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Spanish Speaking Countries: Program Requirements and Structures

Currently AU Abroad offers programs in the following Spanish speaking countries: Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Spain and Uruguay. Each program site requires different levels of Spanish for admission, and each has a unique structure in terms of the language of instruction and the type of students with you in the classroom.  Use this information to guide you to the most appropriate program for your level of Spanish.

Programs that require no Spanish background

Mexico: Summer Intensive Language Program at Universidad de las Americas, Puebla, SUMMER

  • Program requires: no Spanish pre-requisite; students are tested to determine appropriate level
  • Program structure: Students take two Spanish language classes in an intensive 5 week program and earn 6 AU credits.  Students live on the campus of a Mexican university and take language courses to help boost Spanish proficiency and knowledge of Mexican culture. For all level of speakers from beginner to advanced.

Mexico: ITAM Summer Business, SUMMER

  • Program requires: no Spanish pre-requisite; only for business students
  • Program structure: This is a six-week, six-credit summer program in which students take two courses related to business and Spanish.  Courses on offer include: Int’l Business, Int’l Marketing, International Finance, Mgmt Communication, and Spanish language.  Courses are at Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de Mexico and taken with other Mexican and int’l students in English.

Spain: Madrid Summer Intensive Spanish Program, SUMMER

  • Program requires: no Spanish pre-requisite; students are tested to determine appropriate level; for beginner to advanced students
  • Program structure: Students earn 3 or 6 credits for a 5 week Spanish language course taken in Madrid at Universidad de Alcalá de Henares with other study abroad students.

Spain: The Iberian Experience– Intensive Spanish Language (track), SPRING term only

  • Program requires: For Intensive Spanish track, no language prerequisite, but some Spanish is helpful
  • Program structure:  In one semester, students complete one year of language study in an intensive language semester in Madrid.  Courses on Spanish culture, politics, and economics are offered in English to complement Spanish language study.  Other students in the classroom are AU students on the program.  This program runs concurrently with the Spain: Iberian Experience program.  A limited number of English language internships are available for students in the Intensive Spanish track.

Spain: Madrid Business Program, FALL and SPRING terms

  • Program requires: no Spanish language prerequisite, but some Spanish is helpful.
  • Program structure: This program is designed for business and economics majors and minors who are looking for a study abroad experience in a Spanish-speaking county.  This program provides the best of both worlds with support and language courses at AU's study center in Madrid alongside business courses taught in English and Spanish at a premiere business school in Madrid at Universidad Pontificia Comillas - ICADE.

Programs that require one semester of Spanish

Spain: Clashes & Alliances of Mediterranean Civilizations, FALL term only

  • Program requires: Completion of SPAN 152 or equivalent
  • Program structure: This program provides an in depth study of the Mediterranean region and offers students an unforgettable experience in one of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the world today.  Based in Madrid, courses are all taught in English by Spanish professors; other students in the classroom are other AU students on the program.  Students participate in an intensive language program during the first week of the program.  Students are required to take a Spanish language course during the semester.  Beginning, intermediate and advanced level Spanish courses are available.  Students who have completed SPAN 253 or its equivalent are eligible for a credit-bearing internship, conducted in Spanish and coordinated by program staff.  

Programs that require two years of college level Spanish

Chile: Santiago Program, FALL and SPRING terms

  • Program requires: Completion of SPAN 253 or equivalent                        
  • Program structure: This program in Santiago will offer a rich analysis of the contemporary issues that affect Chile within a context of the world stage, such as global climate change, sustainable development, poverty, social issues, globalization, and politics.  Courses are taught entirely in Spanish, with other AU students on the program.  The professors on the program are accustomed to working with students whose first language is not Spanish and provide additional support accordingly. Students can directly enroll in one to two courses alongside local Chilean students.  Courses offered include Latin American Politics; Poverty and Social Inequality in Latin America; the Impact of Globalization in Latin America; Environmental Issues and Climate Change in Latin America. The majority of students in the program participate in a credit-bearing internship, which is conducted in Spanish and coordinated by the program staff.

Ecuador: Rehearing Change (Pachaysana Institute), Fall and Spring

  • Program requires: Completion of SPAN 253 or equivalent.
  • Program structure: Students take classes with other US students and selected Ecuadorian community counterparts.  All instruction and program activities are conducted in Spanish. 

