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4 posts from February 2016


5,000 miles from my home I found in Seville a new home

This post is by Katie Heldt, a Spanish and Biology student from University of Oregon. During the Fall 2015 semester she participated in the the CIEE Teaching Development Program and currently she is participating in the CIEE Liberal Arts Program.

"You're going to Spain for a full year? Why?". Out of all the responses I got upon telling people I would be doing the Teaching Development Program with CIEE in Sevilla, Spain, that was the least supportive reaction, as well as the reaction I chose to focus upon. After spending almost five months over 5,000 miles from my home in Eugene, Oregon, I've realized exactly why.

I spend my days in the most compelling classes I've ever taken, volunteering by teaching English at Colegio Sagrado Corazón, and tutoring for three of the sweetest students I have ever had the honor to meet. My nights are filled with cooking delicious Spanish dishes with my roommate, Noelia, playing with our foster kitten, or going out for a few copas with friends in the lively streets of Sevilla. My whole life has been translated into Spanish.


I'll admit it; the idea of constantly living in my second language stressed me out beyond belief before I arrived, especially attempting to communicate my many ideas about pedagogy in a fluent, comprehensive manner. The professors and staff at CIEE immediately quelled those fears with their obvious faith in me as a student and a teacher. It may sound cliché, but the CIEE Teaching Development Program was the best decision I have made to this day. The program is the only of its kind; I receive full-time support from my pedagogy classes while I'm given limitless freedom to explore my ideas for teaching. Not only is the academic side astoundingly perfect, but also CIEE has given me so many experiences I will never forget, from riding a camel in Morocco to swimming in the sea in Cádiz.

The biggest reason I know why I'm living in Sevilla for a year is the people. Never have I felt so real and so known as a person. Southern Spain is famous for its fiery, passionate people who take siestas by day and dance flamenco by night. While this image is a bit exaggerated, I've found the passion for living to be completely undeniable, a passion that has changed my way of working, playing, and living entirely for the better. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a quote from Henry Miller that rings truer with every day I spend here: "One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things". While I only have a few months to live in Sevilla, I know Sevilla has found a home in my heart (sappy, but true). I will never say "Adios" to Sevilla; I will only say "Hasta pronto".




Greetings from Sevilla!

The CIEE Seville Study Center has welcomed students for another Spring Semester!


CIEE LS students landed in Seville just a couple of weeks ago. Most of them came in a large group together, though two of them came separately on their own. Fortunately, there were no flight delays and orientation ran smoothly, helping them to better adapt to their new environment, new family, schedules, meals, friends, etc.


Students’ first day consisted of an afternoon coffee and a “meet and greet” in small groups with their orientation local guides. They spent the rest of the day settling into their new homes and spending time with their Spanish families.




Health and Safety, Diversity in Spain, Housing, Social Activities and Academics were some of the topics covered during their orientation, together with some cultural and “low-key” activities. They were also interviewed by their Intensive Spanish Language Course teachers and spent a couple of hours getting to know the neighborhood where they would be living, and checked out the tapas at a local place.


The remaining time was filled with group dinners, some interesting cultural historic monument visits as well as exploration of the city…students enjoyed a flamenco show too!


Intensive Spanish Course

Students have just finished their two week intensive Spanish Course which was held in the CIEE Study Center. The course, though intense (three hours a day) and short, improved students´ Spanish significantly. It´s been very gratifying to see how they’ve developed and grown in their language learning in only 2 weeks’ time! All students enjoyed out-of -class activities such as:

"Survival Spanish": How to order and interact with natives in Sevillian restaurants and bars.
Advanced LS students, learned how to interact in Spanish restaurants. In the classroom, they initially learned the expressions, vocabulary and behavior that Spaniards display when addressing waiters, ordering food and asking for the check. Students finished the class in a local tapas bar where each student practiced the new content and learned about traditional food and meals.

