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54 posts categorized "Resident Director"




 From June 30th to July 10th.

  Our students summer 2014 (session 2) arrived save and sound, and their luggage too.


 We stayed at the hotel 2 days and one night. They learnt everything they need to know in Alcalá, and of course Instituto Benjamin Franklin stays. So, they were a little bit tired but they resisted with courage the big amount of documents they had to sign for IBF and CIEE (release form for media recording, ciee data protection students form, ciee Alcalá rules, language commitment, IBF disciplinary policy, IBF-UAH housing regulations and home stay contrac, IBF form for media recording).



We ate a lot and we had fun as well. At the end of the second day, they went with their Spanish families.





But two days later, I had to change one student  to other family, because of internet connection. I had several conversations with the student about her situation. While she said that her host family was lovely and kind, the circumstances of the home were affecting her in a negative way. The first family had change their internet company connection ten days before the arrival of our student, but they had a lot of problems. It was very difficult to be in the home without internet connectivity. While the family was generous in offering to take her to places where she could access the internet, it was very inconvenient for her. Now, Hannah is happy and I am happy too.


















 On Wednesday the students started their courses at IBF and in the afternoon we had an Alcalá walking tour.



 On Friday we went to Madrid in order to learn how to use the transportation passes and the transportation system. It was a nice day. We walked more than the students usually walk in USA, but they did not complain at all. They were very understanding.



   On Saturday 5th most of our students attended to 2014 Madrid Gay Parade and on Sunday 6th went to Segovia.

     2014 gay parade

Segovia sesión 2

By the way, our two sessions students are travelling a lot and they enjoy their stay here!!!!!

Chicas 2 sesiones bis


Chicas dos sesiones tris





On May 29th our summer 2014 session 1 group arrived to Madrid Barajas airport without any kind of problems, except one student who did not take her flight on time and she arrived one day after all the students.







The group consists of 35 students:  11 from University of Iowa, 7 from University of Wisconsin Madison, 7 from University of Indiana, 2 from Texas Christian University, 2 from Denison University, 1 from Oklahoma City University, 2 from University of North Carolina at Wilmington, 1 from Bryn Mawr College, 1 from Fordham University, and 1 from Virginia Commonwealth.


The Orientation was very different that other summer times.  It was the first time in my CIEE “life” than I was with two assistants from Madrid in two diferent days: Sonia Sales was with us the first and a half day, and Patricia Witzig, a half day.



None of the students seemed to be stressed or scared of the unknown. I know their advisors and directors from USA prepared carefully a pre-orientation.


 All of the students in the orientation sessions at the Hotel CAMPANILE proved to be strong and resisted the “jet lag” very well, listening to all of the sessions regarding safety in Alcalá, safety for women, health insurance, pre-registration, trips, families, etc. 





 We didn’t get any phone calls from a parent asking about their sons or daughters, just one e-mail, because this group immediately got in contact with their relatives to tell them they were in the hotel or waiting in a flight connection thanks to their i-phones/android phones.

 We went to Madrid on Sunday June 1st, a long walk that consisted of several kilometers as usual, but it was less than we used to walk, because it is difficult with a big group. I asked for help to Mercedes Conde, the Anthropology student who helped me on spring 2014.





We had a lunch together on an "All you can eat" restaurant.






Afterwards, we offered them three options, one of them was going to Alcalá with Patricia, and to show again that they had learned how to get around on the public transportation (one student wanted this option), the second one it was the walking tour second part with Mercedes and me (zero students), and the third option was free time and they could return to Alcalá by themselves.

  On Monday June 2ndstarted with one day “shopping”. Only one course had to be cancelled because they had less than 5 students, but others had to be doubled because more than 20 students wanted to take them. In the afternoon, we had an UAH and Alcalá down town walking tour.







So, now it is time to study... and to enjoy Alcalá live!!!!!!




 Hi from ALCALÁ DE HENARES. Welcome Spring!!!!!!! Welcome CIEE Alcalá difference!!!!

The two CIEE students who attend the course “Spanish for Health Care professionals” started their internship the month of February at “Hospital Universitario Príncipe de Asturias” in Alcalá de Henares.

  En el hospital

 We had our first three day trip with the CIEE group (February 21, 22 and 23rd) to Seville, where we visited the Royal Castles of Seville, the Cathedral with its tower, we walked through the María Luisa Park and the Spain Square. Ángel de Quinta (CIEE Seville professor) helped us two days. Once we got to Seville and checked into our hotel, the students were given two hours to free time to relax and eat their picnics that their host families had packed them for Friday lunch and dinner. There was a big park, Jardines de Murillo, across the street from the hotel so they all took their picnics and ate in the park. The weather was perfect.  So, we had a long walking tour, Triana included.




