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7 posts from November 2015




This post is by Margaret Weiss, a St. Olaf College student. During the Fall 2015 semester she is participating in the the CIEE Liberal Arts program.

Hi, everyone!

Last week was midterms for CIEE, and it was a pretty stressful week. However, with the help of my parents and the CIEE faculty, I made it through the week, and I’m feeling really good about all of my midterms. I’m happy with how they all went, and I’m happy that they’re done. Looking ahead, a couple of my final exams are research papers. I don’t think the final exams will be quite as stressful as the midterms, in part because I know how they’re going to look and in part because I’ll only have two exams to take!

I’m getting excited about my upcoming research papers (as dorky as that sounds). It’s still all very rough, but I’m thinking about writing about different aspects of Cuban life for both of them- one of the papers will be about European Union’s relationship with Cuba and one will be about Cuba’s national newspaper, the Granma. We’ll see how both of those topics turn out, but I LOVE Cuba, and I’m excited to bring that love to both of my Spanish classes.

To cap off the midterm week, I traveled to the Madrid area with two of my CIEE friends, Zoe and Laura. This weekend was a puente weekend, or a long weekend where we didn’t have class on Monday. Yesterday was All Saint’s Day, so all of Spain gets Monday off because of that holiday. The three of us had such a wonderful time in Madrid, seeing the city and the surrounding area. Moreover, we also had the opportunity to stay with a family in the Madrid area, so thanks to Paul and Sarie for being such wonderful hosts! Not only did they provide a home and home life for the weekend, they also helped us to make the most of our time in the Madrid area.

To begin with, Zoe, Laura and I got to see Paul and Sarie’s school and get to know some of the school’s teachers on Friday, which was absolutely wonderful. After that, Zoe, Laura and I explored the city of Madrid on Saturday. We started our day at an (impromptu) book fair before going to the Prado. The book fair was really cool- a lot of the books were used and old books, but there were also new books. Each of the three of us got a copy of the first Harry Potter in Spanish. Moving on, the Prado was wonderful to see. The museum is a lot of religious art, and there are quite a lot of masterpieces in it. Pictures weren’t allowed, but the architecture of the building was incredible, so here’s a photo of that!

After the Prado, we went to the Parque de Buen Retiro, another must-see of Madrid! The weather is cooler in Madrid, and the leaves were changing in the park, so it was really nice to feel a little more like it was fall. Zoe, Laura and I walked around the Parque, which is absolutely HUGE. We didn’t see half of it, but we did get lunch and got to see a little bit of fall in Spain.

After the Parque de Buen Retiro, Zoe, Laura and I went to the Reino Sofia. We didn’t see all of the exhibits (the three of us were all pretty tired from the Prado), but I think that I prefer the contemporary art of the Reino Sofia to the art of the Prado (not that I didn’t appreciate the Prado!). Moreover, we got to see Guernica, Picasso’s masterpiece, so that made the trip worthwhile in itself. I’ve studied Guernica a lot in my Spanish classes, and it’s really neat to be able to say that I saw it in person. Finally, both of the museums were free with student ID’s, so that alone makes the trips worth it! We saved around 16 euro each!

It was a long day in Madrid, but we ended it by going to the “most famous” churro place in Madrid, the Chocolatería San Ginés. I don’t love churros, but the chocolate was so good in the Chocolatería. And it’s nice to say that we did it! After a little more shopping (in all, I got 5 books and a scarf while I was in Madrid), the three of us headed home.

The next day, Sarie drove the three of us up to Segovia (thank you!), which is a GORGEOUS town with a lot of history and sites to see. We began our day in Segovia by seeing the Cathedral and the Aqueduct (see attached photos) before traversing up to the Alcazar, which Zoe, Laura and I toured. Laura and I are in an Islamic architecture class, and it was really cool for both of us to see the Christianity of the Alcazar imposed over clear Islamic influences. I saw a lot of the themes that we have talked about in class while I was in the Alcazar. To end our trip of the Alcazar, the three of us hiked the Alcazar’s tower, which has some beautiful and impressive views of all of Segovia.

To wrap up our trip to Segovia, the three of us walked around the town a little more. Segovia is a beautiful and walkable city, and I loved being there. Laura and I also bought a GIANT palomera (my favorite treat in Spain), and we happily split that. The three of us met back up with Sarie, and we drove home.

And that’s a summary of my weekend in Madrid! I am so grateful that I got to see Madrid like I did, and that Paul and Sarie allowed us to stay in their home. I had a wonderful time seeing two major Spanish cities, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity that I did. This was a wonderful way to spend the long weekend! I’m en route to Sevilla as I type this, but I’ll probably be back home when I post it. Thanks for reading, everyone! Time here is going really quickly, and I’m loving every opportunity that comes my way. Madrid and the surrounding area was wonderful to get to know this weekend, and I’m excited for the further adventures that are coming my way!



