This is the last study abroad advisor newsletter for the spring 2016 semester. We are sad to see our students return home to the U.S. and many are getting ready to start their summer company internship assignments. Here are some highlights from the latter part of our semester.
Urban Art Tour & Meeting Artist
One of the cultural activities exposed our students to urban art experiences in Madrid. Albeit there are over forty-four museums in the Spanish capital street art is becoming a more common sight. Splashed across many local neighborhoods of downtown Madrid, you are likely to see various street art pieces and “bubble” signatures. After a guided tour to some local streets with signature graffiti pieces by well-known Spanish artists the student group went to a workshop to meet a local street artist and photographer. He showed a short video on the recent history of urban art in Madrid and then participants created their own art piece. Students learned that graffiti is illegal on all accounts in Spain except in situations where an artist has been commissioned to produce something and the legal paperwork has been filed to validate this agreement. Students got a hand a creating an art piece of their own. One of the students commented that she was able to reflect on how we perceive art? What is bothersome to us about urban art? Overall this activity was very well received by our participants.
Student Participation in UC3M science innovation projects
One of our students who enrolled in the computer science department was able to participate in an innovative course work and lab work with technology design that improves the learning experience of instructors and users who employ video as a teaching and learning tool. UC3M faculty believes that changes in technology are continually evolving our teaching styles. Through a UC3M technology-based spinoff that was launched in the private sector (and supported by the UC3M Science Park), UC3M researchers provided an integral solution for sport training and management, with experience in the development of tools for play analysis, as well as in creation of interactive presentations. Students helped to contribute to this research with data analysis and cloud lab Systems.
Day Trip to Royal Palace and Monastary of El Escorial
Students participated in a day trip with the resident director to the north side of Madrid and arrived on a sunny day in the mountain town of San Lorenzo el Escorial, which also houses the UNESCO world heritage site of El Escorial. This place has the pantheon of all the modern Spanish kings and queens that ruled the peninsula. Some students were impressed by the green valleys and outdoor nature that surrounds this area.
Re-Entry Workshop: Preparing for the Return to the US
At the end of each semester the CIEE program offers a re-entry workshop for students who want to take away some personal pointers on how to re-adapt to life back in the U.S. Others prefer to have some professional advice on how to explain their study abroad experience in job interviews and graduate school application. With a power point presentation CIEE staff offered help and support to students as they get ready for their return home at the end of May. Part of the re-entry session included a customized Jeoapardy game to see how much student knew about local culture. Our student Chad was the winner and received a small gift and was awarded a prize.
Creating a Safe Space for our LGTBQ Students
CIEE Staff in Madrid support full participation of all members of our students regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, characteristics, or expression. Coming out can be a difficult process for many LGBTQ participants. Even in a supportive environment, CIEE staff recognize that some of our students may never feel comfortable coming out. During our orientation and cultural programming, we let students know that they can be themselves and that we will support students to make their time in Madrid as rewarding as possible. To keep this commitment visible, individual staff members have posted LGTBQ safe zone signs in their offices to help remind students of the support access and resources.
The last encounter with all our students took place on a sunny Friday afternoon when most students had completed some of their final exams. We got tickets to visit Madrid´s local theme park where the group shared a picnic lunch and went on some of the fun ride to release some of the final exam stress. Local Spanish students also joined in the fun for some peer-to-peer interaction.
Thank you again to a great group of students this semester!