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Spring 2018 Mid Semester Newsletter Engineering and Society Madrid Spain


We want to share some of the cultural and educational opportunities in Madrid, and Spain that has been coordinated through our Student Life Office. The SLO staff meets regularly with our Student Representative Council, consisting of elected CIEE students from the current spring group who provide us with feedback on activities, classes, and overall programming. All students are doing well in their courses and have completed their midterm exams. Here are some other highlights from our semester so far:

Spanish Student Network
CIEE collaborates with many local university students who share modern furnished and WiFi enabled apartments with our participants, but also participate with our students in various cultural activities in the city. So far, some of the more popular activities with Engineering students have been the food tastings, bike tour in Madrid and the three day trips to UNESCO world heritage site of Alcala de Henares, the strawberry city of Aranjuez and a visit to a small village with locals outside of Madrid.  Pig farm 5
Ham tasting ES
  Visit ES to MejoradaBike Tour ES
Overnight Excursion to Extremadura
Each semester the program has a weekend overnight trip to a region of Spain that allows students to explore the diversity of Spain. In mid-April the group visited the region of Extremadura, located in the South West of Spain by the Portuguese border. We visited the UNESCO world heritage cities of Mérida and Cáceres, and the picturesque town of Trujillo – which rank among Spain's most beautifully preserved historical settlements. Recent Hollywood productions have filmed storylines for Game of Thrones in Cáceres and Gladiator in Mérida. Participants also learned about current controversies in Extremadura where locals have protested the presence of a Nuclear Power Plant near the village of Almaraz that helps to provide electricity to a large part of the Spanish economy.  One of the highlights was taking a guided kayak tour on a sunny Saturday afternoon to see and observe the local wildlife and fauna.Merida group LA photo Merida ES photo Merida ES
Extremadura ES Extremadura ES 2 Caceres group photo
Health, Safety and Security: Self Defense Class and Pickpocketing
This semester, CIEE staff coordinated two sessions with a self-defense instructor who met with our student in the Retiro park after classes. The idea behind this class is for participants to learn and practice safe ways to get out of any potentially violent situations without getting injured.  Self defense class
Staff also added a safety session after they noticed an increase in students whose cellphones went “missing” by placing them for a few minutes on tables at outdoor terraces, or on cafeteria tables in museums as well as a few cases of pickpocketing while on the underground metro during busy periods. CIEE staff led an interactive session called “How to Avoid Pickpocketing in Madrid: Tips and Strategies” that was offered at different times and dates from April 2 to April 15. By using photographs of real life situations and a variety of conduct, staff asked the participants to give advice on how to avoid being a target of pickpockets in the various scenes from public transportation, parks, tapas bars, dance clubs, etc. CIEE staff also discussed with students how the buddy system was working and if there were better ways to enforce it.

Welcome to Additional CIEE Madrid Staff Members

Our team is growing. This spring we welcome two additional CIEE staff members, who are collaborating full time on various tasks and responsibilities that ensure a smooth running of our programs. We are especially pleased because it allows for additional interaction and support with our participants. Francisco Pascual, worked previously with CIEE Sevilla, and moved to Madrid to join our team in mid-March- as our receptionist and support administrator. Fran is now the first face that our students see when the walk into the Global Institute. He helps to advise students with local cultural resources, but also will lend an extra hand with arranging doctor´s appointments, filing insurance claims, organizing mail delivery, etc. Fran also joins on some of our student activities such as the bike tour.  Fran
Maria de la Huerga, is originally from Ibiza and a graduate of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Maria spent a year living in California as part of a university exchange program and is thrilled to help organize various activities as program assistant with our Student Life Office. Here is Maria during the weekend excursion seated in front of a kayak during the river activity in Extremadura.  Maria de la Huerga



Spring 2018 Newsletter Engineering and Society


We are happy to share a few highlights of the start of spring 2018 for the Engineering and Society program in Madrid. Participants have started their classes at the host university, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid after a few days of orientation events, review of health and safety, housing accommodation, cultural agenda and series of walking tours for an introduction into Madrid city life and the host campus. Orientation ES Homestay or shared apartment ES Carlos III