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Seville IBC Semester happenings!

Academic and Cultural Visits to Inés Rosales and Basilippo

Business and non-business students had the opportunity to learn about two prominent companies located just outside of Seville, Ines Rosales and Basilippo Olive Oil, whose key ingredient to the companies’ success is extra virgin olive oil.  Students met with exportation managers, explored the products’ markets, learned about barriers when entering new markets, toured the facilities, and tried some of their most popular products.  The visit to Basilippo ended with an “olive oil tasting”, using techniques very similar to wine tasting.

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IBC Small-Group Activities

Several activities have been organized this semester, with the objective of facilitating greater interaction between students and their Spanish peers, in small-group settings. Thus far, students have participated in a Smart Phone Photography Workshop, and Kayaking along the Guadalquivir River, alongside their Spanish peers. Upcoming activities are a flamenco dance workshop and interactive Spanish cooking workshop.

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Cultural Immersion Experience in Northern Morocco

The semester highlight for many students continues to be the 4-day immersion experience in Northern Morocco. The program gives students the opportunity to explore a developing country, learn about the practice of Islam, how religion impacts the lifestyle of Moroccans, and get a glimpse into the lives of Moroccan parents, youth, leaders, etc. The most beneficial aspects of the experience are living with host families in the medina of Rabat and having facilitated conversations with Moroccan peers, discussing stereotypes of Americans and Muslims, the role of women in Morocco, differences in lifestyles of rural and urban families, etc….it was a powerful and life-changing experience for many.

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The Fame, allegory and symbol of University of Seville


ALA students have all become a part of the daily life and routines at both the University of Seville and Pablo Olavide. After having personally spoken with all of the ALA students, it seems as though integration in university life and life in Seville has gone smoothly.  All the students have relationship with Spaniards, almost all have language partners, and from what they told us in these conversations, they are very satisfied with their housing and with their host families. It has truly been gratifying to see that most of them are doing activities in Spanish and with Spanish people: tennis classes, football, riding horses, drawing courses or simply going to a theater play or to the Opera, Othello.


A group of student at Cathedral of Seville 

This semester we started a new project with Spanish students and American students: translation, publication, and launch of two books of poems by a deceased North American poet who came to Seville in 1976 for his study abroad experience. The project is a partnership between ALA students and intern students from the Department of English and North American Literature. The experience is being coordinate by Ramón Espejo, and ALA RD, José Luis Martínez. We have two goals; the immersion in the university life for our students and a modest tribute to a member of a past Generation Study Abroad.


 Glenn Figueroa (New Haven, 1940- Seville, 2013)

Two weeks ago we administered midterm exams covering CIEE courses. Results were satisfactory. We have no reason to worry about anything in particular.

We had individual interviews, and spent about half an hour over coffee with the students, discussing different areas of concern (tutors, courses, evaluations of university professors, housing, social relationships with Spanish student, etc).  This gave us a great opportunity to detect first-hand questions that might require our help and intervention. Fortunately everything seemed to be going quite well.

The same week, we continued on to our second orientation, which we have been calling info+pizza for a few semesters now. This was comprised of two sessions and was presented by the ALA staff to regroup our students and provide a friendly occasion to share a pizza and inform them about exam policy at Spanish University, Cultural Reimbursement, libraries, how to use the blackboard or other virtual tools at both universities, etc.

Next week we will have a new language and intercultural activity; six Spanish students and six American students will participate in a linguistic role-play. The situation: twelve job candidates for an international company have an informal working lunch (we will have pizza again), during this lunch two of them will be selected for the job. The company will propose different activities in order to know who are the best candidates…..more news later.

(This activity is inspired by the Spanish theater play El método Grönholm and the film El método).





Fall finally came and winter will follow to accompany our Language and Society students on their way back home next month!

During these two months, our students have been growing and learning at the same time that they had a lot of fun immerging in the Spanish and Sevillian cultures.  


Regular Session started Monday, 21st September. Students are attending their CIEE language classes in the mornings and the rest of the time on campus at the Universidad de Sevilla. So far, everything has gone smoothly as the students seemed to adjust well, and they are having a positive and productive semester. Students are happy with their classes´ selections and completed their midterm exams stage. They continue working to prepare for their future final challenges.



CIEE Language and Society students had the opportunity to join other Ciee students and some Spaniards to enjoy different local activities such as: visits to historical monuments like the Cathedral or the Alcázar, Hospital de la Caridad, Plaza de España or Italica Ruins, and neighborhoods like Triana, Arenal or the Jewish part of Santa Cruz, historic buildings, Lebrija Palace or Pilatos House, nearby cities like Cádiz, Aracena, or Carmona. They could also visit some museums like Bellas Artes, Arts and Customs or the Archeologic one in Seville. CIEE also offered some thematic tours like the graffiti, convents, flamenco and Opera tours. 



