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5 posts from June 2016


Travel Diary | Morocco

This post is by Emma Vaughan, a Marketing student from Indiana University. During the Summer 2016 semester she is doing an internship at Euromedia through the CIEE Summer Internship Program. This post was originally published at: sincerelyemmie

Last week I traveled to Morocco with my study abroad program, which was a very unique and exciting opportunity for me. I had never been to Africa before and had always wanted to see some part of it. So, I packed my bags and headed off for a three-day adventure in one of the most unique places I have ever encountered.

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Along with a group of nine other students and one of our instructors, I left Seville early in the morning by bus. From the coast, we took an hour-long ferry ride to Ceuta, which is a Spanish city in Africa. There, we crossed the border into Morocco and arrived in Tetuan around noon. Our first stop was a school of craft apprenticeship for young boys and women, where we observed several classes practicing the art of painting, metalwork, woodwork, and embroidery.

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Already, I noticed an obvious cultural difference in the attitudes surrounding gender and dress in Morocco. Standing in the school, tall, blonde, and dressed in a short romper, I noticed some stares and strange looks. Although not all women I saw wore headscarves or covered their bodies completely, everyone was dressed very modestly and I felt out of place. I clung to my sweater through the first day until I was able to buy a lightweight shawl for my shoulders.

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The timing of our trip was very interesting because we arrived in the middle of Ramadan, which is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Muslims fast, neither eating nor drinking from sunrise to sunset for a whole month. Because most Moroccans are Muslim, this time of the year greatly affects businesses and the hours that tourists can visit certain sights. Most restaurants close during the day and businesses open later to accommodate adjusted sleeping and eating schedules. Luckily, we were able to find some locations to eat on our usual schedule and our guide found plenty of places for us to see and explore during our trip.

After lunch, we took a tour of the different markets and areas of the city. We visited a fish market and a site where leather is prepared and each of us was given mint leaves to help with the strong scent. Usually, smells don’t bother me much, but it was potent. After the tour, we returned to our hotel for a late dinner. Because most were fasting, we ate about an hour or two after sunset to give the cooks and servers time to eat and recharge.

Interestingly, everywhere we went there were tons of stray cats, but barely ever stray dogs. We asked our guide about the high quantity and he said that, because animals are considered unclean and cannot stay in homes, which must be pure in order for families to pray there, many animals which used to be held as pets now populate the streets.

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The next day we visited the beautiful coastal city of Asilah, which is known for its incredible views and blue and white homes. We strolled through the empty streets and explored the coastline. While we were there, there were men adding a fresh coat of crisp, white paint to several buildings. In the photo below, I leaned against the door frame and got a nice patch of powdery, white paint on my sweater.

Next, we had lunch and visited the Caves of Hercules in Tangier, which are partly natural and partly man-made. The cave has a large opening which was made in the shape of Africa, and our guide showed us several other allusions to maps in the cave’s shape.

After our visit to the caves was the moment we had all been waiting for: camel rides. Well, dromedary rides. As hard as I try to fight it at times, I am a tourist and tourists do touristy things. So, we stopped at a beach where we were able to take turns riding up and down the coastline. My dromedary was named Lila and we became fast friends. The ride was short but definitely worth it, at least for the photos.

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In Tangier, we had some free time to shop and explore. Bartering is the norm in Morocco and I usually ended up paying a fraction of the marked price for anything in the stores. It was interesting learning the balance between offering a low price, which I would be happier with, and being respectful to shopkeepers. I eventually got the hang of it and picked up a couple souvenirs and gifts.

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Our last day, we visited Chefchaouen, the Blue City. It had the perfect mixture of Moroccan and Andalucian style in its architecture and design. Because Morocco and Spain are so close, most of the shopkeepers and guides spoke Spanish and many of the different foods and products sold are the same as those in Seville. It was interesting to see how, although Morocco is a part of a different continent, it still has so much European influence.

Our day in Chefchauen was definitely the shopping highlight of the trip. Everything was unique and cheap. The stores sold everything from paint pigments, spices, and soaps, to leather goods and hand-made textiles. My favorite store we visited was one filled with bath products and perfumes. It was basically Moroccan Lush, and I was in love. It took all of my willpower not to leave with several years’ supply of shampoo and face wash.

