Updates In Social Media This Week-Personal

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In the upcoming weeks, Instagram will add a feature to like comments by tapping a heart icon next to any comment and the ability to turn off comments on any post. “These two new comment moderation tools are in keeping with Instagram’s commitment to making its site a ‘positive place for self-expression’ and will be made available to all users once they are released.” [Read Here] This feature is an effort to improve engagement within the app- which has transformed into one of the top social media platforms. According to the article, Instagram engagement delivered 58 percent more engagement than Facebook; 120 times more than Twitter.

Expanded Ramblings Research:

  • 400+ million users
  • 75 million daily users
  • Approximately 30 percent of the U.S. population uses Instagram
  • 49 percent of U.S. adults use Instagram daily

So, why is engagement so important?

Well, it allows people to connect in a faster way. People can keep up with what their friends and families are doing and using the features of the app, react to their content. Hence, the importance of continuing to introduce new features that allow more engagement such as the ability to like comments. Also, the social media platforms allows people to share their pictures with strangers by connecting through things like hashtags:


This week, Facebook expanded its live video tab to “more people in the U.S. on iOS and Android”. According to the Social Media Examiner, “the new Video tab takes mobile users to a dedicated section with Facebook Live notifications and alerts”. Included on the live video tab, are suggested video posts by Facebook that have been shared by pages you like and will play automatically as the user scrolls down. The article calls this tab “a new destination for people to discover all kinds of video content they may be interested in.” It is also mentioned that Facebook is still in the process of adjusting and expanding the video tab, based on testing and user feedback. 

However, the use of live video streaming on Facebook has become somewhat controversial. Just yesterday, there was a fatal car accident involving two teenage girls caught on a Facebook live video. They were streaming live when their car crashed into a tractor trailer. This is similar to an incident that happened earlier this year, when Diamond Reynolds live streamed the fatal shooting of her boyfriend Philando Castile by the police.


Periscope released an update which allows broadcasters the ability to save HD versions of their broadcasts to their devices. This is another platform that offers live video stream and audio to anyone who joins your broadcast. “It’s an app that truly takes advantage of its mobile platform incorporating notifications and location as well as social sharing (on Twitter of course), live discussions and feedback” [Read Here]. After the broadcast is finished, people can watch and give feedback for up to 24 hours and then it is removed from the app. However, users can download it to their phones to share online and now they can download in HD. 



Media & the Role of Women- Podcast


How does media today effect women?

Dove Real Beauty Campaign:

The video above is apart of the Dove Real Beauty Campaign, which purpose is “to help women everywhere develop a positive relationship with the way they look, helping them raise their self-esteem and realize their full potential” [Read Here]. This video in particular focuses on the way in which the media and advertisements today distort real images to create an unrealistic perception of beauty that is projected to women all over the world.

Dove’s global research shows:

  • Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful, and anxiety about appearance begins at an early age.
  • 6 out of 10 girls are so concerned with the way they look, that they actually opt out of participating fully in daily life – from going swimming and playing sports, to visiting the doctor, going to school or even just offering their opinions.

So, it is clear that the women of the world are facing a current crisis of self-acceptance and perception of beauty. As expressed in the video, advertisements play a huge role in generating this crisis- but what role does social media play in the way women perceive themselves?

Dr. Phillippa Diedrichs, of the University of West of England’s Centre for Appearance Research, told BBC News & Health that “The more time spent on Facebook, the more likely people are to self-objectify”. Another source mentioned in the article, Caroline Nokes- a member of a parliamentary group targeting attitudes about body image, explains in the article that the reason why social media has such a huge impact on body image is because it cannot be ignored. She also states that young people “can make decisions not to look at magazines and TV, but social media networks are the primary way they communicate and their main channel to the outside world”. But they are seeing the world through a filter, and that’s not healthy,” she says.

According to a TIME article, earlier this year, psychologists found robust cross-cultural evidence linking social media use to body image concerns, dieting, body surveillance, a drive for thinness and self-objectification in adolescents. Visual social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat allow teens to gain approval of their appearance and compare themselves to others. One study  found that female college students who spend most of their time posting, commenting on, and comparing themselves to photos on Facebook were more likely to link their self-worth to their looks. So, social media is not only affecting young people’s body image and self-confidence, but shaping the self-worth of young women into simply being about looks.