Mexico: Universidad de las Américas, Puebla, Fall and Spring

  • Program requires: Completion of SPAN 253 or equivalent. 
  • Program structure: UDLA is a “tri-lingual university” where Mexican students are required to know Spanish, English, and study a third foreign language.  AU students directly enroll in Spanish language courses and UDLAP courses with Mexican students taught in Spanish. The summer language immersion program is a 5 or 10 week program for all levels of students looking to improve their Spanish skills.  Puebla, a city of 2 million people, is located approximately 2 hours south east of Mexico City.

Spain: The Iberian Experience Enclave (track I), SPRING term only

  • Program requires: Completion of SPAN 253 or equivalent 
  • Program structure: Courses are all taught in Spanish by Spanish professors; other students in the classroom are other AU students on the program.  Courses are related to Spanish history, economics, politics, society and culture.  Professors on the program are accustomed to working with students whose first language is not Spanish and provide additional support accordingly.  The majority of students in the program participate in a credit-bearing internship, which is conducted in Spanish and coordinated by the program staff.  

Programs that require two years of college level Spanish but students are encouraged to have more!

Costa Rica: Universidad Nacional Autónoma (IFSA-Butler), FALL and SPRING

  • Program requires: Completion of SPAN 253 or equivalent
  • Program structure: Courses are taught entirely in Spanish.  Students can take 1-2 optional courses in Spanish alongside the other US students on the program.  Remainder of courses selected from UNA’s course list immersed in the classroom with Costa Rican students.  The university is strong in Latin American Studies, Education, Economics, Environmental Studies.

Programs that require 2 ½ years (5 semesters) of college level Spanish

Mexico: Solidarity Network, FALL AND SPRING

  • Program requires: Completion of SPAN 352 or equivalent
  • Program structure: This is an inter-disciplinary, integrated course that covers the theory, practice, history and social/ political/ economic context of some of Mexico’s most important social movements. Students study and the program takes place within the indigenous culture in Chiapas, campesino culture in Tlaxcala, and urban and student cultures in Mexico City. While the coursework on the program is conducted primarily in English, the program has many workshops and visits within local communities; therefore a strong command of Spanish is necessary in order to fully participate in the program.

Programs that require three years of college level Spanish, but students are encouraged to have more!

Argentina: Universidad Pontificia Católica Argentina – UCA, FALL AND SPRING

  • Program requires: Completion of SPAN 353 or equivalent
  • Program structure: UCA is located in Buenos Aires. Courses are entirely in Spanish, immersed in classroom with Argentine students; little to no concession given to students who are non-native speakers.  UCA also offers a department of courses on Latin American studies; most of the students in these classes are other international students.  Courses offered in a wide range of disciplines.

Argentina: Universidad Torcuato di Tella, FALL AND SPRING

  • Program requires: Completion of SPAN 353 or equivalent
  • Program structure: Universidad Torcuato di Tella is located in Buenos Aires.  Courses are entirely in Spanish and are immersed in the classroom with Argentine students; little to no concession is given to students who are non-native speakers. The university offers courses in International Studies, History, Latin American Studies, Economics, Political Science, and Law.   

Chile: Universidad Adolfo Ibañez, FALL AND SPRING

  • Program requires: Completion of SPAN 353 or equivalent; 
  • Program structure: Courses are offered in Spanish with a few options in English, immersed in the classroom with Chilean students.  Located in Viña del Mar along with coast, about 1 ½ hours from Santiago. * This program is ideal for Business and BLC students.

Mexico: Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico – ITAM, FALL AND SPRING

  • Program requires:  Advanced/Fluent Spanish 
  • Program structure:  Students directly enroll in this university in Mexico City to study topics related to economics, business, history, political science, and international relations.  *This program is ideal for business and BLC majors.*

Spain: Universidad Pontificia Comillas- ICADE Business Faculty OR Humanities Faculty, FALL AND SPRING

  • Program requires: Completion of SPAN 353 or equivalent
  • Program structure: Students directly enroll in the Business and Law faculty (ICADE) or in the Humanities Faculty at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid alongside local Spanish and other international students.  Homestays with a Spanish family are coordinated by on-site staff

Uruguay: Universidad de Montevideo, FALL AND SPRING

  • Program requires: Completion of SPAN 353 or equivalent
  • Program structure: Students directly enroll in classes alongside local Uruguayan students in Montevideo.  Classes are conducted entirely in Spanish with little to no concession given to students who are non-native speakers. Classes are offered in the fields of Communication, Latin American Studies, Literature, History, Humanities, Economics and Law.