Not sure what program is right for you? Click Here

© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Study Abroad in

Back to Program Back to Blog Home

118 posts categorized "Advanced Liberal Arts"


Epaña, pue, má o meno…

This post is by Monica M., a Government and Environmental Science student from Georgetown University. During the past Spring semester Monica was studying with the Advanced Liberal Arts program in CIEE Seville, Spain.


¿Qué? What was that? Is anybody else wondering where all the s’s went??

Welcome to Andalucía, the southernmost province of Spain, where saying the letter s and even other letters is considered optional. They have a saying here that roughly translates to “Andalucians eat the ends of their words.” Well, it’s safe to say that the sevillanos have quite the appetite.

The process of translating the Spanish to English includes a few more steps now.

Step 1: Separate the individual words from what seems like one giant sound.
“Muchagracia, puemegustaelpescaomáomeno.” à “Mucha gracia, pue me gusta el pescao má o meno.”
Step 2: Fill in the missing letters.
“Muchas gracias, pues me gusta el pescado más o menos.”
Step 3: Translate complete sentence to English.
Thank you very much, well, I like fish more or less.

Sevilla, I’m up for the challenge! Vamo(s)!


My “aha” Moment

This post is by Monica M. a Georgetown University student. During the Spring 2016 semester she was participating in the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program.


The emotions behind deciding to study abroad travel across the entire spectrum, from an overjoyed sense of disbelief (I’ll be living in Spain for five months!!) to an overwhelming sense of disbelief (wait- I won’t be home until June?!).

In my experiences away from home, there tends to be a single “aha” moment that I can point to where I am mindful of my surroundings and confident that this is where I should be. Within a month or so of arriving at Georgetown, my “aha” moment struck in an unconventional scene. I was already late to a meeting, struggling to maximize my stride length to pick up the pace, while wearing a white T-shirt and what I learned was a color seeping Indian scarf when suddenly the clouds burst open. Drenched within minutes, wearing the least ideal color for wet clothing, I looked around at the beautiful townhouses lining Prospect Street and could solely think of how immensely happy I was to be there.

Coming to Sevilla, my nerves were quickly soothed with all the joy I felt myself surrounded by: a loving homestay family, exciting new friends, and not to mention the sheer beauty of the city itself (added plus: strong wifi- for keeping in touch with family, not for social media, of course!).


All the various positive aspects of the formative first week abroad seamlessly wove together in an awakening experienced from the tallest point in the city: atop the bell tower. The Cathedral is Sevilla’s iconic site, dominating the skyline and drawing thousands of tourists to admire its mixture of Islamic and Catholic architecture. 36 flights up later, an indescribable feeling surfaced in my heart as I gazed at the city from above. Looking at the picturesque white houses growing smaller and smaller in the distance as they led to rolling green hills in the background, a wave of reassurance and euphoria resonated throughout me.


With a fully confident mind and body in unison, I felt more strongly than ever that there is where I am, and this is where I want be.




Granada (2)

The students participating in the CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program at the University of Seville have reached the halfway point of their academic and personal experience in Spain.


ALA staff had meetings with all of the ALA students. It seems as though integration and immersion in university life as well as that of Seville have gone smoothly.  All the students have managed to get to know Spaniards, and as consequence establish a relationship with them. Furthermore, almost all of them have language partners, and from what they told us in the meetings above, they are very satisfied with their housing as well as their host families. It has been truly gratifying to hear that their level of confidence in their Spanish skills has increased considerably, and thus, they feel more comfortable when using this language in their daily and academic lives. We are sure that the Language Immersion Weekend helped them to their integration.


We had our traditional Info&Pizza, our “second orientation” and it constituted a perfect excuse to meet and chat about their final stretch: university exams, potential tutorial sessions, exam policies, libraries, 24 hours study rooms, the virtual university, blackboard, cultural reimbursement, etc.


We made a deal with ALA students: one photo of them at the University of Seville for a free ticket to the theater and a later brunch to talk about the play. We were fortunate to see, at the Teatro Lope de Vega (1929) in Seville, the world premiere of Zenit;  the last performance of Els Joglars, one of the most ancient theater companies in Europe.



For the first time, and hopefully no the last one, we had a meeting with ALA students from CIEE Barcelona and CIEE Seville in our center in Seville. It was a nice experience to connect ALA students, that is, those from Barcelona and those from Seville, with Spanish students both from the University of Barcelona and University of Seville, and our staff.

Thanks, Alberto and Andrés, for your visit to Seville!