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@alexisloww is on barstoolparties tonight. Add us on Snapchat #barstoolsmokeshows

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Posts on Instagram and Twitter such as the ones posted above are just examples of how women are portrayed through social media. Girls are constantly checking their social media outlets and are exposed to content such as this which promote a certain body type. Then, they care about the way they look in comparison to what they see on social media and focus on the way they look, not who they are beyond that.


Marta Alonso- New Media



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About Marta

Marta has a double degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communications, with a masters degree in Internet Business. She is the founder of Muuby (2010) and Igers Barcelona (2011). In 2013, she worked as the Head of Digital at Edelman Spain, and in 2015 she founded CircleLine and is also the acting director. Today, Marta is a digital and social media guru, with a successful career in the industry.

Muuby                                                                                                   3d3ea4b.png

“Muuby is a technology-based company that specializes in helping companies and institutions to listen to their markets naturally Network monitoring and managing your digital reputation.” [Read Here]

This was Marta’s first company which allowed her to gain more knowledge in different fields such as community management, human resources, and commercial work.

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One of Muuby’s most important clients was Spanair. Being one of the biggest airlines in Spain, the company needed help with its reputation after an accident occurred in Madrid in which most passengers died. Muuby’s goal for the company was to manage the crisis through social media channels (social networks, website). Ultimately, they wanted to control conversations on social media. Unfortunately, the project ended because the company went bankrupt and Muuby shut down as well.

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Marta created the first Instagram community which consists of creative people that utilize the app for purposes like marketing and exposure. People in the community come together and collaborate on ways to use and transform the social network. There are also contests within communities to post pictures for certain organizations and campaigns. Marta also utilized her knowledge of the app and social media to help new brands become relevant on Instagram.



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Vueling airline was in search for a celebration campaign in honor of their more than 50 million passengers. At the time, Marta wasn’t working for any company, so she decided to pitch her idea to Vueling that she had for Spanair but never got the chance to use.Her goal for the campaign was to utilize Instagram in any phase of the travel cycle- starting from the inspiration of the destination to sharing the experience after the trip. The concept was a first ever air mid-air photograph exhibit of Instagram photos of Vueling Destinations. More than 7,000 photos were tagged with the hashtag #vuelingairgallery of major European vueling destinations. [Read Here]

Vueling ended up being nominated by SimplyFly for best “costumer engagement strategy” besides American Airlines and Volaris.

This campaign is an example of how social media platforms are being used to market brands and companies by reaching a huge audience. Social media networks are giving people the ability to share things worldwide rapidly- even in the air!

Read here for some Instagram marketing tips.

Catalan Tourism Board- Catalunya Experience b6ze50bh44um4ks3p2sue43zdbo4lom2282013_115233.jpg

Another example of marketing through social media is the Catalunya Experience campaign that Marta worked on for the Catalan Tourism Board. Top instagrammers were invited from all over the world to travel around Catalonia using the hashtag #catalunyaexperience. The hashtag is still relevant and can be seen on Instagram daily.


In this campaign, social media networks were utilized to spread the beauty and appeal of Catalunya. Using real life experience through pictures and videos, viewers are drawn to the idea of traveling there. Then, if they decide to travel their themselves, they can share their experience with their networks using the same hashtag #catalunyaexperience. This cycle of sharing creates a larger Catalunya traveller community.

Splendia- Tourism on Instagram

Another new media that Marta discussed was Splendia. It has 45,000 people recruited from the Instagram community and more than 800,000 interactions on published content [Read Here]. Essentially, the most influential instagrammers collaborate to create the “Instagrammers City Guides”. They traveled the world in search for the best destinations, hotels, tourism spots, etc and share it with fellow instagrammers through photos, videos, tips, and lists.

Hotel Alfonso XIII, a 5 star hotel located in the historic heart of #Seville.