Day Trip East of Madrid: Alcalá de Henares

On a Saturday morning, CIEE staff met students at the Atocha train station in Madrid and took the train to the medieval city of Alcalá de Henares, east of Madrid province. It was a sunny day in January so it made the guided outdoor walking tour quite enjoyable with stops that highlighted the literary, religious and colonial legacy of Spain through the ages: We visited the birth house museum of Miguel de Cervantes and learned about the context of the period in which he wrote Don Quijote. Further down the cobblestone road students tried delicacies from a well-renowned pastry shop run by local women and discussed the role of women who commit to traditional roles, including the nunnery at the still existing convent in the city. The group also entered and evaluated the 15th-century university campus and its stunning renaissance and silver plated architecture. Alcala day trip

Health and Safety  Workshop: “Gender and Bystander in Madrid”

In the context of the “Me Too” movement, several students expressed an interest in learning more about sexual harassment and gender relations in Spain. During orientation, students attended a two-hour session at the Global Institute on cultural tips, gender, and bystander intervention. CIEE staff placed special emphasis on giving consent and guided role plays with the participation of Spanish students. CIEE students learned specific vocabulary and appropriate phrases in Spanish to help in social situations. CIEE staff reviewed similarities and differences in body language, such a touch, physical space, etc.

This semester there are several LGTBQ+ participants in Madrid. The group discussed the health and safety of transgender and gay students who want to meet and socialize in Madrid. What does it mean when someone offers to buy you a drink? Is that a common cultural behavior or not?  The session ended with a reminder that students should be intentional about their conduct when meeting others and encourage each other to maintain self-awareness.  The session was not about embedding any scare tactics about the local culture, but fostering an open communication with each other through a buddy network that includes the Spanish peers, CIEE staff, host families, and other CIEE students. CIEE staff also shared local resources. ES workship genderCooking class

One popular activity each semester is the gathering for some good food. In this activity, students met at the Global Institute and then took public transport to the east of the city.  Participants joined a local chef in preparing some Spanish dishes, such as paella, in a kitchen environment. The interactive class includes a review of ingredient vocabulary, methods of traditional cooking, reading out recipes in Spanish, repeating pronunciation of Spanish words and learning some basic cooking skills. Students in shared apartments can use these ingredients to make food dishes for themselves during the week with others in their accommodation. ES cooking

Exploring Madrid’s barrios: an afternoon in hip Chueca

CIEE student helpers organized a walking tour of Chueca, one of Madrid’s hippest neighborhood. Surrounding Plaza Chueca and near the popular San Antón market, this trendy barrio is just minutes walking from the CIEE Global Institute and a short walk to the most sought-after museums, tapas bars, cultural hotspots and vibrant LGTBQ+ scene. The guided tour started at the Gran Via, in front of the emblematic Schweppes building, and ended at a popular tapas bar. IMG-20180110-WA0013_preview


Fall 2017 Newsletter: Engineering and Society - Madrid, Spain


The Madrid, Fall 2017 Newsletter is here for the Engineering and Society program! One of the things that our students learn almost immediately upon their arrival to Spain is that different cultures have very different concepts of greetings. Students met their Spanish roommates, host families, and Spanish network students by giving “dos besos,” or two quick kisses on the cheeks, accompanied by a hug. So much for personal space, but it also created an immediate sense of trust and becoming acclimated to local cultural customs in Madrid. 36705020090_0e14ef8ff9_b
Airport Arrival

All student flights arrived on time. CIEE reps waited for students at the arrival terminals and coordinated student transport who took a courtesy vehicle to the city center housing, organized by CIEE. However, two students had bag delays, which was frustrating for them as it took nearly two days to recover their first bag from the airline. With the CIEE travel insurance through iNext participants were covered for buying some temporary clothes and toiletries. Bienvenidos a MadridOrientation

CIEE staff prepared an orientation activity on the first day that started with introductions and a welcome toast, including a glass of bubbly cava or a non-alcoholic alternative of Asturian apple cider. Welcome drink