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After all the shopping and photos, it was time to get back. We hopped on the bus, crossed the border, took the ferry, and then another bus before finally arriving in Seville a little before midnight. I still can’t believe that through studying abroad I have been able to visit so many different places and experience so many different cultures. Five years ago I had never left the states, and now I’ve been to seven countries on three continents. Now, I’m half way through my stay in Seville and hope to make this next month count.

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Sincerely, Emmie


Newsletter I Summer Language & Culture Seville


Danya Sherman (George Washington University) rearranges the seating, as Summer L&C students celebrate the start of Session I of their program at the Center for Cultural Initiatives of the University of Seville (CICUS).

Greetings from Seville,

Session I of CIEE Seville's Summer Language & Culture program ended last Friday, June 17th after four very intense weeks of academic work, intercultural learning, leisure and travel for the 61 students the joined us.

We're certain that all students enrolled in the courses Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Spanish Language have made significant progress regarding their language skills, as stated by the professors of these courses, Rocío Martínez, Marga Jiménez and Luis Recio, all of which have been very highly evaluated by their students.

Students enrolled in the course Culture and Cuisine in Spain, taught in Spanish by professor Ángel de Quinta, have not only participated in a number of tastings but have also visited places of historical significance, such as Seville's Antiquarium, under Plaza de la Encarnación, in order to understand culinary and nourishing habits of the past that tell us so much about the daily life of Sevillians from other times as well as about their changing historical contexts.

The course Flamenco in Andalusia: Culture, Language, Music, and Dance, our one academic offering in English taught by professor Jaime Trancoso, kept students busy both in class, with theretical and practical sessions as well as with visits to Flamenco performances and studios such as the dance school of Matilde Coral or the Peña Flamenca Torres Macarena, for a sample of soleá, seguiriya and alegrías dancing.


Marian Mikho (University of Michigan-Ann Arbor), Meghan Paradise (Pennsylvania State University) and Brittany Smith (The University of Texas at Austin) of the Flamenco in Andalusia: Culture, Language, Music, and Dance enjoy churros on their way to visit some prominent flamenco studios.

Last, but certainly not least, students of the course The Camino de Santiago: Historical Roots and Contemporary Significance, a course also taught by professor Salvador Parra in Spanish, did succeed in visiting as scheduled the tomb of the apostle in Santiago de Compostela's cathedral, after almost a whole week of walking the northern cornice of Spain and learning along one of the world's oldest human routes. Before flying to the north of the country, they sampled the Way by walking a portion of the Ruta de la Plata, which starts at Seville's Cathedral and guides the pilgrims through signs on the floor. Juan Ramos, president of Via de la Plata Camino, guided the class during the tour and explained the historical, cultural and religious significance of the pilgrimage. 

Together with a large variety of culture and leisure activities, offered on a daily basis by our Student Services' department, all students enjoyed a day trip to the city of Córdoba, famous for its Mezquita-Catedral, and an overnight trip to Granada to visit the palace of the Alhambra, the neighborhoods of Albaicín and Realejo and the tombs of Isabel and Ferdinand inside its cathedral.


Students cross the Roman bridge in Córdoba with the Mezquita-Catedral behind them.

Students also participated in a three day Intercultural Comparative Experience trip to the cities of Lisbon or Barcelona, which further expanded their knowledge of life on the Iberian peninsula.

We're glad that many of our Session I students are staying with us for Session II. Classes started today again with the incorporation of 37 new students, whom we hope will also make the most of their time abroad.

Best regards from the academic team of the Summer L&C program, Olga Merino, Helena Andrés and Óscar Ceballos.


Interculturalidad en los mercados

This post is by Megan Yoder, a Business student from Indiana University. During the Summer 2016 semester she is doing an internship at EPES-061 through the CIEE Summer Internship Program.

