Not sure what program is right for you? Click Here

© 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Study Abroad in

Back to Program Back to Blog Home

4 posts from October 2014


Learning about Roman Engineering in Spain: Past and Present

By: J. Jansky (Berea College)

One of the first CIEE activities for my language class this semester included a visit to the National Archeaology Museum in Madrid to learn how the Romans influenced the history of Spain. The Romans were amazing engineers.  Alicia 6 Alicia 7The museum has recently undergone a renovation and it now has a special section dedicated to this legacy of Spain. I liked the showcase of technology that the Romans used to break rocks for construction. In fact, they used steam to break rocks. Very impressive. The method that the Romans used to make buildings here in Spain is still visible today. They did things that aimed to last long time.

Other aspects of Roman society that you observe today in Spain include a respect for the past and the dead. Statues are everywhere, even today.  Alicia 11 Alicia 12

The Romans had an organized government in Spain and were proud of their society. Inside the museum we saw statues of the first Spaniards who had themselves immortalized in Roman style sculpture. In the markets we saw how fresh food is highly valued and very common. Roman artifacts tillage and hooks reminded me of this. The way in which the Romans created their legacy in stone and marble buildings is similar to the way modern Spain maintains its cultural image. The coffins and gravestones were beautiful and impressively decorated.  Alicia 13
Alicia 8

It also seemed obvious to me that the current Spanish values of ​​a pleasant life style are very similar to the way the Romans approached it during their times.  I enjoyed looking at the artifacts from the kitchens, bathrooms and tiled floors were evidence of the attention to beauty and pleasure. Alicia 14


Going Underground in Madrid

By: P. Hoovestol (Stanford University)

Madrid has many surprises under its earth surface. Underground metro 1

Last week the CIEE group visited an old subway station in Madrid. This early twentieth century station closed down in the seventies and now no longer works, although metro trains still pass through the station. The station is now a museum. Underground metro 2 Underground metro 3
It was very interesting to see such an old station and compare it with the modern day technology that we use today. The public underground stations in Madrid are all new to me, because I'm new in this town, yet their vibe is quite cool. Underground metro 8

Upon reflection, I do think that the overall design and structure of this old station resembles metro stations today. A visual difference that we talked about was that the walls and ceilings were made of many tiles that you can see individually placed. Modern stations are not made of these tiles anymore and texture of contemporary station walls are smoother. Here is a picture of a new, more recently built Madrid metro station. Metro madrid crowder

Another underground surprise was the basement café of a chocolateria in down town Madrid, near Plaza Sol. We ordered chocolate con churros, a well-known Madrid delicacy. Together with the CIEE group we had some of this sweet chocolate in the form of a beverage. Alicia 1 Churros Alicia 3 Churros.

It was the Spanish equivalent of U.S. hot chocolate. Yet the Spanish version is incredibly thick and creamy and you are supposed to dip“churros” and “porras” into the hot chocolate. Churros and porras are essentially the same thing, a sort of fried dough pastry.


Madrid Hospital Internship in Internal Medicine

By: K. Hagan (Villanova University)

During my first week of classes in Madrid I started doing my internship in a private hospital, north of the city. This hospital has many new technologies. All week I was very nervous because I thought I needed to have a final interview with the doctor who would be my direct supervisor. I practiced my answers to the possible questions that I thought the doctor was going to ask me. But when I arrived at the hospital I only talked to the doctor for a minute, he was super busy.  The doctor´s assistant took me and I went to get a white medical robe. Then the doctor needed to teach a class out and left me with another internship student from Germany who is doing her hospital practice there too. She took me and we went to find one of the other doctors who are in the internal medicine team. I observe the doctor during his office hours during patient appointments and then we do walks around the hospital and visit patients.

The photo below is on the first day, going to meet my supervisor, travelling in public transport and walking to the hospital.   Hospital de Madrid 2 Hospital de Madrid 1

I have to admit that I left the hospital after my first day a little overwhelmed but I liked a lot.  My Spanish improved greatly since the first day. I can understand most of what the doctors and patients say. Yet I still have some problems with patients who have accents from places like Andalusia or when they speak very fast with slang expressions. All the doctors have been very friendly with me. Many of them want to know where I am from and I ask me what I want to do with my life. One of the Spanish doctors said I should not be a doctor because I will lose many other opportunities in my life.  He insisted that I must be sure that I want to do this profession before going to study a degree progam at a medical school. That was a bit strange to hear at first, but I found it good advice. I know that attending medical school in the United States is hard and requires a big life commitment.