The two-day orientation included several components that had sufficient free time to catch up on sleep and eat, but also to keep students awake with interactive features such as walking tours in the historic city center, where the CIEE Madrid offices and classrooms are located, and also learning how to use well-connected and easy to use city public transport. Gran Via Train ES public transport
CIEE staff also covered important aspects of health and safety, academics, housing and cultural adaptation. Special attention and discussion on sexual assault is part of this orientation so that students who study abroad don´t underestimate this occurrence while studying overseas. All students attend a health and safety workshop, together with a group of local Spanish youth, that includes a full review of the bystander phenomenon as well as a discussion on Spanish and American views on consent, public display of affection in public spaces, use of language, catcalling, social media use, and concepts of socialization with alcohol and drugs. Meet and Talk 1

CIEE staff (both male and female) help to co-lead the health and safety workshops and include case incidents related to the GLBTQ+ community. Later on, a separate and optional workshop on GLBTQ+ in Madrid, co-led with student representatives from the host university GLBTQ+ group, discussed queer culture in Madrid, the history of legislation in Spain as well as the general safety in public of anyone who may be perceived as “different.”

All these workshops got very positive reviews from participants. Meet and Talk 2Cultural Activities in September

CIEE staff use past student recommendations, participant evaluations and suggestions from locals to create a cultural agenda each semester.  The Student Life Coordinators works closely with a group of local Spanish students to help plan and deliver educational as well as fun-inspired activities.  CIEE offers at least one optional cultural activity each day during the week, totaling six activities each week.

Students can sign up for any of the optional activities, including cooking class, visits to local organizations, bike tours, dance class, cultural centers, language exchange opportunities: Cooking Class ES Faro de Moncloa 2 Bike tour Madrid SOL business group Sunset Debod
September Day trip to El Escorial

On Saturday, September 9, CIEE Madrid set out on a day trip to the city of San Lorenzo de El Escorials, an hour north of the Spanish capital near the mountain range of Guadarrama Valley, where students enjoyed a visit to a UNESCO World Heritage site of the Royal Palace of El Escorial, one of the country’s historic religious centers and museum. Day trip El Escorial

Among the museum’s collections is a permanent library exhibit teaching visitors of the rich Arab language legacy, the 16th Century vision of learning as wells as the architectural engineering marvel of the castle that also functioned as the royal family tomb, monastery, military fort and identity of the Catholic royal elites. Students also observed the splendor of the beautiful rooms, antique furniture, and wealth of the Spanish royal family in the 16th century.

Day trip El Escorial 2

Starting Classes at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid

After the online registration was completed for the direct enrolment courses, CIEE students completed an on-campus tour of the university facilities, visited the CIEE staff office, library, cafeteria, gym, bank and student activities office.  Some students also signed with the Host University Student Buddy program where they were put into small cohorts with a Spanish student who was eager to show them their campus and act as an additional resource for CIEE students.36912943536_c9c47516b1_k 36288292903_9817471fa5_k


Spring 2017 - End of Semester Newsletter - Engineering and Society


Thank you to a great group of students this spring semester. We encourage you to continue your travels and explorations. Students regularly visited CIEE staff during office hours and at the Study Center to share stories about friends and family in the U.S. or Spain, anecdotes, jokes or cultural mishaps. In addition to socializing and studying, our participants completed a variety of activities this spring with our Madrid program.

Local Cultural Activities

Several participants joined our graffiti workshop with a local Spanish artist, who explained how graffiti artists work in Madrid. He shared his perspective on some of the challenges that they face in today´s art market. Students also practiced their painting skills. Grafitti_01

On a sunny afternoon at 6 pm, participants attended a guided visit to the largest bullring in all of Spain, located in Madrid, with a CIEE teacher, who explained the cultural meaning and value system behind using animals in this old Spanish tradition of the bullfight. Bullring_02

