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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



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!


End of Semester Fall 2015 Newsletter - Engineering and Society

It is hard to believe that our Madrid Engineering and Society semester is nearing its end. We wanted to share some highlights of the latter part of the fall 2015. We´ll miss our students who have shown great effort to speak in Spanish and participate in all our activities. We are also marking the end of the tenth anniversary year of the Madrid Study Center (2005-2015). The Engineering program has been part of the CIEE Study Center since 2013 and its “youngest” program. CIEE staff gathered on December 15 to honor the tenth anniversary with a festive Spanish cheer. We look forward to many more years of welcoming students at our host university, guiding them through the many curiosities of Spanish society and also having fun while exploring Madrid. 10th Anniversary Staff Photo

Day Trip to Sixteenth Century Engineering Marvel: El Escorial

Together with the CIEE student services coordinator and a Spanish student Network member, CIEE students visited the Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, a historical residence of the King of Spain. This UNESCO world heritage site also functions as a monastery, royal palace, museum, and school. Participants of the day trip learned how 16th Century technology was used to help build this site in a “record” time of forty years, which was an incredible feat at that time of human development. The day trip received high marks because students could also explore some of the natural green areas surrounding El Escorial and get some “fresh air” from their studies on campus.  20151023_144626_HDR 20151023_135719

Weekend Excursion to Barcelona

One of the semester highlights was the CIEE weekend trip to Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, which is often defined by its quirky art and architecture. CIEE staff organized a walking tour on Friday afternoon of the main landmarks of the city. Students in particular liked the modernist personality represented by architect Antoni Gaudí’s fantastical Sagrada Família church. BCN 6
CIEE organized a guided tour to this monument on Saturday morning. On Saturday afternoon CIEE staff accompanied students to the Gothic neighborhood for some more guided sightseeing. And on Sunday morning, students visited an old archeological site to learn more about the origins of Catalan nationalism and its historical date of September,1814. BCN weekend 2015 BCN 1 BCN 8Homestay Meetings

The Madrid housing process follows a structured time line. After students have settled into their homestay, the housing coordinator Patricia checks in with both students and their hosts on their shared living experience. Each semester our housing coordinator also visits new homestays. Part of the check in list that the housing coordinator distributes is to ensure that all homestays have fire blankets and smoke alarms in place. Albeit CIEE Madrid never has had any housing incidents, this is standard protocol in our program. In addition, Patricia also meets with the hosts at our Study Center for a group meeting where she offers training and also provides a forum for hosts to share experiences. This semester many hosts said that their students were very concerned about prioritizing academics. Several commented how U.S. college students seemed worried about getting top grades and studying and did not seem very relaxed in comparison to Spanish peers who seem to be more in tune with “enjoying life.” Several students prepared a dish for the Thanksgiving Dinner together with their homestay hosts, including one 25 pound oven-baked turkey... TG5

Thanksgiving Dinner & Games

On the last Thursday of November our students gathered at the Study Center for a Thanksgiving dinner. The housing coordinator, Patricia, cooked a 32 pound Turkey for six hours and then prepared homemade stuffing for our participants to enjoy. Many students felt home sick and wanted to have joint activity that also includes some group games. Some of them joined up with their hosts as they prepared home-made dishes (green beans, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, corn bread and pumpkin pies). Our student services coordinator, Sonia, prepared a Madrid version of Jeopardy where participants competed against each other in five teams. It was a lot of fun and students thanked the CIEE staff for making this holiday possible in Madrid. TG 1 TG3 TG 2

Host University Farewell Reception

In mid-December the host university, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, organized a student farewell reception with some tapas, students, staff and teachers from the International Relations Office and the new International School. Particpants enjoyed a few drinks and a chatted while reflecting back  on some of their shared experiences during the fall semester. School farewell 2 School farewell 1CIEE Staff Volunteer Day

All CIEE staff around the world has been encouraged to participate in a CIEE Day of Service and spend a day helping out in the local community.  All of the Study Center staff hascontributed to Madrid charities in various ways – both individually and as a team--. The student services and housing coordinator joined the local foodbank, Banco de Alimentos, to collect groceries in the month of November. They collected nearly 3000 pound of food that will be organized and distributed to many Spanish families who have been hit by the economic crisis here in Spain. CIEE Volunteer Day

Sending you our best wishes for 2016!