Our first fall Madrid group is getting ready to depart and we are sad to see them go! In preparation for their departure, CIEE sponsored a re-entry meeting and a farewell group event with staff at a local bar in the Christmas-lit city center.
The Office of International Relations also organized a farewell reception on December 3. The Vice Rector spoke to the students to thank them for choosing the Universidad Carlos III as their host institution. He recognized that the education system is different in Spain and he hoped that this has allowed students take back a different way of framing, have new friends and be open to different ways of thinking to the United States. The university provided coffee, cold drinks, croissants and chocolate pastries in the faculty club for this special ocassion.
Cultural Activities: Some Reflection and Highlights
Our engineering students commented that the latter part of the fall semester also included very memorable experiences. Exposing yourself and making a fool of one self can be quite a thrilling moment as one participant commented: “Moving your body in different ways in public, in front of your friends and some strangers, can feel quite liberating, like a new me!”
This observation was made shortly after our bike tour with other Spanish students -- undoubtedly a physical challenge for anyone unfamiliar with riding bicycles. She had not really biked a lot and she had to keep up with the pace of the group, which was going at quite a sporty pace. Yet mingling with Spanish students and sweating it out together as a group seemed to break down many social barriers. Afterwards, the student felt very relaxed and less inhibited to practice her Spanish speaking skills and just have a good laugh.
Another student said his highlight was visiting Morocco because he had never been to an Islamic country before. One of his concerns was how he would be greeted as an American. Yet this changed very quickly when meeting Moroccans in Tangier. People there seemed to be a lot friendlier than he expected and he said his confidence grew even more.
Academics: Spanish Language Classes
All students completed the required language course as part of the program at Universidad Carlos III. The language courses were taught twice a week during the semester at the intermediate, advanced and heritage speaker levels. The language teachers were one of the highest rated academic parts this semester. One student commented that: “My teacher not only taught us grammar rules, but always different ways to express ourselves and have better conversations with my host family and Spanish friends."
Some student memories included a lot of smiles and a bit of fun while exploring between classes.
Happy Holidays everyone! We hope you come and visit us again soon!