St. Lawrence University offers students the opportunity to study for a semester or an academic year in Spain. Program participants will begin their studies with orientation in Malaga. The University of Málaga will provide students with intensive Spanish instruction and a cultural introduction to Andalucía. The program is open to students from beginner to advanced Spanish levels. 

Upon completion of this component, students move to Madrid for the remainder of the program where they live in homestay families and participate in program-related excursions, Spanish classes, and elective courses. 

  • Based in Málaga and Madrid.
  • Fall or Spring semester.
  • Academic year- option. Students must meet with Caitlin Hatz to discuss program courses. 
  • Program can accommodate 15 students per semester, including academic year students.
  • Pre-requisites: 2.8 GPA; 1 Spanish class on-campus prior to departure. 
  • Open to beginner and advanced level Spanish speakers, a perfect opportunity to improve language skills for post graduate opportunities in a number of fields. 
  • Most elective courses taught in English; language courses taught in Spanish. 
  • Live with homestay families.

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Location     Academics     Co-Curricular     Housing     Calendar     Orientation      Program Contacts


The program is based in Málaga and Madrid and will include components in other areas of Spain. 

Málaga is a city of a million and half inhabitants located on the Mediterranean coast, and well known as the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. While in Málaga, students complete coursework at the International Center of Spanish Language at the University of Málaga. 

Madrid, Spain’s capital, is a city of four million, and boasts a dynamic cultural and social life. Madrid also provides easy access to more traditional small towns and villages in Segovia and Salamanca. Also within easy reach of Madrid are the historical cities of Avila, El Escorial, 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."

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The Program Director is a member of the St. Lawrence University faculty. The director teaches one SLU unit course related to his/her area of expertise in the context of Spain. In addition to organizing and supervising the academic and co-curricular program, the Director advises students, teaches in fall and spring, helps students with cultural adjustment issues, and is responsible for the work placement course.

In Madrid, in addition to one required Spanish-language course, students all enroll in the Director's course and select two elective courses from the list provided below. These classes are exclusively for program participants and most are taught in English 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 visits to the Prado and other museums.

Students participating in the Spain semester program receive three units toward the Estudios hispanicos major or minor. One unit would be the Spanish language course. If students want to receive two more units towards  the Estudios hispanicos major or minor, they must do the classwork (papers, exams, oral presentations, etc.) in Spanish in two courses taught in English. 

Required Courses:

Director course (taught in English) – SPAN/Environmental Studies Special Topics 3000: Biodiversity of Spain: Threats and Solutions from Farm to Fork (1 unit; Fulfills ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY distribution requirement- Pending Approval)

This course will introduce students to the incredible biodiversity of Spain, part of a global biodiversity hotspot and one of the most important places for endemic plant species on the planet. We will first situate Spain’s biodiversity within a global biogeographic context, exploring where and why patterns of biodiversity exist through an evolutionary, geological, and ecological lens. We will then discuss the unique ecoregions of Spain and learn about each region’s key plant and animal species, including their particular adaptations to their environment. Next, we will address the status of and threats to Spain’s biodiversity within the context of the global biodiversity crisis and assess the role of agriculture as the major contributor to biodiversity loss worldwide. A key focus will be on exploring biodiversity-friendly agricultural systems and how consumers can play a role in supporting these systems. The class will entail field trips to preserves and other natural areas, as well as to farms, markets, and restaurants that promote alternative food systems that encourage biodiversity-friendly food production.

Spanish Language Course – (1 unit)

ELECTIVES TAUGHT IN ENGLISH(Students select 2 electives)

CLAS/GS/ANTH 212S/SPAN/SOC 312S: Migrations and Cultural Diversity in Contemporary Spain 
(1 unit; Fulfills HUMANITIES distribution requirement)

Students will become familiar with migration and cultural diversity in Spanish society from an anthropological and socio-cultural perspective. The course will introduce basic notions of socio-cultural anthropology in order to understand contemporary migrations, describe characteristics and problems of Spanish society in the framework of cultural diversity, and apply methodological tools of anthropology to present-day Spain.

ECON/CLAS 265S/SPAN 365S: The Spanish Economy, the E.U., and the Latin American Challenge
(1 unit; Fulfills SOCIAL SCIENCES distribution requirement)

This course is designed to shed light on the complexity and dynamics of this regional integration process by examining its main economic features. For that, we explore the fundamental characteristics of the EU, starting with the integration process and then analyzing its key institutions, the main EU policies and the decision-making process. Within this framework, we specifically explore the differential consequences for the Spanish economy. In addition, the course will also cover the relationship between the EU and Latin America to provide a comprehensive overview of commercial opportunities, strategic collaborations, and shared challenges between these two economic blocs.

SPAN/ENVIROMENTAL STUDIES/PHILOSOPHY: SPECIAL TOPICS 3000: Welcome to the Anthropocene. Linking Ecological Crisis and Global Inequality (1 unit)

The planet is changing rapidly due to the impact of human activities. But are all human societies equally responsible? Who is responsible for the accelerated deterioration of ecosystems? In this course we will address the ecological crisis by studying how different countries and societies have produced and suffered differently from the deterioration of our Earth. By doing so, we will be in a position to understand why history, social equity and climate justice are two essential elements of the transition to sustainable societies.