During my second week at the Madrid hospital, one thing that was very apparent to me is the difference with many hospitals in the United States. At my internship site, each hospital room has only one bed and only one patient whereas in the United States many of the rooms have two beds. When I asked my supervisor, the doctor, he explained that this was typical for a private Spanish hospital. If you go to a public hospital in Madrid, the rooms can have two or three beds in each room. In addition, the doctor told me that the nurses in my hospital are more affectionate with the patients and have an ability to do their job effectively. That was very interesting to me because I did not know that there is a big difference between public and private hospitals.

I also went to visit a public hospital as part of my regular university course at Universidad Carlos III, called “Anatomy and Physiology.” Together with my other classmates, we were in this other hospital for four hours and we spent time with  a doctor who was an adolescent psychiatric expert. This hospital was near the Retiro park and it was very different from my internship site. Kendal Hagan Madrid 1The public hospital infrastructure seemed much older, darker and not nearly as clean and beautiful as the private hospital where I do my internship. The differences between the two hospitals were a little sad but it is possible that the differences were only because the public hospital does not have enough money. In the United States, it seems to me that hospitals also have a very difficult time to raise money, especially heads of hospitals need to have new technologies at their work site so they can convince people to donate money. I still have two more months to go in my hospital internship and here in Madrid, so I hope to reflect and learn a lot more. I have already met a lot of people in the process. Kendall Hagan Madrid








Dear study abroad colleagues and friends,

The CIEE Madrid program has started with a lot of zest. On a warm Monday morning, many of our students arrived at the Madrid-Barajas International Airport. The fall 2014 semester has started with many important new features to add more value to the CIEE program on Engineering and Society. The group was welcomed by the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid on campus where they were they held an official university orientation with staff.    IMG_7915


The CIEE Spanish Student Network helped to meet and greet the recently arrived CIEE students at the airport. This local social network helps participants with their cultural and social integration. In their first activity, they shared some tapas and stories during the first encounter: our welcome reception. Together with their homestay hosts, CIEE students and staff joined in this welcome event in a local venue on the emblematic Gran Via of Madrid. IMG_7830 IMG_7832 IMG_7827


Starting this semester, CIEE Madrid is proud to announce the inauguration of its new Study Center. This new facility is located in the heart of Madrid, just one block from Puerta del Sol, a very convenient location with free WiFi internet access for our group of students with a few steps to main public transportation lines, some Madrid historical sights and popular leisure places. IMG_8131

The new CIEE Madrid Study Center includes two fully-equiped classrooms and two spacious student lounges, where students can come to spend time together, work on their class projects, and study.  The Study Center also has separate office and meeting space for each CIEE program, as well as an office for Student and Housing Services.


All the participants started their two-week intensive Spanish language course during the week of August 25. Students had class according to their level in the morning and had complimentary cultural activities in the afternoon, such as visits to local markets, archeology museum and visiting a traditional chocolate con churros restaurant. IMG_7848


This semester are taking various courses in the sciences. To assist students with their academic integration into the Spanish university system all CIEE students in the Engineering and Society program are assigned one tutor, for one-on-one individual tutoring. This extra academic support, in addition to the regular university office hours and online technical support, is helping students to stay on track with their workload and finding a good balance between class learning and cultural integration. IMG_7821

Students have registered for courses in computer science, biomedics, fysiology and anatomy, linear algebra, chemistry, industrial automation, environmental technology, computer networks, Spanish history, Spanish cultural studies and art history.


One of our more popular activities during orientation is the city bike tour. This is a way for CIEE participants to see a different part of their new environment. The Madrid local government has recently been promoting a more green city and encouraging citizens to use pre-paid city bikes. So, it is more common to see local Madrilenos ride on two-wheelers. The Student Network members helped our students navigate the different paths and show off some cool sigths. IMG_7934


Our host institution has appointed a well-known scholar with international experience to the post of vice rector for international relations at the Leganes campus. Professor Matilde Sánchez Fernández started her new role this past summer. Matidle Sanchez

She earned  her PhD in Telecommunications Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Madrid in 1996 and 2001 respectively. She joined the Carlos III University in 2000 where she is Associate Professor in the Department of Signal Theory and Communications. Previouslys he worked as a telecommunications engineer for Telefónica. She has completed research posts at the Telecommunication Technology Center at Kansas University ( 1998) , Bell -Labs , New Jersey (2003-2006) for Telecommunications Technology Centre of Catalonia, Barcelona (2007) and at Princeton University, New Jersey (2011).  CIEE staff work closely with the Universidad Carlos III to ensure that students are registered for classes and monitor the student´s progress throughout the semester.

We are looking forward to a very fruitful semester in our new Study Center home.