Not sure what program is right for you? Click Here

© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Study Abroad in

Back to Program Back to Blog Home

3 posts from February 2015




By Chase Renninger

Ursinus College

Immersing into a new culture for the first time has been an exciting, and enlightening event in my life. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to get an internship learning how doctors in Spain treat their patients with cancer and it has been amazing thus far.

Analyzing the way doctors and patients interact, including how prescriptions are handled and all of the intimate dynamics of cancer, has shown me how different cultures approach the same problem.

Any medical experience is great, However shadowing doctors abroad can put into perspective global healthcare and demonstrate where culture, not science, dictates how treatments are given.

Spain is a wonderful country with kind people and balanced healthcare




By Brendan Weintraub

Brandeis University

There are two amazing perks about being in Madrid. Number 1, the language is all around you and there’s little room to speak in English. Number 2, the location of Spain within Europe is prime.

All of us in CIEE have signed a pledge to speak solely Spanish. Let’s be real: getting to know people in your own native language is a bit awkward. You can only imagine what it was like to try to make friends while speaking a language you’re not fluent in. Those first couple of weeks, we definitely broke the pledge while we were getting to know each other outside of orientation. But I can say now that our WhatsApp group text is only in Spanish, and we practice Spanish with each other, using English as a crutch when we don’t know how to say something.

 The CIEE program itself is definitely not the only place we need to use Spanish. Spanish is the only language we speak when we communicate with our anfintriones (hosts), professors, waiters, Spanish friends, bartenders, etc. My Spanish comprehension has increased dramatically since I've been here. Mathematically I would say it's an exponential curve. Speaking is coming along a lot slower for me, though. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t come miles from where it was just a month ago! Learning, I mean really learning, a language is a pretty interesting feat. Not only does your brain absorb new vocabulary, grammar, etc., it starts confusing words in your native language. We joke around between the LA students that we’re getting worse at English as we get better at Spanish. Hey, as long as I can speak with fluidity in both by the time I leave, I’ll be happy!

Now, quickly, about Spain’s location. It’s perfect. Europe itself is easy to get around, but being in the center of Madrid makes it that much easier. If I want to go to the airport, I can hop on a train that’s 3 minutes from my door and get there within 20 minutes. Our group has already been on two day-excursions to La Mancha and Toledo. A bunch of us are going to the Canary Islands for Carnival (yes, the crazy fiesta similar to the one in Rio) this weekend. Next weekend we’re going to Morocco with CIEE for three days. The weekend after a bunch of us are going to Porto, Portugal. The world is your oyster when you are in Madrid!

 It’s only been about a month since I landed in Madrid and I’ve already experienced so much of the Spanish culture. I cannot wait to see what the rest of the semester has in store.

¡Hasta luego chicos! 






By Mitchell Carey

Tufts University

I turned twenty-one on the twenty-first in a new country, new culture, with new people, and many new experiences awaiting me. Upon arriving in Madrid I didn’t think too much about my pending birthday or how I would celebrate. In fact, I didn’t think about much at all; having just traveled for ten hours from Boston with a quick layover in London, the only thing that I could focus on was overcoming jetlag. Usually in the states one’s 21st Birthday holds a lot of weight, and not only for the very obvious reason that you’re likely imagining now.

 It marks the start of a new chapter in a young adult’s life. Traveling alone and navigating the unknown was definitely a wakeup call for me that suddenly shook any bit of jetlag left in me away. Growing up in the Greater Boston Area and attending university a short 35 minutes down Route 93 to Boston, I’ve had to become more alert and intuitive in my new Madrilenian surroundings. After many days of acquainting myself with the city, getting lost within my own neighborhood a bit more than I like to admit, and meeting all of my wonderful friends at CIEE, I was under the for the most part I had it all figured out.

On one of the final days of orientation upon completing an activity about cultural differences between our Spanish host families’ homes and our homes in the U.S. I was about to head to the bathroom and then back to my host father to eat dinner. However, my efforts to reach los servicios in the CIEE Study Center were abruptly thwarted. I turned around and saw a cake and my new friends preparing to sing, caught completely off guard. Although I cringe in embarrassment at the thought of a public birthday serenade, I felt a sense of community that I‘d only felt 6,000 miles east of Madrid back home. Now I know that there will be many more unpredictable moments throughout my study abroad experiences with CIEE. One of the most recent and one of my favorites was our trip to “El Tigre del Norte” in Gran Vía to celebrate the completion of orientation and as seen below, my first drink here in Spain!