Weekend Excursion to Bilbao

Student participated in an optional three- day trip to the Basque country with accommodation in Bilbao, with its modern riverfront landscapes, a paradise of food tapas and quirky architecture. The group traveled in a private bus with two CIEE staff members on a Friday Morning and returned back to Madrid by Sunday evening. Students had guided tours of some of the emblematic parts of the city, its history as a seaport and also had enough free time to explore the old city center and in the early morning took an old tram to the city´s  highest point for a panoramic view.20170304_111526 20170304_11195720170304_121505Madrid Chotis Dance Class

Near the end of the semester, some CIEE participants engaged in dancing during the two-hour cultural talk at our Study Center about Madrid´s patron saint, San Isidro, celebrated on May 15th each year.  Representatives from a local cultural group spoke about food and traditions during this annual Madrid festival.  Participants also learned how to slow dance the Chotis and listened to typical chotis music.Chotis 1

LGBTQ Activities

Our host university has an active gay student group, called LGBTQ+ UC3M, which organizes social and awareness events, such as the amateur indoor soccer tournament against LGTBQfobia held this past April. Each semester the group also organizes visibility campaigns on campus with the participation of students, faculty, and administrators. CIEE staff also support the full participation of all members of the CIEE community in Madrid in these activities regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Gay leganes

Re-Entry Workshop: Preparing for the Return "Home"

Before students started their final exam week, they were invited to attend an optional re-entry meeting with the resident director about how to prepare for life back at home, job interview questions related to study abroad, and strategies on how to deal with adapting back to life on the U.S. campus.  One of the main concerns that participants expressed is how to articulate their semester experience to friends and family while also managing mixed feelings of going home and missing Spain.Re-entry

Farewell Tapas with Music

The semester ended with a tapas and drinks event on campus where a live student musical group, called a Tuna, performed Spanish songs and explained some of the traditions of student music groups. The Head of the UC3M international school said a few words of thank you and hoped that students got to learn about the Spanish education system and will return to their home campus with a different perspective to see the world that we live in today.  Tuna music



Newsletter Spring 2017: Engineering and Society


The spring 2017 semester has started off well with a very enthusiastic and curious group of students. Everyone arrived on time without any flight delays and no lost luggage. This semester, unusually, we have nearly 80% computer science majors in our Madrid program who are taking a combination of direct enroll courses and cultural content electives. ES welcome group

Local Cultural Activities in Madrid

The Student services coordinator manages the cultural agenda and students have access to at least two activities during the week, in addition to day trips and excursions. One of the first activities included a visit to a Spanish photography exhibit on the refugee crisis in Europe. ES exhibit
Other activities so far have included: a guided bike tour, cooking class, photography workshop, a visit to 20th Century art museum Reina Sofia, book club reading, language exchange mixers with local Spanish students, and several walking tours of local neighborhoods. ES in Leganes Kitchen ES 3 ES El escorial

Overnight Weekend Excursion to Sevilla

Students are exposed to some of the country´s most regionally diverse places with excursions outside of Madrid. For the first overnight weekend excursion, students participated in an optional three-day trip to the historic city of Sevilla, in the south of Spain. Students traveled early on a Friday morning in a high-speed train with CIEE staff. The trip included a guided 2-hour biking tour of the old historic downtown on the first day. ES Seville 1
 On the second day, participants entered into the old Cathedral for a two-hour historic visit of Spain´s colonial past. On the last day, students went on a two-hour tour of the royal palace of the Alcazar where participants learned about the Arabic cultural heritage of Spain and saw the film set for Game of Thrones. ES Seville 2 ES Seville 4 ES Seville 3

Health, Safety and Security Procedures

CIEE staff conducts monthly health and safety meetings to test the CIEE alert notification system and review all the health and safety procedures for Madrid, including a review of evacuation plans. During orientation, staff led a two-hour workshop on student risk with all participants by reviewing emergency contacts, warning about local risks/threats, discuss 24/7 availability of staff in case of need and discuss safety expectations. CIEE staff makes every effort to promote an atmosphere of collaborative support and shared example scenarios that happened to previous students. The most common incidents are typically pickpocketing, hospitalization for minor injuries or unexpected returns to the U.S. In addition, four CIEE staff co-led a two-hour session on Bystander Intervention in the local Madrid context to help students gain confidence in making safe decisions when faced with a difficult situation. During orientation, CIEE staff also conduct introductory walking tours of the city center where they explain basic safety tips regarding pick-pocketing prevention at locations such as Puerta del Sol, the subway trains and outdoor terraces. ES in Sol


