Study Abroad

Approved Programs in Spanish Speaking Countries

Phineas in Madrid

A little bit of Swarthmore in Barcelona: Swarthmore's own Phineas the Phoenix joins students studying abroad

Argentina | Chile | Costa Rica | Cuba | GuatemalaMexico | Peru | Spain

Study abroad is an enriching intellectual experience when it is fully integrated into the student's overall academic experience at Swarthmore. Since the principal educational advantages of study abroad are in-depth cross-cultural exposure and language learning, the best study abroad programs are those that maximize these benefits by fully immersing students in the host country's culture and society. This goal can only be effectively achieved by choosing full immersion study abroad programs. Pursuing academic coursework in English in a Spanish-speaking country does not comply with the academic goals and mission of the Spanish section.

The Spanish section encourages students to choose programs that build on previous language study. In order to be better prepared for academic work in Spanish, we recommend that students take a writing course in Spanish (010, 011, 022, 023) at Swarthmore prior to going abroad.

Students should meet with a Spanish faculty member to plan this study abroad and find the program that best suits their academic needs and interests. Students can choose from a wide range of destinations in Latin America and Spain from the list of approved programs that appears on our website.

Swarthmore students interested in enrolling in study abroad programs in Latin America or Spain and seeking to be accredited by the Spanish section, need to follow the policies listed below. Majors and minors should check the academic requirements section for specific regulations.

Accreditation Procedures

  1. To receive Swarthmore credit for Spanish language courses taken during study abroad, a student must have the preapproval of the Spanish section and have taken at least one language course at Swarthmore before going abroad. Students must receive a grade of C or higher to receive Spanish credit at Swarthmore.
    1. Intensive First Year Spanish (SPAN 001-002) is a one-year long course, meaning that no credit is given for the first semester until the second semester is successfully completed. The work of two semesters constitutes an integral, indivisible course. Students cannot start SPAN 001 and then pursue the second semester abroad.
    2. Students planning to spend a whole year abroad in Spanish-speaking countries should consult with the Spanish section about their overall academic plans.
  2. To receive Swarthmore credit for Spanish literature courses taken abroad, a student must have the pre-approval of the Spanish section and have taken either Spanish 010, 011, 022 or 023 at Swarthmore before going abroad. Students who want to receive credit for a second literature course taken abroad must take an additional Spanish course at Swarthmore numbered 050 or above after they return to campus. Literature courses in translation taken abroad will not receive Spanish credit. Students must receive a grade of C or higher in courses taken abroad to receive Spanish credit at Swarthmore.
  3. Courses must be pre-approved by the Spanish coordinator in order to be considered for Spanish credit. The Spanish section will not pre-estimate a study-abroad course without evidence (syllabus, course description, reading list, etc.) of the content of the course in advance. Pre-estimation does not guarantee a specific amount of credit for successful completion of a course. Accreditation will occur upon your return to Swarthmore, and a copy of your Pre-Estimation of Study Abroad Credit must be attached to your application.
  4. Normally, no student will be awarded more credit than would be granted for an equivalent amount of work at Swarthmore.
  5. The Spanish Program will not pre-approve study abroad courses for students who have standing "Incompletes" or unfulfilled distribution requirements.
  6. To receive Spanish language credit, study abroad courses must be pursued in Spanish, and be equivalent in quality and contents to a Spanish course at Swarthmore.
  7. Generally, neither study-abroad nor off-campus courses in Spanish fulfill the College's Language Requirement.
  8. Students are encouraged to take courses that do not duplicate those offered at Swarthmore. Neither vocational-technical courses nor orientation sessions can receive academic credit.
  9. Summer programs: students may study in a pre-approved summer program that is at least 6 weeks long. Students will not receive more than one unit of credit.


