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CIEE Celebrates Groundbreaking for New Living and Learning Center in Berlin

CIEE Staff at Berlin Groundbreaking
CIEE staff members Benjamin Lorch, Catherine Scruggs, Caroline Maas, Cary Nathenson, Cornelia Mueller, and Dave Fougere celebrate the groundbreaking of CIEE’s new Global Institute – Berlin, during an official ceremony on October 17.

We’re one step closer to transforming study abroad in Berlin! On October 17, CIEE hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for our innovative new center for living and learning, the Global Institute – Berlin. Nearly 100 guests attended the event, including local dignitaries Thomas S. Miller, minister counselor for public affairs at the U.S. Embassy Berlin, and Dr. Peter Beckers, vice mayor of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, as well as CIEE staff and local community members. 

Thomas Miller Speaks at Berlin Groundbreaking
Thomas S. Miller, minister counselor for public affairs at the U.S. Embassy Berlin, stressed the importance of international experience for students during the groundbreaking event at the new CIEE Global Institute – Berlin.

Housed in a former factory building in Kreuzberg, one of Berlin’s liveliest and culturally rich districts, the new Global Institute – Berlin offers a U.S.-style residence life program integrated with a local German neighborhood. When renovations are completed, the campus will include a spacious residence hall for up to 200 American and German students, 12 state-of-the-art lecture rooms, studio space, café, and Discover Berlin office with resources to help students get the most out of their time in Berlin. Learn more.


Attendees of Berlin Groundbreaking
CIEE staff, students, and local community members attend the October 17 Global Institute – Berlin groundbreaking ceremony.





CIEE is excited to announce its partnership with the national 100,000 Strong Foundation to help increase the number and diversity of Americans studying in China.

The foundation is an offshoot of President Obama’s “100,000 Strong Initiative” started in 2009 to get 100,000 Americans to study in China by the end of this year. The U.S. Department of State already has achieved that goal, and the movement continues at the center of efforts to deepen connections between the United States and China. The 100,000 Strong Foundation is an independent bipartisan nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.

As a leader in study abroad in China for 35 years, CIEE is ideally positioned to help the foundation further its mission. With partner universities in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Taipei, and Hong Kong, CIEE offers study abroad and exchange programs to U.S. high school and college students, and enrichment seminars to U.S. faculty and administrators.

“Our broad portfolio of programs and partners allows us to serve nearly 600 participants each year, giving them skills and knowledge of Chinese language and culture that opens new perspectives and helps shape career options and choices,” said James P. Pellow, Ed.D., CIEE’s president and CEO. “We’re proud to have been selected by the 100,000 Strong Foundation and look forward to many new initiatives designed to support our mutual goals to create new opportunities for students to advance their Mandarin language skills and gain rich cultural experiences in China.”

Specific partnership initiatives include:

• Selecting and supporting 10 students each year to serve as 100,000 Strong Student Ambassadors
• Cross-promoting activities that highlight China as a study-abroad destination
• Increasing the number and diversity of Americans learning Mandarin and studying in China  

“CIEE strives to support programs that have real impact,” Pellow said. “Our partnership with the 100,000 Strong Foundation will provide American students and faculty with concrete opportunities to know China better, to know the Chinese people better, and to understand the Chinese culture better. It complements similar CIEE initiatives in Brazil, Russia, and India, and will help young Americans become more successful global leaders in the decades ahead.”


Update on Explosion in Chile

According to reports from CIEE staff in Chile, the area in and around campus and student housing continues to be unaffected and safe.

Each year on September 11, demonstrations, marches, and protests in downtown Santiago mark the anniversary of the 1973 overthrow of President Allende and installation of General Pinochet. Officials reported clashes with vandals and arrests overnight, but these events took place far from our students. Following guidance from the U.S. State Department, we continue to advise students to avoid protests, as well as suspicious packages or unattended backpacks in public areas.

CIEE staff remains on-call 24/7, and we will continue to monitor events in Chile.

Bill Bull
Director, Health, Safety, and Security


Terror Threat Raised in Spain

You may have heard that today the Spanish Secretary of State for Security ordered increased security measures as the government raised the level of the terror threat in Spain. There are five levels of terrorist risk (with two sublevels), from 0 (no risk) to 5 (extreme risk). The government has increased the level from “2 low” to “2 high.” Spain’s security agencies are stepping up their monitoring efforts at the country’s airports, train stations, hospitals, government buildings, and other key sites in response to the heightened sense of risk.

