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Most Memorable Moment

One of the most memorable experiences from my time abroad in Sweden took place as part of my Sami history course at Umea University. Some other international students and I assisted the Sami people (indigenous peoples of Sweden) with their winter reindeer herding in northern Sweden. To see thousands upon thousands of reindeer was a striking example of both the beauty and the fury of nature and an experience that I will never forget.

Noah Mergendahl

Linguistics & Scandinavian Studies, European Studies certificate
IAP UmeÅ, Sweden



Major Advising Page - Spanish

Questions to Ask    Identifying Programs That are Right for You

Study abroad is both a challenging and rewarding experience for students, and, though not expressly required for the Spanish major, the Department of Spanish & Portuguese strongly encourages its undergraduate students to participate. For students looking to become truly proficient in Spanish language, an immersion experience in Spain or Central or South America is the way to go! Students studying abroad on an IAP study abroad program can readily find course equivalents that will count toward their Spanish major requirements.

As a Spanish major, you can study abroad at any point in your college career, but there are some important factors to consider. Most of the Spanish language programs require a minimum level of language practice. Eligibility is listed in semesters so, for example, students interested in programs requiring five semesters of Spanish would have to have received credit for Spanish 226 to be eligible. Being familiar with those requirements early on in your academic career will help assure you are eligible to go when you decide the time is right for a Spanish immersion experience. Following is additional information that will facilitate your planning and conversations with the Spanish advisor.

Prospective Spanish Students

If you are considering a Spanish major, you should know that at least six major-level credits (Spanish courses numbered 300 and above) must be taken while physically present on the UW-Madison campus. This is an additional condition on the College ‘Study Abroad Stipulation’ requiring students to take at least fifteen credits, at any level, in their major department, while physically present on the UW–Madison campus. This is different from all other residency requirements for which “in residence” credits, that is to say, credits taken either while physically present on the UW-Madison campus or while participating in an IAP study abroad program, are acceptable.

We encourage you to attend the annual Study Abroad Fair or visit the Program Search on the International Academic Programs (IAP) website to get an idea of what programs are available to you. You may also drop in to meet with an IAP Peer Advisor to learn more about your study abroad program options and ask questions.

Once you have some program ideas, be sure to consult with the Spanish advisor. The more complex or ambitious your undergraduate program (the number of additional majors or certificates, Honors in the Spanish Major, athletic or other heavy extracurricular involvement, etc.), the more advance planning you will need to fit study abroad in your academic career. For example, if you want to pursue Honors in the Spanish Major and study abroad, you need to know that, in almost all cases, students are unable to earn Honors credit in Spanish courses taken abroad. Occasionally, however, study abroad programs can be combined with research for an honors or senior thesis. The Spanish advisor can help you get a full sense of your options and plan accordingly.

Spanish Course Considerations Abroad

As previously mentioned, students studying abroad on an IAP study abroad program can readily find course equivalents that will count toward their Spanish major requirements. Depending on the program, students can find equivalents from first-year Spanish through 400- and sometimes even 500-level Spanish courses across all four areas of study. Some things to keep in mind as you choose the courses you will take while abroad:

Mapping Your Study Abroad Experience as a Spanish Major

It is difficult to create a standard four-year plan for the Spanish major as students come in with widely varied beginning levels of Spanish. Once the prerequisites are under your belt, the Spanish major requirements can be completed in any order. Below is one of many routes toward fulfilling the major and studying abroad.

Freshman Year
Ideally, you will begin the language sequence at some point during your first year, beginning with the course appropriate to your placement and continuing until you reach fifth-semester Spanish (Spanish 226), at which point you are able to branch out and take the other major prerequisites (Spanish 223 and Spanish 224). There are a few IAP study abroad programs open to first-year students that offer Spanish major credit, especially if you are looking at summer or winter study abroad opportunities.

Sophomore Year
Depending on placement, some students have the language practice level needed for most study abroad programs by the end of their freshman year. If those students meet all other eligibility requirements, notably academic standing, they could study abroad their sophomore year. If you do not study abroad this year, by the end of your sophomore year, you will ideally have taken both Spanish 223 and Spanish 224 and perhaps a major-level course or two, likely Spanish 311.

Junior Year
Most Spanish majors study abroad at some point during their junior year, generally in the spring. In this case, fall semester of your junior year would be a great time to consider taking Spanish 325: Advanced Conversation, which allows students to practice their spoken Spanish. During a semester abroad, most students take fifteen credits. Generally, for Spanish majors, most if not all of these credits will be Spanish major-level coursework.

Senior Year
Study abroad is still an option during your final year and, yes, you can graduate abroad. Graduating abroad requires a comprehensive look at all of your requirements, not just those for the Spanish major, to ascertain that the requirements you have yet to complete can be fulfilled abroad. Working with not just the Spanish advisor, but advisors for any other programs you plan to complete, is crucial. If you studied abroad the previous year, your senior year is a time to confirm study abroad course equivalents and their placement, if any, within your Spanish major and to take whatever remaining requirements you might have.