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Splendia (@splendiahotels) am


New Media and Marketing

Marta’s work is a great example of how new media has changed the marketing world. Social media networks have enabled brands, companies, and organizations to distribute their content to wider audiences efficiently. As the social media world continues to expand, so do marketing techniques.



Fidel Castro, Cuban Dictator, Dies at 90-Personal


“Mr. Castro brought the Cold War to the Western
Hemisphere, bedeviled 11 American presidents and
briefly pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war.” – Anthony DePalma, New York Times

On November 25th, Fidel Castro died at the age of 90. Mr. Castro had been sick for many years, and in hopes of keeping his Communist revolution alive, he shifted the power to his younger brother Raúl Castro in 2006, formally resigning as president two years later. He has continued to rule Cuba since then, but has told the Cuban people that he will be resigning in 2018.

Fidel’s Reign

Castro remained in power longer than any other living national leader except for Queen Elizabeth 11. On January 8th, 1959, Fidel successfully entered Havana and completely overthrew Fulgencio Batista by giving his first notable speech in the capital in front of tens of thousands admirers. At the time, the people of Cuba were not aware of Castro’s plans for the future. He “believed himself to be the messiah of his fatherland, an indispensable force with authority from on high to control Cuba and its people”. He was known as Cuba’s “Máximo Lider”, acting as a tyrant and controlling every aspect of the republic. [Read Here]

Throughout decades Castro used threats against, jail, and banishment against critics (which included intellectuals, journalists, and former allies). Control over state media became Castro’s biggest weapon. Officials heavily censored books, newspapers, radio, television, music, and film. Havana was listed at the bottom of Reporter’s Without Borders press freedom index. In hopes for a democratic reform, the Cuban people used peaceful measures such as the Valera Project, which ultimately led to harsh crackdowns- like the Black Spring in 2003. “More than a million Cubans took to leaky boats and risked drowning to flee poverty, stagnation and a sense of claustrophobia which most blamed on Castro, not the US embargo.” [Article]

The Reaction

Following the death of this infamous Dictator- there are mixed feelings from the people:

People placed flowers and photos by a statue at the main steps of the University of Havana- where Castro attended law school-to pay respect.

Imran Khan, Pakistani politician, commended Castro as “an iconic revolutionary leader” who worked against the United States:

However, the reaction was much different on the streets of Little Havana in Miami:

People partied all day- waving the Cuban and American flag and singing festive songs.”They popped champagne, clanged pots, cheered and waved the Cuban flag in jubilation. They stood outside the popular Versailles restaurant in Little Havana with signs reading, ‘Satan, Fidel is now yours.”

Some American Politicians had their say as well:

A few hours later, Trump followed up with a statement, calling Castro a “brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades” and said he hoped Castro’s death gave Cuban American’s “the hope of one day soon seeing a free Cuba.” [Read Here]

President Obama also released a statement following the news of Castro’s death in which he said: “History will record and judge the enormous impact of this singular figure on the people and the world around him.” He added that the United States offers “a hand of friendship to the Cuban people. [Read Here]

So, the next step is deciding if, and how, there will be a relationship between Cuba and the United States.

‘Hamilton’ Showdown- Personal


Hamilton is an American musical about the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, which debuted in 2015. Now on broadway, it’s won numerous Grammy and Tony awards for its music, lyrics, and book by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The show is known for having a very diverse cast and “Hamilton’, itself a deeply political show about the United States as a nation of immigrants — with black or Hispanic actors playing George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers.” [Article] 11 days following the controversial election of Donald Trump, the Hamilton cast made a statement to Vice President elect Mike Pence who was in the audience. Brander Victor Dixon, who plays Vice President Aaron Burr, took a mic at the end of the show and made the statement on behalf of the show’s crew: “We, sir, are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us — our planet, our children, our parents — or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights, sir. But we truly hope this show has inspired you to uphold our American values and to work on behalf of all of us. All of us.”