Our CIEE SPRING 2014 students enjoy travelling. IBF field trips are free and a very good oppotunity to know different areas aroun Alcalá de Henares. On February 19th some of our students went to Museo Naval in Madrid with IBF, and on Friday February 28th 8 of our students went to Toledo with IBF as well. And on March 7th, our students went to El Escorial –Valle de los Caídos.

Museo naval 1

En Toledo

Valle de los caídos 1

On March 15th, 7 of our students went to Morocco for themselves.  It was easy. Everything is easy from Alcalá de Henares in terms of  public transportation, because Alcalá is in the middle of Spain. They enjoyed a lot the African experience.

Marruecos 3

Marruecos 5

On March 18th the students had a field trip to MAHOU factory for their course “Globalization and the Spanish Economy” with IBF. At the end of the visit, they could tasted different kind of beers and eat “tapas”. The students’ behaviour was good and appropriate, as we could imagine before. And on March 21st some students are going to Cuenca with IBF and their course “History of Spanish Art”. They do not stop!!!!!!

MAHOU marzo 2014


Next March 28-29-30 we are going to have our second CIEE ALCALÁ FIELD TRIP to VALENCIA, the land of PAELLA and HORCHATA. So, stay tune!!!!! And, please, take a look at other posts here.









Hello from Alcalá de Henares!!!!! We have to tell you a lot of things since the last Newsletter. Tale a look below, please.

On Wednesday January 15th  from 18:00 until 20:00, we had a “welcome coffee” with Spanish students and our CIEE Spring 2014 students in a nice coffee shop in Alcalá called Hemisferio. They met each other and exchanged e-mails and telephone numbers. Now, some of them are friends.


  On  Thursday  January 16th  we had a meeting with Dale Sindell (, but unfortunately only two students attended. She was very nice with the students and gave them books and candies.


  Spring 2014 students have a very close relationship, even when they did not meet each other before coming to Alcalá.  Actually, they -except only one- travelled to Granada and Córdoba together on January Friday 24th.


  One of the students –Megan Bartkowski-, her Spanish sisters and their boyfriends went together to a TV show called el Hormiguero. She was very happy and excited. Each night, their family and Megan watch el Hormiguero during dinner. She feels like a real daughter of her family. 

El hormiguero

We are involved in a linguistic research. Bret Linford from Indiana University came to Spain on January Friday 24th in order to interview our students from CIEE Madrid and Alcalá. 


Six of our students are English tutors of Spanish boys and girls. Most of them are sons and daughters of UAH staff and friends of mine. The parents pay 10€ per conversation hour and our CIEE students are very happy. If before they pressed for cash, now their lives are a little different.


 On January 30th six students travelled to Brussels. They enjoyed a lot their trip. They felt very proud of themselves because they could find everything they expected without problems. They ate a lot of chocolate.


On February 5th we had our first CIEE Spring 2014 meeting. We talked about “Culture Shock”.  The students brought “picnics” to eat together during the meeting. It was fun to compare their “tupperwares” for all of us.


This group  is very open minded. They try new meals and food every week.


On February 7th almost all the students went to Segovia - IBF one day field trip-. Some of them went because the field trip was mandatory for their course “Spanish Culture and Civilization”. But some other students went because they just wanted to know a nice city “free”. As usual, their families prepared nice picnics for lunch. 


On February 8th some students went to visit Real Madrid stadium and they attended to a football match (Real Madrid vs. Villarreal). But they were a little disappointed because Cristiano Ronaldo did not play. So, they want to come back other day.

Chicas en el Bernabéu

On February 14th four students went to Paris four days, and they did not attend to classes on Monday 17. But they know they are only permitted two unexcused absences. The third absence will be penalized by lowering the grade by 10 POINTS PER ABSENCE. Meaning, if they have a 90.5 and they have 1 absence (after the 2 unexcused), the grade is lowered to an 80.5. If they have two unexcused absences, their grade will be a 70.5, and so on.


And two students went to La Pinilla in the north of Comunidad de Madrid, because they wanted skiing. 


The students who did not travel went to the universitary dorms, to one CIEE student apartment in order to cook a Valentine’s cake and have fun. And after that, the girls went to dance.


IBF field trips continue. The students who attend the course “Global dimension of European Soccer” went to Vicente Calderón Stadium and museum.


