Tag Archives: Spain

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Q&A: Nick Bondy

Since 1990, Forum-Nexus has provided one-of-a-kind study abroad programs for 27 years to over 3,300 students and counting. Our team of faculty and staff is made up of internationally diverse, successful individuals who are all equally passionate about travel and education. For the next few months, we’ll be sharing Q&As with those who lead the FN team year-round.

We caught up with one of our Admissions Advisors to learn about his favorite moments from traveling with Forum-Nexus over the years, and how studying abroad has inspired him to pursue an international master’s degree. Get to know the adventurous and ambitious Nick Bondy… #ThisisForumNexus

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Courtesy of Nick Bondy

Q: Tell us about your background. In what cities and countries have you lived? Where did you study?

NB: I have lived in the Detroit Metro area of Michigan my entire life. I received my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in May of 2016 from the University of Detroit Mercy. I will be moving to Barcelona in the fall for the first leg of a traveling master’s program.

Q: How many times have you participated in FN programs?

NB: I have participated in the Forum-Nexus programs for 2 summers now. In 2015 I was a student assistant, and in 2016 I was a staff member. I am very excited to return for round 3 this summer!

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Q: What are your responsibilities as a FN staff member?

NB: As an Admissions Advisor, I am in charge of reaching out to interested students during the academic year. I answer questions about the program and share my experiences with them. I work with an Admissions Committee to recruit amazing students from around the world.

Q: What languages do you speak?

NB: I speak English fluently and I can speak Spanish at a conversational level; however, I try my best to learn the basics in every country that I visit. I can say please, thank you, hello, and cheers in about 10 languages!

Q: What do you find special about Forum-Nexus?

NB: Forum-Nexus is unique because it’s hyperactive! In just 5 weeks students are able to see some of the top travel destinations of the world while also taking relevant courses and earning valuable credits. Even our fearless leader Dr. Hugo Hervitz is extremely active; he keeps things very positive and very fun for everyone.

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Q: How does participating in FN help students with their future careers?

NB: Participation in FN adds depth to students’ abilities. It combines cross-cultural experience with higher education, building skills that many other students are unable to attain. On top of that, it lays the groundwork for a global network. Fellow students, staff, faculty, and our hosts at various universities and international companies are just some of the connections that FN students make and use to advance in their future careers.

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Q: Why are professional visits important for FN students?

NB: Professional visits are vital to the FN experience! Our professional visits are one of the coolest things that our program has to offer. The ability for students to see exactly what an international education can do for them is key. It allows them to not just see the potential for their future, but for the future of globalization itself.

Q: Which are your favorite cities in the FN itinerary and why?

NB: One of my favorite cities of all time is Barcelona. I actually went to Spain for the first time in high school with my Spanish class. Barcelona is amazing to me because there is so much youth but also so much history. Not to mention there is a very large skateboarding scene, which I am a fan of. Chamonix is also absolutely breathtaking to me. I love the outdoors, so the opportunity to hike and enjoy nature during the program was an awesome surprise for me.

Q: What is your favorite activity you did as a FN student?

NB: When I was a student with Forum-Nexus, my absolute favorite activity was participating in a professional visit to the United Nations. I never imagined myself visiting the UN headquarters in Geneva! I was absolutely astounded when we walked through the halls and saw all of the huge conference rooms.

And as a staff member this past summer, I really enjoyed hiking in Chamonix, seeing waterfalls, gorges, and taking in the mountain views, which was a very nice break between the big cities.

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Courtesy of Nick Bondy

 Q: What is your advice to future FN students on how to benefit the most from their study abroad experience?

NB: My best advice for fully benefitting from your experience with Forum-Nexus is to pause and reflect every few days or so to put the things you’re experiencing into perspective. This will help you fully understand what you can do with your international education.

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Q: What is one “life lesson” you’ve learned from your time with FN?

NB: One of the primary lessons that I have learned from my experiences with FN is to go with the flow; whether that means to fit into whatever culture you’re immersed in during any given time, or to deal with situations as they arise. This is an attitude that FN has caused me to adopt, and has allowed me to be a much more positive and independent person.

 Q: How many countries have you traveled to?

NB: I have traveled to 10 countries including the U.S. and Canada. I currently have a goal to hit 50 countries by the end of 2018.

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Courtesy of Nick Bondy

 Q: Where do you want to travel to next?

NB: I am working on plans to travel to Amsterdam this summer, but there aren’t too many places that are not on my list!