Escribí este trabajo para mi clase, pero me fascina el sujeto y por eso quiero compartir con vosotros:

El Mercado de la Encarnación se encuentra debajo de Las Setas de La Encarnación y es un lugar muy popular con los Sevillanos.  Desde el siglo XIX ha habido un mercado en esta plaza, pero este edificio fue construido con la construcción del Metropol Parasol en 2005.  Los clientes examinan con detenimiento los puestos de frutas, vegetales, pescados y carnes para comprar alimento de alta calidad.  En los puestos de frutas y vegetales, se puede encontrar los mismos tipos de comida que en los Estados Unidos.  Sin embargo, los puestos de pescados y carnes, encontré muchas cosas curiosas.

Antes de esta visita, nunca he visto caracoles en un mercado.  Me sorprendió que los caracoles esteben vivos y la gente los compró por el kilogramo.  En este puesto, un saco cuesta 2,80 €/kg.  Algunos caracoles estaban tratando de escapar, pero siempre había una persona que los volvía en la caja.  Creo que ellos sabían que iban a morir.  No entendí la razón por la que los caracoles estabán vivos, pero una mujer, una cliente del puesto, me dijo que es para mantener el sabor.  Cuando se regresa a su casa con un saco de caracoles, se pone en una cacerola de agua hirviendo para matarlos y entonces se los pone en la nevera.  Hay muchos españoles que les gustan los caracoles y se puede encontrarlos en tantos menús.

Otra cosa curiosa en los mercados son los peces.  A diferencia de Indiana, para sevillanos, una parte grande de la dieta consiste en pescado.  También, Sevilla está cerca del mar mientras Indiana está en la mitad del país.  Por supuesto hay muchos lugares en los Estados Unidos que comen pescado, pero típicamente cuando compramos pescado en el supermercado hay simplemente las carnes de los pescados.  En este mercado, todo el cuerpo, incluyendo la cara, estuvo en exhibición.  No nos gustan las caras de animales muertos en los Estados Unidos.  Somos sensitivos sobre el conocimiento que este pescado vivía antes de comerlo  Pero en Sevilla es importante que los clientes vean todo el cuerpo del pescado para saber la calidad y la frescura del producto.  En esta foto a la derecha, hay meros en exhibición.  Los rostros me hicieron aprensiva, pero en realidad, he comido mero muchas veces en mi vida.

También, yo comía tanto pollo en Indiana, de hecho la mayoría de mi dieta carne es pollo.  Pero, me di cuenta que yo comía sólo las pechugas, las piernas, y las alas de pollo.  Los sevillanos comen todo el pollo como las yemitas (yemas) de gallina y las mollejas de pollo.  Una yema de gallina no es igual de una yema de huevo, sino es la parte en el ovario antes del proceso de fertilización.  Las yemas de gallina es un ingrediente popular en los cocidos y los caldos.  Una molleja de pollo es un órgano que permite un ave triturar finamente la comida.  A muchos españoles les gustan las mollejas de pollo en salsa con patatas.  Pero yo no puedo imaginar consumiendo esta comida.  Pienso que esta comida es extraña para mí porque no comía los órganos de los animales, sólo los músculos y la grasa.  Es interesante que no comamos todo el animal en Indiana, pero tenemos un dicho sobre la importancia de no desperdiciar comida. 

Cordero es otro ganado que los Estados Unidos y España tienen en común.  En Indiana típicamente se puede encontrar cordero en los restaurantes griegos o los restaurantes carísimos, pero también, la comida es sóla de las partes musculares.  Es cierto que no se puede encontrar la cabeza de cordero en un restaurante ni una casa.  La idea es absurda para mí.  Pero en España, la gente come las cabezas de cordero asadas con patatas o vegetales como comemos las pechugas de pollo.  Otra vez, a nosotros estadounidenses no nos gusta comer los rostros.  Para mí, es ya que en los ojos reconozco que este animal vivía y tenía un alma.  Me gusta la carne, pero, el hecho que una cosa viva tiene que morir para sostener mi vida es deprimente.  Las diferencias entre mis sentimientos y los sentimientos de españoles son curiosimas.

