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25 posts categorized "Resident Director"


Spring 2016: Newsletter Engineering and Society in Madrid Spain



This spring we have sixty percent of participants who are women. This notable gender difference may be unique for STEM students who study abroad in Spain, but we are very pleased with their enthusiasm.  The airport pick up went very smooth as CIEE staff had arranged for a private bus to coordinate a courtesy pick up at 11 am. There were no flight delays and no problems with luggage, so student arrived at their homestays before lunch time.  The students had a several days of orientation activities that included exploration themes in central neighborhoods of Madrid: a guided walking tour of the historic area of Spanish Golden Age authors, a museum discovery activity of “curious and obvious” objects in Madrid´s archeology institute and an architectural expedition to the Royal Palace (the largest palace in Western Europe). ES new arrival ES royal palace visit
Objectives and Expectations

Another practical part of the orientation is a reflection session, led by CIEE staff, on student´s personal and group goals. The one hour session explores expectations and challenges that participants may face during the spring 2016 semester. Students were separated into groups into one of the spacious student lounges at the Study Center. The engineering students came up with a long list of possible barriers for integration during their spring semester (such as not possessing enough Spanish vocabulary, staying in an American bubble of friends and a fear of failing a class in a different education system). Once the list was written up, the students shared this with the others in the room. Together with the CIEE staff, the students came up with suggestions, advice and resources on how to overcome some of the aforementioned barriers in a positive manner. Goals

Intensive Spanish Language Class

This semester we had three levels of Spanish (beginner, intermediate and advanced). The advanced level group was the largest class and they participated in extra-curricular activities, such as a local visit to a fruit and vegetable market where students had to interview vendors about the products they were selling; and preparing and asking survey questions on the street  by approaching locals on how to get directions to some famous sites in the city and recommendations for cultural activities. This 40 contact hour course is led by experienced local Spanish professors with master´s degrees in Spanish language and linguistics who have worked for several years with U.S. college students.

Academic Registration

All the STEM students received a list of popular engineering classes and read past student evaluations with comments about direct enroll courses.  After a group session on the academic expectations, teacher communication styles and UC3M classroom norms, each student met separately with the Resident Director.  All students reviewed the access to their new student account, course schedules, pre-requisites and host university norms. This semester students are enrolled in Fluid Mechanics, Airport Security, Statistics, Discrete Math, Cryptography, Artificial Intelligence, to name a few.  As part of their cultural course work participants are also enrolled in Intercultural Communication and Leadership, Art History, Film Narrative and Contemporary Spanish History. All the resident director meetings took place in the Study Center. In addition all students accompanied CIEE staff on a campus tour that included instructions on the various ways to reach the university in public transport as well as completing the registration for direct enroll courses at  the university campus is a CIEE-reserved computer room. Registration 2 ES train 4 ES train 3 ES train  1

Health and Safety

Currently there are no health and safety alerts in Madrid; however, the news media in the U.S. and other countries have focussed a lot of attention on the emerging Zika virus that is transmitted by mosquitos in tropical areas.  CIEE staff circulated an email with relevant information regarding the Zika virus albeit there have been no cases reported in Madrid. As part of our orientation, CIEE staff has explained the use of English medical facilities in Madrid, reviewed CIEE protocols regarding our 24-hour local emergency phone that is operated by CIEE resident staff, the emergency phone  tree and the implementation of an emergency evacuation plan when this becomes necessary. All students received this information and important phone numbers in their welcome packet.  The CIEE Study Center is in close contact with the U.S. Embassy regarding health and safety issues and also explained to our students how to register for the SMART program (which is an optional U.S. citizen registration site that is managed by the U.S. State Department). 20160127_195502 20160127_204357
Finally, all CIEE participants completed a two-hour workshop led by all CIEE staff on Bystander Intervention, with a special focus on Madrid and the help of our Spanish student network. The Spanish peers participated and mingled in our group exercises and reflection. One part of this workshop also had a discussion by our housing coordinator, Patricia Witzig, who discussed issues of consent in both a U.S. and Spanish context.  The CIEE teacher for Intercultural Communication also discussed body language and hand signals that may lead to “cultural mishaps." Overall, we received very positive feedback from our participants on what is a a very sensitive and controversial topìc. After the session CIEE staff was available to meet with students if they wanted to ask individual questions or if the required resources for further counseling.

