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Madrid Study Group

Universidad San Pablo CEU
Director Fall 2014: Professor Fernando Plata, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures

The Madrid Study Group offers qualified Colgate students the opportunity to live and study for one semester in a dynamic and culturally rich European capital. The group is intended for students in their junior year who already have significant ability with the Spanish language, and who seek to perfect their Spanish-language skills, acquire a deeper knowledge of Spanish life and culture, and undertake a diverse and challenging academic experience on the premises of a private university in Madrid.

At the same time, the group is organized to recognize the unique needs of students studying abroad. It includes a two-week introductory session in Santiago de Compostela in the northwestern region of Galicia, followed by a 13-week semester at the Universidad San Pablo CEU in Madrid. The curriculum balances courses designed especially for the group with a broad array of courses drawn from the regular offerings of the Universidad San Pablo CEU.

Through academic experiences connected with the cultural resources of Madrid, participants will become acquainted with the richness of Spanish painting and the performing arts, and through the experience of living with Spanish families and sharing classes with Spanish students, participants will engage with Spanish culture in the more everyday sense. Excursions will be designed to give participants a good sense of the geographic and cultural diversity of Spain, its complex history, and its major artistic monuments.


Students must register for four courses, and are eligible to receive a maximum of four Colgate credits including two credits for a Spanish minor. The course offerings are as follows:

The Program Seminar: Spanish 400
This course, required of all participants, includes two segments: 1) the introductory two-week session in Santiago de Compostela, designed to prepare students for the semester in Madrid, and 2) “Madrid and the Arts,” offered in Madrid. In the Madrid segment, participants will attend weekly lectures on Spanish art, film, and theater complemented by visits to museums, cinemas and theaters. This course counts toward a Spanish major or minor.

The Director's Seminar: Spanish 460
This seminar studies the poetry of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Particular attention is paid to three currents: the Petrarchan tradition of love poety, Neostoic moral poetry, and the Burlesque. Emphasis is placed on the works of Garcilaso, Fray Luis de León, Góngora, Lope de Vega, and Quevedo.  This course counts toward a Spanish major or minor. 

Perfecting Language: Spanish 380
This course will provide students with a comprehensive review of the finer points of the Spanish language, with an emphasis on fostering near-native pronunciation, correctness of grammar in speech and writing, and the idiomatic use of the language in a variety of contexts. Placement in this course is determined by the Director in consultation with the Santiago de Compostela faculty following the two-week introductory session there.

Participants, with guidance from the director, will choose one or two electives from the regular Universidad San Pablo CEU course offerings in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Students may petition departments at Colgate to have these electives count for a major or minor.

The group will include a one-day excursion during the Santiago de Compostela session, to one of the major natural or archaeological sites in Galicia, and a one-day excursion to visit the artistic treasures of Toledo. There will be two weekend excursions during the semester, linked to academic components of the group. Possible sites include the Basque country, with a visit to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and Andalucía, whose architectural monuments include the mosque of Córdoba, the cathedral of Sevilla, and Granada’s famed Alhambra. 

Living Arrangements

During the two-week Santiago de Compostela session, participants will live in a dormitory of the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela. In Madrid, students will live with families, who will provide most meals. No more than one Colgate student will be housed with any given family. All housing arrangements will be made by the director after consultation with accepted students on living preferences. Any exceptions to these rules can be made only by the director.

Tentative Calendar

Aug. 17: Depart New York City for Santigao; Aug. 18-30: Two-week introductory session in Santiago de Compostela
Sept. 1-6: Orientation week in Madrid; Sept. 8 - Dec. 5: Classes held in Madrid
Dec. 8-12: Final exams; Dec. 14: Return flight to New York


Prerequisite courses for participation in the group are at least one 350-level Spanish class and Spanish 361. The Spanish faculty will choose students for participation based on their ability in Spanish, their academic record at Colgate, their interest in the group and commitment to its goals, and their disciplinary record. Preference will be given to Spanish majors and minors, and those majoring in Latin American Studies, but all qualified and interested students are strongly encouraged to apply.


For details of student expenses on this study group, please see Student Cost Estimate Sheets.

Calendar and Deadlines

The deadline for applications to the Fall 2014 Madrid Study Group is Friday, November 8, 2013.  Applications are on the Colgate University Off-Campus Study/International Programs website and are submitted online.  Student notification of selection will be completed during during the week of December 17—21.  Written confirmation of participation is due January 13, 2014.  

Passports and Visas

You must confirm that your passport is valid through June 2015.  With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with the Spanish government’s visa requirements.  If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off-Campus Study/International Programs, 101 Lathrop, and International Student Services, 103C Lathrop, to learn as much as you can about the visa requirements.  For all students there are significant requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs.  

Program Dates

Madrid Study Group program tentative dates: Aug. 17—Dec. 14, 2014

Informational Sessions

Thursday, October 24th at 4 pm in 205 Lawrence

More Information

For more information contact Fernando Plata in 221Lawrence Hall 315-228-7088 or

Helpful Links

Sponsoring Department

Romance Languages Department

General Information

 All about Spain

Course-related Materials