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6 posts from May 2011


The four seasons in Mallorca - Images of our excursions

These are images of some of our excursions around Mallorca. Here you will see Mallorca at every season of the year.




How to cook Spanish Food



My internship experience, by Laura Ryczkowski (alumni)




Name: Laura Ryczkowski

Semester: Fall 2008

Program: Liberal Arts

School: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee




As an international business and Spanish student, living in Palma de Mallorca, Spain was such a life changing experience. Everything that I did in the United States seemed like a routine so it was a breath of fresh air to step out of my comfort zone. Although there were some challenging moments I faced along the way, I was exhilarated to be in a different country, living in another culture and building relationships that would last a lifetime. One experience that was extremely beneficial to my studies was the time I spent working as an intern, learning firsthand about another culture’s work atmosphere and how rewarding this position can truly be.

Plaza de españa 2
My internship at Fundación Vicente Ferrer ( was a great opportunity for me to be a part of a normal work schedule and culture of a “Mallorquín.” Fundación Vicente Ferrer is a non-profit organization that supports communities in Anantapur, India by selling their locally made products throughout stores in Spain, helping to raise and support children in India and working to better the daily living conditions. Along with translating a large proposal to improve water sanitation, working at a “feria” (fair) in the airport to increase awareness and enjoying a “café con leche” during “siesta” with co-workers, my most fond memory at my internship was being left alone in the store to interact with customers, answer questions and check out their purchases. It was a little intimidating at the time but I was able to see how friendly “mallorquines” really are, which alleviated all my worries.

It is a great way to become a part of something influential, helping you grow on a personal and professional level. I highly recommend this fabulous opportunity to anyone!


How CIEE Palma works



In Mallorca, I learnt to appreciate the lifestlye "tranquilo" (calm/relaxed), by Laura Ryczkowski (alumni)


Name: Laura Ryczkowski

Semester: Fall 2008

Program: Liberal Arts

School: University of Wisconsin Milwaukee



I made the decision to study abroad in Spain my senior year at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which was one of the easiest decisions I have ever made, but the hard part was choosing where to go. I had the option of several well-known cities in the mainland or a small island, Palma de Mallorca. With little information about this hidden paradise, I shied away from the norm, since I have my whole life, and chose to devote my fall semester to living on this Balearic island in the Mediterranean. Although my main intent was to learn and speak as much Spanish as possible and integrate myself into an unfamiliar culture, I was a little unsure of the amount I would actually learn since Mallorca is stereotyped for being a tourist destination, famous for their parties and gorgeous beaches.

Laura Ryczkowski Now looking back at my experience, I don't think I could have made a better choice. My program consisted of eight American students which were just enough to get close to each of them but also gave me the opportunity to make friends with Erasmus and Mallorcan students. The program director and housing coordinator, Antonia and Susan, were so well organized with excursions, school materials and knowledge of what we were going through and how to adjust. They were there for us, no matter what time of day, to help with any questions, concerns and problems we were having. My professors at UIB were so down to earth and personable that it made classes fun to go to, easy to learn and was a great way to meet new students. CIEE provided the opportunity for students to work in the Spanish workplace and I gladly took advantage of this course and was placed in a non-profit organization that raised money and worked to improve the living conditions for people living in India. My internship provided me the independence to work in their retail store, translate water sanitation proposals and learn about how to help others across the world by working with people who truly care about making a difference.

IMG_3133I feel extremely fortunate to have been placed with such a loving family in Mallorca. There was a bit of hesitation on my part about living with a family but after meeting them, not only did I feel like a daughter and a big sister but also a close friend. The amount of Spanish I learned and practiced with my family was one of the biggest factors that have helped develop my Spanish skills. Also, I was able to live the typical Mallorcan lifestyle at my house. Everything from the Spanish mannerism, culture and food was exposed to me and I am so lucky to have experienced and fallen in love with another culture. The Mallorcan lifestlye "tranquilo"(calm/relaxed) and enjoying the world around you is something that I have learned to appreciate. I will never forget my life in Mallorca and how it transformed me into the person I am today. 


Why intern while studying abroad in Palma de Mallorca?









