Transform a neglected urban site into an innovative green space for outdoor community-building, play and recreation.

Think of a barren hilltop in a disadvantaged neighborhood, overlooking the more prosperous streets below. Now imagine the possibilities when students and teachers, local citizens and community leaders come together to rescue the land, dream up a scheme, and develop a vision and concrete plans to transform the space into an innovative green space.

The ultimate goal? To improve the landscape — and the quality of life.

Working with a neighborhood association and NGO partner, your mission is to rehabilitate the site of an old landfill and turn it into a thriving community garden and multi-purpose recreation space. This innovative project was designed by university students and professors, and now they’re enlisting helpers to implement the plans and make it a reality.

Ready to get your hands dirty? Together you’ll help measure the land, prepare and sow the soil, and build terraces, garden beds and irrigation canals. Doing basic carpentry and gardening tasks, you’ll build practical hands-on skills along with intercultural competence. During afternoon reflection workshops, you’ll look back on your daily experience and discuss topics like responsible care for the common home and how a community can develop tools and networks to ignite their own ideas.

After a morning of gardening, digging and building, you’ll have time to kick around a soccer ball with local kids, practice your Spanish in sidewalk cafes, check out the famous graffiti and street art, and join in group trips to fun cultural attractions. Evening meals center around the family dinner table, where you’ll enjoy traditional foods and friendly conversation with your host parents and “siblings.” Biking, sailing and beach trips are planned for weekends with CIEE friends.

During your three-week immersion you’ll discover the transformative power of green community spaces for all involved. You’ll also develop a skillset to take to any community-building or public garden project back home in the U.S. — or anywhere in the world.

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