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23 posts categorized "Resident Director"




By Elly Alexander

Indiana University-Bloomington


In the “Spanish for Healthcare Professionals” class, you spend the first two weeks studying specific health care terms and getting an in depth look at the public health system in Spain, and spend the last two weeks shadowing a doctor in a field of your choosing. You get to pick your own hours (in accordance with the schedule of your doctor) to shadow, and it gives you a lot of freedom to enjoy a lot of different experiences within the hospital and in Spain in general.

My experience in the hospital at Alcala was perhaps one of the most important cultural experiences that I had during my month in Spain. I got a chance to experience what the public health system was really like: the good, the bad and the ugly. I got a chance to interact with an extremely knowledgeable doctor who gave a good insight into the differences between the two systems and was extremely warm and welcoming. More than anything, I got to interact with Spanish speaking clientele, which helped me improve my level of understanding and speaking immensely. I walked away with an above average perspective on the good and bad parts of the public health system, and a huge appreciation for the doctors in Spanish hospitals. Overall, it was a great experience that I would highly recommend to anyone looking to go into the health profession. It’s definitely a unique opportunity that you would be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.




We have our 3rd CIEE meeting to talk about what is going on? on March 20.

Móvil marzo 2013 541

 Semana Santa (Holy Week/Easter) vacation was from March 22nd to April 1st. All of the students explored other cities in Spain and Europe.


Lagos portugal.jpg 2

 Students were visiting different places (Soria, Cuenca, El País editorial department, AS editorial department, Don Quijote rute, …) with IBF professors.

Valerie y El País

Valerie y As
 Our students were invited to "US Young Leaders in Spain" at UAH.

Us leaders 2

We have our last CIEE meeting to talk about Reversal Shock on April 16 and also we expressed our support and sincerest sympathies to our colleagues and all those who were directly impacted by the incident at the Boston Marathon the day before.

There were many cultural activities during the Cervantes Award Week (Premio Cervantes). The award is given to the best writer in the Spanish language. This year the winner was José Caballero Bonald.

 At midday of April 17th was the Diplomas Ceremony for Spring 2013 students. Afterwards we had a picnic inside Trinitarios building the gardens outside the school.





Final exams were on April 24th and 25th so the weeks before were filled with work and anticipation, as is normal this time of year.


Our Farewell Coffee/Tea was on April 25th; right after the exams had ended. It was a sad afternoon!!! But, 5 students will be in Alcalá with their regular university courses, so I will not be alone ;) until Summer 2013 program starts.







¿Quiénes son Cristina y Fausto? Se puede decir que Cristina y Fausto son los directores de CIEE para nuestro grupo en Alcalá de Henares, pero creo que son más. Además de ser nuestros profesores y mentores durante nuestro tiempo en Alcalá, funcionan como nuestros terceros padres (¡qué suerte que tenemos padres de verdad, de España y ellos!) El día que llegamos Cristina estaba esperando en el aeropuerto con un anuncio de CIEE hasta que todo el grupo llegó a Madrid. Su sonrisa grande y su cariñosa manera de ser me calmó inmediatamente. Antes de conocer a nuestras familias, pasamos dos días de orientación en los cuales aprendimos un poco sobre la cultura y las normas de España, la seguridad y el Instituto en donde estudiaríamos. También, ella es nuestra profesora de la clase de gramática en el Instituto y su oficina siempre está abierta para discutir o charlar sobre cualquiera duda o problema. Fausto es nuestro tutor y líder de los viajes. Cada semana, tenemos la oportunidad de una tutoría si necesitamos ayuda con una clase o simplemente queremos más práctica para hablar. Durante la orientación, él nos introdujo las ciudades de Alcalá y Madrid. También, tenemos dos viajes con CIEE durante el semestre. El primer viaje fuimos a Extremadura y Fausto nos enseñó mucho sobre las historias de las tres ciudades que visitamos: Cáceres, Mérida y Trujillo. Mi parte favorita fue ver el teatro, el anfiteatro y el acueducto de los Milagros en Mérida que había estudiado en Historia de Arte en el Instituto. El segundo viaje fuimos a León, Rueda y Las Cuevas del Valporquero. Vimos las vidrieras magníficas de la Catedral de León, probamos vino blanco muy rico de la región de Rueda y exploramos cuevas subterráneas con estalagmitas increíbles.



