What I heard over and over from students in the mid-semester check-in meeting was that after a long weekend of travel (for many) they were glad to come home [to Sevilla] and resume their daily routine...spending time at the river hanging out with friends, playing pick-up basketball at courts near their homestay, going for runs in Maria Luisa Park, or just spending time with their host families chatting about their lives.
El Cubo y Basilippo
Students participated in two visits to companies/organizations in Seville:Basilippo Olive Oil, a family-run olive oil production company, and El Cubo, a crowd-working space in Seville whose mission is to become a collaborative center for the promotion of knowledge and innovation where teams can grow their project or help their startup mature. During the visit to Basilippo students learned about the productions process of extra virgin olive oil, from cultivation to extraction. And in El Cubo, students had a discussion with the director of the center about the objectives of the mentorship program, and interacted with several startup teams, providing feedback along the way. A couple of IBC students will be collaborating with the startups to help advance their projects.
Cultural Immersion to Morocco
The CIEE Seville IBC Overnight to Morocco continues to be one of the highlights of the semester. Students had two pre-departures orientations, one to learn about the historical, societal, and cultural elements of this developing North African country, and the second to discuss the academic and cultural objectives of the excursion. The student learning that occurs during the trip reminds me why international education, and especially intercultural education, is so vital for our students... not only do they see a country and culture very different from their own but most importantly they EXPERIENCE it first-hand. Students become aware of their U.S. American privilege and status, they dialogue with their Moroccan peers about their perceptions of the U.S., U.S. Americans, U.S. politics and are open and honest with each other about why certain perceptions exist. At the same time, they also discover that even though they come from very different cultures a common or connecting thread can always be found.