John Coumbe-Lilley, PhD Program Leader

John Coumbe-Lilley, PhD
Program Leader


If anyone questioned the academic integrity of this short term study abroad experiences they should take a few moments to review the content of this blog. Students completed 6 micro projects and 2 extended essays. A total of 144 required project posts were completed. Students completed two mini projects, one 4 day project, plus 6 x 1/2 day workshops. Students reviewed and discussed 3 feature length documentaries and read, processed and utilized 11 meta analysis and review articles during this program in addition to the sources they found to support their own work (see bloggers). Additionally students traveled to Italy, England, Holland, Germany within Catalonia and around Spain during their program experience. Additionally, several students voluntarily completed additional project work and stretched their research capabilities trying out visual research approaches. Quite a program!


It is fair to say this year’s course members were a superb example of all the best qualities of UIC students. They worked hard and they played hard. They were great ambassadors for themselves and our institution. They made life comfortable and fun for each other and showed a superior level of cooperation, community and collaboration. For me everyday was positive and the quality of the attitude, effort, character and work this group showed made this an outstanding program. I hope I experience this kind of quality program in the future. These students showed me that when the bar is set very high we can get over it. UIC students are creative, imginative, curious, playful, intelligent and have a strong work ethic. An employer or graduate school administrator seeking new talent could read this blog and find 18 emerging professionals who show many of the ideal qualities employers and graduate schools seek. They will find problem solvers, leaders, team players and adaptable learners all in one place.


Leading a study abroad program is a voluntary activity for faculty. I would not have led this program had I not had the support I felt I needed to do it well. This program would not have been possible with the help and support of the following people. From our home institution at the University of Illinis at Chicago (UIC) Study Abroad Office Chris, Deegan and Irina Krymova. Chris and Irina guided our work and provided counsel and input which helped shape the program in the USA and in Spain. My department colleagues Emily Jordan our business manager; Chuck Walter PhD who helped set the first program up; Ross Arena, PhD our interim department head for being a positive supporter of this initiative; Kileigh Guido who helped spread the word about the program and offered feedback concerning student advising and Noreen Chap who helped us get the SWAG we needed. Without their orgnizational, administrative and budget support to get the program off the ground this program would not have been possible. CEA USA Ahmad Rafky who collaborated with us in the start up phase to get this inititiave off the ground. Our program in Spain was supported and championed by all the CEA Spain contributors that inclduding Laura Salvado, Sandra Tomas, Enric Figueras, Pep Ingles, Fred Anderson, Karen Smyth, Eli Figuerola, Berta Rovira, Joan Valles, Victor  Lahoz, Ana Martinez, Ana Sanchez, Sonia Priego, Blanca Alvarez, Maria Mateu and Xisca Bestard, everyone who helped organize our final project. We had friends of the program who helped me and my teaching assistant lead this program, Jerry Kozlowski, Zach Weidner, Kristin Brown and Alex and Marta Marinof.

Finally, Arin Weidner my teaching assistant on my first two short term study abroad programs graduates from UIC this summer. She has been an excellent collaborator and an asset to those of us lucky enough to work with her. Congratulations Arin!

Barcelona 2017. Mood, Movement and the Mediterranean Diet (3M Program)

Tentative Dates. May 30 – July 7, 2017.

We begun planning for our return to Barcelona in 2017. We learned a great deal from this year’s experience and we intend to replicate the best bits of it and innovate parts of the program to improve the thematic opportunities Barcelona, Catalonia and Spain have to offer.

2018…Spain – Morocco…anyone?

Hasta luego mis amigos!