St. Lawrence University offers students the opportunity to study in a semester or year-long program in Spain. Fall semester and year-long students begin their studies with an orientation in Salamanca followed by a three-week living/research experience in a village in Segovia. Spring semester students begin with an extended orientation in Salamanca.  After the village/provincial city course, students move to Madrid for the remainder of the program. Housed at the Colegio Mayor Isabel de Espana, the St. Lawrence program provides students with complete immersion in Spanish Culture and a strong academic program in small classes taught by local University Professors.

  • Based in Madrid
  • Fall or Spring semester; or academic year
  • Pre-requisites: Spanish 201 and either 202 or 213; 2.8 GPA recommended to apply
  • All courses taught in Spanish
  • Live with homestay families

Location     Academics     Co-curricular     Housing     

Calendar     Orientation      Program Contacts


The geographic focus of the program is Madrid, a city of four million, and the provinces of Segovia and Salamanca. Madrid has a dynamic cultural and social life. While modern and very active, it provides access to small towns and villages of more traditional appearance and customs. Within easy reach are the historical cities of Avila, Segovia, El Escorial and Toledo, and the Guadarrama mountains -- popular for skiing, hiking and other sports. Students often comment that "there isn't time to see and do everything in Spain."

Program classes and offices are at the Colegio Mayor Isabel de España, a university residence located in the Ciudad Universitaria area of Madrid. The Colegio Mayor sponsors many lectures, concerts, films and political debates. Some of these activities are co-sponsored by St. Lawrence University, and St. Lawrence program students are invited to all those activities as well as activities and sports events at other colegios mayores in the area. Spain program students, with the guidance of Adjunct Instructor Esthela Calderón, have produced Aquí y Allá (Here and There), a cultural journal containing poems and short stories in Spanish, as well as photographs and other materials that reflect their experiences. The journal was produced as part of weekly creative writing workshop sessions which met at different literary cafes in Madrid.

The Resident Director of the program is a regular member of the St. Lawrence University faculty. In addition to organizing and supervising the academic and co-curricular program, the director advises students, teaches the fall village and the spring small city courses, helps students with cultural adjustment issues, and is responsible for the internship course.

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In addition to the two required courses (The Spanish Village and Advanced Practical Spanish in the fall semester and Introduction to Spain and Advanced Practical Spanish in the spring semester), students select three elective courses from the list provided below. These classes are exclusively for program participants and are taught in Spanish by local professors who are well acquainted with US college courses. These courses will be offered if there is sufficient student enrollment. 

The courses take full advantage of being in Madrid and Spain, with excursions to several places in Spain, field work in various city neighborhoods, the chance to attend a variety of theatrical performances, and weekly visits to the Prado and other museums.

Fall Required Courses:

SPAN 335S: The Spanish Village (fall)

SPAN 301S: Advanced Practical Spanish (fall) / 302S (spring)

Fall Elective Courses (Students select 3):

SPAN 323S: Introduction to Spanish Literature (Required for Spanish majors)

ECON/SPAN 322S: Introduction to International Economics

FA 200/SPAN 300S: El Greco, Veláquez, Goya and Picasso

GS/ANTH 212S/SPAN 312: Migrations and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary Spain

SPAN 328S: Nature and Culture in Spain: Interpreting the Landscapes

GOVT/SPAN 367S: Political Process in Contemporary Spain

SPAN 358S: The Madrid Stage

Spring Required Courses

ND 480: Internship with Seminar (full-year students only)

SPAN 338S: Introduction to Spain (spring)

SPAN 301S: Advanced Practical Spanish (fall) / 302S (spring)

Spring Elective Courses (Students select 3):

SPAN 344S: Survey of Latin American Literature

FA 267/Span 303S: The History of Spanish Art

GOVT/SPAN 330S: Politics and Governments of Western Democracies

ECON 265/SPAN 365S: The Spanish Economy, the E.U., and the Latin American Challenge

SPAN 342S: Spanish Novel in the 20th Century

HIST/GNDR/SPAN 383S: History of an Emancipation: Women in Spain, 1750-1995

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Field trips, cultural events and other activities organized by the program complement the classes and are planned with the goal of furthering the students' understanding of Spanish culture. Recent field trips have been to Santiago de Compostela in NW Spain, Extremadura, Andalusia, and to Picos de Europa in the north.

In addition to field trips to various parts of Spain, the program organizes group visits within the capital itself. The cost of all scheduled group activities is included in the comprehensive fee. Students are also reimbursed, according to program guidelines, for attendance at cultural activities of their own choosing.

The Colegio Mayor Isabel de España, where the program is based, sponsors lecture series and seminars, plays and concerts, as well as group activities such as sports, dance, theater, aerobics, music and photography. English conversation groups (one hour a week) are organized between program participants and local students in an effort to bring both groups together.
Students are encouraged to do volunteer work in Madrid.
The program also covers the cost of membership to libraries for research purposes.

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The home stays with Spanish families constitute one of the most fulfilling experiences offered by the program, as they provide a pleasant and supportive atmosphere for the students. Homes are located throughout Madrid and are usually within forty minutes commuting distance from school. Family make-up and homes vary in background and composition. Students are expected to be sensitive to cultural differences and open to understanding and sharing fully in the life of the Spanish family. As a norm, the families host only one student and provide an individual room.  When possible, the program includes families in program activities. All meals are taken with the family.

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Please click here to find the Program Calendar 2014 - 2015 and Program Calendar Fall 2015 & Spring 2016

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Pre-departure: The CIIS office organizes in depth orientation sessions on-campus prior to the students participation in the program. This includes a program specific session(s) in which the students will learn more about the program, local culture, academic expectations, and any other important information. There is also an orientation session lead by the CIIS office on culture shock, and what to expect, as well as safety and security while abroad.

Fall semester:  Upon arrival in Madrid at the end of August, students travel to Salamanca for a 3-4 day orientation program. The orientation introduces students to Spain, prepares them for the courses they will be taking and for the village stays, and enables group members to become acquainted with each other. In addition to daily work in the language and culture, the orientation program includes several cultural visits. 
After the orientation phase in Salamanca, group members move to individual villages in the province of Segovia during the two week village stay students are housed with families, one student per family and normally one student per village. Students participate in the life of the village and complete a program of research, interviews and study assigned by the program director. The group gathers weekly in the city of Segovia for a seminar. At the conclusion of the village stay the program moves to Madrid. 

Spring semester: During the first two weeks of the month-long Introduction to Spain course (SPAN 338), students live in towns in the province of Salamanca where they investigate the economic, political and social structure of the area through readings, interviews and detailed personal observation. The second two weeks are spent in Madrid with daily language and culture classes and sessions on Spanish art and culture.

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Program Contacts

If you are interested in learning more about the Spain program please contact one of the following people.

CIIS Office: Kelley Lawson-Khalidi, Director of Off-Campus Programs - Questions about eligibility, program logistics, and other off-campus opportunities.

Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Marina Llorente - Questions about program academics.

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