For more information on our upcoming programs, visit www.forum-nexus.com. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check out our blog and YouTube channel.

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Summer 2017 Study Abroad Packing Guide

There’s nothing like a summer abroad in Europe, including the adventure of packing for a trip that is several weeks in length. We put together a packing guide, tailored to the Forum Europe Summer 2017: 9 Cities in 5 Weeks program, and recommended by longtime FN staffers. This list promotes light, efficient packing for hot to mild climates and everything in between. Feel free to customize this list of recommendations to your own personal needs and comforts. More packing tips and tricks to come!

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Europe Essentials

 Clothing:

-Casual attire for sightseeing, traveling, nightlife
-Casual professional attire for class
-Business casual attire for professional visits (recommended 5-8 outfits)
-Cocktail attire for graduation ceremony in Rhodes
-Active wear for swimming, hiking, exercising, etc.
-Comfortable walking shoes
-Comfortable dress shoes
-Sneakers
-1 light jacket *bring a rain jacket for multi-purpose wear

 Insider tip: 30 days on the road does not mean that 30 different outfits are needed. Mix and match clothes and pack light! Laundromats are available in each destination – use them to your advantage!

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Toiletries:

-tooth brush & toothpaste
-hair brush/comb
-razor/shaving cream
-contact/glasses care
-Advil/Tylenol and any prescriptions
-hair styling tools (straightener, curling iron)

Insider tip: There is a hair dryer in every hotel available by request
-shampoo/conditioner
-body wash
-feminine products, if applicable

 Insider tip: Most toiletries will be available at local markets and stores. Save room and buy the essentials once you make it to the first destination.

 Class supplies:

-One notebook/binder with paper
-Writing utensils (pens, pencils, highlighters)
-Required textbooks

Insider tip: A laptop/tablet is recommended but not absolutely necessary

Miscellaneous:

-Converters/adapters for all electronic items
-Chargers for electronics
-Euros  *We recommend bringing 150-200 euros upon arrival
-One bag/backpack and/or purse
-Passport
-Copies of credit cards, IDs, etc.

 Non-essential, but useful items

-A small fold-up umbrella
-Fold-up plastic bag for grocery shopping
-Sunscreen
-Sunglasses
-A hat for shade while walking around and sightseeing
-Hand sanitizer
-Camera
-Neck pillow for travel (insider recommendation)
-Portable charger/battery pack
-Travel journal
-Laundry detergent packets (can be purchased at markets)
-iPod/MP3 player
-Water bottle for refilling

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Packing hacks:

-roll clothing, instead of folding
-pack clothing items that are easy to mix and match
-place the heaviest items at the bottom (nearest to wheels) of the suitcase to properly balance weight
-leave 10-25% of your suitcase empty – depending on how much you plan to shop
-Bring a small Febreze bottle or dryer sheets to keep items in suitcase smelling fresh
-Hygienic items can be purchased at any time during the trip. Some things like shampoo, conditioner, body wash, etc. are provided by hotels.
-Keep essential items in your carry-on bag

Keep in mind…

-Most airlines have strict baggage policies. Check with each booked airline before packing/buying extra items to bring home.
-Each Forum-Nexus students is permitted one suitcase and one “carry-on” bag
-Pack light! You will be responsible for carrying your own luggage.

Suitcase: Maximum length: 26″ (66 cm), Maximum width: 20″ (51 cm), Maximum height: 12′ (30 cm). Combined length + width + height cannot exceed 40″ (102 cm). The weight should not exceed 40 lbs (9 kg).

Carry-on: Combined length + width + height cannot exceed 40″ (102 km). The weight should not exceed 20 lbs (9 kg).

 Happy packing! Europe, here we come.

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Q&A: NADINE FARRAG

Since 1990, Forum-Nexus has provided one-of-a-kind study abroad programs for 27 years to over 3,300 students and counting. Our team of faculty and staff is made up of internationally diverse, successful individuals who are all equally passionate about travel and education. For the next few months, we’ll be sharing Q&As with those who lead the FN team year-round.

We caught up with longtime team member (6 years and counting!) Nadine Farrag to learn how traveling with FN has influenced her life thus far, what she does in her role with Forum-Nexus, and to hear what adventures she’s tackling next. Get to know our favorite Egyptian… #ThisisForumNexus!

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Q: Tell us about your background. In what cities and countries have you lived? Where did you study?

NF:  I was born in Egypt but lived in Saudi Arabia for the first two years of my life. Then I lived in Kuwait for six years until I returned to Egypt and have lived there ever since. My primary education was in Kuwait but l the rest of my school years and university occurred in Egypt. I studied Marketing and Journalism at the American University in Cairo and graduated in 2012.