The statement soon went viral, and received backing from people all over social media, including Kerry Washington, star of the TV series Scandal:

However, there was some backlash as well. The New York Times called this ‘Hamilton’ episode “the first major collision between the two Americas brought into sharp relief by the Nov. 8 election”. The values of the diverse cast of the show clearly clash with the political aspirations of President elect Donald Trump, who has voiced his plans to deport all undocumented immigrants, to build a “wall” at the border, and so far has given all major cabinet positions to white men. He has also expressed plans to change libel laws and to sue media organizations whose content he does not agree with. On his social media accounts, he has publicly criticized and “demonized” people protesting against him. [Article]

Mr. Pence did stay to listen to the cast, but Trump was unpleased with their efforts and made it publicly clear, asking for an apology from the show:

Mr. Dixon had something to say in response to Trump’s rant:

However, the man that was “harassed” according to Trump, said “I did hear what was said from the stage. I can tell you I wasn’t offended by what was said. I will leave to others whether that was the appropriate venue to say it.” He also said, “My daughter and I and her cousins really enjoyed the show. ‘Hamilton’ is just an incredible production, incredibly talented people. It was a real joy to be there” [Read Here].

Despite being booed as he walked to his seats and being what Trump called “harassed”, he still had positive things to say about the show. So, why do people feel so strongly about Pence? His conservative values and particularly his stance on abortion may be one reason. In a 2011 interview, he told Politico, “If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not to be in the business of providing abortions. As long as they aspire to do that, I’ll be after them.” That same year, he submitted an amendment to majorly cut funding for Planned Parenthood. “By 2014, just a year after he became governor, Indiana had slashed its funding to Planned Parenthood to half of its 2005 levels. Pence also signed a measure in March 2016 prohibiting abortions performed on the basis of a fetus’ race, disability or gender. The law allowed doctors who were found to have performed abortions on the basis of any of those characteristics to be held liable for wrongful death.” [Article]

Pence also has a bad past with the LGBT community. He disputed the repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ law and told CNN in 2010 “We ought not to use the American military as a backdrop for social experimentation or debating domestic policy issues”. Also, in 2015, he signed Indiana’s Religious Freedom Act into law, which “allowed business owners to deny service to any person if they felt that serving them would violate their religious beliefs.” [Read Here]

So, this ‘Hamilton’ clash may just be the first in a very long 4 years of controversy and disagreement in the United States.




Podcast- “Accused”



Podcasting 2.0

According to Wikipedia, “a podcast is an episodic series of digital media files which a user can set up so that new episodes are automatically downloaded via web syndication to the user’s own local computer or portable media player.”

Today, podcasting is an important tool in Web 2.0. Jacob Media’s Blog conducted a new web study of radio listeners that showed a significant increase in the importance of podcasting and on-demand programming. Important figures from the study include:

  • More than 90% of respondents spend at least one hour per day with radio and/or television.
  • 84% of respondents now own a smartphone, and 66% have a tablet.
  • Nearly half the respondents own a “smart” TV or use Apple TV or Chromecast.
  •   57% of respondents use streaming audio at least once per week
  • Podcasting has seen a large increase year over year: 28% have now listened to a podcast, or on-demand audio, at least once in the last month.  Last year this figure was at 21%.

In October of last year, Google published a portal for podcasters which made publishing podcasts much easier. The portal allows podcasters to upload their shows to Google Play Music before the service was opened up to listeners. “Along with direct searches and browsing for podcasts, the service will connect new listeners with podcasts based on what they’re doing, how they’re feeling, or what they’re interested in.” [Read Here]

“Accused” Podcast


When thinking about the role of podcasts in my life, I thought back to a podcast that my friends suggested I listen to called Accused, by the Cincinnati Enquirer. The podcast follows the unsolved murder of student Elizabeth Andes at Miami University in 1978 and brings light to how the Oxford Ohio police mismanaged the investigation. My friends and I are currently students at Miami University so we were extremely intrigued with the topic of the podcast.

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Initially, police suspected Andes boyfriend, Bob Young, who found her body, to be the killer. After 15 hours of interrogation, Young confessed and was charged with the crime. However, Young retracted his statement and his lawyer offered Oxford police many other leads- such as her maintenance man who visited her apartment three times the week leading up to her death and her boss who asked to see Andes the day she was killed.