Questions to Ask

Your Academic Advisor

Your Spanish Departmental Faculty Liaison

The Department of Spanish & Portuguese is unique in that faculty liaisons are assigned to all of the Spanish language study abroad programs. To answer the following questions, you would meet with the departmental faculty liaison for your program, and not with the Spanish advisor.

Your Study Abroad Advisor


Identifying Programs That are Right for You

Spanish majors simply cannot go wrong with any of the IAP Spanish language study abroad programs, so choose a location that excites you! In choosing a program, make sure to look at the details of the program; for instance, there are a number of programs in Spanish-speaking countries whose language of instruction is English. Oftentimes these programs are geared toward the sciences or specific areas of study, and offer very little in the way of Spanish major-level course equivalents. For students pursuing the popular Bio/Spanish double major, for example, these programs might be perfect. Keep in mind, courses offered as part of these programs are not necessarily guaranteed to be the best fit for you depending on where you are in the major, so be sure to talk with the Spanish advisor.

The following are designated as Spanish language study abroad programs that provide an intentional Spanish immersion experience where all classes (including non-Spanish courses) are instructed in Spanish and participants either live in apartments with other Spanish speakers, residence halls with international and/or U.S. students, or with local hosts in a homestay. Click on the program title to learn more about each opportunity.

Argentina, Buenos Aires / IFSA-Butler Argentina Study Abroad Programs
This program is for advanced language students interested in taking courses taught in Spanish at a local university. A range of courses are available across humanities and social sciences. Participants live in homestays. Offered for spring, summer, fall, and year durations.

Chile, Santiago / CIEE Liberal Arts in Santiago
This program is for advanced language students interested in taking courses taught in Spanish at a local university. A range of courses are available across humanities and social sciences. Participants live in homestays. Offered for spring, fall, and year durations.

Costa Rica, San Jose / UW Spanish Language in Costa Rica
This program is for beginner through advanced language students. Level 101 – 400-level Spanish courses are offered through a local language school with other UW-Madison students. The summer session offers an optional internship for academic credit for advanced language students. Participants live in homestays. Offered for summer and winter intersession durations.

Cuba, Havana / IFSA Study Abroad at Universidad de La Habana
This program is for advanced language students interested in taking courses taught in Spanish at a local university. This program is specifically geared towards students with a higher language level who are comfortable with a program that requires a significant comfort with independence. A range of courses are available across business, humanities, science, and social sciences. Participants live in homestays. Offered for spring and fall durations.

Peru, Lima / Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru Exchange
This program is for advanced language students interested in taking courses taught in Spanish at a local university. This program is specifically geared towards students with a higher language level who have spent time abroad in Latin/South America and who are comfortable with a program that requires a significant comfort with independence. A range of courses are available across humanities and social sciences. Participants live in homestays or apartments. Offered for spring, fall, and year durations.

Spain, Alcala / CIEE Summer Language & Culture in Alcala
This program is for intermediate through advanced language students. Courses taught in Spanish in areas of humanities, social sciences, and Spanish language, are offered through a local university and are taken with other U.S. students. Participants live in homestays. Offered for the summer duration.

Spain, Granada / UIUC Spanish Studies in Granada
This program is for intermediate through advanced language students. Courses in Spanish language and culture are taught in Spanish through a local language school with other U.S. students. Participants live in homestays. Offered for summer, spring, and fall durations.

Spain, Madrid / WIP Universidad Complutense de Madrid
This program is for advanced language students interested in taking courses in Spanish at a local university. This program is specifically geared towards students interested in an intentional immersion experience who are comfortable with a program that requires a significant comfort with independence. A range of courses are available across arts, humanities, social sciences, and Spanish language. Participants live in apartments. Offered for spring, fall, and year durations.

Spain, Seville / CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts & Liberal Arts in Seville
This program is for advanced language students interested in taking courses taught in Spanish at a CIEE Study Center with U.S. students, or at a local university. A range of courses are available across arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, and Spanish language. Participants live in a residence hall or in homestays. Offered for spring, fall, and year durations.

Spain, Toledo / UMN Internship and Spanish Language
This program is for intermediate through advanced language students interested in completing an internship abroad for academic credit. Additional courses taught in Spanish are available in humanities, social sciences, and Spanish language. Participants live in a residence hall or in homestays. Offered for the summer duration.

Search all IAP programs
Research all programs using the IAP Program Search page. The above is not an exhaustive list of all programs that offer Spanish courses. Spanish courses may also be found on study abroad programs not in a Spanish-speaking country. There may be other programs that are a better fit for your individual needs or interests.