Q: How many times have you participated in FN programs?

NF: My first time with Forum-Nexus was in the summer of 2011 and I’ve been with the program ever since :)

This summer will be my 7th!

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Q: What are your responsibilities as a FN staff member?

NF: I’m an Admissions Counselor  and I manage the team that supports students and prospective students from countries outside of the United States.  I also support the Marketing team through my involvement with our  marketing materials, and on-ground events and activities.

During the program, I help with logistics and the coordination of students’ activities and academics.

Q: What languages do you speak?

NF: I speak English and Arabic, and I know a little bit of French. I plan on learning Spanish next.

Q: What do you find special about Forum-Nexus? About FN students?

NF: The experience one gets with Forum-Nexus is truly life-changing. The international exposure, the immense travel experience, and making lifelong international friends is not a combination that you come across everyday.

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I still remember my first year with Forum-Nexus. I left with a changed perspective, not just about the world, but about myself as well. With FN, you broaden your horizons, you discover things that you never thought existed; it all helps shape you into a better citizen of the world.

Q: How does participating in FN help students with their future careers?

NF: Employers now look for candidates who can work under pressure, communicate with different people, and cope with anything. Students get that with Forum-Nexus because you get to interact with students from all over the world, learn to adapt to different cultures quickly, and gain exposure to a lot of different situations that you wouldn’t normally face in your home country.

FN also gives you an edge if you’re looking to work abroad; you’ve already been to at least 9 cities in a month!

Q: In your own words, what is special about Europe?  

NF: Every city is different than the other; you experience different cultures and cuisines. There’s a lot of heritage and beautiful scenery. Europe is indeed magical for hosting something for every taste!

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Q: Why is knowledge of Europe important?

NF: It’s a central part in the world and everything that happens there will affect you somehow. Take Brexit for example, or the financial crisis in Greece.

Q: What are your favorite cities in the FN itinerary and why?

NF: That’s a very tough question because they’re all amazing in their own way. If I had to choose, I would pick Barcelona. I believe it combines everything that all cities in Europe offer. I love the language, the people, the energy. It has the beach, nightlife, scenery, heritage, and great cuisine. I think it’s so special to me because its atmosphere reminds me a bit of my home country, Egypt, so it feels like a second home. I’ve been to Barcelona around 8 times so far and I still find new places to visit every year!

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Q: What is your favorite activity you did as a FN student?

NF: Getting lost wandering around new streets probably – haha! Leaving the touristy places behind and exploring the real city like a local is always more fun.

Q: What is your advice to future FN students on how to benefit the most from their study abroad experience?

NF: Make sure to explore as much of the city as you can. Every city we’re offering is a home to wonderful places and activities so plan in advance so you have enough time to experience them all. And definitely mingle with the locals. Everyone is so friendly.

Q: Where do you want to travel to next?

NF:  I’m very interested in Asia. I went to Nepal last year and it was an amazing experience – very different from any traveling I’ve done before and I have traveled A LOT. Now with the plans of Forum-Nexus in Asia in 2018, I can’t wait already!

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 For more information on our upcoming programs, visit www.forum-nexus.com. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check out our blog and YouTube channel.

 

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Q&A: Dr. Batia Cohen

Since 1990, Forum-Nexus has provided one-of-a-kind study abroad programs for 27 years to over 3,300 students and counting. Our team of faculty and staff is made up of internationally diverse, successful individuals who are all equally passionate about travel and education. For the next few months, we’ll be sharing Q&As with those who lead the FN team year-round.

We chatted with Dr. Batia Cohen, professor of European Art and Architecture, to hear her take on the importance of international education. Get to know our wise and worldly faculty member, and learn how she enriches the FN team… #ThisisForumNexus

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Q: Tell us about your background. Which cities and countries have you lived in? Where did you study?

BC: I was born in Mexico City. I studied graphic design at the Metropolitan University in Mexico City. Later on I specialized in art history and got a PhD from the National University of Mexico (UNAM).

17 years ago I moved to Miami with my husband Rafael, where we raised our three daughters.

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Courtesy of Batia Cohen

Q: What languages do you speak?

BC: I speak four languages: English, Spanish, French, and Hebrew.

Q: What courses do you teach for Forum-Nexus during the summer?

BC: During the summer I teach European Art and Architecture. I also serve as the advisor of Independent Studies and Internships.