The safety and security of students, faculty, and staff is our first priority. Our on-site and regional staff will continue to monitor and assess the situation and are sharing this information directly with students. In the event that there are issues in Spain, we have emergency contingency plans in place to assess the situation quickly and fluidly and take appropriate courses of action. We work closely with local and global security professionals and the U.S. Embassy to make informed decisions, and have protocols in place that allow us to make both small and large-scale changes to our programs as necessary.

We will remain in close contact with students and will advise them to:

• Register with the U.S. Department of State at
• Avoid any demonstrations or protests that might occur during their time in Spain
• Stay up to date on all government advice via local news sources
• Purchase a local phone to ensure immediate access
• Keep emergency numbers in Spain and Portland in easily accessible places
• Inform CIEE staff of travel plans

We will continue to keep you informed of developments in Spain as needed.

Bill Bull
Director, Health, Safety, and Security

Explosion in Chile

Today, there are reports of an explosion of a small improvised explosive device (IED) in the coastal city of Vina del Mar, Chile. Earlier this week, Chilean media reported an explosion of a device in a subterranean commercial area, the latest in a series of explosions in public locations over the last several weeks that suggest a potential risk to citizens in Santiago. I want to reassure you that all students on CIEE programs in Chile are safe and have been informed of the incident, as well as the potential for similar events, particularly in the days around September 11, which marks the anniversary of the 1973 military coup against President Allende. The Chilean government has called these latest incidents acts of terrorism, and the U.S. Embassy has recommended that U.S. citizens increase their vigilance and avoid suspicious packages or unattended backpacks in public areas as well as on public transportation in Santiago.

Per U.S. Embassy recommendations, CIEE has informed all students in Chile about these incidents and provided tips for staying safe, including increasing vigilance, avoiding suspicious packages or unattended backpacks in public areas and on public transportation, and avoiding certain prominent public areas. Additionally, all students have been enrolled in the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which provides students with the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate to contact students directly in an emergency.

CIEE is in regular contact with the State Department and local authorities, and is closely monitoring the security situation in Chile through all available outlets. In the meantime, CIEE’s programs in Chile have not been interrupted, and daily life for Chileans and CIEE students continues normally.

Safety is our top priority. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and remain in contact with students. We will provide additional updates as needed as the situation progresses.

Bill Bull Director, Health, Safety, and Security


CIEE Academic Director for Architecture and Design Presents New Ideas for Urban Design at 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival

This summer, Maria Aiolova, LEED AP, CIEE academic director for architecture and design and co-founder of Terreform ONE, was invited to the prestigious 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival to present on “Post-Sustainability: New Directions in Ecological Urban Design.” With co-presenter and co-founder of Terreform ONE, Mitchell Joachim, Ph.D., Maria examined the socio-ecological possibilities for New York City and other urban environments around the world.

Held annually in Aspen, Colorado, by the Aspen Institute, the festival is the nation’s premier gathering place for leaders to discuss ideas and issues that shape our lives. This year the event celebrated its tenth anniversary with the theme “Imagining 2024.” Guest presenters – including former United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and actor Robert De Niro – and festival attendees explored questions that included: What will the next ten years bring? What form will climate change take? What dynamics will shape our societies at home and abroad?


Aiolova_Joachim - Aspen Ideas Festival
Maria Aiolova and Mitchell Joachim, co-founders of Terreform ONE, present on their vision of global sustainability during the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival, June 27 - July 3.

Maria also participated in two round-table discussions in which leaders generated ideas to global challenges, such as inspiring the next generation of innovators and mitigating the impact of extreme weather on the world’s poorest communities.

Discover how CIEE programs help students find solutions for the critical issues facing cities around the world here.


CIEE Carefully Monitoring Ebola Virus

Given recent news coverage about the Ebola virus, we’d like to assure you that we’re keeping a close eye on the situation. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the U.S. State Department, there is no need to suspend or close programs in Ghana or Senegal, the African countries where we host study abroad programs. No international travel organization has announced travel restrictions to Senegal or Ghana, and officials maintain that risk in these countries is low.

