On January 8, CIEE Madrid staff welcomed a very diverse participant group which arrived for our spring 2015 semester. The CIEE students profile consists of science participants who study in the U.S. and who have strong links to their cultural backgrounds (Ecuador, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Colombia to name a few). The group learned right away about safety and security in the city as well as how to use public transportation to the university campus in Leganés.
During our university campus tour, students ate in the buffet-style cafeteria and got to see the gym facilities, library, bank branch and some of the local shops and restaurants around Leganes. The program also organized a welcome event with Spanish students and CIEE hosts at a local “chocolatería” venue where everyone shared a typical serving of chocolate con churros.
Students completed their intensive language sessions of Spanish (beginner, intermediate or advanced) at the the Study Center located near Sol in downtown Madrid. Every morning at 9 am students had language class with faculty who have linguistics degrees in Spanish filology. Morning classes ended with combined teacher-led outdoor activities for students to practice their Spanish at a local market, a traditional pastry shop, the City Museum of Madrid and Flamenco dinner night.
All students have been placed in local homestays and from their apartments student have easy access by public transport and many of them use the metro or just walk to the Study Center. Now registration starts for the university in a couple of days. After orientation, science students participated in an optional one-day excursion to the La Mancha region in a private bus. Part of the day trip was so that they got to see some typical rural villages, try local foods, visit an old 16th century Corral de Comedias theatre and a windmill museum. All very different scenery from the urban sights in Madrid.
We are looking forward to having a rewarding semester and keeping you posted.