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Q: What are your academic and professional activities during the fall and spring?

BC: During the fall and spring I teach art history courses in the Miami area at several institutions, including the University of Miami and Florida International University.

Q: What do you find special about Forum-Nexus? About FN students?

BC: Forum-Nexus is a great study abroad program where students can experience 9 exciting European cities while earning college credits. They learn first-hand about the different countries, cultures, and traditions, and about impressive art and architecture. While traveling with Forum-Nexus, students develop very close relationships with each other and with the professors. We all become a close family as we share exciting experiences while traveling.

Q: How does participating in FN help students with their future careers?

BC: Students who participate in FN  acquire a broader perspective on Europe and the world. They become more tolerant and open minded towards cultural differences. This will make them better prepared to tackle similar issues in their professional careers. They become more comfortable engaging with different cultures, adapting to their customs, and more willing to understand and empathize with different points of view.

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Q: Why are cultural and professional visits important for FN students?

BC: The cultural and professional visits enrich the overall experience of the students. The European institutions that open their doors to FN are world-class, and the students get to meet successful and influential leaders.

Q: What is special about Europe? Why is knowledge of Europe important?

BC: First of all, Europe is beautiful! The big cities, the little medieval towns, the countryside – they are all amazing. Furthermore, European countries have played such a prominent role in the history of ideas and in the development of western culture. Each country has a rich and proud history and tradition. It’s very important for an educated person to be familiar with it.

Q: Which are your favorite cities on the FN itinerary and why?

BC: One of my favorite cities is Barcelona because it has the best examples of 19th century architecture. By exploring its wide avenues we find ourselves submerged in the Modernismo era. The works of the famous architect Antoní Gaudí stand out, and the intricate decorations of the facades and structures capture my admiration every time. But I also love Barcelona for its overall atmosphere: the mountains, beaches, energy, and young vibe!

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Q: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from traveling?

BC: Be prepared for the unexpected. Enjoy every minute of it!

For more information on our upcoming programs, visit www.forum-nexus.com. Be sure to also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and check out our blog and YouTube channel.

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The “Must-See” of Barcelona

      My favorite professional visit during my summer abroad with Forum-Nexus was to Park Güell, where a picture really is worth a thousand words. First, a little background about me: I am a Business and Enterprise Management major and triple minor in Biology, Psychology, and Health Policy Administration. In other words, I hadn’t studied or shown much interest in art history before my summer abroad. But, on a whim, I decided to take European Art and Architecture, and it was an amazing decision. I found that taking a class relevant to everything I saw while in Europe was eye ­opening; for instance, the details of the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona, pieces of art and sculpture I saw in the Vatican, and looking at the Renaissance architectural details in Florence. I noticed details that I wouldn’t have known to look for without my Euro art history class. Park Güell was no exception.

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Courtesy of Mary Anne S.

      Going to museums and monuments is much more meaningful to me now as I learn about these movements and artists in class before I go see them, especially seeing Park Güell with my class. We learned about Antoni Gaudí and some of his best known works in class, then got to go to the famous park with my knowledgable art professor and a guided tour. My favorite part was probably our free time to wander around and look at the nature -inspired mosaics up close. Seeing how Gaudi was so influential and creative as an architect with my class was such a cool experience! We got to see his labyrinth of columns and tiles, cavernous curved tunnel, houses for people to actually live in, and benches overlooking the city all in one day. We got to walk inside one of the old apartment buildings, and even this was built with no straight lines; ­ curved walls and bright blue colors filled the entire structure. This park was made even better with the greenery adding nature to this gorgeous overlook of the ocean in the background.

     It was especially interesting to notice the mosaic tiling seen everywhere in the park, and was my favorite detail of the massive structure. Seeing the nature -influenced details everywhere was also fun to look for as we walked through the park, each section of wall decorated in an entirely new way. It made me excited to see more of Gaudi’s work in Barcelona.

      After the tour, we took a bus over to the ocean and up to the top of a scenic overlook that I didn’t even know existed. I have an interest in photography, so this entire day was really beneficial for me to personally view these famous and well-photographed tourist destinations from new angles.

     While in Barcelona, Park Güell is a must-­see. It was number one on my list of places to go, and I was thrilled that I got to go with my class as a professional visit. I recommend anyone to take European Art and Architecture. You’ll learn about parks, other monuments, and architectural styles seen everywhere in Europe! It really added to my international experience in a way that I hadn’t expected. This visit in particular was a fun use of my time because I was able to do something that I have always wanted to do. It was so interesting to learn about a new city in a different way than I am used to!