Your students’ safety is our top priority. Our experienced health and safety team continues to closely watch this situation and has protocols in place. Questions? Send us an email or call us at 1-800-40-STUDY.


Three-Day Excursions Enrich Summer Short-Term Programs

What’s better than studying abroad in the summer? An international summer program that allows you to see even more of the world! That’s the goal of CIEE’s new Intercultural Comparative Weekends. Now part of every CIEE Short-Term Summer Programs, these three-day excursions allow participants to experience multiple cultures, and encourage connections and insights.

 In mid-July, our second group of nearly 400 students traveled from 17 CIEE Study Centers in Europe, Latin American, Africa, and the Middle East to one of eight international cities: Barcelona; Berlin; Istanbul; London; Mexico City; Paris; Santiago, Chile; and Toubab Dialaw, Senegal. (Students ranked their top four destination choices, and 70 percent traveled to their first choice.)

Over three days in each location, students were guided through a range of activities that included an art and architecture tour; music, dance or theater performances; and community service geared toward relevant social issues, as they explored urban sustainability, cultural identity, immigration, gentrification, community engagement, and more.

“I really enjoyed the East End tour. Normally when you think about London, you think of Buckingham Palace, the houses of Parliament…,” said one student from University of Pittsburgh. “This opened my eyes to an important part of London's culture that I didn't know existed.”  

After two successful Intercultural Comparative Weekends, we’re already planning new destinations for next summer. “It’s so rewarding to see students apply the new intercultural skills they’re learning to understand a culture that’s very different from the one they’ve been experiencing,” says Catharine Scruggs, executive director of Study Abroad program management at CIEE. “We look forward to keeping this momentum going.”  

Visit Facebook  to see more photos from our worldwide Intercultural Comparative Weekends.


U.S. Students Travel to New York and Venice with CIEE for World’s Leading Architecture and Design Forum

This spring, CIEE teamed up with New York University (NYU), Terreform ONE, and La Biennale di Venezia to give 10 U.S. architecture and design students a chance to work with experts in the field and take part in the leading international architecture and design forum.

 The new Venice Biennale Workshop, held May 27 to -June 7, gave students from NYU and the Rhode Island School of Design hands-on access to innovative architecture and design methods and models.

 Students began their adventure in New York City at the offices of Terreform ONE, a nonprofit design group that focuses on urban solutions for sustainable energy, infrastructure, food, water, and more. Students learned cutting-edge methods for forecasting population growth of the world’s densest cities using a model called the “Bio City Map of 11 Billion.”When I signed up for the Venice Biennale Workshop, I expected an educational experience,” said NYU student and workshop participant Lila Faria. “I didn't expect to find myself … painting with bacteria or bonding with an amazing group of motivated, hardworking people who opened my mind to ways of thinking that I had never considered.”

 The group then traveled to Venice, Italy, for the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, an international event held every two years to showcase art, film, and architecture. In Venice, students focused on the latest advances in design and architecture for urban projects, and helped to install Terreform ONE’s exhibit – the official selection at this prestigious event. According to NYU student and participant Jake Madoff, “The best part, was that as an architectural researcher working with Terreform ONE, I was able to attend events where I could speak with the many talented architects who were participating in the Biennale Architettura. I learned quite a bit from speaking with such professionals and made connections that will hopefully benefit my prospective career in design.”

 The workshop grew out of CIEE’s Global Architecture and Design programs, in which students work with experts to explore how innovation and technology can help cities become self-sufficient, while they explore and connect with new cultures. These dynamic programs are offered in New York City, Barcelona, Berlin, and Prague.

 View photos from the Venice Biennale and hear what students said about their experience below.

 "When I signed up for the Venice Biennale Workshop, I expected an educational experience. I didn't expect to find myself hanging off a piece of scaffolding 15 feet in the air at the Palazzo Mora, painting with bacteria, or bonding with an amazing group of motivated, hardworking people who opened my mind to ways of thinking that I had never considered.

The workshop was inspiring, engaging, and incredibly fun. When I wasn't working on the exhibition, I explored Venetian gardens, sketched impressions of the city on scenic walking tours, practiced my networking skills at black-tie parties, and learned more about the future of architecture in one week than (probably) the rest of my life put together."


