This summer Samantha Rogers had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Seville, Spain with CIEE in their Language and Culture program, which encouraged immersion in the Spanish language. Samantha went abroad with the following goals: increasing her conversational level in Spanish, working with bilingual children, and participating in various aspects of the Spanish culture. Samantha lived with a family in Seville which included two parents and five children. Samantha became very close with the family she lived with-- she helped them cook, watched movies together,and spoke a lot. Samantha had many opportunities to discuss a variety of things with her host father from their favorite books to the differences in American and Spanish politics. While she did not get to interact with bilingual children in a classroom setting, Samantha did spend a lot of time with the children in her homestay. She became good friends with the youngest, Rafa, 9, who told her about his experiences learning English in school and outside of the classroom. Both of her classes were taught entirely in Spanish as were all of the tours and inter-cultural activities within her program. Samantha spoke Spanish as much as she possibly could-- she made friends with some Spanish students at the Universidad de Sevilla as well as friends with the neighbors who lived near her. CIEE took the participants on trips around Spain each weekend, so not only was Samantha able to learn about Sevillian culture, but she also had the opportunity to learn about Cadiz, Grenada, Jerez, and other cities in southern Spain. Samantha also had the opportunity to participate in a variety of cultural activities while in Spain. She able to attend multiple flamenco shows and also participated in a flamenco class taught at a dance studio near her homestay. Samantha attended a cooking class with CIEE where she learned how to make paella and sangria, two common foods in Seville. She also took a class on religion in Spain, in which they went on tours of places of worship, historic buildings which housed theocracies, and many other important locations. Samantha's experiences in Spain helped her complete all of the goals she had, but also helped her create lasting relationships with people in Spain and people in the CIEE program. Samantha's Spanish conversational skills improved greatly and she spent a lot of time learning about Spanish culture.
CEE Title: T.U.C.A.R.E.S., Temple University Community Advocating for Renewed Environmentalism and Sustainability
The Temple 2015 Vira I Heinz Cohort based their CEE on their observations of other countries’ environmental policies and problems. They wanted to address how the environment is not something to think about in a removed sense, and how easy it is to get involved with environmentalism and sustainability while living in the heart of North Philadelphia. Temple Student Government hosts an off-campus clean-up, though it usually has low attendance and no educational component. The Cohort coordinated with this program, Adopt-A-Block, as well as with on- and off-campus environmental organizations. The Cohort created the program T.U.C.A.R.E.S., Temple University Community Advocating for Renewed Environmentalism and Sustainability. The program took place on a Sunday morning-- the event attracted over 80 participants, which is more than two times the usual attendance of the Adopt-A-Block events. The Cohort began by sharing their experiences abroad, as well as what the Vira I Heinz Program entails. Two organizations within Temple University spoke about their missions and how to get involved on campus, as did an organization that works in the greater Philadelphia area. The organizations also set up informational tables and passed out flyers to the participants. After the discussion and instructions, the group was assigned specific blocks off of campus. The Cohort helped distribute gloves and trash bags to the participants, and then the groups split up. The participants and the Cohort left campus to clean up their blocks, which was greatly appreciated by the students and residents living off campus.