Semester in Spain

EMORY EN ESPAÑA: Emory Semester Study Abroad Programs in Spain

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Salamanca, Spain
Full Academic Year

Bienvenidos a España!

Semester in Sapin

In this program, students of all levels can study and experience immersion in Spanish language and culture during a full semester (Fall or Spring) or a full academic year (Fall + Spring). Salamanca, located in west central Spain (just two hours from Madrid) is the “Oxford” or “Cambridge” of the Hispanic world. The Universidad de Salamanca, with which Emory collaborates, was founded in the year 1218 and is the oldest and most famous university in the Spanish-speaking world; it retains a worldwide reputation in Hispanic studies and Spanish language teaching. Its 40,000 Spanish, European and Latin American students make Salamanca a very young city with a wide offering of cultural activities (theater, concerts, art exhibitions, local festivals) and an active social life, which remains centered on its historic Plaza Mayor. The city’s central location within the Peninsula facilitates  travel within the Peninsula, and the program includes several group excursions. Destinations vary, but often include  Madrid, Barcelona, Segovia, Valencia, Andalusia (cities of Granada and Seville), Galicia (Santiago de Compostela) and/or Portugal (Lisbon).

Salamanca is a small Spanish town unknown to many college students, but it is a city with a vibrant and dynamic history.  As a Spanish and Art History major I was able to walk to class everyday on the same cobble stone streets that Cervantes once fell in love with and across the bridge of the Roman trade routes.  Each day in Salamanca I lived within history, I read the Spanish authors in class and then ate tapas in the historic hangout of Miguel Unamuno.

Student Participant

Additional information on this program at the Emory College Study Abroad website: Emory Salamanca Program.


Fall Semester
late August to late December
Fall Program Ititnerary
Spring Semester
early January - early May (for beginning and intermediate level students) OR late May (for advanced level students)
Spring Program Itinerary

See the Emory College Study Abroad program brochure for the Emory Salamanca Program for information on exact dates and itineray.

Academic Focus and Possibilities

Advanced level students with Prof. Dolores “Loli” Egido

Advanced level students with Prof. Dolores “Loli” Egido, who often teaches the seminar Salamanca en la literatura in the Emory Center.

  • Experiencing Spanish language and culture through immersion in everyday Spanish life
  • Studying Spanish language, society and culture in a wide range of academic courses (including many that satisfy GERs)
  • Fulfilling the language requirement in one semester 
  • Completing Foundational Courses for the Spanish majors and minor (SPAN 302, SPAN 310) 
  • Enrolling in 400-level seminar courses to fulfill major/minor requirements in both Spanish and other departments 
  • Participating in HEALTH SCIENCES TRACK (fall semester only, includes SPAN 210: Medical Spanish, BIO 470/SOC 389: Comparative Healthcare Seminar, and/or SPAN 410: Health Communication)
  • Enrolling in select social sciences courses taught in English (ANT, PSYC, POLS, ECON), preapproved by the relevant Emory departments

Eligibility Requirements

giraldaA visit to Seville is not complete without a climb of its famous Giralda, the most symbolic image of the city. It was once the minaret of a mosque but has served as the belltower of the cathedral since the year 1248.
  • Open to all Emory students and students visiting from other universities, including (but not limited to) Spanish majors and minors
  • Open to students at all levels of communicative proficiency: beginning, intermediate, advanced
  • Open to native and heritage speakers of Spanish who wish to explore Hispanic culture and the Spanish language as they have developed in Spain
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA* (students with below 3.0 GPA are encouraged to meet with a Study Abroad Advisor and may be eligible for a GPA waiver)
  • Completed 3 semesters of college and in good academic standing
  • One year of high school Spanish or one semester of college Spanish is the minimum language requirement for participation in the program. 
  • Completion of the online Spanish Placement Exam before applying IF you have never taken a university level Spanish course.

Course Information

puente romanThe 2000-year old Puente Romano and the great Cathedral of Salamanca.