Throughout the semester we will keep you and our students posted. Many saludos from Spain!


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!


Mid-Semester Fall 2015 Newsletter-Engineering and Society

This is our second update for the fall 2015 semester. Students are going to their regular classes and signing up for the various cultural activities this semester.

Meeting Spanish Students at the American-English Language Exchange

CIEE staff has organized meeting sessions called American-English Language Exchange with local Spanish students who are interested in knowing more about the local experience of our students on their home campus and find out what are students identify as “American” culture. Several engineering students have joined in to meet Spanish peers and make social contacts after via Facebook to meet up for coffee at the campus cafeteria or even provide additional language lessons. AELE

Cultural Activity: Meet CIEE Staff in a Popular, Local Neighborhood of Madrid

Madrid has over 21 districts that incorporate many distinct and colorful neighborhoods.  CIEE staff try to plan activities where students get to look at a part of the city from a local’s point of view – one encounter that had several engineering students was to meet the resident director in Chueca neighborhood, a popular LGTBQ area and community. During the walking tour students learned about the visible and invisible cultural elements of a changing Madrid neighborhood. Chueca is very popular among young Spaniards for its tapas bars, rooftop venues and inexpensive eateries, etc. Rooftop bar
Students also learned that Chueca also has a fascinating political, religious and social history.  CIEE staff showed some curious architectural designs and also helped students formulate a deeper sense of why Spaniards like to live in Chueca and what this neighborhood means for most citizens.

Learning about Medieval Urban Planning: Day Trip to Toledo

Together with the Student Services coordinator, CIEE students explored areas of significant historic and cultural importance in Toledo on a Friday. They took the bus to Toledo, which is about 50 minutes south of Madrid. Students learned about the medieval city design and the small streets of the city that makes the history and impact of the three cultures in Spain (Jewish, Muslim and Christian) so fascinating. They all lived in close quarters. Participants also explored the nine hills of Toledo to learn and see what makes Toledo a UNESCO-world heritage site. 20150904_115906 20150904_115649Legacy of Roman Architecture: Day Trip to Segovia

Many students signed up to spend a full day in the northern city of Segovia, which has one of the best Roman “jewels” of water engineering works – the Roman aqueduct – that goes from the Guadarrama mountains all the way into the historic city center of Segovia. First we stopped for a cup of coffee and some breakfast at a local Spanish bar. Then we met our local tour guide who explained the significance of Segovia in Spanish history and then gave a more detailed technical explanation of the aqueduct. Students seemed very impressed by the durability of this aqueduct over the centuries. The group also visited the Alcazar palace, the Gothic cathedral and a few participants tried a typical local dish for lunch, cochinillo, which is a roasted baby pig. Segovia fall 2015

Professional Exposure in Madrid: Students Attending International Conference

Some CIEE students are taking advantage of visiting local conferences on science company start-ups, such as the recent conference being held in Madrid from October 7-9, called the South-Summit. With more than 7.000 attendees, including 3.500 entrepreneurs and 450 investors South Summit has become one of Europe’s most relevant startup up events. CIEE staff helped students to arrange for free tickets as students and many of them got to hear speaker such as Steve Wozniak, known as "Woz", an American pioneer of the personal computer revolution of the 1970s, Renaud Visage, co-founder of Event-Brite, a leading self-service ticketing platform and Gwynne Shotwell, COO of SpaceX, which provides space transport services. South Summit