Name: Brittany Vulich

Semester: Spring 2011

Program: Liberal Arts

School: University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee


Work while studying abroad, you say? -Not exactly. Interning while abroad is a fantastic way to earn credit and get real world work experience in another country (minus the homework!)  Think of an internship abroad as having a normal class load but studying in a professional atmosphere, acquiring skills that you will actually use later on and learning about what interests you. Not to mention, an internship, much more abroad, will look impresionante (impressive) to potential employers.  


Sounds intriguing? -Read on. I can say from first hand experience that interning in Palma de Mallorca has been a really positive experience for all the above reasons and so much more. Since early March, I have been interning with Fundación Vicente Ferrer a NGO organization based in Antapur, India. A little history about my empresa (business,) Fundación Vicente Ferrer works specifically in Antapur, India, the poorest state, improving the lives of the people there through initiatives such as building schools, health care facilities, viviendas (housing) and creating employment opportunities for women. Unfortunately, equality for men and women has not been realized everywhere in the world, especially in India where the caste system and dowries drive some families to abandon their daughters rather than face financial hardship. Moreover, there is little governmental or familial support for persons with disabilities and much less for a woman. To combat the social injustices that leave women particularly vulnerable, Fundación Vicente Ferrer created talleres (workshops) for women of all physical and mental capabilities to come and create handmade products to be sold in stores all across Spain, giving these women an opportunity to earn a salary and gain economic independence. All of the products (earrings, games, clothing, baskets etc) are made from 100% organic cotton and are fair trade. 


That said, my first project has been to e-mail the organic cotton manufacturers and producers based in India that are listed on in order to inquire about details of the product, the process of placing an order, the pricing, the shipment, etc. I've then taken the information given and organized it all in an excel sheet for English and Spanish. The end result is that FVF will have a "phone book" of organic cotton sources to reference for future orders.  The work has been a bit tedious, admittedly, but I have learned a lot of new vocabulary in Spanish that I know I will come in handy later on. More importantly, I have learned a lot about Non Governmental Organizations, which I plan to be involved in after college.


Once I wrap up that project, I'll be investigating which requirements the foundation needs to complete in order to have the official seal of "fair trade" as constituted by the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International. What makes this project so great is that I won't be focusing on the theories of international regulations on fair trade, but putting them into practice, something that the classroom alone couldn't offer.



Okay, besides a rewarding experience, what is the "work" aspect like? A CIEE internship is comprised of 135 hours total for 3 credits. 15 hours are dedicated to a weekly diary entry and meeting with your advisor (short and sweet) to answer any questions you have. Also included in the 15 hours are the prep time and execution of your 15-page reflection paper and 15-minute power point presentation, which you will give at the end of the semester. The remaining 120 hours are spent actually working in your internship.


TIP: If you are receiving transfer credit for this internship, be sure to double check that the minimum hours and overseeing of the internship through CIEE are compliant with the standards at your home institution.  My home university, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, requires Global Studies students to do 160 hours in an internship for 3 credits so I have had to slip in a couple extra hours here and there. 


NGO's not your cup of tea? -No problem. Fundación Viecente Ferrer is just one example of the many internships to choose from. CIEE has many connections within the community to make sure you have the best of the best to choose from. Business majors, Economics majors, etc all have found rewarding internships here in Palma de Mallorca.


On a closing note, while internship technically means a "job" it also means "networking", "connecting", and "community involvement". For example, my Fundación Vicente Ferrer focuses on spreading the mission of our organization through public talks, visiting different institutions, or setting up a stand in the metro station. Just last week, I was fortunate enough to tag along with Isabel and Sasi, from India, whose mother actually worked in one of FVF's workshops, to "Good Morning, Baleares", the morning show for the Balearic Islands, as he gave a candid interview about his personal experiences within FVF. Later on, Isabel invited me to join her in showing Sasi around the city of Palma. It was such a nice break from the office. Furthermore, on Fridays, everyone in the office at Fundación Vicente Ferrer brings in a lunch and spends a good part of the afternoon outside on the patio enjoying food, drinks, and one another's company. I can sincerely say that I enjoy my internship and the people in it.


I hope that I have given you some lesser-known insight into the positives of interning abroad. Whether your goals abroad are to learn about another culture, meet new people, or live and work in a new environment, interning while abroad will be a great supplement.


For more information on la Fundación Vicente Ferrer's projects, volunteer opportunities and updates, go to



"Transform society into humanity" - Vicente Ferrer