Final Newsletter Fall 2016 Engineering and Society


Happy Holidays to everyone and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2017.  Our Engineering participants from our fall semester leave Madrid with newly acquired knowledge, intercultural skills and distinct perspectives. Many of them told us that they could easily stay another semester to delve deeper into the culture and getting to know Spanish peers even better. We are pleased that our group had a very positive attitude and we are proud that they will return back to the U.S. campus with a lot of personal confidence and different perspectives. Granada 15

Urban Art Workshop: Meet a Spanish Graffiti Artist

Several CIEE students participated in a two-hour art workshop where they met a local artist who explained his motivation for creating urban art. He explained that many locals find graffiti art to be a negative social force, but he explained how it also inspires creativity and is the only way for many artists to start their careers.  Participants were able to practice their art skills with paint cans under the guidance of the artist at the Study Center. IMG_5073 IMG_20161115_210339[1] IMG_5082
Weekend Excursion: Granada

Our last big trip was to the South of Spain and spending a weekend in the city of Granada. After a shared group lunch in a local restaurant, all the participants checked into the CIEE organized accommodation. Students seemed to enjoy the distinct regional characteristics of Granada and learned about the Islam heritage in this part of Spain, especially when we visited the Alhambra castle. Granada Tour Granada 11Ganada 12 Granada 14 Granada 10

Farewell Event: Thanksgiving Dinner

Our farewell event consisted of potluck dinner at our Study Center with staff and students. Students prepared dished from South Korea, Nigeria, Spain and the U.S. to create a variety of delicious options. We ordered a turkey from a local Spanish restaurant and the cook did not know what the recipe he had to use so he created a very festive looking turkey for us (See photo).  It was a lot of fun and each student stood up after dinner and expressed a word of gratitude and reflection upon the Madrid semester experience. Thanks Turkey Thanks Turkey 2

Center Director presents research paper on Immigration in Spanish Cinema

The Center director is one of the CIEE teachers for electives offered at the Study Center. This past November he was sponsored by the University Ca'Foscari -Venice to present on his research on "Postcolonial Narrative in Recent Spanish Cinema" at the Linguistics department's conference on Migration and Frontiers. The focus of the paper looks at immigration patterns in Spain and how this is portrayed in Spanish cinema. The article is schedule to be published in June 2017 in the academic Journal of Rassegna Iberística.   Venice speech Venice speech 3 Venice speech 2


Mid-Semester Newsletter Engineering and Society - Fall 2016

It is hard to believe that we are already passed the mid mark of the semester. Students have been going to class and also taking advantage of the many opportunities in Madrid. Here are some of our recent news items.

Urban Art Walking Tour in Madrid

Students had the opportunity to visit an area of Madrid known for urban art and cultural diversity. Touring the streets with a CIEE guide, the group had the opportunity to discuss recent phenomena such as the ethnic diversity as a result of being the home for many different immigrants of varied origins, and the gentrification of an area that gained a terrible reputation 20 years ago and now is the most attractive area of the city to live in. Students also met an artist who works with recycled materials and listened to the rehearsal of a music band. ES Lavapies 2 ES Lavapies

Weekend Excursion to Northern Morocco

Students participated in a three-day overnight excursion to the northern region of Morocco where they met with local peers for a walking tour of Tangier, a guided meeting with immigrants from other African countries, a traditional rice meal with a Moroccan host family and a ride on camels. Students also had free time to visit local markets and see some of the colorful architecture. Several participants commented on how this experience changed their view of an Islamic country and were impressed with the respect for the country´s leader, the King. One student questioned the ethical issue of an American student riding a camel because the concern was that may not be the custom in the country. Bothe the tour guide and resident staff explained that this is part of the tourist image of the country that also helps the local economy profit from foreign visitors. ES Marocco ES Marocco market ES marocco market tour
Language Exchange with Spanish Students