CIEE Staff Training on Intercultural Competence

The Resident Director attended employee training with other CIEE colleagues from around the world at the Study Center in Amsterdam in mid-October. Part of this experience was to get a better grasp on intercultural communication tools while also improving on teaching strategies for one of the new CIEE course electives “Intercultural Communication and Leadership” (3 credits); the ICL course elective is offered to Engineering and Society students. It was great opportunity to share best practices and ideas with other CIEE colleagues on program delivery and student advising. The three-day training also included a guided walking tour of the Jewish Cultural Quarter in the capital city of the Netherlands that addressed the theme of how identity and memory are linked in monuments and oral stories of the Holocaust. We´ll implementing a similar tour with embedded cultural components here in Madrid as part of cultural agenda. Walking Tour Jewish area


Fall 2015: Orientation Newsletter Engineering and Society

Welcome to our Madrid Fall 2015 start up! This semester we have a diverse group of students where sixty percent of our highly motivated STEM participants are U.S. college women whose majors vary from computer sciences, mechanical engineering, biology and industrial engineering.  The entire group has showed a lot of curiosity and enthusiasm in learning as much as they can about Spanish culture during orientation to help them with the integration process in Madrid. Orientation fall 2015 443
Cultural Activities

We started orientation with an introduction to health and safety issues as well as guided walking tours with Spanish students and the Resident Director who highlighted major landmarks in the city, such as the Puerta de Sol (see our group photo above) and the Plaza Mayor. Our students get an opportunity to understand the lay-out of the city and how to get around easily by using the metro system and the local busses. Students also participated in Spanish student activities to visit the Parque Retiro and get to know some of Madrid´s top museums.  Orientation fall 2015 447
One of the orientation “highlights” was our group activity to the Urban Playa Film Festival, a very popular outdoor summer movie series where old films are shown to a Spanish crowd. CIEE staff managed to get tickets for a sold out show of a “Sing-A-Long” with professional singers on stage while showing the 1978 film musical “Grease” with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. The film was dubbed in Spanish, but the songs were in the original English version and had subtitles in English so that the Spaniards in the audience could sing along with the film.  Orientation fall 2015 341 Orientation fall 2015 346
There were several live entertainers dressed up in fifties-style clothing on the stage and who encouraged the film crowd to sing along. Once they encountered our group of CIEE students and realized they were Americans, they the microphone to them so that they could sing along to “Summer Nights” and “Greased Lightning.” Orientation fall 2015 343
Several students mentioned to CIEE staff that they were surprised to learn how the crowd was captivated by American music and how popular Grease seemed to be for several Spaniards. One student commented that she did not realize the persuasive power of American culture that is transmitted through film. Afterwards, several studenst met up with the Spanish dancers from the live show. Orientation fall 2015 373

Spanish Intensive Language Course

All the CIEE students in the engineering program, regardless of their Spanish level, enroll in the CIEE Spanish Intensive Language course. This semester students were divided into two groups, beginner and intermediate level.  Students took nearly four hours of Spanish language class each day, which included breaks and interactive activities.  Students participated in teacher-led activities such as a street interview exercise where they had to ask local some questions about Madrid or look up landmarks on a city map. Orientation fall 2015 282
One afternoon, students visited the National Archeological Museum (MAN) where they selected a curious object and had to practice describing this object. In the photo below they are at the museum entrance together with their Spanish language professor, Raquel, who is seated.Orientation fall 2015 314 Other class activities included a visit to a local traditional market, the Royal palace of Madrid and the city´s history museum where studenst got to see models of the city´s geographical growth. Orientation fall 2015 293