Visit to the Sevillian Museo de Bellas Artes in order to become familiar with Spanish art and painting. After the visit, the students wrote their second essay describing the museum and two of their favorite paintings.

Foto clase

CIEE LS students can also participate in intercambio (language-exchange), as well as optional meetings like “How to Volunteer”, “ GLBTQ Student Experience”, “Seminar Living and Learning in Seville“, “Non-Catholic Student Experience”, etc. These meetings provide great opportunities to talk and discuss with others their interests abroad.

First LS daytrip





CIEE LS students travelled to Cádiz last Saturday to conclude their intensive course and practice their Spanish while visiting the city. Students visited the most important monuments and spaces there and had the opportunity to get to know each other better and interact with some other local Spanish youth.


They all participated in a friendly competition to see who could accumulate the most “hablo español” bracelets as reminder their commitment to speak only in Spanish!


Regular courses

Students revisited the Universidad de Sevilla last Friday for a practical tour shown by locals that explored the most interesting places for our students: classrooms, libraries, restrooms, cafeteria, etc.


This week the students began their Regular Session attending classes at CIEE Study Center and the University of Seville. Their classes will be reinforced by tutorials, workshops like the “tandem project” and out of class activities and visits carried out together with Spanish students to facilitate their interaction.


Spring will visit us soon and with it, visits to local towns like Rota and other day trips, an overnight trip to Morocco, a review of study abroad goals, individual interviews, etc. all with the aim of facilitating a personally enriching study abroad experience and create effective global citizens.





Our students completed their orientation two weeks ago (academic issues, housing, health and safety and cultural activities). We had the participation  of five Spanish students from University of Seville and Pablo de Olavide (Tourism, English, Linguistic, Engineering and Literature). The three weeks following orientation were dedicated to individual and group academic appointments with our students in order to help them make a good selection of courses and schedule. We helped the students with our experience and with the useful opinions of former ALA students about university courses and professors. During these weeks they completed their first course in Spain as well (Social History, Spanish or Language in Context), they did very well.


A small group of ALA students started their Spanish University experience last January, 25th at University Pablo de Olavide. But next week will be the beginning of this experience for most of our students at University of Seville, a big challenge for them.

This past weekend, ALA students participated in the first of two Immersion Weekends to take place this semester. One more semester, Sierra del Huéznar was the best place to practice Spanish with local students, and the best way for our students to be more confident with their language skills.





It is a pleasure to write this summary of the first few weeks of the Teaching Development Program (TDP) – Spring 2016 semester program, which is composed of eight smart ladies!


Orientation marked the departure point for the study abroad experience of the TDP participants. As is usual, students attended sessions on safety, housing, academics and other practical topics for their life in Sevilla. In addition to the sessions, students also participated in different tours to get to know their neighborhood and the city center, enjoyed tapas dinners and learnt about Sevilla with a Flamenco workshop and a bike tour.


Following orientation, students started their intensive session, a two-week course that helped students brush up their Spanish while getting used to living in Sevilla, different schedules, meals and listening to Spanish everywhere. Students also registered for all their classes for the regular session that begin this week. During the first two days of classes, students will attend a variety of classes and then decide if they want to stay or make any changes to their schedule in the drop/add period. Also this week, the eight TDP students will visit the schools where their practicums will take place and will get acquainted with their mentor professors with whom they will start their class observation period next week.

This semester we have expanded our collaboration to five local primary and secondary schools.  Professors in these five schools were really excited and eager to start working with our TDP students, since it is a very enriching experience not only for TDP students, but also to the Spanish professors and kids.


Meanwhile, TDP students are enjoying life in Sevilla by participating in the visits to local monuments that the program organizes. On Thursday, we will have our first - of many - Intercambio events, in which students will be able to meet their intercambio and thus, start a bilingual relationship that will allow them to integrate better into the Spanish life.

I am sure that we will have much more to tell you about your students as weeks pass by in Sevilla.

We wish you a successful and enriching Spring semester.