Trips included two exclusive for the program. One daytrip to Córdoba where L&C students visited the Maezquita, Alcázar and Sinagoga, and could also enjoy some free time. Their feedback was really positive and they were awarded for practicing Spanish.


And an overnight trip, where students travelled to Morocco visiting the two small towns of Asilah and Chauen, and the two big cities of Tetuan and Tangier in the North of the country. Among their activities students visited the Instituto Cervantes where they could have a really interesting intercambio with Moroccan students who studied Spanish in Tetuan. They discussed about cultural and academic similarities and differences between Morocco and Spain.


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Within their projects, the Embedded Intercultural Component whose sessions are helping students to reflect about culture and their position and role in it. And the Tandem Project developed in 3 sessions and a final daytrip.

 Intercambio #1. On October 20th, the Conversation groups met at the Universidad de Sevilla for the first out of the 4 tandem activities programmed for this semester. In this first meeting, the students worked in small groups, introduced each other, and started to know more about each other. They worked with 8 Spanish University students from different backgrounds that study English as a second language in college. First, they discussed some of the stereotypes in Spain and the USA. Later, they analyzed a couple of news on TV about current events in both countries dealing with the young generation, and their own interests. The rapport was very good. The main objective of these activities is that both groups have the chance to meet native speakers to practice their target language at a 50/50 rate.


Intercambio #2. On October 27th, the Conversation groups met at the Universidad de Sevilla for the 2nd of the 4 tandem activities we have programmed this semester. In this meeting, the students first talked about university life and leisure in both cultures, and had to find out about each other's preferences.. Since one of the most popular leisure activities is listening to music or attending music festivals, we did some activities related to this topic in both languages related to vocabulary/colloquial expressions, and a selection of music/artists from both countries. Last week students selected the title of the song that better represented their countries, so for the final activity each group had to explain the relevance of the song, whether they agreed or not with the choice, and talk about their favorite songs. Both groups had the chance to practice their target language at a 50/50 rate. There was a good exchange of music, and students were very engaged in the topic and the different activities. The session was very successful.

Intercambio #3. On November 3rd, the group met the Spanish students at the Universidad de Sevilla for our 3rd Tandem activity. This time the project dealt with tv in both cultures. The students worked in groups with some vocabulary about Spanish/US TV, and had to explain these terms in their target language. They watched a couple of ads from both countries, and talked about the different values in advertising. Later, they talked about Spanish/USA tv shows, and did a comparison of Spanish tv vs. US tv. In this session, students worked again with different people in the group, so everyone could know each other, and they practiced, again, their target language at a 50/50 rate. They were very engaged in the activities, eager to learn, and share their "expertise" on this popular topic.


And, on November 7th the group had the last out of the four activities connected to the Language/Cultural Workshop with the group of students from Universidad de Sevilla. We visited Aracena and the National Park around the area, and this trip gave them the opportunity to practice the target language outside of the classroom in a more informal setting.

The activity had two parts: First, in Aracena, we walked up the 12th century castle, and had some time to enjoy the downtown area (City Hall, and different churches). Around 2.30 we took the bus to go up to the mountains of Aroche National Park, and had a picnic at one of its magnificent view points. Students enjoyed their free time here, and explored nature.

The visit was bilingual, and the main objectives of this last activity was to continue practicing their target languages outside of the classroom, at a beautiful setting, and to reinforce the relationship with the Spanish students that started on the first session of the Workshop back in October.






The middle of the semester arrived when we are starting to feel autumn in Seville.


Last week, all CIEE students took their midterms and are finally stress-free of exams.

Students are enjoying a wide offer of out-of-class activities in their CIEE courses. For instance, to weeks ago, students in the course Flamenco in Andalusia, participated in a percussion workshop where they learnt about the different flamenco rhythms, as well as to clap their hands on time, identifying three types of meters. A percussionist visited the class to introduce some of the most popular percussion instruments, such as “el cajón” (a hollow wooden box), with which students practiced. Also, students in the Culture and Cuisine in Spain class went on a tour of convents where they learnt about how nuns make homemade traditional sweets and got to taste them!

Starting spring 2016, CIEE will offer a new Psychology class, Positive Psychology that will complete our offer on this subject.


Katie and Kevin, the two students enrolled in the Teaching Development program are having a very good time in Seville so far.

During the first half of the semester they both have been learning a lot from their core class: Professional Teaching Development and from their teacher, Carlos. At class, they have been reinforcing the knowledge they already had from their previous experience on teaching in the US and also adding new methodologies they will be able to apply in a future… and at present as well since Katie and Kevin are now immerse in their practicum in a local school! They have been going there twice a week since late September and they had 5 weeks of in-class observation.