Host University Visit: Leganes Campus Tour

After completing the two-week Spanish language intensive course, all students visit the Leganes campus of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid where they will take regular direct enroll courses with other Spanish students.  On September 2 the resident staff took the students on a campus tour. Leganes is a working class area of Madrid and urban art is part of its many street corners. Students posed in front of one of the scenic walls across the Leganes campus grounds. Orientation fall 2015 461
The group had lunch together with CIEE staff in the student cafeteria, walked around the Leganes town center (filled with little bars, restaurants, supermarkets, kebab places). One of the favorite stops was at the university health and fitness center. Students got a “peek” of the university gym. For two weeks, the university gym has “open doors” that allows students to enter for free and try out the facilties, including an Olympic size swimming pool. Orientation fall 2015 467 Orientation fall 2015 463

 New Academic Feature: Teacher-led STEM Study Groups of Two to Four Students

This semester all STEM students are taking a variety of classes, including Industrial Automation, Fluid Mechanics, Linear Algebra, Systems of Architecture, Physics, User Interfaces, Discrete Math, Art History, Economy of Europe and Spain. One special feature of the Engineering and Society program is that we have special study groups that are organized in coordination with the Dean of the Leganes campus. Some regular classes already require group work, but this special Leganés campus teacher-led study group typically consists of two to four U.S. college students who are taking a university STEM course. The group meets once a week for an hour on campus during which students complete course revision and study the course material in preparation for the final exam and other tests. In most cases, the teacher of the study group is a different faculty member from the one assigned to teaching your regular course. Study groups will start meeting as of next week, September 14, for the duration of fifteen weeks.  The teacher meets student for an hour each week until exam time in December. If there is no study group for the course yet then the Dean of the Leganés campus will create one, even if the CIEE student is the only U.S. College student in that course. In that case the CIEE student would have a one-to-one tutoring with the university teacher. Orientation fall 2015 485

Bystander Intervention Workshop

On the last day of orientation, CIEE staff lead a required health and safety workshop on Bystander Intervention.  This semester many students already completed a bystander training at their home campus and this is great asset as students seem to be more aware of the characteristics and factors that are involved in stepping in when there are difficult or complex situations. The CIEE staff also invited Spanish students from our social network who help and participate throughout the orientation program. One section of the training included the analysis of consent and intervention as portrayed in a Blake Shelton country song video called “Sangria” which included several stereotypes about Spanish culture but also seemed a good learning tool to start discussion about what is acceptable in a culture (either the U.S. or Spain). The two-hour works shop also includes case studies that students assess in small groups and the get resource information before they leave the room.  Bystander Fall 2015
We will keep you posted this semester with a newsletter mid-semester and also at the end of year as our STEM students explore Madrid and the rest of Spain.




Our Engineering and Society program this Spring 2015 has ended with students achieving many intercultural skills and a deeper sense of Spanish values.

One of our science participants, Thendral, spent four hours each week in the university choir, coro Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, to learn a variety of classical songs in Spanish, German and Hungarian. The fifty singers, who the choir conductor selected after a rigorous audition, had trained very hard and then performed in the city center of Madrid at the historic venue, Círculo de Bellas Artes. Thendral was the only American and study abroad student in the choir. Concierto thendral 6
In early May, Thendral travelled with the same choir to perform in front a large public audience at the music conservatory in the city of Ourense in the region of Galicia (northwest of Spain). Not surprisingly, Thedral told CIEE staff that this experience was not just a fun activity to explore Spain, but it also made her appreciate the dilligent work ethics of her Spanish peers and reconsider the power of music all over again. CORO uc3m in Ourense


Student also learned that many Spaniards value popular traditions. Our third and final day trip was to the mediterrean city of Valencia, the third largest city in Spain.  The group came to see how Spaniards participate in Las Fallas that is a well-known tradition where small and large statues are placed on neighborhood corners. These art pieces were prepared by local guilds with an aim to give a social commentary.  Valencia 005
The day prior to our departure CIEE staff held a cultural workshop at the Study Center to explain the origins of this curious tradition since the Fallas statues are also set on fire on the last night of the festivities. During our trip our students tried some typical buñuelos, which is sugared dough and pumpkin. Valencia 027


