habits and the culture of wine. The visit culminated with an enjoyable and fun walk along the old cellar.
CIEE STUDENTS COLLABORATING IN A RESEARCH PROJECT
During the month of January, Professor Bret Linford, a Spanish language instructor from Indiana University, came to Madrid to work on a professional project towards the completion of his doctoral thesis. He invited CIEE students to participate as volunteers in his research project, which consists in the assessment of the impact of the study abroad experience of American university students, focusing on in their improvement of a second language while abroad. Bret conducted and recorded a series of interviews to study the student's fluency acquisition. Through an ongoing process, he will compare the Spanish progress levels of the CIEE participants. This research will be very significant and of high interest for professors of Spanish, college advisors, and Study abroad professionals, providing innovative insights into second language acquisition.
NEW CIEE STAFF MEMBER
CIEE Madrid is pleased to announce the incorporation of Patricia Witzig as Housing Coordinator and Administrator of its Madrid study center. Since last month, Patricia is working at the Madrid study center bringing to it her expertise in the field after working several years in Study Abroad. Originally from New York, she has been living in Spain for years after completing her BA at SUNY-Binghamton (including studying abroad in Seville, Spain) and completed Master's course work in Antwerp, Belgium. Patricia is very dedicated to students integration and a good new colleague of the CIEE Madrid stuy center.