Dear friends and colleagues:
Hola from Madrid! We are pleased to share an update with you about the Engineering and Society Program.
NEW ACADEMIC POLICY: DECEMBER EXAMS OF DIRECT ENROLL COURSES
We received news from the Vice Rector for International Relations at our host institution. After several months of negotiation, the Academic Advisory Board of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid has approved a new (binding) regulation that establishes the right for U.S. college students to take an early exam for any direct enroll courses offered in the fall semester. This eliminates the need take distance exams in January when most CIEE participants have returned to their home campus. This new policy will go into effect immediately. All our CIEE Madrid students are now informed and are pleased with the news. They will still need to check with their regular course professor of each specific class on the exact date, time and classroom for their December final exam, but this change allows future CIEE students to complete their fall semester in December.
CIEE staff has been working very closely with the UC3M leadership to negotiate this important academic change and ensure that CIEE participants can complete all their courses onsite prior to their departure from Spain.
COMPANY VISIT TO ENVIRONMENTAL AGENCY AT MADRID AIRPORT
On a Friday morning the Resident Director and the Student Services coordinator met with the engineering students to visit one of the largest airports in Europe, the Barajas-Madrid airport complex. Students met with a representative from the Environmental Agency at the airport and took a guided tour. The main objective was to get a deeper understanding of how environmental policy applies in practice at one of the busiest airports in Europe. The group learned how airplane designs create noise and what this means for noise pollution in the area. Our guide showed the CIEE participants how her department tracks flight routes in and around Madrid. In addition, she explained how she analyzes noise levels at different points across the vast airspace around the airport.
On a cultural note, our students learned how the economic crisis in Spain has lowered the number of plane traffic in the past year and how the Environmental Agency manage over twenty-five birds of prey help to reduce air traffic accidents in the natural area of the airport.
CIEE CLASS VISIT TO LA ALMUDENA CEMETERY
Engineering students enrolled in the three-credit Spanish Cultural Studies course visited one of the largest public cemeteries in Europe, La Almudena. This 120-acre burial ground has over five million graves sites that supersede the number of inhabitants of Madrid by over one million. Students learned how to look at design and urban planning.
Several participants valued the larger graves that filled the cemetery. The architecture ranged from very traditional (statues of Jesus, a cross, etc.) to modern (the statue of a women weeping over the grave). All of the graves were above ground, which is different than the United States. La Almudena cemetery seemed much more colorful than ones many participants had seen in the United States because there were flowers on many of the graves and trees lining both sides of the roads. One science student observed that Spain seems to value the dead externally by spending a lot of money and time decorating the graves and by making the graves very personal with special decorations.
GROUP WEEKEND EXCURSION TO BILBAO
Engineering participants joined CIEE staff and Spanish network students on a three-day weekend excursion to the north of Spain. The focus of the journey was for students to learn about a different region in Spain, the Basque country. Students shared a group meal to practice Spanish and talk about their semester experience.
They also took the 4-minute funicular train that English miners built during the early 20th century to go to the top of the city. Once they reached their destination, they got a treat for some great panoramic views.
MADRID CENTER DIRECTOR PRESENTS AT EUROPEAN FORUM CONFERENCE
On Friday, October 24, Eero Jesurun, Center Director for CIEE Madrid, co-presented a session at the Forum on Education Abroad´s second European conference held in Barcelona. Together with representatives from the STEM disciplines, he presented on “Addressing Questions for STEM Students and their Curriculum Going Abroad to Europe.” Presenters and audience members discussed how do we should monitor and enhance participation of STEM students using a science curriculum based on breadth versus a depth approach. Eero also presented on the challenges that study abroad models in Europe and gave examples on what has demonstrated to be effective in Madrid.