We are happy to share a few highlights of the start of spring 2018 for the Liberal Arts program in Madrid. Participants have started their classes at the host university, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid after a great welcome by our network of CIEE student helpers, the Director of the International School, the U.S. Consul in Madrid, and the on-site CIEE staff team. Of course, we could not miss a group photo in front of Madrid´s Bear Statue located at Puerta del Sol.
Workshop on Health and Safety: "Cultural Tips, Gender, and Bystander in Madrid”
Students attended a two-hour session at the Global Institute on bystander intervention. During the session, participants discussed the cultural context of giving consent with the participation of Spanish students, who helped with roleplay situations of real examples involving past students. CIEE students learned specific vocabulary and appropriate phrases in Spanish to help in social situations. CIEE staff reviewed similarities and differences in body language, such a touch, physical space, etc.
Students also reviewed and discussed social media apps and its use in Spain with their local peers: How do young people communicate and meet each other? What role does social media play and what are necessary security measures for CIEE students who opt to use social media? When should you exchange your telephone details?
This semester there are several LGTBQ+ participants in Madrid. The group discussed the health and safety of transgender and gay students who want to meet and socialize in Madrid. What does it mean when someone offers to buy you a drink? Is that a common cultural behavior or not? The session ended with a reminder that students should be intentional about their conduct when meeting others and encourage each other to maintain self-awareness. CIEE staff also shared local resources Snow Activity with Spanish Peers in Madrid Mountains
Eighteen students signed up to meet with Spanish students and CIEE staff at 7 am on a Saturday morning at the train station and travel 30 minutes to the Guadarrama National park, located in the Madrid mountains and learn about the ecology conservation efforts and participate in a snowshoeing activity. The guided event included an explanation of the park project´s aims to protect eleven different ecosystems present in the Guadarrama mountains, including the only Iberian examples of "high Mediterranean mountain". In addition to the surprise of a lot of snow, students also had to endure 20F degree temperatures in the early morning. Students decided not to build a snow igloo but rather find a cafeteria-bar on the mountain edge for some hot chocolate. Afterwards, when the sun came out, students engaged in throwing snowballs and sliding down some slopes. Students returned in the late afternoon and said they felt physically exhausted after seeing so much nature and mountains.
Local Cooking Class with Spanish Chef
Students can choose over thirty cultural activities organized by CIEE staff throughout the semester. But one of the most popular sign-ups each semester is the gathering for some good food. In this activity, students met at the Global Institute and then took public transport to the east of the city. Participants joined a local chef in preparing some Spanish dishes, such as paella, in a kitchen environment. The interactive class includes a review of ingredient vocabulary, methods of traditional cooking, reading out recipes in Spanish, repeating pronunciation of Spanish words and learning some basic cooking skills. Students in shared apartments can use these ingredients to make food dishes for themselves during the week with others in their accommodation. Spanish Language Exchange
One of the homestay hosts runs a neighborhood cultural space in Lavapiés neighborhood, considered a trendy multicultural area of Madrid with lost of Indian restaurants, Arab tea rooms, and inexpensive Spanish tapas bars. As part of the Spanish language commitment for Liberal Arts students, CIEE organizes a cultural language event with locals so that students get to meet young Madrid residents who are not students at the host university. This optional event took place during the week and allowed for participants to mingle and practice their Spanish skills.