Beginning/intermediate Program Options

Courses and activities at this level are designed for students wishing to develop or perfect the ability to use Spanish for communicative purposes. Students at these levels take language and culture courses at the prestigious Cursos Internacionales division of the University of Salamanca, with the guidance and under the supervision of Emory’s on-side director. Students are placed into appropriate Salamanca courses and receive credit for Emory courses of approximately the same level and type. These include Spanish 101, 102, 201, 202, 212, 215 and some 300-level courses (for high intermediate students). All these courses are tagged as HAL and allow you to complete Emory's Foreign Language Requirement (= two HAL courses) in just one semester.

Advanced-Level Course Options

Advanced students normally enroll in 300- and 400-level courses taught by program faculty or by faculty of the University of Salamanca. There are numerous options at the advanced level, so you should consult with the Emory College Study Abroad advisor and the on-site director in making decisions about which courses to take.

Most courses are pre-approved for Emory credit, and additional approvals may be obtained for specific courses and/or academic majors. Please see the Spain Course Descriptions (Fall) and Spain Course Descriptions (Spring) brochures linked at the Emory College Study Abroad page for the Emory Salamanca Program.

Health Sciences Track

Pre-health students studying in Salamanca in the Fall semester may take one or two courses from the Health Sciences Track: SPAN 217: Medical Spanish, BIOL 470/SOC 389: Spanish Comparative Healthcare Seminar, or SPAN 410: Health Communication

The Health Sciences Track offered by the Salamanca program made me realize that I didn't have to sacrifice a study abroad experience for the sake of my pre-med studies. I was able to study international healthcare systems and learn useful medical terminology, all the way from Spain. This knowledge and experience gained while abroad will make me better able to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients, and to better serve the healthcare community here at home.

Student Participant

Program Features

carlos ortega

Program Director and program staff

The on-site program director, Carmen “Maica” Torres (pictured right with Program Assistant Carlos Ortega), organizes program activities and helps all students adjust to life and study in Salamanca. Maica meets students during the program orientation session held in Madrid at the beginning of each semester, and is present all semester to organize activities and provide guidance and advice. She is an excellent guide in all senses, since she is from Salamanca province, studied at the University of Salamanca, and is an expert on Spanish history and culture. Maica also coordinates the activities of other instructors and assistants who work with Emory students.

The on-site staff created a great group environment, assisted me with any problem and enhanced my experience in every way.

Student Participant
dinner in segovia

Orientation in Madrid and Salamanca

The program begins in Madrid, where program staff orient students to fundamentals of Spanish culture, cross-cultural communication, and academic organization. Orientation continues as the program moves to Salamanca.   During the first week in Salamanca, program staff take students around the city and share useful information, such as where to find banks, medical clinics, phone stores, libraries and more.  There are several group banquets during the semester, including at program beginning, program end, and (pictured left) this meal during a day-long visit to the nearby city of Segovia.

emory center

Centro de Emory

Emory maintains a permanent center in Salamanca which located in the central historic district of Salamanca, just a few steps from the entrance to the Universidad de Salamanca (pictured right). The Centro serves as a classroom, program meeting room, office for the Program Director, and an academic work space in which students can work on assignments, meet with tutors, and consult with the program director and staff. There are three desktop computers and printers for writing papers, access to Wi-Fi, a large television and DVD, a CD and tape player, a digital projector (for presentations), a small kitchen with a large refrigerator, and bathroom facilities. The center gives students a space for tutorials and consultations with the on-site director and program staff.

Weekly Activities

tapasIncluded in the cost of the program are regular weekly activities which serve as opportunities to speak Spanish and learn about Spanish culture outside the classroom. These activities include movies, plays, concerts, museum visits and social activities (such as "tapas afternoon" or flamenco dance lessons). Activities vary with the interests of students and events scheduled in Salamanca. Tapas are a fundamental part of Spanish life (pictured left) and the program offers opportunities to experiment with new foods. Students take Spanish cooking classes, learning how to prepare such dishes as tortilla de patata, paella, gazpacho. Flamenco dance classes are a must for many program participants!  Like other Salmantinos, students often share coffee and experiences in the terraces along the Rúa Mayor.

