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.
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.
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. Madrid 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.
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.
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.
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.