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Madrid Overview

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Academic Objective

The unique focus of the Madrid program combines linguistic and academic rigor, cultural immersion, and personal attention. The program introduces students to the richness and diversity of the Iberian Peninsula through first-hand theoretical and practical experiences. It seeks to familiarize students with the nuances of language, artistic expression, political culture, and environment that characterize the region. In conjunction with this goal, the Madrid program follows a “Spanish Only” rule. Students are expected to speak in Spanish at all times during their enrollment in the program. Prior to enrollment, all students sign a Spanish-Only pledge.

Academic Prerequisites

Please see the Language Prerequisite page for more detailed information.

Related On-Campus Courses

Gateway Course: ILAC 130, Autumn - "Introduction to Iberia: Cultural Perspectives" - Cintia Santana
Additional consideration during the application process for this program will be given to students taking this course.

ARTHIST 208: The Art of Medieval Spain: Muslims, Christians, Jews
HISTORY 76S: The World That Columbus Made: Imagining the Spanish Empire
ILAC 116: Approaches to Spanish and Spanish Literature
ILAC 120: Advanced Critical Reading in Spanish
ILAC 136: Modern Iberian Literatures
ILAC 157: Medieval and Early Modern Iberian Literatures
ILAC 193: The Cinema of Pedro Almodovar
ILAC 242: Poetry Workshop in Spanish
ILAC 254: Surrealism in Latin America and Spain

Course Credit

The Madrid Program offers courses that provide credit toward Stanford graduation and most classes also count toward an undergraduate major. Students must enroll in a minimum of twelve units from the courses offered through the program (local university courses are included). For a list of all BOSP courses offered in the current academic year and planned for the next, and for information on which courses earn departmental credit or fulfill General Education Requirements, please refer to the BOSP course database. For information on courses scheduled for the current academic year and for enrollment, please refer to Axess.

Cultural Events and Study Trips

The cultural events and trips offered by the Madrid program are carefully chosen to facilitate immersion into the Spanish culture and language, as well as to provide an academically significant experience. All students enroll in the two-credit course “Introduction to Spanish Culture”. This course sets the tone for the program and helps synthesize in-class theory with real-world experiences.

The Stanford Program in Spain holds an on-site Orientation that will help familiarize students with both the program and the city of Madrid. The Orientation involves a wide range of presentations, workshops and activities mandatory for all students. Also, class sessions for “Introduction to Spanish Culture” will be held during Orientation. This course gives structure to the 10-week experience through a number of lectures and activities intended to cover a wide selection of culturally and academically significant topics. Both the Orientation and the mid-quarter weekend Bing Study Trip form part of this course.  There will also be a Cultural Activities Program as part of this course, where students will be required to attend at least three cultural activities offered throughout the quarter. At the end of the program, students will combine assigned readings with hands-on knowledge to prepare a two to three page paper written in Spanish.

The Bing Study Trip, a three-day visit to a specific area of Spain, allows students to familiarize themselves with Spain’s diversity and to fulfill a number of academic goals associated with the area visited.

Throughout the quarter the program offers a range of cultural events, some formally planned well in advance and others small and impromptu- often selected to highlight local events, festivals, and fairs, as well as a robust set of activities run by Spanish university students intended to facilitate immersion into Spanish society. In addition to two group dinners, the program also plans two group outings. These outings may include a flamenco show, a Zarzuela performance, a soccer match, or a play at a local theatre. Additionally, most courses include local “field-trips” or, if appropriate, a longer trip outside of the city. In the past, course trips have included visits to local industrial sites, research centers, designers’ studios, and in the spring a 5-day trip to walk the last 110 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James).

The goal of the program is to provide students with a high-quality academic offering as well as a broad and varied introduction to Spain, such that linguistic and cultural competency are improved and students are better equipped to continue further study on an independent basis. The Madrid program encourages students to arrange their own excursions throughout Spain and underlines the value of meaningful travel.