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75 posts categorized "International Business and Culture (IBCP)"


A Page Out of a Fairy Tale 

Once upon a time, amidst the rolling hills and vast valleys of the countryside, stood a castle perched on the highest point that the eye could see. Surrounding the castle stretched endless acres of pasture dotted with a mix of white little houses and white not-so-little sheep, filling the atmosphere with a chorus of jingling bells & “baas” as they waited to be shaved.

This fairy tale is being lived out today, in real life: in Aracena, Andalucía.


Weeks ago, I had blindly signed up for a day trip to Aracena, not knowing exactly what I was in for. I wanted to take advantage of all the excursions offered by my study abroad program -- despite the early 9AM Saturday morning rendezvous. With the combination of clear skies and warm weather complementing the city’s natural and architectural beauty, Aracena truly blew us away.

What’s special about Aracena is its beauty both above ground and below. Upon arriving, we began our climb of one hundred meters to reach the highest point of the city where the centuries old castle stood. The hilly terrain was prime natural protection against invaders, therefore the castle was more symbolic versus active during its time. From such a high point, the eye was treated to a breathtaking vista of greenery dotted with picturesque clusters of white pueblos.  


Once arriving back to city center, we began our descent down one hundred meters underneath the streets of Aracena. The rocky limestone terrain is highly susceptible to the forces of erosion, leaving a labyrinth of underground caves covering 1200 square kilometers. Our jaws remain dropped as we continued through each section of the caves, in awe of the complicated structures produced by simple a combination of water and sediment. The prohibition of photography enhanced our senses of observation, shifting our focus on taking in the artwork of stalagmites and stalactites through our natural lenses.


Taking a trip to Aracena was like walking into the pages of a fairy tale. It was a journey that left my quads and glutes whining, but more importantly left my mind and heart overwhelmed with contentment from such a magical experience.  




Top of Cathedral_cover photo

IBC Fall Happenings

IBC Company Visits

Business (and non-business students) visited two prominent companies located just outside of Seville, Ines Rosales and Basilippo 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. Students participating in the visit to Inés Rosales were fortunate to have a surprise drop-in visit from the U.S. Manager of Exportation who was keen to know more about the likes of the U.S. market from the students’ perspective. Both visits ended with tastings of the products…students’ palettes were put to the test as they discovered the delicious combination of chocolate ice cream dressed with orange-infused olive oil.


IBC Small-Group Activities

Several activities have been organized this semester, with the objective of facilitating greater interaction between students and their Spanish peers. The cover photo shows one of those activities, a walk along the rooftop of Seville’s Gothic Cathedral. Students also participated in a clay and wine workshop, have kayaked along the Guadalquivir River, as well as made a visit to Seville’s newly-built aquarium. The Spanish student organizers will finish up the semester with a tapas activity.

Small group activity 1 Kayak

COMM 3301 Intercultural Communication and Leadership

IBC students have the option of enrolling in the semester-long CIEE Intercultural Communication and Leadership class. The primary course objectives are an awareness of who we are culturally, the growing of cultural-specific and cultural-general knowledge as well as the ability to bridge our cultural differences via creativity and mindfulness.
The journey began with an exploration of ourselves, our cultural values, and our identity, as well as the exploration of those of whom we would deem as “culturally different”. Students engaged in discussions with Spanish peers about their personal values as well as the value ideals that one can find at the group level.
Students also participated in a workshop on the power of imagery and how to use images to speak (students will be creating a digital story of their intercultural learning as their final project).


Stay tuned to the next blog in which I will highlight students’ immersion experience in Morocco.



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¡Hola Sevilla!

Onsite Orientation

The Seville International Business and Culture Students have had a very busy (but productive) first few weeks! Students fought through the jet-lag and participated in a “Coffee Meet and Greet” on arrival day followed by key sessions on homestay expectations, student health and safety, academics, cultural and social activities, as well as a session on cultural adjustment and diversity—students had the opportunity to share with each their expectations, excitement, anxieties, etc. regarding the upcoming semester through an interactive VisualsSpeak activity. We concluded the onsite orientation with a Group Welcome Dinner and engaging ice-breaker activity.

