Why You Should Pick CIEE for Study Abroad in Barcelona

By Meah Matherne

The people make the place, and the same goes for the study abroad program makes the study abroad experience. Picking CIEE as my study abroad program was truly one of the best choices I’ve made in a long time and I’m not just saying that because I am one of their student ambassadors!

I initially chose CIEE for two main reasons. First, I loved that the offered programs all over Spain, which was my desired country (learn more about why I chose Spain in another blog post!) I didn’t just have to limit my choices abroad to Madrid or Barcelona, but I also got to consider Sevilla and other programs in smaller cities in Spain. Secondly, I loved the actual academics that CIEE offered. In the program I participated in (Advanced Liberal Arts), I was able to take all my classes in Spanish to improve my language skills and I was also able to take classes at a host university (the University of Barcelona) to integrate my experience with students from Spain itself. With these two requirements checked off, I buckled up for my expected study abroad experience.

When I got to Barcelona, I quickly realized that the CIEE program in Barcelona would far surpass what I had previously thought were far reaching expectations. I was immediately greeted by a staff of people who were well organized and clearly passionate about working with international students to create the best study abroad experiences. My own advisor, Nando Janeiro, made me and my program companions feel comfortable and was so helpful in any of the situations we encountered ourselves in. The whole staff was a well-oiled machine that had this study abroad thing down. The opportunity to study all in Spanish also was an amazing one and CIEE provided the best Spanish teacher, Mar Forment, to ensure that those of us in the ALA program were able to keep up in our classes at the University of Barcelona.

An added benefit I didn’t know I would be receiving before I arrived in the country was all the excursions and events that CIEE put on every week. Every Monday at 8:30am signups for that week’s events opened up and I know I was always excited to pick some after class activities that were “free” (your CIEE tuition pays for them). CIEE brought us on wonderful day trips to cities and sites close to Barcelona I wouldn’t have normally picked for myself to visit but was so glad I went with CIEE. I got to see Montserrat, La Fageda, Sitges and tour some of the major volcanoes in Catalonia, as well as go to a cava tasting at Codorniu. During the week, I participated in our events such as a beer tasting, a painting workshop, trips to Horta’s labyrinth and Parc Guell, a sunset yoga class on the beach and a flamenco dance class. I did activities and experienced culturally significant places through CIEE’s weekly programming that I simply wouldn’t have normally signed up for or would’ve discovered or known about by myself. My experience abroad was greatly enriched by these experiences.

That’s why I can’t recommend a better program than CIEE for study abroad. Whether in Barcelona itself or any of the other cities it operates in, I’m truly glad for the all-round enriching experience I had with the program while studying abroad.