Latin America


Antioch University
Globalization and Community Responses in Argentina
 (Bariloche, Patagonia)

Students will explore social, cultural, environmental and economic impacts of globalization on local communities in the Patagonian Andes region of Argentina. Through an interdisciplinary seminar, the program investigates issues of cultural, economic, and environmental sustainability, examining local case studies on energy production, labor movements, and rights of indigenous Mapuche communities. Students participate in a service-learning project in Bariloche (community/public health with a local clinic; environmental conservation and education with the National Parks Service; preservation of cultural heritages; among others). Students choose two additional course electives with Argentine students and faculty at the Universidad FASTA. The program coursework is in Spanish, and includes a pre-semester Spanish language intensive as well as a semester-long Spanish course focusing on academic writing. Note: Spanish majors/minors must take 2 literature courses as their electives.
IFSA - Butler Univ.
in Mendoza
Mendoza is located in te Andes foothills and is the heart and soul of Argentina's wine country. Students take classes at Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, which offers two program courses designed specifically for IFSA students. There are many opportunities for qualified students to participate in fine arts and musical activities. The city offers unparalleled opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Knox College in Buenos Aires

As a student in Knox College's Study Abroad in Buenos Aires Program, you'll take courses at the University of Palermo, an urban university located in the Palermo neighborhood, and enjoy the benefits only available when you study abroad. Your fellow students will come from all across the Americas, other Latin American countries and Argentina, of course. All courses are taught in Spanish by University of Palermo faculty so to do well in the Knox College program, you should have completed 2 years of college-level Spanish, or its equivalent, beforehand. The program includes two educational field trips (Iguazú Falls and Patagonia). Several smaller trips within Buenos Aires give you the insider's perspective on the politics and organizations made up of local people working together to find solutions in their Argentine communities in which you'll be studying. Spanish majors/minors can take a variety of courses such as "Twentieth Century Latin American Art", "Latin American Literature", "Argentine Social Cinema", among many others.
IFSA-Butler University in Chile Students can choose between two programs: Santiago and Valparaíso. All university classes are integrated with degree-seeking students and taught by Chilean faculty. In Santiago, the program allows students to enroll directly in classes with local students at up to three different universities. In addition, the program offers two classes designed specifically for IFSA-Butler participants as well as a directed research project option. These classes, taught in Spanish by local professors, are intended to provide you with an understanding of the events and issues that make Chile what it is today. The Valparaíso program allows you to enroll directly in classes at three different universities with local students. In addition, it offers three program classes (Contemporary Chilean Literature; Socio-Political History of Latin America; Advanced Written and Oral Spanish), and an internship (Internship in Community Action). Five semesters of university-level Spanish or equivalent is required.
Tufts Unversity
in Santiago

The Tufts-in-Chile program allows students to study at the University of Chile in Santiago, one of the region's leading universities, for the fall semester or the academic year. The University of Chile, founded in 1738, is one of Latin America’s oldest and most prestigious universities. The resident director advises students on academic and extra-curricular activities, arranges for homestays with Chilean families and organizes special trips and activities. A full-time Tufts professor serves as a faculty adviser for the Tufts-in-Chile program. Students in the program take regular courses at the University of Chile, choosing from the hundreds of courses offered at its various faculties. Normally, foreign students take four courses a semester, chosen in consultation with the resident director. Interested students can be placed in internships and community service positions.

Costa Rica
IFSA-Butler University in Costa Rica The program is situated in Heredia at the Universidad Nacional and combines excellent academics with extensive opportunities to get involved in campus life and the surrounding community. Students can cross-enroll in a variety of departments and take classes with Costa Rican students. All coursework is in Spanish. Opportunities to volunteer are available for IFSA-Butler students in many different fields: environmental projects, working in rural communities, beach patrolling to protect turtles, community work in an indigenous town, or tutoring children after school. Four semesters of university-level Spanish or equivalent is required.
Sarah Lawrence
College in Cuba
This program is built on the Sarah Lawrence College philosophy of small classes and opportunities for individual research. It offers a wide range of elective courses in the humanities, social sciences, visual and performing arts, and film studies, all of which are taught by recognized experts in their field. All classes are taught in Spanish. You should expect most of your classmates to be Cuban. The core seminar course (designed exclusively for Sarah Lawrence in Cuba students) is conducted through Centro de Estudios Demográficos (CEDEM), a unique research center at the University of Havana. This core seminar course examines gender, health, education, and sustainable development.
*Students interested in studying in Guatemala should contact Prof. Nanci Buiza (nbuiza1) to find a program.
 Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City