This semester we went to Granada, one of the most beautiful city in Spain. We had the fortune to have the best explanations about the city: Carlos Sánchez, one of our professors, explained us the story of La Alhambra, el Albaicín, la Capilla Real and the city.

Granada (3)

Granada (1)

All the best from Seville

ALA staff




Kicking off a new semester!

The University of Seville just started its courses this week. Our students are visiting classes and selecting the best options: the most interesting syllabi, the most attractive subjects and, of course, the most understandable professor in Spanish, or the best schedule to make the most of their study abroad experience.


Just a few weeks ago students from different universities (Fordham, George Washington, Lehigh, Macalester College, Oberlin, Reed, Saint’s Marys, Santa Clara University, Colorado Boulder, Illinois at Chicago and Wisconsin-Madison) began their experiences here in Seville: one week for orientation, two weeks for an intensive course about Spanish or Social History, group meetings to get to know the Spanish academic system, individual meetings with the resident director to complete their course selection and schedule, etc. During these weeks they got to know the city (monuments, restaurants, post offices, music concert, etc) and we visited our two universities here in Seville: University of Pablo de Olavide and University of Seville. We held different orientation sessions in both campuses. We had the active participation and valuable assistance of three Spanish students from University of Seville.



Next weekend is our Immersion Weekend. We are going to go to Sierra Norte, Sevilla, with our students and a large group of Spanish students from both universities. This will not be a touristic excursion but rather one of engaging in conversation with Spanish peers in various settings. This is the best way for our students to become more confident with their Spanish skills and it’s a good way to learn about the Spanish university life. We will have more information and photos in our next post.

The experience just started. Good luck to our students!






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.







At mid-semester this spring, the students are incorporating in the Spanish university life. The students, little by little, have been able to adapt to the new system, the process was a challenge, but they are doing well.



We were the first! Last March, 17th a group of ALA students visited El Palacio de las Dueñas.It was the first time that this palace was opened to visitors. The group of students enrolled in language course SPAN4101 had one out-of-class activity to this monument. The Palace of the Dukes of Alba currently belongs to the House of Alba. It was built in the late 15th century in the Renaissance style with Gothic and Moorish influences. The poet Antonio Machado (Seville, 1875-Colliure, 1939) was born here. Machado is one of the most important Spanish poets, his verses about his childhood remember this palace: the light, the sound, the fountain, and the lemon tree.


Mi infancia son recuerdos de un patio de Sevilla

Y un huerto claro donde madura el limonero.

Antonio Machado. Campos de Castilla, 1912


Esta luz de Sevilla…Es el palacio

Donde nací, con su rumor de fuente.

Antonio Machado. Poesía Completas, 1925



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. Along the same line we had our Pizza & Info session (which is considered our second orientation meeting) where important points for students taking courses at both of our universities were addressed. 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.


The students are travelling in Spain and doing cultural activities with the Cultural Reimbursement program. This program requires students to post some comments and pictures about their experience on ALA FACEBOOK.  Some of our students have already obtained their Cultural Reimbursement. They enjoyed different activities and cities: Barcelona, Ronda, football, theater, etc.




The Student Services Team organized a very imaginative proposal: our CIEE community (some staff members, our host families, house mothers, friends, etc) brought their Flamenco outfits (shoes, dresses, accessories, etc) for this second hand market before our Feria de Abril.

We are sure, one more Feria, our students will be very elegant!






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.




CABECERA Collage 1

Warm holiday greetings from Seville!!!  Although it may be hard to believe, we are quickly coming to the end of our Fall 2015 semester. And as the end of the year approaches, we want to thank you for choosing CIEE, Seville and our Advanced Liberal Arts program.

One more time we have had an excellent group of students: mature, independent and integrated into the Spanish university environment. We hope our students learnt a lot from this experience and share it with their families and friends back home.


We held party at a little restaurant in the city center, Claveles 69 which was attended by students, professors Spanish students (orientation guides, and staff). It was a nice opportunity to say “hasta pronto”.

Again, it has really been a pleasure to work jointly with our students because of their contribution through their experience to the University of Seville and University Pablo de Olavide.

We wish you very happy holidays and a wonderful New Year!


Felices Fiestas, CIEE Seville, ALA from José Luis on Vimeo.






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).



One more semester we had our Language Immersion Weekend, just before their total immersion in the University Spanish life. We spent a weekend at the Turism complex located in the Natural Park Sierra Norte de Sevilla, Sierra Huéznar. 21 American students, 10 Spanish students and 2 staff members.

CLASE DE COCINA (1)Cooking class




CollageLanguage activities: one to one, group activities, wine tasting, cooking competition, etc