Katie and Kevin have just finished their five-week observational period at school and this week they have just started their teaching time at class, with students from ages between six and twelve years old (the students from the TD program can choose what level they teach at the beginning of the semester). Therefore, in this very moment Katie and Kevin are enjoying their time at school while they are both teaching to students and learning from Carlos and the professors from the school where they are having the practicum.


Apart from travelling to Cadiz and Granada, Teaching Development students had the opportunity to participate in cultural activities as diverse as the History of the Jewish Community tour, a cooking tapas workshop or a graffiti tour in which students both admire the paintings and make their own street masterpiece.


Please, follow us in Facebook to be updated on the lives of your students in Sevilla.

We will write you in a few weeks again to let you know the highlights of your student’s experience in Seville!

We hope you are having a great fall semester!

Best regards from Sevilla,

The TDP team: Olga / Jorge / Sergio




Greetings from Seville!

Here we are again to share with you some of the highlights of the academic term thus far. The Business and Society program is full of enriching activities such as academic exchange seminars focusing on current issues in business and with the participation of local students, company visits (Global Discussions) and internships with companies.

Global Discussions

Four “Global Discussions” have been organized thus far, with a participation of 71 local students. This kind of activities have been developed by the CIEE Business and Society staff to help students to meet more Spaniards under a more academic atmosphere. 

  • “Emigration and Economic Growth”
  • “University, work expectation and culture. Differences and Similarities between Spain and the U.S”
  • “Lifestyle in USA vs. lifestyle in Spain”
  • “Neuromarketing. Science or manipulation?
  • “The bitcoin”


Company Visits

As usual, our business professors have been organizing different company visits focused on business in Spain and the European Union. So far, the following company visits have taken place in the CIEE Business and Society program this term:

Basilippo, the oldest distillery in Andalusia (1880) which has created a unique gin, created by chance, as they were looking to commercialize this fruit in pots, and that has conquered the most expert clients, the British, made out of strawberries from the fields of Huelva. 

El Cubo, a crowdworking facility where the Spanish telecommunications company, Telefonica-Movistar created a corporate responsibility organization called Andalucía - Open Future. This organization works on accelerating local start-ups by providing them resources from technology to advisers to a location, etc.

Inés Rosales, a leading company in the food industry at both the national and international level. Ines Rosales' products have a big presence in the most important retailers in Spain (El Corte Inglés, Carrefour and Auchan) and worldwide (WholeFoods market in the US, Kinokuniya in Japan or Globus in Switzerland).

Company visits


At this point of the semester, all the students registered in the Internship Program are enjoying of their experience at the companies. 


Daytrip to Cordoba

An amazing daytrip to the City of Córdoba took place on October 17th. During the trip students could visit the beautiful Mosque-Cathedral, the Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos and the old Synagogue.


Academic Update

CIEE Seville will offer new courses for spring 2016: Strategic Management and Positive Psychology.

We’d like to thank you for your continued support of the CIEE Business and Society Program. If you have any questions or feedback on the program, please do not hesitate to contact the CIEE Staff. 

If you haven't done it yet, don't miss the opportunity to "like" and start following our Facebook page or Twitter profile for regular updates on the program's activities.

Warm regards,

BS Team





The middle of the semester arrived when we are starting to feel Autumn in Sevilla.


Last week, all students took their midterms and are finally stress free of exams.

Students are enjoying a wide offer of out-of-class activities in their CIEE courses. For instance, to weeks ago, students in the course Flamenco in Andalusia, participated in a percussion workshop where they learnt about the different flamenco rhythms, as well as to clap their hands on time, identifying three types of meters. A percussionist visited the class to introduce some of the most popular percussion instruments, such as “el cajón” (a hollow wooden box), with which students practiced. Also, students in the Culture and Cuisine in Spain class went on a tour of convents where they learnt about how nuns make homemade traditional sweets and got to taste them!

Starting spring 2016, CIEE will offer a new Psychology class, Positive Psychology, that will complete our offer on this subject.


Apart from travelling to Cadiz and Granada, Liberal Arts students had the opportunity to participate in cultural activities as diverse as the History of the Jewish Community tour, a cooking tapas workshop or a graffiti tour in which students both admire the paintings and make their own street masterpiece.

In addition to cultural activities, Liberal Arts students participated in different volunteer programs. This semester, there are a higher number of students collaborating as Cultural English Assistants at local schools. Here you can see a video that local students filmed to greet our students in Halloween.

Please, follow us in Facebook to be updated on the lives of your students in Sevilla.

We hope you are having a great fall semester!

Best regards from Sevilla