Lila Faria – New York University

Venice Biennale Workshop Participant

Photo 2CIEE architecture and design students helpinstall Terreform ONE’s exhibit, “Bio City Map of 11 Billion” at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice (Italy) Biennale.


 "When Professor (Mitch) Joachim invited me to join the team, I had two impressions of what my week in Venice would be like: I'd help install ‘Bio City Map of 11 Billion,’ and I'd attend the Venice Architecture Biennale. What I didn't expect were the remarkably, ineffably wonderful moments in between. Recurring intervals of awe, appreciation, and realization at the significance of this opportunity hit me more times than I could count.

 I am graciously thankful for every member of the team – it has been a wonderful learning experience in working and traveling a foreign city together. I am ever more grateful to Mitch Joachim, Maria Aiolova, and Nurhan Gokturk. Our team could not have asked for more incredible, inspiring thought leaders."


Jesslyn Guntur – New York University

Venice Biennale Workshop Participant T1 biennale US PavilionCIEE U.S. students and Maria Aiolova, CIEE academic director for architecture and design, (fifth from left) take a break during the Venice Biennale, held in June in Venice, Italy.

"I was lucky enough to be part of the Venice Biennale Architettura 2014, and experience all that Venice, Italy, and the world of architecture has to offer.

 The journey started at the studio of Terreform ONE. They are the innovative minds and architects of the ‘Bio City Map,’ a piece that follows the geometry of the Dymaxion map, and visually translates raw population data via dynamic elevations on the front, and colonized E. coli on the back. At their studio, I worked as an architectural researcher; I learned about the salient principles of cartography, demography, synthetic biology, and visual design; I, along with my peers, constructed a vacuum form from scratch and traveled to a lab where we studied biohacking and manipulated bacteria. During this portion, I came to understand each step in the overall design procedure – from concept to construction – and became acquainted with a group of thoroughly educated and affable people.

After the installation was complete and food digested, we traveled to the various architectural exhibitions. ‘Fundamentals’ was this year's theme; handles, doors, windows, beams, walls, lights, and shapes were some of the many fundamental features highlighted in the exhibits. We saw works by French, Danish, Chinese, Spanish, Italian, German, Russian, Korean, and American architects. One of my favorites was Denmark's pavilion.

The best part was that as an architectural researcher working with Terreform ONE, I was able to attend events where I could speak with the many talented architects who were participating in the Biennale Architettura. I learned quite a bit from speaking with such professionals and made connections that will hopefully benefit my prospective career in design.

This workshop and trip were absolutely terrific. I met brilliant people, worked with prominent architects, traveled to Venice, and gained diverse experiences that changed my life for the better. I would like to thank Mitchell Joachim and Maria Aiolova for making this whole thing possible. Thank you."


Jake Madoff – New York University

Venice Biennale Workshop Participant

Photo 1CIEE students assemble the “Bio City Map of 11 Billion” at the world’s leading architecture forum in June in Venice, Italy.

Photo 3
CIEE students help install Terreform ONE’s “Bio City Map of 11 Billion,” which received top honors at the world’s most prestigious architecture and design event in Venice, Italy.




New Three-Day Excursions Give Students Another View of the World

Last weekend, nearly 400 students enhanced their summer studies abroad by traveling from 15 locations to one of seven international cities for three days of guided exploration. New this summer, CIEE’s Intercultural Comparative Experience Weekends allow students on short-term programs to compare multiple cultures and make connections that lead to meaningful insights.


Whether a student went from Prague to Berlin or Amman to Istanbul, these amazing three-day weekends provided a new intercultural lens through a range of components: an art and architecture tour; music, dance or theater; community service tied to relevant social issues; and specially designed curriculum to help students tie together their experiences. In Barcelona, for example, students explored Park Güell, a garden complex designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, and enjoyed tapas and a Flamenco performance. After a look at events that have shaped Catalan identity, students then examined the Catalan perspective on some current issues, including boundary disputes, nationality, and the economy. Finally, they met with supporters of the pro-Catalonia independence movement and participated in folk traditions.


Visit Facebook  to see more photos from our first worldwide Intercultural Comparative Experience Weekends.