Who are Cristina and Fausto? One could say that Cristina and Fausto are the CIEE directors for our group in Alcalá de Henares, but I think they are more. Other than being our professors and mentors during our time in Alcalá, they function as our third parents (how lucky we are to have real parents, Spanish parents, and them!) The day we arrived Cristina was waiting in the airport with a CIEE sign until everyone in our group arrived in Madrid. Her big smile and caring demeanor immediately calmed my nerves. Before meeting our families, we spent two days of orientation in which we learned a little bit about Spanish culture and norms, safety, and the Institute where we would be studying. Also, she is our Grammar professor at the Institute and her office is always open to discuss any doubt or problem. Fausto is our tutor and trip leader. Every week, CIEE students have the opportunity for a tutor session if we need help with a class or simply want more practice talking. During orientation, he introduced us to the cities of Alcalá and Madrid. Also, we have two trips with CIEE throughout the semester. The first trip we went to Extremadura and Fausto taught us a lot about the histories of the three cities we visited: Cáceres, Mérida, and Trujillo. My favorite part was seeing the theater, amphitheater, and Miraculous Aqueduct in Mérida that I studied in Art History at the Institute. The second trip we went to León, Rueda, and The Caves of Valporquero. We saw the magnificent stained-glass windows of the León Cathedral, tasted delicious white wine in the region of Rueda, and explored subterranean caves with incredible stalagmites. 550052_454717414596811_883051026_n 473_454734447928441_216977233_n



Meeting with Spanish students from the University is always a highlight of our first week. January 16 was the “Spanish-CIEE students get-together” in the Cervecería EL PORTÓN. 7 Spaniards had our 9 students all to themselves, to talk, have something to drink, make plans to meet up another day, etc.  


Our first CIEE meeting in February 6th, to talk about adapting to Alcalá and Culture Shock, was very interesting because we were able to see how the students feel and their differences that they have had when facing new experiences.

        Reunión 1 de CIEE  (1)

February started off in the Instituto Benjamin Franklin with the Friday visits and excursions: Segovia, El Escorial y Valle de Los Caídos, Cervantes House, Soccer Stadium “Vicente Calderón”, Naval Museum of Madrid, Barrio de las Letras… But also they had their personal excursions and field trips.

  Amanda en la Alhambra 2

Abby, Lily y Molly Segovia
Sean en la nieve


The relationships with their families are very good. Our students are one more member.

  Becca y su familia

  Lily y sus hermanas

 February was also carnival month in Spain. Some students wore costumes to celebrate.

           Carnaval 1

February 15-17th the CIEE group went to Extremadura (Cáceres, Mérida y Trujillo). We had a great time and it gave the students a chance to relax a bit two weekends before midterm exams.









January has finally arrived and so have our 9 students for Spring 2013.  CIEE staff was at the airport to welcome them and to begin the orientation, as well. The students arrived safely and no luggage was lost. I think it was the first time in my RD life… ;)


The first day in the Hotel Campanile ( was dedicated to sleeping and resting. We didn’t leave the hotel and even had dinner there, so that the jet lag wasn’t so bad. The students slept very well, more than we expected.


Orientation on the second day was very productive. The students paid close attention in all of the sessions regarding: safety, course registration, rules on the trips, housing, computer use, cultural differences, semester objectives, trips, language commitment, etc. because of they slept many hours the night before :)


The food, as always, is a new adventure for the new arrivals.  During orientation we had varied menus ranging from fish (the restaurants were nice enough to serve it without the head or bones knowing we were Americans) to chicken and salads. 


On Wednesday 9th, our students met their families and got to know their new homes. They were really calm because our students knew their families before coming.




