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9 posts from April 2014


Viaje Córdoba-Granada

This post is by Emily McGeary, a Sociology Major student at University of Oregon. During the Spring 2014 semester she is participating in the CIEE Language and Society program.


El viaje a Córdoba y Granada con el programa Lengua y Sociedad fue muy divertido. La gente fue genial y las tapas gratis estaban muy deliciosas. Sin embargo, hay cosas más importes que sólo la comida y la gente. Los sitios que visitamos incluyeron la Catedral de Córdoba, la Catedral de Granada y la Alhambra. La historia de España es muy interesante, y además, la historia del sur de España es muy importante para este programa. Creo que es importante aprender información sobre los sitios a los que viajamos porque es fundamental conocer nuestro entorno durante nuestra visita en España.

El viernes a las nueve de la mañana, el grupo fue en autobús a nuestra aventura. El primer sitio fue Córdoba, una ciudad muy pequeña, pero con una catedral muy bonita. Visitamos una sinagoga y la mezquita de Córdoba. Mi sitio favorito fue la mezquita porque hay mucha información interesante sobre la construcción de ésta. Por ejemplo, Abd ar-Rahman construyó la mezquita para construir la mezquita más magnífica que las otras mezquitas musulmanas.


Después el grupo fue en autobús a Granada. Dos horas más tarde el autobús llegó al Hotel. Mis compañeras en el hotel para el fin de semana fueron Marni, Lindsey y Tess. Más tarde en la noche, el grupo fue al centro de la ciudad para hacer un recorrido pequeño de la ciudad y comer tapas gratis. El sábado el grupo fue a la Alhambra. ¡La Alhambra fue magnífica! Según Marni (y el internet también) la Alhambra es una de las Maravillas del Mundo. Entiendo porque la Alhambra es magnífica. Era una fortaleza construida durante los años de los musulmanes, y más tarde, fue un palacio para los reyes cristianos. La arquitectura y los colores en la Alhambra eran maravillosos y había increíble belleza. Sin embargo, llovía mucho, que fue un poco decepcionante.

El domingo el tiempo fue mejor e hicimos un recorrido por toda la ciudad cerca de la Alhambra. Almorzamos en el hotel y después salimos para Sevilla. Este fin de semana fue muy divertido y aprendí mucho. 





Photos: Heather Rodríguez.University of Wisconsin-Madison


Some weeks ago it seemed that the spring had arrived in Seville.  However once again, we have had to wait until this week to confirm that we are immersed in the spring season. Now Seville is getting ready for its famous Holy Week and our students are ready for their Spring break after the first part of the semester, now it’s time to enjoy the city, the weather and to recharge batteries to face the finish line in mid-late June.

ALA students completed their midterm exams with good results. For their university courses, more than 75% of them have tutor of content, most of these tutors are Spanish students who help them with different issues in their university courses. We think that tutors are another means of support for their immersion in the Spanish University. 80% of our students have language internships; which another way to maximize their immersion. 

Last week we finished our individual student meetings, where we discussed their academic improvement, their progress towards achieving their initial goals, their living situation, etc. It was a great opportunity to share over coffee concerns and issues that may arise while they are in Seville. With the same intention we had our session Pizza & Info (which is considered our second orientation meeting) important points for students taking courses at both of our universities. We discussed exam policies and advice for taking exams at Spanish University, virtual services at US and UPO (web, blackboard, intelligent cards, email accounts...), libraries...etc. Once again, it was a nice chance to talk with ALA students while having pizza.

This semester we contacted a school for adults and a university professor of Psychology  (University Pablo de Olavide) and 4 ALA students are volunteering with CEPER at Polígono Sur, one of the most  disadvantaged areas in Seville. Our students are helping with English classes and collaborating with English professors for these groups. This center and its professors are very grateful to these students for their help. During our first meeting with the person in charge of this center we donated some English books and a box of books of a Spanish manual that a group of CIEE language professors published at CIEE some semesters ago.  They are using these books for their Spanish classes for immigrants.

ALA students are using their Cultural Reimbursement and they are reporting to us about their experience with the best writings, photos, presentations, etc, where they show us how traveling and visiting Spain is a nice method to know our country. 


Photos: Elizabeth Duffield. University of Virginia-Main Campus




Laugh therapy


In conversations with students, the majority have expressed satisfaction with their academic experience.  Many have voiced how much they are learning about Spanish culture and history, are glad that they are able to fulfill major requirements, and feel that their Spanish fluency has improved.  Many of their courses contain out-of-class activities to complement what students learn in the classroom.