As a way to foster more community integration, CIEE colaborates with a local language academy which links CIEE students with Spanish university students. Students mingle with students by changing meeting tables and have a set of cards with questions. As soon as the session started students started talking and the cards were no longer needed. ES language group

Day Trip to Toledo

Students visited the medieval city of Toledo, which has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site and is a place known for its delicious marzipan sweets. The first stop was at the old Roman bridge of Alcántara over the Tajo River. Other stops included the old hospital of Santa Cruz (now a museum of religious art) with its beautiful entrance, the Plaza de Zocodover (where the Muslim market took place), the Alcazar, or Fortress, with its four different facades, and the 10th century Mosque next to the city walls.  Students enjoyed seeing a smaller city that is part of the rich geographical diversity of Spain.  The participants had free time for lunch to explore some of the city. The CIEE students also got a guided tour of the Cathedral with its impressive Greco paintings. They learned about Toledo's main tradition (Corpus Christi). We also visited the Museum of El Greco located in a reproduction of his own house, and the Museum Sefardí, one of the remaining synagogues that now houses the Spanish Jewish Museum. ES toledo ES Toledo 2

Mid-Semester Resident Director Meeting

At the end of October, students met at the Study Center to meet with the RD to discuss various topics related to their adaptation to Madrid. One key question was to reflect on how much participants already felt how they had changed? In particular, students discussed how they view cultural patterns of time, professional conduct, academic success, etc. by comparing this to their lives in Spain and that back in the United States.  The RD also gave health and safety updates because of the Halloween weekend when many venues have dance and dress up parties. Students were reminded of bystander strategies and collaborating with one another as well as ensuring that they help each other make good decisions. Each student also completed individual meetings with the RD regarding their academic progress and reporting back on each of their classes. Some students do not like having to commute by train to the university campus even though some only have to travel to class twice a week only at the host university.

Center Director co-leads Forum on Education Abroad Half-Day Workshop

The Center Director co-lead a professional workshop with a team of resident staff and U.S. study abroad colleagues at the European Conference of the Forum on Education Abroad in Athens, Greece. The workshop title was “After the Paris Attacks: Working with Students Facing the “New Normal.”  While grounded in the Standards, specifically Standard 8, this workshop has been developed to expand upon the webinar of the same name offered in January 2016 by The Forum.  This event provided participants an opportunity to explore emergency preparedness in the current context in which many study programs operate. Other topics that were addressed included U.S. federal regulations (Clery, Title IX, VAWA) and how European colleagues could consider these in their operations. Forum Athens 1 Forum Athens 2


Fall 2016 Madrid Newsletter - Engineering and Society


Bienvenidos a los alumnos de ingeniería. We already have a lot of positive impressions from our fall 2016 group. During our first Madrid walking tour participants visited a famous hot spot for one of the top delicacies in Spain, chocolate con churros. Chocolateria San gines

Health and Safety Orientation

During orientation week,  CIEE staff engages students in a conversation where safety is not seen as safety from all possible harm but focus on a dialogue that offers our students safety to explore, experiment and try things out during their study abroad semester. This conversation included important local details regarding health, safety and security in the city. Staff shared specific examples of pick-pocketing techniques and methods on how to prevent it from happening. All CIEE staff also co-led a two-hour workshop on Bystander Intervention with the help of Spanish students to show how certain learned behaviors in the U.S. are the same and/or different in the local Spanish context. Special emphasis is placed on explaining the concept of giving consent and what that means in Spain and the U.S. Some students thanked us afterward for giving some specific and detailed examples regarding ut local customs and creating a better sense of self-awareness. CIEE staff also shares examples from the LGTBQ community and some hate crime statistics that have been reported in Madrid during the past year. Students also learn how the police are trained in Spain, the general attitude and views towards the police by the public and how to file police reports when students lose passport and/or cell phones. Aula de idiomas orientation