SPAN/ENG/FILM STUDIES: SPECIAL TOPICS: Psychology and cinema: the Psychoanalytic view and understanding of the Human Being through Cinematographic Art (1 unit; Fulfills ARTS distribution requirement)

Film is, of all the art forms, the one that best expresses the fantasies and desires of the human being, by using images and putting them in motion, connecting us with the depths and complexities of our psyche.

This course will enable students to acquire knowledge of some of the fundamental existential concepts and themes that allow us to understand the human being in depth, and the way in which he or she relates to his or her fellow human beings. Together, through the analysis of a series of films (including Spanish films), the student will be able to visualize and understand the themes and concepts addressed, with a binocular vision that, as the psychoanalyst W. Bion would say, will allow him or her to contemplate, at the same time, the conscious and unconscious aspects, captured through the films, and the whole set of fantasies, desires, emotions, passions and experiences that are reflected therein.

In this way, film analysis, through psychoanalytic understanding, will provide students with a set of tools that will allow them to comprehend the world and human relationships from a deep understanding that transcends the manifest and/or apparent, and will immerse them in the fascinating complexity of the human psyche.

AAH-267/SPAN-303: History of Spanish Art (1 unit; Fulfills ARTS Distribution)

In this course, students will study Spanish art from prehistoric cave painting to 20th century masters such as Picasso and Miro. Architectural monuments, sculptures and paintings are also examined.

Students will obtain a basic formation of the History of Art in Spain from cave painting to the 20th century, by means of its most significant examples and within the historical-cultural and social framework in which they take place. They will learn to analyze, catalogue, and comment on a work of art (architecture, painting, sculpture, objects, textiles), to be able to transmit this knowledge in a practical and pedagogical way. Students will also develop visual memory and the ability to observe and interpret a work of art, so that the student can understand from this analysis the characteristics of the work: the period, the school, the author, the technique in which it is made, as well as the ideological or literary source, religious or profane, that inspires it.


SPAN/ENVS 328S: Nature and Culture in Spain: Interpreting the Landscapes (1 unit; Fulfills HUMANITITES distribution) 

One of the best ways to learn about a country is to travel perceptively through its countryside, villages and cities. Landscapes are a good indicator of natural and cultural diversity. In observing human interaction with the physical environment, students will understand better how nature, communities, and ways of life developed over time. This interdisciplinary course will contextualize the program field trips.

ND 480: Internship with Seminar
(1 unit; For full-year students only)

This is a semester-long internship for academic year participants that is conducted during the spring semester. Every attempt is made to match the internship assignment to the individual's interests. If there are no internships available, full-year students will take 3 electives instead of 2 or will do an independent study with the Director. 

The internship period complements the class work of the regular courses taken during the program and is designed to be a challenging personal and professional experience. During the internship, students remain under the supervision of the program and continue to reside with the Spanish families. They participate in a seminar and carry out required writing assignments and oral presentations. They are also required to participate in several cultural activities such as visits to museums, films, theater or book presentations in the city of Madrid. The final grade for the internship is based on work submitted for the seminar, the evaluation of the internship supervisor of the host organization, and the program director's evaluation of the student's work in the seminar and at the sponsoring organization.

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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 Valencia on the east coast of Spain, Extremadura, Andalucía, and to Bilbao 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.

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. 

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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 a fifty-minute commute 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. When possible, the program includes families in program activities. All meals are taken with the family.

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The Fall semester typically begins in late August and ends in mid-December. The Spring semester typically begins in early/mid-January and ends in mid-May.

Fall 2024


Friday 23: Departure from U.S.

Saturday 24-25: Orientation In Malaga

Monday 26- Thursday Sept. 5: Intensive Language Course


Friday 6: Transportation to Madrid

Monday 9-Tuesday 10: Madrid Orientation 

Wednesday 11: Classes Begin

Friday 20: Scheduled Academic Visit

Saturday 28- Sunday 29: Program Excursion


Monday 7- Wednesday 10: Mid-Term Exams

Thursday 11- Sunday 20: Fall Break & National Holidays

Monday 21: Classes Resume 


Friday 1: National Holiday

Saturday 9: Holiday in Madrid 

Friday 15: Scheduled Academic Visit 

Friday 29: Last Day of Classes 


Monday 2- Thursday 5: Final Exams

Friday 6: National Holiday; End of Program for Fall Students 

Saturday 7: Fall Students Depart for the U.S.;  Christmas Break for Academic Year Students 

Spring 2024


Saturday 6: National Holiday 

Monday 8: Internship Begins for Academic Year Students 

Friday 12: Spring Students Departure from U.S.

Saturday 13-14: Orientation begins in Malaga

Monday 15-Thursday 25: Intensive Language Course in Malaga

Monday 29- Tuesday 30: Program Orientation in Madrid

Wednesday 31: Program Excursion


Friday 23- Sunday 25: Program Excursion 


Monday 4-Thursday 7: Mid-Term Exams

Saturday 23- Monday 1: Spring Break


Monday 1: Spring Break

Tuesday 2: Classes Resume

Wednesday 24: Last Day of Classes

Thursday 25: Free Day

Friday 26: Final Exams 

Monday 29-Tuesday 30: Final Exams (continued)


Wednesday 1: National Holiday & Program Ends

Thursday 2: Depart for the U.S. 

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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.

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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 Coordinator: Dr. Matt Carotenuto, Director of Off-Campus Programs- Questions about program academics, eligibility, program logistics, and other off-campus opportunities.

Faculty Coordinator: Dr. Shelley McConnell - Questions about academics

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