The student evaluations for the homestays in Madrid received excellent ratings. Students also commented that they feel more confident using their Spanish and having to face cross-cultural communication. All participants commented on the healthy foods, welcoming atmosphere and good conversations they had with their hosts. CIEE placed a couple of STEM students who placed at the same Spanish language level in the same homestay (never mixing levels, but allowing students to give each other support in case they were beginner Spanish learners, for instance). Hosts also were aware of student´s Spanish levels and know to encourage students to keep trying to speak the language. Homestay hosts engaged students in many social activities, such as going for a coffee, going for a walk in the park, meeting family members, inviting them to a theatre play, some time at their weekend home outside Madrid and even taking advantage of the sunny weather this spring on an outdoor terrace. Spanish Family Outdoor


Participants participated in various interactive CIEE activities to explore their host city. Our student coordinator, Sonia, led a bike tour along one of Madrid's park near the Manzanares river.  She also created a custom-designed treasure hunt game where students had to visit and identify some key parts of Madrid that they may not have visited yet, such as certain statues in some beautiful local parks, tapas places in nice neighborhoods outside the city center, etc.  while completing different types of outdoor tasks.  Treasure Hunt S15 1 Treasure hunt s15 2 Bike Tour S15 1Bike Tour S15 2 Students said they enjoyed the challenge to explore the city on their own and realize that Madrid still had so much to offer -- even after being here for nearly three months. One student commented that a "check-box" mentality should not apply to study abroad in Madrid because she enjoyed revisiting places again and again. Our semester ended with a small farewell party and our student getting ready for their final exam at our host university. Several students met up for a last meal in a local Madrid restaurant. Final meal spring 2015

We´ll miss them all! Have a great summer.


Mid-Semester Newsletter Spring 2015: Engineering and Society

It is hard to believe that students have already completed two months in Madrid. Classes are going well and students are enjoying a mix of regular direct enroll courses that is complemented by a culture focussed class. This semester popular courses are Linear Algebra and Discrete Maths at the Leganes campus of our host university, Universdad Carlos III de Madrid.

Weekend Excursion to Sevilla

In late February our group took the AVE high-speed train and visited the southern city of Sevilla for three days. The weather was beautiful, cool and sunny. After checking into the hotel, we conducted a walking tour so that participants could get a feel for the city and understand how it was designed. 217
Our first stop was to a local convent in the old quarters where the nuns seem to spend a lot of time baking. Through a special window enclosure, our tour guide, Patricia, bought some local almond cookies from the convent so that we could all share and try out something tasty.230
Sevilla has many old buildings and numerous eateries and tapas bars. But the latest architectural addition in the old quarter of the city is the so-called “mushroom” or, in Spanish, “la seta” due to its shape and colors.  It´s official name is the Metropol Parasol and it is a wooden structure designed by the German architect Mayer-Hermann. Our engineering students were impressed that this is the the largest wooden structure in the world. 20150220_123715 20150220_123707
Since our trip happened to be during the Carnival weekend, some students saw the Latin American-inspired parade in their free time that went through the historic city center. Different carnival groups from Bolivia, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Brazil, etc. participated in the processions with dance music. Students also enjoyed a guided tour on Saturday, visiting the remainder of the iconic buildings and parks in Sevilla. Our English-speaking local guide explained the history of the city as well as the meaning of some of the different areas in Sevilla. A lot of students enjoyed seeing the impressive "Giralda" or Cathedral tower. 20150220_153028CIEE Difference: Two Activities in the City Each Week

