Fall 2023

This advanced Spanish language program is based at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). The program is designed to allow students to grow in their confidence using Spanish and in their sensitivity to interact with people of different cultural backgrounds. As part of the course, students will participate in a variety of experiences (including classes and workshops) designed to collaborate in the creation of the overall experience. This program includes excursions, workshops with guest speakers, and significant contact with social collectives and communities in Spain. Follow along with us on our program webpage: Madrid 2023 — Welcome To The Spanish (R)evolution

Message from Faculty Director

Palmar Photo

My name is Palmar Alvarez-Blanco and I joined the Carleton Spanish Department faculty in 2006. I have a BA from the University of Valladolid (Spain), an MA from Villanova University in Pennsylvania and a PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder. My commitment to Academic Civic Engagement and Public Scholarship deeply informs my research and teaching practices. For my work in this area, I was recently awarded the Broom Fellow for Public Scholarship.

When we travel to another country, are we tourists or travelers? What are our expectations when traveling? How do we get to know a place, its people, its history, and its culture? The Madrid program that I have designed will walk you through the history of some of the most important cultural, political and historical landmarks that represent the different transitions that Spain has been experiencing in the past 80 years.

During our stay, we become travelers who read, think, observe, and reflect upon political, cultural and social questions connected to each text we read, every person we meet and every place we visit. I like to tell the students who join me in this adventure that by the end of the program, they will understand that Spain is not a country but a nation experiencing multiple crises. It is also a political laboratory for current events. When students travel with me to Spain, they quickly realize that they are not just tourists, but travelers in the true sense of the word.

This study abroad program demands inquisitiveness, open-mindedness, and a sense of adventure, but it will also provide rich cultural experiences and a chance to get a feel for what it’s like to live in another country. Participants must show a genuine interest in learning about Spain and they need to be committed to using Spanish as the only language of communication

This 10-week experience requires intrepid students willing to step out of their comfort zones and leave behind the familiar in order to embark on a journey where questions abound and challenges loom around every corner. You need to be curious and accept these challenges involved in a complex coexistence with different points of view and ways of being in the world.

Throughout the ten weeks, we will spend long periods of time together; hence empathetic people are needed to explore the sense of community, interdependence and mutual support while discovering their own autonomy. A sense of humor is important to be able to laugh at our own mistakes and misinterpretations. In order to experience and embrace every moment, we need to leave behind the perfectionist self and approach each day as a unique opportunity to learn something new.

Palmar Álvarez-Blanco, Broom Fellow for Public Scholarship, Professor of Spanish

Academics

Learning Goals

  • To make real use of your language skills by immersing yourself fully in Spanish society.
  • To become travelers who read, think, observe, and reflect upon political, cultural and social questions connected to life in the city of Madrid and to each place we visit.
  • To experience art first hand, not through a PowerPoint presentation.
  • To learn about essential cultural and linguistic differences between English and Spanish with regard to conversational styles, politeness and verbal interaction in general.

Prerequisites

The Carleton Madrid program is a language and socio-cultural 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 2023. 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. 

Spanish 230: Madrid: Urban Transformation and Cultural Tensions in a Global City (6 credits)

This course proposes an exploration of Madrid in a historical perspective to track those tensions between the persistence of the city and the pulsion of modernity, between the local traditions and peculiarities and the influences arriving as an effect of globalization. In this journey we will study the transformation of Madrid from the Middle Ages to the present, focusing on the struggles and strategies of the community adapting to the new circumstances. In more general terms, we will understand Madrid’s way of life, the problems and particularities of its community, and as well as an introduction to the threats to urban society in a global world.
Professor Rubén Pallol

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.
Professor Francisco J. Moreno

SPAN 347: Welcome to the Spanish Revolution. From the “Spanish Miracle” to the “Indignant Movement” (1940-2021) (6 credits) 

When we travel to another country are we tourists or travelers? What are our expectations when traveling? How do we get to know a place, its people, and culture? In this course we will walk through the history of some of the most important cultural and historical landmarks that mark the different transitions that Spain has gone through. We will become travelers who read, think, observe, and reflect upon political, cultural and social questions connected to each text we read and every place we visit. This program includes several workshops with guest speakers, and significant contact with social collectives and communities in Spain.
Professor: Palmar Alvarez-Blanco

SPAN 213: Pragmatics in Context (2 credits; S/Cr/NC)

Pragmatics studies the relationship between language and context. Learning conversational skills in a second language requires students to linguistically adapt to a range of contexts, hence the field of pragmatics provides an ideal theoretical framework for a conversation class. For example, students learn about essential cultural and linguistic differences between English and Spanish with regard to conversational styles, politeness and verbal interaction in general.
Professor: Guest Instructor

Program Features

Housing

Students will stay with families at their homes.

Excursions

País Vasco, Castilla y León, Barcelona, Toledo as well as opportunities for individual travel throughout Spain. 

Other

  • Workshops with field experts, artists, film directors, writers and social collectives.
  • Opportunities to do volunteer work or to enroll in a frisbee team.
  • Cultural outings and activities (attending concerts, visits to museums, movies, one-day field trips in Madrid, cooking class, etc). 
  • Working on a collective video production experience.