What CEA’s AICAP Program Gave to My Study Abroad Experience
CEA surpassed all of my dreams of what a study abroad program could be. From amazing teachers who want to give you their worldly knowledge to tapas classes taught by some of the best chefs in Barcelona, CEA really had it all. One of my favorite parts of CEA was the AICAP program. Academic Integrated Cultural Activities Programs, helps you connect your experiences outside the classroom with the content you learn in class. For a small deposit, CEA students are given the option to attend additional trips, whether that be day or weekend trip, to explore different places around their country. While in Barcelona I took advantage of these cheap excursions. I went on both a weekend trip to Valencia and a day trip to the Eudald winery and Sitges.
This quick trip to Sitges and the AICAP program in general gave me the opportunity to use what I had learned in the classroom to apply it to the real world. My favorite class I took was Communication and Global Competence. In this class we would learn about the cultural differences between American and Spanish culture. So much about our day-to-day lives abroad made more sense and we were able to adjust our American tendencies to better fit within the Spanish setting. It made me feel more immersed in the culture because I understood it better and I don’t think I would have gotten this deep of a cultural experience without both my class and taking advantage of the AICAP programs.
Although it was only a day, we were able to see and explore so much. The day began at the winery where we learned about different types of wine and how they are made. We learned all about the traditional cava that is famous in Spain. And we even got to try some out! We passed around the parron, which we learned is a pitcher that is used to drink or serve wine in Spain.
After buying a couple of bottles of cava for my family who was coming the next week, we headed toward the ocean, to the tiny town of Sitges. I had been to Sitges a couple weeks earlier for the annual Carnival festival, but seeing it in the daylight was even better than I imagined.
After we explored the boardwalk and the famous church of Sitges, we were able to go out on our own and explore. My friends and I got un cafe con leche along the ocean and soaked up the sun, which we hadn’t seen in awhile. It was the perfect day trip from Barcelona.
Without CEA giving me the opportunity to see these places less than an hour from Barcelona, I probably would have never seen them! My advice is to take full advantage of all of the opportunities CEA gives you. You never realize how fast time flies by until it’s over. You can never learn or explore too much!
Katie Ortiz is a CEA Alumni. She studied abroad in Barcelona in the Spring of 2017 and is currently a senior at the University of Michigan.