Daytrip to Córdoba

Although it was exceptionally windy and rainy that day, students forged through and had an unforgettable visit of the city.  Students had a guided tour of the breath-taking Mezquita, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, where they learned of the mosque´s Islamic and Christian origins. Students also toured the Jewish quarter and visited the royal palace.



Visit to Basilippo Olive Oil

Students visited the family-owned and operated gourmet extra virgin olive oil company, Basilippo, in the Aljarafe region of Seville. Students left the visit not only more knowledgeable of the company’s products, marketing strategies, and challenges, but also learned about the history and health benefits of extra virgin olive oil. 

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IBC Intercambio Activities

A number of “super intercambio activities” have been organized this semester for students. Activities are limited to 20 students (10 IBC and 10 Spanish students).  Students have participated in activities such as Laugh Therapy, Wines from the Roman Era, and Improvisational Therapy. Upcoming activities include a Holy Week Pastry Class and Sevillanas workshops. 

Wine tasting

Have a wonderful spring and we´ll be in touch soon!



Connecting 3 Cultures

This video is about the activity "Connecting 3 Cultures" in the Global Business Skills Workshop from the Business and Society Program

Last weekend the CIEE Study Center in Seville hosted this activity putting together more than 70 students from Morocco, Spain and the U.S. Students enjoyed this amazing activity, learned about their different cultures and participated in some fun activities like an intercultural negotiation and even a wedding!

Enjoy the video!




Europe is very well known for the wines produced here. The wines have been a very important part of our culture and history.

There are lots of differences about the most popular wines in America and the most popular ones in Europe, starting from the names! While in America the names of the wines come from the grape they are made of, in Europe wines are known by the zone they are produced in. For example, for us it's mostly irrelevant to talk about Malbec, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet or Sauvignon but not about Champagne, Bordeaux, Emilia Romagna, Port, Sherry, Rioja or Ribera del Duero, all of them aren't grapes but areas in different coutries like France, Italy and Spain.

In the Interest Group "The wines from Spain" we've tried to learn about this differences and beyond. 


One of the main activities from this Interest Group are the sessions about Sherry Wine. Sherry is a fortified wine made of white grapes (mostly Palomino grape, even though the wine can be black!) in the Sherry area, that is a triangle between the only 3 cities that produce this amazing kind of wine: Jerez de la Frontera, El Puerto de Santa María and Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Students have enjoyed two different activities related with this wine. 

The first session was held at our Study Center, were students could learn the origin of this wine more than 3000 years ago and the evolution till now.


The history of Sherry wine is absolutely related with the history of  Spain. From the Fenicians till now, different civilizations have enjoyed and improved the wine. Some interesting facts are that in the Roman Empire it was very popular to drink wine from "Gades" the Roman name of the currently named Province of Cadiz in the South of Spain, where Sherry is produced. Even in the Muslim ages, wine was not prohibited in Spain (alcohol is prohibited in this culture), because it was used to feed the soldiers at the wars and as a medicine. There's a very important map from that era in wich the word "Seris" (Muslim name for the current city of Jerez de la Frontera) appears for the first time; this map has been even used by the modern wineries in the area to fight against ilegal imitations of this wine.

Mapa A-Idrisi - Seris mapaMap where the city of "Seri" is located in the South of Spain for the first time (XI Century a.d.)

It's also good to know why this wine became very popular in countries like the United Kingdom or others in Northern Europe due to the hundreds of battles between the Kingdom of Spain and England during the Medieval ages in wich English boats took Sherry wine as a loot and made it popular in their country. Students also learnt about the production, diversity, classification, and ageing through a unique system called "Solera".


After this information session students could taste some tapas together with some of the most popular kinds of Sherry like: Manzanilla, Amontillado, Oloroso, Cream and Pedro Ximénez.

The second activity about the Sherry wine was a visit to Bodegas La Gitana in the city of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, but we'll talk about this activity in the next post.