Además de la comida, la exhibición de religión en los puestos es curiosa.  En España es muy común a ver los cuadros de la Virgen María o Jesús en las calles, los mercados, los restaurantes, y otros lugares públicos.  En los Estados Unidos, es el opuesto.  Los sitios públicos son muy seculares para respetar las diferencias en la fe o la falta de fe entre la gente.  En comparación, la mayoría de los españoles es católica y es una parte imprescindible de la cultura para demostrar su fe en todos los aspectos de la vida. Ahora en los Estados Unidos, hay muchas polémicas sobre la representación y la práctica de fe en institutos públicos y creo que es porque hay muchas religiones en el país.

A través de mi visita del mercado, las conversaciones con clientes y mi familia, y la inspección de mi propia cultura, he aprendido mucho sobre las diferencias entre la cultura hispánica y la cultura de Indiana.  No estoy acostumbrada de comida como los caracoles, las yemitas de pollos, las mollejas de pollo, ni las cabezas de cordero.  No sé la razón por la que no comemos estos productos en Indiana a pesar de que la mayoría de nuestros antepasados eran de Europea.  También, no entiendo ya que estadounidenses dan ascos por los rostros, mientras muchas culturas no tienen el mismo sentamiento.  En cuanto a la exhibición de la fe en España, es un marvilloso aspecto cultural por la historia sobre el vencedor del país.  Por fin, es cierto que se puede encontrar muchas cosas curiosas en los mercados.

Más fotos:





June, 2016. It’s Summer, not officially, but we have Seville’s hot summer weather with us, and June means it’s time to study hard in the Spanish University.


We are finishing our Spring Semester. Our program is wrapping up; some of our students took their final exams and handed in their papers, but most of them, about 50%, are in Seville taking their finals and completing their study abroad experience little by little. We are sure the will be very well, as in past springs.


We are going over the semester with the help of our Facebook page, it’s a good tool to see their trips and activities with ALA Cultural Reimbursement. They visited a lot of parts of Spain, not only the most popular cities, but other interesting places in Spain.


Last semester, Fall 2016, we started a project with Spanish students and American students: translation, publication, and the launch of two books of poems authored by a deceased North American poet who came to Seville in 1976 for his study abroad experience. Now the book has been published, and it will be presented by Braulio Ortiz Poole, a poet and a journalist from Seville. The project was a partnership between ALA students and Spanish students from the Department of English and North American Literature at the University of Seville. The experience was coordinated by Ramón Espejo, and ALA RD, José Luis Martínez. We achieved our two goals; the immersion in the university life for our students and a modest tribute to a member of a past Generation Study Abroad.


Once again we have had an excellent group of students this semester: mature and independent. We hope our students learned a lot from this experience and share it with their families and friends back home. It has really been a pleasure to work jointly with them because of their contribution through their experience to the University of Seville and University Pablo de Olavide.

In the beginning of June we had our traditional farewell dinner; a good occasion to say “until soon” as we don’t like goodbyes.






Study Abroad Newsletter


The Summer Internships students arrived safely and they seem to be very enthusiastic about the idea of enjoying this experience.


After the three days orientation session, with the informative sessions about academics, housing, safety, activities and the Bystander Intervention Training (BIT) session by the CIEE Seville Student Services Director, Morgan Reiss, students had the chance of visiting the Alcazar, one of the most representative monumental compounds in the city, the country and the Mediterranean culture as a whole and to attend a flamenco show.



The students are in the middle of the Spanish for Business Students class, designed to help students prepare for their experiences in their classes by increasing listening and comprehension skills and building vocabulary.



Before the Internship Forum students attended a preparatory session where the Internship Coordinator provided them with in-depth information about the companies participating in the program and some tips about dress code, greeting, speaking, etc and all the information about the participant companies.

A total of 12 companies attended our CIEE Internship Forum on May 31st. As a real process, students had interviews with several companies showing their best to get an internship in their favorite companies. At this time, all the students have been already placed in local companies. 

Internship Fair


Students have visited two beautiful cities in Andalusia: Cordoba, home of the amazing mosque and Granada, one of the most beautiful cities in Spain.