Our student activities coordinator, Sonia, has been planning and preparing many activities in Madrid. As part of the CIEE difference, there are at least two activities each week that students can sign up for and participate. There are various types of offering. For example, last week students could partake in a photo workshop where they learned how to take pictures by capturing different types of light and how to handle techniques with their smart phone.  P1210257 P1210259
After the workshop, the group went outside to practice their new techniques. There is a photo contest at the end of the semester with the theme “My Madrid” where participants can submit their best picture.  During our farewell event, all attendees can vote for the best picture. Student also participated in an outdoor activity geared at exploring a different area of the city. Together with the RD they did a nature walk along the “Madrid Rio” park where students saw the re-designed bridges of the Manzanares river and stopped at the green house of the city where they could explore the different climates and fauna. Inside the greenhouse there were four microclimates. P1210249 P1210240 Madrid Staff Training

Our Madrid student coordinator, Sonia, was part of the first of two international cohorts of the Employee Intercultural Development Program that occurred in Istanbul with facilitators, Quinton Redcliffe (CIEE Study Center, Cape Town, South Africa) and Catherine Menyhart (Manager, Training and Development in Portland, Maine)  It was a huge success with lots of new learnings, cultural exchanges, CIEE staff bonding and even a magical snowstorm during a walking tour of Istanbul. A perfect opportunity for staff to experience the city through a new framework. EIDP training Sonia



On January 8, CIEE Madrid staff welcomed a very diverse participant group which arrived for our spring 2015 semester. The CIEE students profile consists of science participants who study in the U.S. and who have strong links to their cultural backgrounds (Ecuador, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, India, Colombia to name a few). The group learned right away about safety and security in the city as well as how to use public transportation to the university campus in Leganés. 20150109_150913

During our university campus tour, students ate in the buffet-style cafeteria and got to see the gym facilities, library, bank branch and some of the local shops and restaurants around Leganes.  The program also organized a welcome event with Spanish students and CIEE hosts at a local “chocolatería” venue where everyone shared a typical serving of chocolate con churros. ES churros Funny choco con churros ES 2 Churros

Students completed their intensive language sessions of Spanish (beginner, intermediate or advanced) at the the Study Center located near Sol in downtown Madrid. Every morning at 9 am students had language class with faculty who have linguistics degrees in Spanish filology. Morning classes ended with combined teacher-led outdoor activities for students to practice their Spanish at a local market, a traditional pastry shop, the City Museum of Madrid and Flamenco dinner night. 20150116_221135 (3)  Cortijo dancers night

All students have been placed in local homestays and from their apartments student have easy access by public transport and many of them use the metro or just walk to the Study Center. Now registration starts for the university in a couple of days. After orientation, science students participated in an optional one-day excursion to the La Mancha region in a private bus.  Part of the day trip was so that they got to see some typical rural villages, try local foods, visit an old 16th century Corral de Comedias theatre and a windmill museum. All very different scenery from the urban sights in Madrid. La Mancha

We are looking forward to having a rewarding semester and keeping you posted.




We say a very fond farewell to our Engineering and Science students in Madrid! Before our amazing group of students left, we had a farewell event and party with our Spanish student network from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.  All of us gathered at our new Study Center in the historic area of Madrid. One of the American students spoke to the group about her twelve week  hospital internship and explained what she learned as some of the key differences in Spanish and U.S. health care systems. Other students also stood up and said what they felt was the best part of their semester experience. Many of them mentioned it was their homestay experience, creating social bonds with their hosts and the opportunity to learn about a different culture while in Madrid. We served some tapas food and drinks in the spirit of the Holiday Season before we all said our goodbyes.

Thank you for a great Fall 2014 semester!

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Dear friends and colleagues:

Hola from Madrid! We are pleased to share an update with you about the Engineering and Society Program.


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. IMG_5916

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.


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. IMG_6790 IMG_6794 IMG_6821
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. IMG_6813


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. Almudena 2

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. Almudena


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. ES BILBAO TRIP

One of the trip highlights was to discover the engineering marvels of this port city. Students visited one of the first hanging bridges. ES bilbao 12

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. Funicular-artxanda-2 20140928_105852 ES Bilbao 14 ES Bilbao 15


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. Forum EUROPE conference 1. jpg



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.