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 { From left to right: 1. Student guide Ana and her group enjoying late-night tapas in the Nervión neighborhood.   2. Student guide Amaro taking a break with his group in front of Seville´s Cathedral during the “Seville Survival Tour”.  3. Student guide Sofia with her orientation group enjoying a typical morning and afternoon treat: chocolate con churros.  4. Student guide Marina with her orientation group in Puerta de Jerez }

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 { Students participated in a fun get-to-know-you activity in which they had to seek out students wearing the same color sticker }

Experiential Learning

Students jumped right into the Spanish Intensive Grammar course following the onsite orientation. This semester we offered classes for all Spanish levels, from absolute beginners to advanced Spanish speakers. One of the methodologies of the CIEE Seville Intensive Session is to get students active in their Spanish learning via out-of-class activities. For example, the beginning Spanish students headed to a local tapas restaurant where they learned vocabulary related to food items, how to order, how to ask for the check, etc. The intermediate Spanish students had the task of interviewing their Spanish peers about the Spanish higher education system and the advanced Spanish students participated in a city scavenger hunt.


{ Intermediate Spanish I students in front of a statue of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quijote de la Mancha }


But it hasn´t been all work and no play! Several cultural activities have been held in the afternoons and weekends, including a historical tour of the city via bike, an introduction to Spanish gastronomy, and a daytrip to Jeréz de la Frontera and the famous Gonzalez Byass Winery, just to name a few.

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{ From left to right: 1. Students making a stop in front of the University of Seville.  2. The “shell room” (Gonzales Byass Sherry Winery). 3. CIEE professor Alejandro explaining the history of the Jerez cathedral.  4.  Spanish cooking class.  5. Students in front of the Plaza de España.  6. The symbol of Gonzales Byass Winery: Tio Pepe. 7.  Grapevine walkway (Gonzalez Byass Winery) }

University Pablo de Olavide (Seville, Spain)

Students are in their second week of classes, with the add-drop period ending this Friday. Several students hope to enroll in classes alongside their Spanish peers.

UPO orientation



NewsletterBannerSeville686x101 Sevilla game 1

Hasta luego Sevilla!

From me….to we!

Students have learned along this journey that befriending locals requires one to step out of their “comfort zone” and into a “stretching zone”.  For many students, walking up to a local and asking for directions in another language (or better yet asking a Spanish peer if they´d like to have a coffee) usually puts students into the “panic zone”.  Therefore, several activities were organized throughout the semester to facilitate communication and interactions with their Spanish peers via informal and fun activities. Two WONDERFUL Spanish student guides, Marina and Juanan, served as liaisons and facilitators…students enjoyed activities such as pick-up basketball games, Sevillana dance classes, wine tasting, team kayaking, local soccer game and a cooking class.

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Visit to El Vacie 

The Intercultural Communication and Leadership students and I recently returned from a visit to the María Angeles Daycare, which serves and works primarily with the Gypsy families living in the El Vacie shanty town.  Staff engaged students in conversation surrounding the challenges of working with this population, as well as how they are combatting stereotypes and working to facilitate better communication between families, educational institutions, social services, etc.

Through CIEE employees´ Day of Service Program, I had the privilege of volunteering my time during a workday and assist the caregivers with the daily care tasks of the infants and children (bathing, feeding, dressing, diaper changes, toileting, etc.).  My hat goes off to all of the wonderful teachers and volunteers that put their heart and soul into providing the children with a nurturing and safe learning environment.

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How can I apply what I´ve learned?

As International Education professionals, we know that “study abroad” is not code for “a glorified vacation”, although this assumption continues to exist amongst some employers.  Students have gained and improved on a number of transferrable skills and competencies…skills that CAN be applied to students´ future careers.

Several students participated in the Reentry/Marketing your Experience Abroad Workshop last week.  During the workshop, students reflected upon their semester experience, how they have grown and changed, their accomplishments and achievements as well as expectations for the return home.  