By: Mary Anne S., FN 2016 Alumna

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Courtesy of Mary Anne S.

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Cava in Catalonia

My favorite professional visit during Forum Europe 2016 was our visit to Codorníu in Barcelona, Spain. It was the first professional visit of the program, and I was very eager to experience what a “Forum-Nexus professional visit” entailed. The buses dropped us off by the vineyards, where I was able to capture some great photos. We went inside and split into groups to tour the Codorníu estate. We learned a lot of history behind the family business. Codorníu was founded in 1551. It is the oldest family-based company in Spain, and one of the oldest in the world. Today, Codorníu produces around 60 million bottles of wine and has over 200,000 people visit annually. Hearing those statistics made me feel so grateful to be one of the 200,000 people this year given the chance to experience and learn about such a famous and successful company.

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Our visit began with a 3D video highlighting the history of Codorníu. The video included information about the architecture of the winery, and how the wine is produced and manufactured. After the video, we all boarded a small, electric tram. After learning a few more facts about the winery, we were able to see it for ourselves on the tram ride. The winery is twenty miles of tunnels and three stories deep. It holds over 100 million bottles of wine. The ride seemed a little spooky at first since we were deep inside of a cellar on a tram track, but the cellar caves were beautiful and hold so much history throughout them. The ride lasted for about 5 minutes. It was very neat to be able to see the underground storages of the Codorníu winery.

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After the train ride, our groups met together for a cava tasting. We were given the opportunity to taste both the white cava and the rosé cava. There I learned that Codorníu cava is sparkling rather than flat. I loved the rosé so much that I decided to purchase a bottle of Rosé Anna as a souvenir. The gift shop was cool and included the wines we tasted in the cava, along with many more flavors.

My major is Public Relations, so I took the Cross-Cultural Communications course with Forum-Nexus. Although the visit to Codorníu seemed more business oriented, my concentration in communications allowed me to take a valuable information from the visit as well. I was able to see and learn how Codorníu communicates through international markets to sell their products worldwide. In addition to learning about Codorníu’s international sales, I also observed the way in which the cava winery marketed their products by offering the complimentary tasting at the end of the tour. Each person was given one glass of white cava and one glass of pink cava, then taken directly to a gift shop exit, which was full of Codorníu cavas and other goods. I am not ashamed to admit that although it was an obvious ploy to have their products purchased, the wine tasting strategy worked on a large majority of our tour group, myself included! Overall, the professional visit to Codorníu was very educational since prior to the visit, I was not familiar with this leading international company.

 By: Rachel R., FN 2016 Alumna

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Courtesy of Rachel Rowan

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Destination 1: This is Barcelona!

Imagine a place where art, beaches, mountains, music, culture, dance, and history beautifully collide. Imagine a city so lively, vibrant, and brimming with zest, you fall in love upon arrival. Imagine no more because this paradise exists, and is waiting to win you over; this is Barcelona, Spain!

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Barcelona is one of those rare, mystical cities where you feel like there is never enough time to spend there; the discoveries are endless! If you ever get the chance to visit, GO without hesitation. To say the least, it’s an iconic destination where you can achieve an authentic European adventure.

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So you may be wondering what to expect on trip to the Catalunya region. Take a little insider advice from a seasoned travel and former Forum-Nexus student who put together, “A Beginner’s Guide to Barcelona.”

Or check out an overview of traveling through Barcelona the Forum-Nexus way.

Barcelona is a fabulous coastal city with both beaches and mountains, outdoor markets, restaurants, and museums. And it’s the first destination on the Forum Europe Summer 2017 itinerary While in Barcelona, students will be able to admire the striking Art Nouveau architecture of Antoni Gaudi in the Sagrada Familia Cathedral and several other sites throughout the city such as Parc Güell, La Pedrera, and Casa Batlló. Barcelona is a powerful center of industry and commerce with the largest port on the Mediterranean. Students will visit Spanish and multinational companies such as the Port of Barcelona, Codorniu, Estrella Damm Brewery and take classes at the campus of the AACSB-accredited IQS School of Management. On the weekend, students can participate in an optional Forum-Nexus Day Trip to the charming medieval city of Girona (yes, Game of Thrones!) and the seaside village of Cadaques (considered the Santorini of Spain and made famous by Salvador Dali) organized by our travel-savvy staff.

 

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Follow along on our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more about this one-of-a-kind city and our summer 2017 program.

Catalunya awaits!

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