Spain: Language, Community, and Social Change

Key Features

"The experience that I had in Granada prompted me to take an extra summer class to graduate with a Spanish minor because I learned so much. After I graduated from Gettysburg College, I moved to Chile to live there for a year and perfect my Spanish. Granada and SIT changed my life, and I'm really happy I studied where I did."

—Andrew Vermehren-Shepler, Gettysburg College

Complete Spanish Immersion
All program coursework and components are conducted in Spanish, enabling students to rapidly improve their language skills in one semester. Students take two intensive Spanish courses. Upon arrival, students are placed in one of three language levels, which provides each student the appropriate language acquisition necessary to complete a thematic course on community and social change.

Spanish classes strongly emphasize student involvement and inquiry in order to fully engage students in the language learning process. Students are able to acquire the tools needed to successfully connect with host families and conduct community service. Throughout the program, students are motivated and encouraged to use their language not only in the classroom but with host families and other community members.

Community project

Community Service Project
Students are able to greatly improve their conversation skills by completing volunteer service or participating in a community group or study.

Sample community projects include:

  • Tutoring at a school (in subjects such as math, language, and social science)
  • Volunteering at a homeless shelter
  • Assisting in environmental or sports activities
  • Working as an assistant English teacher at a local elementary or high school

Students typically commit to a minimum of four hours of work a week. The community service usually starts on the fourth week of the program. At the conclusion of the semester, students will conduct a final oral presentation and submit a 10- to 12-page written paper in Spanish. Students must also keep a reflection journal registering their observations, interviews, and critical analysis of their community service experience.

The community project is a core component of the program and grants students the opportunity to critically examine a topic, community, or situation related to social change in Spain, in a field-study context.

Language class on-site in Sacromonte

Uncovering Spain's Layers of Diversity
The program’s thematic course focuses on the political, social, and cultural forces shaping contemporary Spain in the context of the country’s turbulent history, growing diversity, and deeper integration within the European Union. Spain is a country long shaped by the cultural traditions of the diverse inhabitants that have called it home over the course of more than two millennia; these include Roman, Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities. Present-day Spain has strengthened its role within the EU and developed strong relations with Latin American and Arab countries. As a result, Spain has one of the highest immigrant populations (at approximately 4.5 million) in the EU today.

Students uncover the traces of Spain's historic communities while experiencing firsthand its present diversity highly apparent throughout the city of Granada.

The course is conducted entirely in Spanish. Lecturers are drawn from the University of Granada, government agencies, local NGOs, and experts from the community.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Spain, Granada

Language Study: Spanish

Prerequisites: One semester Spanish.

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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Mailing Address:
PO Box 676, 1 Kipling Road
Brattleboro, VT 05302 USA

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