The Oxford English Dictionary defines to express oneself as “to put one’s thought into words”. This is, of course, absolutely true, but it’s also more than that. At CEU, at least, expressing yourself takes on a more special meaning: it’s about realizing your full creative potential and sharing it with those around you, wherever they may be from. How can you do this? The University has a wide range of initiatives to help you, particularly though Campus Life, whether you’re a Spanish or an international student.
AT CEU, EXPRESSING YOURSELF IS ABOUT REALIZING YOUR FULL CREATIVE POTENTIAL AND SHARING IT WITH THOSE AROUND YOU, WHEREVER THEY MAY BE FROM
Many students are already taking advantage of this opportunity to express themselves through music (CEU Música, CEU Band, Orfeón y Camerata), acting (CEU Teatro), the spoken word (Radio CEU), the written word (Club de Escritores), art (CEU Cerámica) or photography (CEU Photo), to name just a few examples. And all the while they meet and make friends with others from all over the world.
Margarita Aguilar, a first-year Journalism student who has dual Venezuelan and French nationality, is a great example of this. “Taking part in radio programmes right from the first year provides us with a fantastic opportunity to gain self-confidence, get a better idea of what radio is really about, and enjoy the experience without feeling nervous about making a mistake. I find it really enriching to be able to share ideas and opinions on different issues with people whose cultural background, experiences and vision of the world are very different from my own.” (Read more about Margarita’s and María Lladró’s experience on Radio CEU)
The co-director of Radio CEU, Ángels Álvarez, feels much the same way: “Radio CEU provides students with the perfect setting to experiment, try things out, meet kindred spirits and share experiences. It’s a melting pot for languages, countries, cultures, backgrounds and different voices for students from any and all degrees. It’s a radio station that knows no limits.”
Music is, of course, another wonderful means of expression. Few people know this better than Anastasiya Shvandyreva, a recent Audiovisual Communication graduate from Russia and a member of CEU Band. “It’s easy to get to know people through the music they like and what they do in their free time,” she says. Her experience in CEU Band has gone far beyond her passion for playing the guitar: “when you speak to the other members, you find out about the culture of other countries, the university experience of those on other degrees, and strange and interesting things which you didn’t know before, and you can also meet new people and really feel a part of the University.” (Read more about Anastasiya’s and Jesús Ros’s experience in CEU Band)
‘WHEN YOU SPEAK TO THE OTHER MEMBERS, YOU FIND OUT ABOUT THE CULTURE OF OTHER COUNTRIES, THE UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE OF THOSE ON OTHER DEGREES… MAKING YOU REALLY FEEL A PART OF THE UNIVERSITY’
She’s not the only one. Around thirty undergraduates from different areas show their passion for music in the CEU Band, jamming together on songs from a range of genres, including pop, rock, blues, reggae and even rap.
“There’s even a place for people whose playing isn’t that advanced: they can always play a simpler part of the song and still make a real contribution of their own,” says the band leader, Raúl Cruz, who thinks that this initiative shows that “music really is a universal language”.
And they’re not the only ones passionate about music. Classical music also has its place at CEU: Yu Yuan Fuh (known as Dennis) is a fourth-year Dentistry student from Taiwan, and he plays the clarinet and the piano in the CEU chamber orchestra, or Camerata. For Dennis, joining the Camerata was a real milestone in his time here at the University: “before I joined the chamber orchestra, I didn’t know anyone from other degrees and it’s really helped me with my Spanish”. Dennis is also grateful for having the opportunity to play music at unforgettable venues such as the Iglesia de Santa Catalina or the Palacio del Marqués de Dos Aguas, and at numerous institutional events organized by the University (Dennis and Marta Salcedo, a soprano in the choir (the Orfeón) tell us about their experience).
AS WELL AS SPANISH STUDENTS, THE CHOIR AND CHAMBER ORCHESTRA HAS MEMBERS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD: FRANCE, THE USA, JORDAN AND EVEN THE FAROE ISLANDS
Just as with CEU Band, Dennis is far from the only international CEU student realizing his musical potential in this way. The CEU choir and orchestra, coordinated by César Blecua, has members from far and wide: Spain, France, the USA, Jordan, Morocco and even the Faroe Islands! And they all play under the leadership of the prestigious musician and conductor, José Manuel Palau.
Of course, in this era of imagery, photography is an obvious avenue for CEU students to express themselves. Luna Rotelle, a second-year Audiovisual Communication undergraduate from Argentina, has this to say about CEU Photo: “it gives me the chance to learn, enjoy myself and get to know people from many different countries and degrees in a very natural way. Almost every day I learn something new at the studio and I come away with real enthusiasm to use what I’ve learned in future projects. There’s a great atmosphere and I feel really at home there. The best thing is that there’s no discrimination between those with more or less expertise. In fact, it’s the opposite: everyone is willing to share what they know with others.” (Luna and Eva tell us about their experience at CEU Photo)
And that really is one of the secrets to the success of this initiative. The students’ skill levels, studies and nationalities are all very different, but this is far from being an obstacle, in the opinion of the coordinator of CEU Photo, Manolo Millán: “what we’re trying to do with this group is to take a different perspective on contemporary photography and its aesthetics. We want to be a place where members can think deeply about what an image should be and where they can develop their projects. We work together as a group, as equals, and our students’ own proposals are what we talk about and what we work on.”
‘CEU PHOTO HAS A GREAT ATMOSPHERE AND I FEEL REALLY AT HOME THERE. THE BEST THING IS THAT THERE’S NO DISCRIMINATION BETWEEN THOSE WITH MORE OR LESS EXPERTISE. IN FACT, IT’S JUST THE OPPOSITE: KNOWLEDGE IS SHARED’
These are just a few of the examples of the different creative experiences that many CEU students from around the world have been able to enjoy through Campus Life.