However, one of the main goals of the workshop was to help students think about how they can talk with future employers about their growth in a way that is attractive, professional and marketable.  Students brain-stormed the skills and competencies acquired as a result of studying abroad, and practiced talking about them via mock interviews.

Mock interviews 1 Mock interviews 2

CIEE´s Intercultural Communication and Leadership Course

As course instructor, I witnessed first-hand students´ intercultural growth via their writings, class contributions, discussions, and digital storytelling projects.

Comm class 1 Comm class 2

I invite you to take a look at Amanda Rhine´s (George Washington University) Digital Story, as she highlights her intercultural journey as result of the course and semester in Seville.

Have an enjoyable and restful summer!






We have recently passed the halfway point in the Seville IBC program…Semana Santa celebrations are now a thing of the past and the city is preparing itself for its next celebration: La feria de abril.  Students, in turn, have completed their midterm exams and are in the homestretch with regards to completion of their spring semester in Seville.

Getting involved

Students are more acclimated to their new living environment and have shared with me their comings and goings…their daily workout at the local gym, walks along the Guadalquivir River, ballet classes at a neighborhood studio, volunteering at a local primary school in the English classroom, etc.  Quite a few students are volunteering at the Portacelli Primary School, assisting teachers with students´ English lessons.


Learning and Growing

Learning that takes place outside of the classroom is just as important as learning in the classroom!  For this reason, CIEE offers a wealth of activities to complement students´ course work from visits to the medieval castles in the surrounding area, visits to Seville´s Gothic Cathedral, exploration of the city of Cádiz (one of the oldest cities in Western Europe) and many more. 


Practicing D.I.E. (Describing, Interpreting, Evaluating)

The overnight excursion to Northern Morocco continues to be not only the highlight of the semester, but also one of the most impactful and insightful learning experiences for students in the IBC Program.  While students are encouraged to put D.I.E. into practice during their interactions with the local host culture, they are specifically asked to do this while in Morocco.

While pictures speak a thousand words, a video speaks even more!  Pablo Gil, one of CIEE Seville´s Student Services staff created a video of one of the student groups experience during their trip to Northern Morocco.

Rif Mountains

Cous cous

Green door



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Onsite Orientation

Although exhausted and jet-lagged, students arrived with energy, excitement, and ganas to begin their spring semester journey in Seville.  Student participated in several key orientation meetings like how to stay safe and healthy during their semester, what to expect from their UPO classes, ways to get involved in the host culture via activities, etc.  We kicked off the semester with a Welcome Tapas Reception at El Mercado Lonja del Barranco in Seville, alongside the Guadalquivir River.



Students took a break from their Spanish Intensive Course and headed to the beautiful city of Córdoba. The city of Córdoba was founded by the Romans and became a port city of great importance, shipping Spanish olive oil, wine and wheat back to Ancient Rome via the Guadalquivir River. The famous Roman bridge "El Puente Romano" still stands today!  But Córdoba´s most glorious monument is the Great Mosque or “Mezquita”, built shortly after the Moorish invasion, and later converted to a Catholic Cathedral after the Christian Reconquest.


Students will begin their semester-long courses this week.  Several students have expressed interest in taking classes alongside their Spanish peers; students can take classes in English or Spanish in the following Schools:

  • School of Business Sciences
  • School of Experimental Sciences
  • School of Social Sciences
  • School of Sport Sciences
  • School of Law
  • School of Humanities






Seville IBC Semester Closure

Cocina Andaluza

Several small-group activities were organized during the semester for students, together with their Spanish peers.  The last activity of the semester was an Andalusian cuisine cooking class where students learned how to make two traditional dishes: paella de pollo and patatas aliñadas.

Cooking class 1

Cooking class 2

Cooking class 3

Cooking class 4

Get to know the UPO

Seville IBC students took their classes at the University Pablo de Olavide (UPO), located slightly outside the Seville city limits.  The UPO, founded in 1997, boasts itself as a “university committed to educational excellence and societal service, while providing students with an environment that foments reflection and critical thinking in response to the needs and problems of contemporary societal values.”