And next Friday February 21 we are going to Seville. It will be our first 3 days CIEE field trip. So, I will give you more information very soon!!!!!







Mi Familia Española

El 9 de enero nuestras familias españoles nos recogieron en el Hotel Campanile. Fue un momento emocionante y también un poco estresante para todos. Cada persona estaba lista para ir a su casa para los próximos cuatro meses, empezar a deshacer sus maletas y comer una cena hecha en casa, incluyéndome yo. En la orientación Cristina explicó que cada familia es diferente y cada familia es especial y única en sus propias maneras. Me gusta mucho esta frase porque nosotros sabemos que nuestras experiencias en casa no serán las mismas pero todos tendremos una experiencia valiosa y positiva de alguna manera.


Mi familia española consiste en el papá, Paco, la mamá, Tere, y su hija, Teresa. Paco es dueño de una tienda de cuadros y Tere es ama de casa. Paco tiene el pelo rizado y negro y lleva gafas. También tiene bigote, como mi padre en los Estados Unidos.  Él es muy alegre y sociable. A Paco le gusta mucho el fútbol y su equipo favorito es el Real Madrid. Tere también tiene el pelo negro, es un poco más alta que yo y es preciosa. Es cariñosa y compasiva. Me ayuda mucho con mi español y pasamos mucho tiempo juntas. De verdad ella es una mamá para mí y me siento confortable cuando hablo con ella.  También cocina comida deliciosa. Teresa tiene 26 años y es periodista de los deportes. Ella es delgada, tiene el pelo negro con flequillo y es guapa. A ella y a mí nos gusta pasar tiempo juntas en las tiendas, el gimnasio o en la casa. Toda mi familia española es amable y paciente conmigo. Ellos viven en un piso con dos pisos. En el primer piso hay una sala donde nosotros vemos los programas de la tele, la cocina donde cocinamos juntos y los dormitorios de Paco, Tere y Teresa. En el segundo piso está mi dormitorio, el espacio de trabajo de Teresa y un balcón. Es una casa perfecta para ellos y para mí. Yo no podría pedir una familia mejor para me integrara como parte de su familia. Ya les quiero como a mi familia americana. ¡Gracias Paco, Tere y Teresa!


My Spanish Family

On the 9th of January our Spanish families picked us up at the Hotel Campanile. It was an exciting moment, but also a little nerve-racking for all of us. Everyone was ready to go see their home for the next 4 months, start unpacking their suitcases, and eat a home cooked meal, including me. In orientation Cristina told us that every family is different and every family is special and unique in their own ways. I liked this phrase a lot because the students in CIEE know that our homestays are all going to be different but all of them will be valuable and positive in some way.


My Spanish family consists of a dad, Paco, a mom, Tere, and their daughter Teresa. Paco is the owner of a store that sells picture frames and Tere is a stay at home mom. Paco has black, curly hair and wears glasses. He also has a mustache like my dad in the US. He is always happy and very sociable. Tere also has short black hair, is a bit taller than me, and is lovely. She helps me a lot with my Spanish and we spend a lot of time together. She is truly a mother to me and I feel comfortable talking to her. She also cooks delicious food. Teresa is 26 years old and is a sports journalist. She is thin, has black hair with bangs, and is very pretty. She and I like to spend time together shopping, at the gym, or at home. Their house is a 2 story apartment. On the first floor there is a loving room where we watch TV, a kitchen where we eat together, and the family’s bedrooms. On the second floor is my room, Teresa’s workspace, and a balcony. It’s a perfect house for them and for me. All of my family is so kind and patient with me. I could not ask for a better family to take me into their home. I already love them like my American family. Thank you Paco, Tere, and Teresa!





Students in the ciee Alcalá program of Spring 2014 are here. Not all arrived on the same day unfortunately. The problems with the weather in the U.S. delayed or canceled several flights. The orientation was strange. Two students had not arrived and several suitcases were lost. Although Spring 2014 students were more awake than I imagined.


In the hotel we slept one night, we had a lunch and a dinner. It was fun to begin to know each other.


A Spanish student of Anthropology assisted us for three days.


We ate new dishes, tried some very different dishes to what students are accustomed.





  P1090177   P1090194


But we also worked hard. We talked about security, University of Alcalá, travel, medical insurance, courses, teachers, families, banks, etc.



Families arrived promptly at the hotel to pick up their new children.



 On Friday January 10th we went to Madrid, but Jessica was still missing :(




Classes began on January 13rd at UAH´s Benjamín Franklin Institute and students were able to visit and to meet the professors and instructors. 