Visiting the University Campus

Our engineering students visited the host university campus with CIEE staff and learned how to use the public transportation to reach their classes. The host university also organized a welcome day for the new international students with welcome tapas and drinks. Visit to Leganes ES Welcome to UC3MSpanish Cooking Class

One of the highlights for some of the engineering students was the two-hour Spanish cooking class. Together with a local cook, the participants had to prepare a variety of typical dishes, such as Spanish omelette, ham croquettes, sweet eggplant and Catalan cream desserts. Cooking class ES Cooking class ES 2

Visit an Age old Madrid Tradition: Las Ventas Bullring

CIEE staff does not promote nor attends bullfighting events with students. However, the cultural importance of the bull or "toro bravo" offers some key insight into the values that are part of Spanish society. As part of the orientation, students visit the bullring, Las Ventas, where they have a two-hour guided tour about the architecture, tradition, power and hierarchy that are essential to this local custom. Students learned about the legacy of the bull in Spanish society, but also get an explanation what motivates most bull fighters to assume such high stakes risks. Our guide also talked about women bullfighters and some of the prejudice that they have received by the spectators and the media. CIEE staff also held a discussion with students about animal rights in Spain and the current political atmosphere regarding the animal rights movement. Visit to Bullring 3 Visit to Bullring 4

Movie Night in Madrid

Students attended a movie screening at one of Madrid´s forty film theaters, located in the Chamberí neighborhood. CIEE participants receive a local student ID that allows them to access many cultural venues with significant discounts (such as entrance reductions to museums, concerts, film screenings, etc.). ES film activity

New Housing Feature: Shared Student Apartments with Spanish Peers

The CIEE Madrid programs have introduced an additional housing option for our students this fall, shared student apartments that are furnished and include full kitchen and wifi access. Our housing coordinator interviewed several enthusiastic Spanish students from one of our host institutions, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, and selected them as housemates for the CIEE students.  The current Spanish apartment roommates have studied abroad in English-speaking countries and also visited the U.S. extensively. Our Spanish apartment roommates also welcomed the CIEE participants on arrival and showed them around their neighborhood and introduced them to a network of other Spanish friends and students. Shared apt 3are


Final Newsletter #3 - Spring 2016 - Engineering and Society

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. Art tour 1 Art tour 2

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. Carlson Doing Business

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. Valle de caidos grupo

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. The winner is

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. LGTBQ safe zone

Farewell Event

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. Park4 Park5

Thank you again to a great group of students this semester!


La Leche? Food in Madrid

By: C. Gallati (U. South Carolina)
The barista looks over her shoulder at me as she finishes pulling the shot of espresso for my cortado, her question hanging in the air for only a second. "Caliente." I reply, digging into my pockets for a loose euro.
Spaniards treat their coffee like a tool, often opting to stand at the bar for just long enough to finish it before heading back into the streets. When it comes to ordering your coffee (always espresso, never drip) your choice of drink depends on the amount of milk you'd like and, as my barista had just queried to me, the temperature of the milk.  ES Chad coffee
For the steely eyed and steady handed, café solo will get you a shot of the black stuff with no adulterations. If you're like me and want the bitter edge of straight espresso softened some, café cortado will come "cut" with just a splash of milk. The ever popular café con leche is an equal part milk to match the espresso shot and is usually consumed as a breakfast drink (and sometimes making up the entirety of a Spanish breakfast). At the other end of the milky spectrum from café solo is the café manchada, a large glass of warm milk "stained" with a shot of espresso. And for those longing for the coffee of home (well, my home at least), a café americano will simulate a tall drip coffee by adding hot water to espresso. 
            And now, a lightening round for those drinks that exist a little more on the fringes of the Spanish coffee scene: 
  • Café con hielo: with ice (can be applied to any drink- solo, cortado, con leche, etc.). Especially popular in the summer.
  • Café bonbon: with sweetened condensed milk (!!!). 
  • Café carajillo: with brandy or whiskey, for when you're feeling more adventurous in the afternoon or evening.
  • Café descafeinado de máquina: decaf espresso. Leave out the de máquina and be  prepared to receive a warm glass of milk and a packet of powdered decaf coffee.