Students take a minimum of four classes at the University Pablo de Olavide in subject areas ranging from business to the sciences to art history; the majority of teaching staff are UPO faculty. The UPO has approximately 11,000 undergraduate students and 30 undergraduate degree programs.

International students can participate in a number of cultural and social events organized by the UPO’s International Center Office, including bimonthly language tables, intercambio events, intramural sports, and more.


Upo 2



IBC Communication in Context

Nine students enrolled in the CIEE Intercultural Communication in Context Course.  The semester was filled with numerous intercultural learning activities, exchanges with Spanish peers, and outings, utilizing intercultural theories and concepts at the foundation. 

As a final semester project, students created digital stories to highlight their personal journey and intercultural growth….below are just a couple of the student stories:

Story 1: “The Power of Family-Daniella Malin, Santa Clara University

Story 2: "You Are Made of This...Jamie Hamerly, University of St. Thomas"



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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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Group 6

¡Bienvenidos a Sevilla!

The CIEE International Business and Culture Students have had a busy (but productive) first two weeks.

Onsite Orientation

Students participated in several key orientation sessions such as academics, what to expect in their homestay (all IBC students live with Spanish families), and how to stay safe and healthy during their study abroad experience in Seville.  In between sessions, students participated in city orientation activities with Spanish student guides, which focused on how to “survive” in Seville (how public transportation and pharmacies work, where the CIEE Study Center is located, how to order food…in Spanish!, etc.). Students also participated in an interactive “Bystander Training”, and the importance of watching out for each other during their semester abroad.


Sí, hablo español

Students jumped right into the Spanish language upon conclusion of orientation, participating in a 2 week, 4 hours/day intensive Spanish language course.  Students have been making amazing progress in their Spanish language fluency.  While all students must take at least one language course during the regular session, all have been encouraged to take at least two Spanish language courses during the regular semester session and thusly continue with an intensive Spanish language experience.


Back to school

Energy and nerves are high as students begin their semester-long classes this week at the University Pablo de Olavide.  Students were welcomed to the university by the International Center Staff, with the university´s president formally greeting all University Pablo de Olavide’s international students today in a welcome session.





Greetings from Seville

The Spring 2015 semester in the IBC Program has come to a close! Students completed their final exams last week and the majority flew home this past Saturday.

Academic Successes and Gained Cultural Knowledge

This semester was filled with academic successes, gained cultural knowledge and skills and life-changing experiences. At the end of the semester I ask students to reflect upon and check the gained skills as a result of their study abroad experience in the Seville IBC program. In additional to improved Spanish fluency, below are just a few of the outcomes that students say they have achieved as a result of their semester in Seville (from “75 possible Long-Term Outcomes from an International Experience” *Source: What’s Up With Culture):

  • I am more knowledgeable about another culture and lifestyle.
  • I have a greater capacity to accept differences in others and to tolerate other people´s actions and ideas that may be vastly different from my own.
  • I am more flexible and able to adjust to change in others.
  • I am more able to accept as valid others values and lifestyles.
  • I understand more clearly how US-Americans and the United States are viewed overseas.
  • I can evaluate advantages and disadvantages of my own culture and society more objectively (i.e., from the perspective of an outsider).

Liquid Gold

Students visited the family owned extra virgin olive oil company, Basilippo, where they learned about the extraction process of extra virgin olive oil (“liquid gold”), what distinguishes extra virgin olive oil from other olive oils, the presentation and integration of Basilippo Olive Oil to foreign markets, especially that of the United States, and the health benefits and culinary uses of Basilippo extra virgin olive oil.

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Students also visited the Inés Rosales factory, another company dedicated to the use of extra virgin olive oil in its products. Supply Chain Management students had the opportunity to speak first-hand with the director of exportation about the production, packaging, exportation and logistics of Inés Rosales products.

Ines rosales 1

Goodbye Sevilla!

Students said goodbye to Seville and friends via the traditional manner, at the end of semester program reception, but also via a different perspective…from the Guadalquivir River!