Friday the 11st we went to Madrid to learn how to use the suburban train and the metro, as well as taking a long walk around the city to see important sites in Spain’s capital.




So…CIEE Alcalá Spring 2013 has already begun!!!!!!!!! 


Cassandra Tumolo (Villanova University)-CIEE Alcalá-Fall 2012: Fausto y Cristina

Before coming to Spain, I had no idea what to expect; there were so many emotions and thoughts that were running through my mind. What if I won’t be able to survive because of the language? What if my host family doesn’t like me? What if my group thinks I am weird? Questions like this were running through my head the entire summer. However, one of my biggest worries was: what about my directors? Who are they? What are they like? Will they help us or drop us off a cliff to survive on our own?     

  López 1

After arriving in Madrid and sitting in the airport with another student, I was definitely antsy to find out who Cristina is. Yes I saw pictures and heard her voice during our online orientation over the summer, but regardless, I kept asking myself, who is Cristina? When I met Cristina in the airport holding a CIEE sign with a smile on her face from ear to ear, she greeted me with a huge hug; not too long after our other director, Fausto, joined us. Both Fausto and Cristina eased us all in to make sure we were comfortable and happy. From that point on, all of my doubts as to who our directors are went away. Cristina and Fausto are nice, funny, fun, and are great directors! They make you feel comfortable and help build your confidence. They are always there for help whenever you need it and it is always done with a smile on their face. In other words, they are like the papa and mama bird of this 11 person family we created.  I am so thankful for such great directors who I know will be so helpful during our time here abroad.

  López 2

Antes de venir a España, no tenía ni idea de qué esperar, había tantas emociones y pensamientos que corrían por mi mente. ¿Y si no puedo sobrevivir con la lengua? ¿Y si mi grupo piensa que soy rara? Preguntas como estas estuvieron en mi mente todo el verano. Sin embargo, una preocupación fundamental era: ¿Cómo son mis directores? ¿Quiénes son? ¿Qué son? ¿Nos ayudan o nos dejan en un acantilado para sobrevivir con nuestros propios medios, por nosotros mismos? 

  López 3

Después de llegar a Madrid y sentarme en el aeropuerto con otro estudiante, yo estaba ansiosa y busqué a Cristina. Sí, yo vi las fotos y escuché su voz durante nuestra orientación en línea, pero yo continuamente  me preguntaba: ¿Quién es Cristina? Cuando conocí a Cristina en el aeropuerto con un cartel CIEE con una sonrisa en su cara de oreja a oreja, ella me saludó con un abrazo enorme, y no mucho tiempo después nuestro otro director, Fausto, se unió a nosotros.

López 4

Fausto y Cristina nos han facilitado la transición en España.  Como resultado, nosotros estábamos contentos y cómodos.  ¡Cristina y Fausto son agradables, divertidos y unos directores increíbles! Te hacen sentirte cómodo y ayudan a construir tu confianza con la lengua. Ellos siempre están allí para ayudarnos cuando lo necesitamos y siempre tienen una sonrisa en la cara. En otras palabras, Cristina y Fausto son como el pájaro papá y mamá de esta familia de once personas que hemos creado. Estoy agradecida por los maravillosos directores que conozco, siempre estarán allí para el grupo durante nuestro semestre en el extranjero.




Our students arrived in Alcalá on the first day of orientation. They were all pretty tired.  All of them of the students arrived safe.


During our orientation we stayed in Hotel Campanile in the most modern area of Alcalá de Henares (La Garena).  The hotel was equipped with wireless Internet, which gave the students a chance to write home. The students were calm. They also ate different Spanish dishes.



We had various informational meetings about safety in Alcalá, insurance, trips, classes, cell phones, transportations, family rules, etc.



But the most exciting moment of all was getting to meet the families.  



The culture and history of Alcalá is always an important part of our orientation.  We took 2 fieldtrips to “La casa de Cervantes,” where Miguel Cervantes was born, “La Iglesia de Santa María”, main street, the cathedral, and the convent with nuns from the Order of St. Clare, where we tasted the famous sweet almonds, handmade for the nuns, as usual.  They learnt how to use computers rooms and computer cards. 