Stay tuned!!!!! Please.





Our CIEE group reunion, “Re-entry / Reversal shock” was on December 7th.  Through numerous activities, we helped the students psychologically prepare for their return home, or at least to begin to think about it.  We made lists of pros and cons of the U.S. and Spain, our favorite food that we miss from home, and the people who are most important in our lives .

Reunión 3


On December 11st, students took part in the Graduation Ceremony, in which they were each recognized with a semester diploma from the University of Alcalá.  We took many photos and ate tapas that Instituto Benjamin Franklin provided.

529542_10152469275265884_844007983_n 182325_10152469275160884_1709165878_n



Final exams were December 17-18th. And on December 18th we also had our farewell lunch.



The time has gone by fast. Now, the only thing we have left to do is to wish you HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND  NEW YEAR!  Tomorrow our students are going to leave Alcalá. It will be a sad day :(




CIEE Alcalá de Henares LA study abroad FALL 2013 Newsletter 6.



Hi all, this is one more Fall 2013 Newsletter.

This last month has been very intense after November 1st.

The Institute Benjamin Franklin organized several class activities in November, such as a visit to “El Escorial” and the “Valle de los Caídos”, to “Residencia de Estudiantes” where Dalí, Lorca and Buñuel studied, to two rotary newspapers” and the city of Cuenca.



And we do not forget their individual trips of our Fall students to Barcelona, Roma, Paris, Dublin, Prague,…


  Simone en Praga

   And seeing as Fall always comes with lots of cultural activities, Alcalá also had its annual Film Festival “Alcine” from November 9-16 ( The most important part of the festival is: the National Short film contest.  


  Our second CIEE group reunion, “CULTURAL DIFFERENCES/HOW THINGS WORK) was on November 20th.  We talked about the courses and the professors, and the students completed mid-term evaluations. We shared feelings related to their families and friends.


  And, of course, our students continue improving their relationship with their families and friends.


  Just your typical massive bocadillo (hoagie)

December is coming very very soon. The time flies!!!!! The students will leave Alcalá de Henares on December 2oth. But before that day, we are going to joing more things and sharing with all of you here :) 

Thanks for reading this!



Real Madrid contra Atlético de Madrid

Derbi camisetas

Casi todo el mundo conoce “El Clásico,” el partido entre Real Madrid y Barcelona.  Mucha gente dice que es la rivalidad más feroz en deportes (¡Yo sé, es fútbol de Europa, en los Estados Unidos, son otras rivalidades más importantes en nuestro fútbol!).  Pero, hay otra rivalidad muy importante en España, especialmente en Madrid.  El partido entre el Real Madrid y el Atlético de Madrid.

El nombre de esta competición es “El Derbi madrileño.”  Derbi es una palabra que significa un partido entre dos equipos de la misma ciudad.  El Real Madrid juega en el centro de Madrid, y el Atlético juega en el sur (mira en el mapa, el Real Madrid es morado y Atlético es rojo).  La rivalidad es muy similar en el “derbi” de New York, entre New York Yankees, y New York Mets, pero el derbi madrileño es mucho más fuerte.  Los Yankees tienen mucho dinero, y ganan muchos partidos y campeonatos.  Los Mets no tienen tanto dinero, mucha gente crea que los Mets son el “hermanastro feo” en Nueva York. 

El Real Madrid es el equipo que todo el mundo conoce.  Los aficionados se llaman “madridistas.”  El equipo tiene camisetas que son blancas, y se llaman “los blancos” o “los merengues” (merengue es una postre muy dulce y blanco) de mucha gente.  Nombres par a la gente del Atlético de Madrid son “los Colchoneros” (sus camisetas son roja y blanca, lo mismo que los colchones que hacían en España hace muchos años) “los Rojiblancos” (combinación de las palabras rojo y blanco), y simplemente, los del Atleti.

Durante muchos años Real Madrid dominaba la competición.  El final partido que Atlético ganó era en el año 1999.  Pero, el año pasado, en “Copa del Rey” (una competición entre todos los equipos y divisiones en España) Atlético ganó contra Real Madrid en el final.  Este año, Atlético ganó el primero derbi.  Ahora, Real Madrid tiene menos puntos de Atlético Madrid. 


PS- Este blog es difícil para escribir para mí porque soy un gran aficionado del Real Madrid (o dicho de otra manera, soy madridista), y ¡odio al Atlético, especialmente a los aficionados!  Pero si estudias en Alcalá en el futuro, ¡no digas nada y mantén el secreto porque mi profesor de “La Dimensión Global del fútbol”es un gran aficionado de los rojiblancos, pero nuestra RD –Cristina Blanco- es aficionada del Real Madrid!