Eventually, Young was found innocent in court of the crime in 1983. Following the trial, the Oxford police failed to keep track of the information vital to the case. According to the podcast, a courier named Bruce Horner picked up the evidence at the Cleveland courthouse, but there was no record of where it ended up. Horner was killed in Iraq in 2007 and no one knows where the items are today. The vital pieces of evidence missing include- scissors used to puncture Andes’ chest, the bathrobe sash, shoelace and scarf used to tie and strangle her and the scrapings taken from beneath her fingernails. The missing evidence has caused the Butler County police to have no other leads in the case. [Article].

I think the appeal to this podcast is the ability to feel like you are apart of the action. When listening to the podcast, you feel as though you are there with the producer, discovering facts and searching for answers. In this case, the Cincinnati Enquirer was not just re examining the murder, but hunting for more answers that could lead to the real killer. This is another reason why podcasts like this are so popular today, because listeners feel as though they can make a difference. There’s a rush of adrenaline every time the producer discovering something new- you feel as though you’re apart of it. Another extremely popular podcast today that investigates a murder case is Serial, by Sarah Koenig.

The Evolution of University Life In Barcelona


University life in Barcelona is filled with thriving young students learning in a commonly bilingual environment. Two of Spain’s most prestigious universities are located in the city: the University of Barcelona (UB) and Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona. Both universities rank in the global top 200 of the QS World University Rankings 2015/2016.

History of the University of Barcelona


At the time of the Middle Ages, educational institutions called estudis (studium) were established and founded by popes, emperors, or kings. These estudis generals were separated into two facilities: faculty of the arts and a facility of advanced learning in theology, law, and medicine.

Estudi General

In 1401, King Martí I the Humane established the foundation of university studies in Barcelona- Estudi General of Medicine and the Arts. Then, in 1450,  King Alphonse the Magnanimous authorized a charter to create the Estudi General of Barcelona, bringing together all schools of higher education at the time. Chairs (or departments) were started in Theology, Canon Law, Civil Law, Moral and Natural Philosophy, the Seven Arts, Medicine, and more. However, during this period the Civil War in Catalonia was occurring and under the reign of Fernando the Catholic of Aragon, the institution was merged with the schools under the patronage of the Barcelona City Hall. [Read Here]

A New Building

During the 1500s, a new building at the top of the Rambla was built to transfer all existing facilities together in a single location. However, censorships of publications, bans on foreign contact, inadequate resources, along with student conflict and violence brought the institution into a period of hardship. In 1717, a royal order moved all university studies in Barcelona, Lleifa, Girona, Tarragona, Vic, and Tortosa to a single university at Cervera. [Read Here]

The Restoration

In 1822, a campaign was established to restore the university. 20 long years later, the University of Barcelona was finally restored in 1842. The former Convent of Carme was re-established into the new university building by architect Elies Rogent. [Read Here]



Franco Dictatorship

Under the period of the Franco Dictatorship (1939-1975), Catalan culture and language were expelled from academic life. In order to preserve and spread Catalan culture, the university took action to fight against this repression- which included the establishment of the Democratic Students’ Union of the University of Barcelona, and the student occupation of the university’s rector’s office in January 1969. [Read Here]

University of Barcelona Today- A New Normal


A new period of “normalization, modernization, and democratization” began after the election of Dr. Badia i Margarit in 1977. According to the university, they have “undertaken an action plan intended to respond to the current and future needs of Catalan society” [Article]. The fundamentals of this plan include:

  • Developing new departments
  • Promotion of lifelong learning
  • More international activity
  • Expanding links to the productive sectors
  • Advancing infrastructure and a better organization of the UB’s campuses
  • Modernized systems of management and planning
  • More widespread use of information technology

Campus Life


What the University Is Known For Today

“Today, the university is the fundamental center of university research in Spain and has grown to be a European benchmark for research activity, both in regards to the number of research programs it administers and the greatness these programs have achieved” [Read Here]. The university values the tradition of Barcelona and Catalonia, attempting to combine values with teaching excellence. It is a public university, located on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes.