Program Excursions

mezquitaThe Salamanca program includes extensive travel. In the past students have visited most major cities in Spain: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Granada, Sevilla, Córdoba, Toledo, Segovia or Avila. During these excursions, which range from single-day to full-week trips, you will explore Spain's major cultural sites; the program director asks you to explore and reflect on the cultural significance of these sites and relate them to material you are studying in regular classes.

Sites visited include Madrid’s Museo del Prado and Reina Sofia Center (where Picasso’s Guernica can be seen), the Alcázar de Segovia (a “typical” castle which has been used in several films), the Museo Picasso of Barcelona, the Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla, the Moorish Palace of La Alhambra in Granada, the Mezquita of Córdoba, La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and the Catedral de Sevilla and its famous Giralda. You will also have time for independent travel on weekends. pictured right: Students listening as Program Director Maica Torres explains the history and present-day cultural significance of the Mezquita-Catedral de Córdoba.

During Spring semester, traditional festivals take place throughout Spain. The program usually includes visits to one or more of these and explores the roles such festivals play in modern Spanish life. Such festivals include the Festival del Toro of Ciudad Rodrigo (seen above); Las Fallas of Valencia (famous for its fireworks and the burning of giant papier maché images); Semana Santa or Holy Week, celebrated in all parts of Spain but especially Seville; and Carnavales in Sitges and Cádiz.

Intercambios (“language exchanges”)


A great way to get to know Spanish students and improve your language and cultural skills is to set up an intercambio with a native Spanish speaker who wants to learn and practice English with a native English speaker. During an intercambio, you normally meet once or twice a week and talk in one language for a half-hour and in the other language for the second half-hour. The on-site director can orient you to ways and places to find Spaniards who might wish to participate in an intercambio with you.

Tutorial Program

If you choose to take an advanced PEI course at the Universidad de Salamanca (in other words, a University of Salamanca course designed for regular native speaker students of Salamanca), the program director will arrange for you to work with a tutor. The tutor will meet with you an extra hour each week to ensure your success in the course.

Volunteer activities

In their freetime, many students choose to contribute time to volunteer activities throughout the city. These activities often include helping teach English in primary schools. Many students have found volunteer work to be a very effective way of entering into contact with everyday Spanish culture.



Among the most valuable linguistic and cultural experiences that you will have is the opportunity to live in a Spanish home. You will stay in an individual room in a private home and interact regularly with your Spanish hosts. Interacting with native Spaniards in their homes will allow you to practice your Spanish every day outside of class as well as learn about everyday culture (practices, beliefs, values) in Spain. The homestay also includes three meals per day. Because of these clear advantages, the program requires all students to live with a host family during the first month and highly encourages that all students remain with the host family for the duration of the program.

¡Me he encantado mi familia! Vivo con Juana, la madre de la casa, su hija, Elena, que tiene catorce años, y su perra, Trufa. Juana y Elena han sido muy simpáticas conmigo durante toda la experiencia. Juana… siempre prepara 3 comidas muy ricas y también cocina comidas que sabe… que prefiero. Mi habitación individual es perfecta también, así que tengo una cama y un escritorio para trabajar.

Student Participant

The best part of my semester in Spain was my host mom. She and I got along so well and I was able to improve my Spanish by having long conversations with her. My host mom was such a gracious host and she truly made me feel like part of her family.

Student Participant


A full description of the program costs and billing procedures is available in the budget sheets on the Emory College Study Abroad website.
Fall Budget Sheet
Spring Budget Sheet

Application Deadline and Procedures


barcelonaExploring and learning about the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona.

Laura Harlan
OISP Peer Advisor

Kim Mantia-Ochoa
OISP Study Abroad Advisor

Katherine Ostrom
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Spanish


What our students have to say

For most students, their experience on study abroad is one of the most meaningful and transformative experiences of their entire lives, since they usually learn as much about themselves and their own cultures as they do about the cultures and languages of others.

Maica tiene un nivel increíble de organización y siempre tiene una sonrisa y actitud positiva, ¡está llena de energía! Me ha enseñado muchísimo, no sólo de España, sino también de cómo vivir la vida. No hay palabras para agradecer todo lo que ha hecho.

Student Participant

I am a second semester senior who has just returned from Spain, and I must say, it was the BEST decision I have made in my Emory career!

Student Participant
nos vemos en espana