Friday, September 7th we all went to Madrid to learn how to take the train and the metro. We also took a long walk and saw some of the most interesting parts the capital of Spain has to offer. We had a group lunch and also we went to the cinema theatre.



Classes began September 4th at UAH´s Benjamín Franklin Institute and students were able to visit and to meet the professors and instructors. The 12nd Fausto Zamora will begin his tutoring sessions exclusively for CIEE students.  


3rd News Letter from CIEE Alcalá-Spring 2012

February was also CARNIVAL month in Spain. Some students wore costumes to celebrate and almost all of them went to Alicante with Erasmus Students (European) for celebrating.Two students went to Prague.

Alicante 1

We can’t forget the volunteering, 2 girls from University of Vermont and The Pennsylvania State University, go to different schools around Alcalá de Henares. And there are one girl and two boys from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Gustavus Adolphus College and Beloit College who teach English to children, which they are paid for, a small amount.

Brianna y voluntariado

The students carry on with their adaptation to Spanish life and almost all of the students meet with their language conversation partner regularly or spend time with their families and Spanish friends.

  Danny con VIoleta


Students from Wisconsin-Milwaukee (School of Letters) and Gustavus Adolphus College (School of Law) are registered in regular University courses and go to their distinct classes around Universidad de Alcalá down town campus.

       Andrei y coca cola


February (28th and 29th) and March 1st finished with midterms in our CIEE advanced grammar classes as well as in the rest of the classes at the Benjamin Franklin Institute. One week after, the instructors and professors reported grades that reflected that there needs to be more study time and a balance between work hours and hours for fun.

 On Wednesday, March 7, we had the second CIEE Meeting, in which we continued talking about their adaptation.



Students are traveling on their own and many have started to explore Spain as well as other cities in Europe.

  Chicas en Amsterdam

  Chicas en Bernabéu












First days in CIEE Alcalá-Spring 2012

The Spring 2012 program began with the arrival of the students on January 9th and there we were to receive them in Madrid-Barajas international airport, Cristina Blanco (Resident director) y Fausto Zamora (cultural professor on CIEE trips and tutor at weekly sessions). This semester I will not have assistant.

 Several students were already waiting for us calmly in the cafeteria and around terminal 1, tired and anxious for a good shower, food that wasn’t from a plastic container like on the plane, and of course, to sleep. 


The first day in Hotel Campanile ( was to sleep, rest up and talk with their family and friends from the US to tell them that they had arrived. We ate in a restaurant about 100 


And the moment to meet the families finally arrived on day three. It is always a special day because of the anxiousness of the families, even though they have many years of experience, and even of the CIEE Staff to see if we’ve done a good job housing each of the students with a family, but this time our students were calm for the first time on CIEE history.       


Afterwards we went to the dorms to take the only new student who would be living there. But she wasn’t going to be alone: the two AYP students live there and they’ll be wonderful hosts 


Classes began on Thursday, January 12th in the Benjamin Franklin Institute. The 11th and 12th in the afternoon we had our walking tour to all of the UAH buildings and other places in the middle of Alcalá, like interesting supermarkets, paper shops where they can buy school supplies, libraries, coffee shops with wifi, the train and bus station, etc.


Friday, January 13th – it wasn’t bad luck because in Spain that fateful day is Tuesday the 13th – we went all together to Madrid. The aim of this excursion is to learn how to use the commuter train and the metro, to not be afraid of the big city, in addition to taking a long walk to some of the points of interest in Spain’s capital, eating together, and offering them to see a Spanish movie in the cinema.







CIEE Alcalá Spring 2012 started.

Small group,  big-hearted people!





Orientation issues:


Cell phones time:


Afternoon session:


Spanish dishes, Spanish Dinner:




Residence's Student:



Fausto was explaining:


Buying adaptors:


"A" Students, I mean: Anna, Alex and Andrei in Alcalá.