Cristina y yo

En inglés

Almost the entire world knows “The Classic,” the game between Real Madrid and Barcelona.  A lot of people say that the rivalry is the fiercest in sports (I know, it’s European Fooball, in the United States, there are other rivalries more important in our football!)  But, there is another rivalry that is very important in Spain, especially in Madrid.  The game between Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid.

The name of this competition is “El Derbi madrileño” (Madrid derby).  Derby is a word that means a game between two teams from the same city.  Real Madrid plays in the center of Madrid, and Atlético plays in the south (look at the map, Real Madrid is purple and Atlético is red).  The rivalry is very similar to the New York “derby” between the New York Yankees, and the New York Mets, but the Madrid derby is much stronger.  The Yankees have a lot of money, and win many games and championships.  The Mets do not have as much money, and many people believe that the Mets are the “ugly stepbrother” in New York.

Real Madrid is a team that the whole world knows.  Their fans are called “madridistas.”  The team has white jerseys, and they are called “the whites” or “the meringues” (meringue is a dessert that is very sweet and white) by many people.  Names for Atlético Madrid are “the mattresses” (their jerseys are red and white, the same as comforters that were used in Spain many years ago) “the red and whites” (a combination of the words red and white), and simply, Atleti.

For many years Real Madrid dominated the competition.  The final game that Atlético won was in 1999.  But the last year in “The Kings Cup” (a competition between all of the teams and divisions in Spain) Atlético won against Real Madrid in the final.  This year, Atlético won the first derby.  Now Real Madrid has fewer points than Atlético Madrid.

Carlos Atleti

PS- this bloc is very difficult to write for me because I am a huge fan of Real Madrid (or I’m a madridista), and I hate Atlético, especially the fans!  But if you study in Alcalá in the future, don’t say anything and keep the secret because my professor of “Global dimension of European Soccer” is a huge fan of the red and whites, although our RD –Cristina Blanco- is a fan of Real Madrid!


CIEE Alcalá de Henares LA study abroad FALL 2013 Newsletter 5.



To make the day a bit less bitter, we must not forget that we remember all the deceased, the popular wisdom generated the custom of eating special foods.

I will mention the sweets, because almost all the students have a sweet tooth, but diabetics or “top models” should refrain from trying them! If you peek into the window of  pastries shops in Alcalá de Henares, you’ll be able to see some of them and I’m sure you’ll want to go in and taste them.


  Saints’ bones. (Huesos de santo)

  Huesos-de-santo2 Foto de huesos de santo

If there’s one typical sweet for All Saints’ Day, it’s the “saints’ bones”. Made with a marzipan dough, these sweets are covered with a syrup and have different fillings. They are shaped like bones, which is where its name comes from. The saints’ bones make up part of the pastry and baked goods in Castile and Spain in general, and it’s very common to eat them across the peninsula on November 1st.


 Wind Fritters (Buñuelos o buñuelos de viento)


Buñuelos rellenos

Though they are perhaps more well-known toe at during “Holy Week”, these fritters are also eaten for All Saints’ Day. They’re very simple to make, and the recipe basically consists in a dough made with flour, sugar and a filling that could be one of many flavors. The fritters are cheaper and lighter than the Saints’ bones, and their roots go back to the “Deep Castile”.


  Quince Jelly (Dulce de membrillo)


This is a very fall treat because it’s during this time when the fruit is harvested from the Quince tree and a type of jelly or compote is made in the home. Careful, though: quince can’t be eaten raw. The jelly is made simply by boiling the pulp of the quince with the same amount of sugar, resulting in a block of jelly that can be cut to go with or fill different types of culinary dishes.


 “Pestiños” (There is no English translation!)



It’s tradition to eat them at this time of year. They’re pretty easy to make, since there are only three main ingredients: flour, olive oil and sugar, but the key is in frying the dough, and that’s another story. There are lots of variations of the recipe, sometimes adding lemon, honey or Jerez wine.


  Roasted chestnuts (Castañas asadas)


 Since All Saints’ Day is celebrated in fall, it isn’t strange that one of the most typical nuts is eaten to celebrate it: chestnuts. When they’re roasted they are very tasty, and can be easily eaten. The most common way to roast them is over a hot griddle, though they can also be roasted in the fireplace, in a bonfire or even in the oven.