TPM Program

The university is also widely known for its Transplant Procurement Management International Education Program – which “promotes training for the experts of the field of organ, tissue and human cell transplantation and donation” [Article]. This program was created at the university in 1991- teaching around 13,000 experts from 100 countries all over the world (the program is taught in Spanish, English, French, Italian and Portuguese). The TPM program celebrated its 25th anniversary this week- on Monday the 14th.


  •  65,643 students
  • 73 EHEA bachelor’s degree courses
  • 144 university master’s degree courses
  • 48 doctoral programs
  • 654 post graduate programs
  • 5,311 professors, lecturers, and researchers

According to the fifth employment study of graduates from the Catalan university system, carried out by the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency (AQU), 83% of UB graduates are currently employed and 85.2% would choose the UB again.

History of the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona

On June 6th, 1968 the creation of the university was officially declared. The first four departments created were Philosophy and Arts, Medicine, Science, and Economics. Classes began in October 1968, in the two new centers: the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, which was located in the Monastery of Sant Cugat del Vallés, and the Faculty of Medicine, which was located at the Hospital de Santa Creu i Sant Pau in Barcelona. [Read Here]



Since the beginning of the university, the aim of the foundations have been for a university of “autonomy, participation, and social commitment” [Read Here]. However, under the Franco Dictatorship, the university’s statutes were suspended in 1973 (as seen in the history of the University of Barcelona) and expelled the president from his position. But two years later, the university began the drafting of the Bellaterra Manifest- the first written record to uphold an “autonomous, democratic, and socially responsible university”.

Universitat Autónoma Today

Despite only being around for a little less than 50 years, “the UAB has already consolidated itself amongst the 200 best universities in the world within the main university rankings and is located within the top 10 new universities with greatest international projection and prestige” [Read Here]. In THE world university rankings of 2016-2017, the UAB ranked first. It is a public university, located in Placa Cívica.


  •  26, 467 undergraduates
  • 3,676 teaching and research staff
  • 87 bachelor degrees
  • 133 official master’s
  • 68 Phd programs
  • 1,346 foreign bachelor’s degree students

The Talk At UAB

A New Program

As of a couple days ago, the university paired up with the Abertis Foundation to create a campus “linked to the UNESCO International Centre for Mediterranean Biosphere Reserves and offer a space for research, dissemination, exchanges and innovation in this field” [Article].  This agreement includes developmental projects related to the reserves and the organization of the research conducted. According the UAB newsroom, there will also be “academic seminars, presentations of final projects from bachelor’s and master’s degrees, the promotion of student exchanges with universities around the Mediterranean”.

Thoughts From a Student- What is University Life Really Like For a Student In Barcelona?


Student Irene Navarro Baches currently attends the Universitat Autónoma and will be graduating with a degree in English in 2017. She attempted to get into the University of Barcelona but, unfortunately, did not have the grades. In the future, Baches wants to teach English. She finds the English program at the university challenging but rewarding. She mentioned that, “Secondary school was much easier to get along with your teachers. At the university I don’t have a relationship with my teachers and have to solve problems on my own.” Baches also said that many students, about 5 out of 10, in her difficult English courses fail or drop out of the class. “University is very hard for students and a lot of work, but learning English is very important to me so I do not give up” she said.


Social Life

Even though the academics seem to be very demanding for students, especially those studying English, Baches enjoys her social life at the university. She mentioned that she and most of her friends still live at home, so coming to the university everyday is a good chance to be independent and socialize. According to The Local– 80% of Spaniards under thirty still live at home with their parents. So, the university is commonly a place where young people can enjoy being in the company of people their own age.


The Evolution

University life in Barcelona has evolved over time from facing oppression to having the freedom to create ties between education and traditional values. The hardship that educational institutions faced throughout the city’s history creates even more appreciation for education in Barcelona today. The city now offers many prestigious universities, including the University of Barcelona and the Universitat Autónoma, that offer a range of programs and opportunities to aspiring students around Barcelona.

Learn More Here