This post is by Jack Simon, a Geography Major at Penn State University. During the Spring 2014 semester he is participating in the CIEE International Business and Culture program.Jake Simon, Penn State

where dinners start at 10 PM,
where Easter is more important than Christmas,
where there are two spring breaks,
where Cruz-Campo beer reigns,
where bull fighting is the norm,
where everything closes from 2pm-5pm,
where there are many layers of ham,
where public display of affection is taken to another level,
where there are many different ways of being Spanish,
where there are many different languages,
where snow rarely exists (minus Sierra Nevada),
where churches lay upon mosques,
where there are islands made for fiestas,
where the decision between Betis and Sevilla Soccer teams can divide families,
where tapas are like candy,
where futból determines friends and replaces religion,
where travelers are embraced,
where kissing twice on each cheek is considered normal,
where Chipotle doesn't exist,
where the tooth fairy does not exist, but rather a tooth mouse called Ratoncito Perez,
where Franco was dictator from 1939 until 1975,
where Chupa Chups are sucked on,
where you can get lost in the language of love,
where the pace of life is comparable to a snail,
where the quality of life is much higher,
where family is the epi-center of everything,
where its normal to have a beer (or two) during the day,
where bread is eaten with every meal,
where the use of the euro is only 12 years old,
where it’s easier/cheaper to travel to other countries than within your own,
where ice-cream tastes like clouds,
where chocolate churros are eaten like chips,
where siestas replace sleeping,
where 'proxima parada' is said after every metro stop,
where people don't go out until 4am,
where the oldest European city of Cadiz exists,
where televisions are part of the family,
where culture is like no other,
where when it’s your birthday, you pay for all your friends to go out,
where people have two last names, one from the father and mother,
where you can wait in line for over an hour and still be happy,
where 'rebajas/sales' only exist after Christmas (and summer),
where paella is eaten on the reg,
where I get to call my home for another 2 months.


Viaje Córdoba - Granada

This post is by Alexis Smith, an Anthropology Major student at Harvard University. During the Spring 2014 semester she is participating in the CIEE Language and Society program.


El fin de semana anterior, fuimos a Córdoba y Granada para tener una experiencia cultural interesante. Aunque llovió muchísimo y hacia más frio de lo que habíamos pensado, tuvimos éxito con este viaje y pienso que mis compañeros estarían de acuerdo conmigo si digo que las partes más memorables de nuestra experiencia en Córdoba y Granada son la belleza de la Mezquita y la Alhambra. Nuestro guía era experto y muy divertido y nos contó la ‘ley sobre entienda’ de tapas gratis con una bebida. Para mí, fue increíble ver finalmente los sitios y arquitectura sobre la que hemos hablado muchas veces en nuestras clases de historia, gastronomía, y economía: de las características mudéjares de la mezquita a las tumbas de los Reyes Católicos. Por muchas semanas, cuando un profesor nos ha preguntado si ya hemos visitado Córdoba o Granada, teníamos que decir, “No todavía no las hemos visitado.” Pero ahora, podemos decir: “Si, ya las hemos visitado y fue inolvidable.”



Spanish Scavenger Hunt


Last Wednesday March 19th, Equipo Ñ carried out one of the funnest activities of the semester the “Gymkhana de Español” (Spanish Scavenger Hunt) in the Sevillian Setas. Several students participated in this outdoor activity in which they had to interact with the locals in order to find out the meaning of words, expressions, idioms and other cultural issues related to life in Seville.

All students received prizes such as a book to expand their usage of colloquial expressions, chocolate treats and mini statues of the Giralda (the symbol of Seville)

A high number of students showed a lot of interest in participating although they were not able to do so due to schedule conflicts.

Thank you all for participating! We are already looking forward to the next Gymkhana! 


Global Business Skills Workshop

This post is by Camila Alvarez, a Business Administration Major at Trinity University. During the Spring 2014 semester she is participating in the CIEE Business and Society Program.


No hay mejor manera de aprender sobre diferentes culturas que compartiendo un aula con chicos españoles y norteamericanos. Para mi, es una experiencia completamente nueva ya que no soy ni norteamericana ni española, soy ecuatoriana pero estudio en los Estados Unidos y francamente estoy aprendiendo muchísimo de ambas culturas. En la clase de Global Workshop los estudiantes tenemos la oportunidad de exponer nuestras ideas o comentarios que luego son debatidos de una forma informal por los demás estudiantes.

Es una clase en donde no solamente tenemos un profesor, sino que vienen diferentes profesores cada clase a enseñarnos diferentes valores de las dos culturas, diferentes tradiciones, etc. Esta clase es muy diferente a las demás ya que no solamente el profesor habla y enseña, sino que todos comentamos y ponemos de parte para enseñarnos unos a otros. Es muy interesante analizar las diferencias entre la forma en la que uno se ve, la forma en la que uno cree que los demás lo ven, y en la forma en la que los demás ralamente nos ven.


Pienso que una de las partes más emocionantes de esta clase será la primera semana de abril, ya que vendrás estudiantes de Marruecos y realizaremos varias actividades en donde las tres culturas podrán trabajar juntas. Sin duda, esta es mi clase favorita y no me arrepiento de haberla tomado.