When the barista asks "the milk?" over the roar of the coffee grinder, she's referring to the temperature of the milk. Your two options are templada or caliente, room temperature or hot. Simple, right? This question also brings to mind the cultural significance of la leche (the milk) in the Spanish language. For example, ser la leche (to be the milk) can mean to be incredibly great or horribly awful, depending on the context. If this is confusing, think about an English equivalent like "sick". Mala leche (bad milk) can mean bad luck or a bad mood or temperament. It only makes sense that an ingredient with this cultural weight pairs so well with a drink that plays such an important role in the average Spaniard's day. Now that I've sufficiently showed my cards as a coffee addict, lets explore some other typical Spanish foods that are very much la leche (the good version). 

No, not the thing that comes wrapped around your burrito. In Spain, a tortilla is similar to an omelette or frittata with potatoes and onions. While they may have all sorts of ingredients, the most traditional (tortilla española) contains just eggs, potatoes, and onion. It’s made by frying off sliced potatoes and slightly caramelizing onions in a generous pour of olive oil before mixing them into scrambled eggs and returning the mixture to the same pan. ES Chad Tortilla
Halfway through cooking, a plate is used to carefully flip the tortilla so that the other side may set. A proper tortilla should be golden brown on the outside and soft and moist on the inside. This has quickly become one of my favorite Spanish dishes (no doubt a product of my love of all things eggs) and it has the added benefit of being a very cheap lunch when placed in the middle of a halved baguette to make a bocadillo de tortilla
If you order a drink in Spain, you can be sure that won’t be the only thing you’ll receive. Most Spanish bars and restaurants serve a tapa with every round of drinks, whether it be as simple as a bowl of mixed nuts or as extravagant as a slice of tortilla on toast topped with lettuce and tomato. While tapas have become synonymous worldwide with small dishes meant to be ordered in twos or threes, they aren't typically ordered in Spain and the selection is made by the bartender or waiter. ES Chad Tapas
They have their origins in old bars where legs of ham hung from the ceilings. To keep dripping fat from falling in drinks, bartenders would offer a plate to cover (tapa) the glass and naturally, some began offering small snacks to go on the plates. Clearly, this was popular with the patrons and the rest was history. For the best tapas in Spain, head south towards Sevilla and Granada.
Perhaps the most well known Spanish food worldwide is paella, a rice dish flavored with saffron (which gives it a distinct yellow color) and topped with any combination of seafoods, meats, and vegetables. It originated in Valencia and is typically cooked in a large, shallow pan over a wood fire. The most traditional paella contains rice, saffron, chicken, rabbit, duck, snails, beans, artichoke, and tomatoes. While you can get it all over Spain, most Spaniards tend to consider more of a Valencian dish than a Spanish dish. If you have a chance to have it in Valencia, it’s an opportunity you cannot pass up. Here is the paella that we ate while visiting Valencia. ES Chad paella
You and your friends are walking through Puerta del Sol, Madrid's version of Times Square, at around 3:00am (don’t ask me why you're here at this time, that’s on you) and your stomach growls. After a quick exchange of knowing glances, your party turns down a side street towards la Chocolatería San Ginés to get some of the best churros and chocolate on Earth. But Spain doesn’t play favorites with its pastries (pastels)- its love for sweet baked and fried foods is wide and far-reaching. When the sun comes back up, be sure to stop in La Mallorquina (also on Puerta del Sol) for the best napolitana (a sort of flat croissant filled with dark chocolate and topped with sugar) in the city. ES Chad napolitana
And each city has its own delicious creation:
  • Sevilla: Torrijas- imagine the sweetest french toast ever soaked in syrup
  • Granada/Santa Fe: Piononos- a cylinder of thin pastry fermented in different kinds of syrup and filled with toasted cream
  • Segovia: Ponche-  sponge cake layered with cream and wrapped in marzipan
  • Bilbao: Bollo de Mantequilla- a delicate bun filled with sweet butter paste
One could write an entire book on Spanish cuisine and there is no way I could capture it all in a single blog post. So come to Madrid and experience some of the world’s best food it in first person!