The Universidad Iberoamericana is a prestigious private institution of higher education in Mexico City that offers undergraduate and graduate programs. Students with advanced proficiency in Spanish enroll directly in courses with local students, and can choose from a wide-range of subjects, including Latin American history, Mexican literature, film, psychology, and more. All courses are taught in Spanish by local university professors. There are also language and culture programs for students who are in the process of acquiring language proficiency. The program also offers many educational field trips in and around Mexico City, which presents students with the opportunity to experience Mexico’s rich history and complex modern society. Students have the option of living with local families or sharing apartments with other students. The university also offers an Academic Social Engagement Program for students interested in service learning and working with the local community. 

IFSA - Butler Univ. in Lima
The program facilitates direct enrollment in classes with Peruvian students at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), one of the highest ranked universities in Latin America. The program also offers two courses designed specifically for IFSA participants (“Advanced Academic Writing and Peruvian Culture” and “Peruvian Social Reality”), as well as a required service-learning component through community service and research with major NGOs in Lima. Interested students have the opportunity to enroll in the Social Constructions of Gender and Community Based Organizations concentration. Archaeology majors can work at Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Incan site from the Lima culture that dates from 0 to 700 AD and is still under exploration.



Hamilton College
Academic Year
in Spain
The program is administered by Hamilton College, and Spanish faculty members of Williams and Swarthmore Colleges serve as close advisors. It is a hybrid program offering small liberal arts-oriented classes as well as the opportunity to enroll directly in the Madrid University system. Students can also participate in a professional internship program, which combines the Spanish immersion experience with opportunities to make a difference in the local community. The program offers students the opportunity to develop true linguistic proficiency and in-depth knowledge of the many facets of Spanish life. Spanish must be spoken at all times, both in and outside of class; all students are required to sign a pledge to this effect before their arrival in Madrid.

The Consortium for Advanced Studies in Barcelona [CASB], a collaborative initiative of Brown, Chicago, Columbia, Duke, Northwestern, Stanford, Cornell, Harvard, and Princeton universities,  provides students with a unique opportunity to have direct access to four distinguished Spanish universities. The program capitalizes on the already strong academic linkages existing between the Hispanic Studies departments from each of the U.S. consortium members and their counterparts in Barcelona and fills an important education abroad niche in arguablySpain's most dynamic and avant-garde city.

The Semester/academic year program is designed for students who are looking for serious and rigorous academic study alongside local nationals. Its main objective is to achieve the highest degree of integration of its students into the academic, social and cultural life of the city. The Student Handbook Fall 2013 contains all the necessary information about the structure and contents of the program.

Bucknell en España Bucknell en España is an exciting study abroad program for students who seek a high quality academic and residential experience in Spain.

The program is affiliated with the Universidad de Granada and its Centro de Lenguas Modernas, where students enroll in courses from a variety of disciplines. Very advanced students planning to spend the entire academic year or the spring semester may enroll directly in a course at the Universidad de Granada to complement their studies at the CLM.

Universidad de Granada, one of the most highly regarded in Spain, is home to more than 50,000 students and affords Bucknell students the opportunity to interact with their Spanish peers. Bucknell students may take advantage of the rich cultural and intellectual life that a university community provides as well as participate in extra-curricular activities organized by the university.

* There are many other good quality programs in Spain that can be considered. Please see Professor Guardiola, or any Spanish faculty member, to consider other alternatives in different Spanish cities.