This advanced Spanish language program is based at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM), one of Spain’s top academic institutions. Courses include Urban Studies, Political Sciences, and Art History, as well as an intense grammar review. All 20 credits count towards the Spanish major or minor. In addition to their coursework, students are allowed to audit a course of their choice.

Message from Faculty Director

Professor Huergo has taught at Carleton since 1988. A specialist in seventeenth-century Spanish Literature, Professor Huergo is also interested in Urban Studies, Art History, and Philosophy.


Learning Goals

  • To make real use of your language skills by immersing yourself fully in Spanish culture.
  • To appreciate the beauty of urban life and to defend public space from neoliberal predatory practices.
  • To practice radical walking.
  • To experience art first hand, not through a PowerPoint presentation.
  • To learn about the political and economic realities and challenges of today’s Spain in the European Union context.


The Carleton Madrid program is a language and culture immersion program designed for students who wish to grow fluent in Spanish while living and studying in a bustling metropolis. Most students participating in the program are non-majors in their sophomore and junior years. Applicants must have completed Spanish 205 or above by spring term 2022. Given the competitive nature of the program, student selection also rests on a combination of factors, such as performance during the interview, GPA, letters of recommendation, application form, language proficiency, and group dynamics.

Course of Study

20 Credits

Students enroll in three regular courses and an additional language skill development course for a total of 20 credits. All credits count towards the Spanish major and minor. ARTH 232 counts toward the Art History major. In addition to their coursework, students are allowed to audit a course of their choice at Complutense. 

SPAN 229: Current Issues in Spanish Politics (6 credits)

This course offers a fresh look of Spain’s current political and economic life. Discussion topics include the rise of Podemos and the new Spanish political scene, the Catalan separatist movement, political corruption, illegal immigration, and the role of the European Union.
Instructor: Local Faculty

ARTH 232: Spanish Art Live (6 credits)

This course offers an introduction to Spanish art from el Greco to the present. Classes are taught in some of the finest museums and churches of Spain, including the Prado Museum, the Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofía, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Toledo Cathedral in Toledo, and the Church of Santo Tomé. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or equivalent.
Instructor: Local Faculty

SPAN 349: Theory and Practice of Urban Life (6 credits)

More than a study of the image of Madrid in Spanish literature, this course examines the actual experience of living in a cosmopolitan city through a variety of disciplines, including Urban Studies, Geography, Architecture, Sociology, and Spanish poetry and fiction. Special attention will be given to imaginative walking and counter-tourist tactics as theorized by Phil Smith and the British psychogeographic movement. Prerequisite: Spanish 205 or above.
Instructor: Humberto Huergo

SPAN 212: Navigating Madrid (2 credits) S/CR/NC

This is an intense grammar/cultural workshop intended to help program participants navigate successfully through everyday situations such as ordering food at a restaurant, getting a haircut, describing your symptoms to a doctor, buying clothes, or simply hanging out with your new Spanish friends. The course has two components—one strictly grammatical (“how do you say X exactly?”) and another cultural (“is it right to use the informal  with a waiter?”).

Program Features


Students will stay with families at their homes.


Cultural activities, speakers, and trips within Madrid will supplement coursework. In addition, there will be an excursion to Toledo (one day), Cádiz or Granada (two nights and three days), and Santiago (three nights and four days), as well as opportunities for individual travel throughout Spain.