For thousands of years, the Mediterranean has served as a fertile basin of ideas and history. This still-thriving modern area has profoundly influenced Western civilization through the first democratic government, the development of coinage and a market economy, early theater, the beginning of classical sculpture and architecture, and philosophers who articulated ideas on human reason. Covering topics such as history, philosophy, mythology, literature, politics, and the arts, the Clashes and Alliances of Mediterranean Civilizations Semester gives students an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the major forces that shaped the area. Although the semester is based in Madrid, students will travel throughout the Mediterranean to other sites of historical and modern significance. Excursions change each term; previous excursion sites have been Barcelona, Morocco, Italy, and Greece. Students earn a full semester of American University (AU) credit on this program!
Courses on offer:
Mediterranean Seminar - Required (SISA-363 and SISA-363; total 6 credits) The program is grounded in this required interdisciplinary seminar course which acquaints students with ancient civilizations' history, politics, and economies that have had profound and enduring influence on our modern way of thinking. Students look at the birth of democracy in Greece in its historic context as a response to urban growth. The course explores early philosophers, the formation of the classical worldview and the impact of this worldview on the Mediterranean region as it is today. Taught in English.
Other courses on offer that students select based on their own interests and major include:
Mediterranean Politics (SISA-383; 3 credits)
This course reviews the Mediterranean region's role in European politics through patterns of conflict and resolution. It covers politics of the Arab world and bilateral relations between countries, with a focus on conflicts in Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, and the Balkans. The course examines the strategic importance of the Maghreb, which combined with southern Europe plays an important role in the decision-making process of the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and the United States. The course also addresses strategic interests, security concerns, defense policies, migration pressure, and risks of nuclear and missile proliferation.
Spain & Latin America: The Immigrant Experience (SISA-363; 3 credit hours)
This course, taught in English, will review the different migratory waves as well as the social, political and economic impacts in both the sending and the receiving societies. It will include comparative case studies related to demographic, sociological, economic, and policy interests. This course will attempt to examine the exile as a crucial channel of intercommunication among societies by highlighting the importance of the support and solidarity shown in times of social upheaval, economic failure, and/or political instability. Spain and Latin America have significantly changed their position in the world migration system. The study of this shift would allow students to get a better knowledge of both the evolution of Latin American economies and societies and the close interaction between migratory flows and the world economy, as well as the nature of societies engaged in transatlantic contact and the characteristics of both voluntary and involuntary migration.
Contemporary Mediterranean Cultures (SISA-363; 3 credits)
The Mediterranean has been a crucible of human cultures since the beginning of recorded history. This interdisciplinary survey course will explore the distinct “ways of living” that have developed around the shores of mare nostrum: their similarities and differences; conflicts and solutions; and the contemporary social problems facing the people of the Mediterranean region. Each of the thematic issues covered in this course—including gender and sexuality; social inequality; society and the environment; violence and extremism; and religion in society—will be addressed at both the regional and local level through specific case studies from around the region. Taught in Spanish.
Comparative Health Systems in Spain and Europe (SISA-353; 3 credits)
New for Fall 2017! This course analyzes the health structures, coverages, and successes in Spain and other European nations. Students learn about the diverse ways national health is managed, explore the impacts of a failing health system, and develop skills to understand and analyze varied state approaches.
Mediterranean Art History (ARTH-255; 3 credits)
***This course counts as general education credit in foundational area one, The Creative Arts.***
An introduction to Mediterranean history and art, centered chronologically on art movements with emphasis on the differences between Spanish art and its Mediterranean counterparts. The course is an in-depth study of painting, sculpture, and architecture that includes stylistic as well as thematic manifestations, examining art in the Mediterranean from cave paintings to the twentieth century from a variety of cultures and geographic regions, and introducing students to stylistic periods, major works and artists, and the traditional methods of art history.
Cross Cultural Cinema of the Mediterranean (LIT-379; 3 credits)
Featuring a series of films, mostly produced in Mediterranean countries, which are a rich source for the study of inter cultural relations, this course studies the cinematic medium, not only as a data source, but as a language in itself. Different film traditions are analyzed in order to discover the type of stylistic conventions that vary from culture to culture, as well as cinema's potential for inter cultural communication.
Journalism Abroad: Production as a Foreign Correspondent (COMM-251; 3 credits)
In this course, students learn and practice broadcast journalism in Europe. Students create news stories for TV, radio, or Internet, including the entire process of producing information pieces in Spanish for the media. Special attention is given to Spanish journalistic procedures and terminology to make students familiar with the contexts and insights of a foreign culture. Taught in Spanish.
Interpersonal Communication Skills To Succeed In The Digital Era (COMM-351; 3 credits)
The goal of this course is to master effective interpersonal communication in our hectic-paced media environment. Since the media have changed most of our attention and communication habits, some traditional communication skills are being forgotten, resulting in a decrease of attention spans, an increase of stress and the emergence of difficulties in face to face interaction. The specific goals of this course are: to understand the nature of proper and efficient interpersonal communication; to explore the implications of the use of media and social networks in their sociological, psychological and interpersonal aspects; to develop communication skills in verbal, non-verbal, written and visual communication.
Spain's Soccer Obsession: Managing and Marketing Soccer Clubs in Spain (KSB-350; 3 credits)
Taught in English and requires at least one business course in KSB as a pre-requisite. This course will provide students with an understanding of the dynamic and growing field of soccer as a business. Topics addressed include: league formation, team and player promotion, sponsorships and events, media, soccer tourism, and soccer goods and brands. Special emphasis will be placed on the soccer fan/consumer in order to understand various consumer related issues such as participants versus spectators, research, behavior, segmentation, brand association and loyalty, customer relationship management, and globalization. Theoretical and practical cases and visits to Spanish soccer clubs and organizations will expose students to the techniques and strategies applicable to the business of soccer.
Transforming Arts Institute placeholder (ABRD-305; 3-9 credits)
Students will take 1-3 courses in Spanish at the Transforming Arts Institute. TAI Madrid School of the Arts, accredited by the Rey Juan Carlos University, is located in the heart of Madrid’s historic and art district. It is the only center in Spain specialized in undergraduate degrees in the areas of Cinematography and Audiovisual Arts, Contemporary Music Composition, Visual Arts and Design, Photography and Scenic Arts. Currently approved for AU music majors and minors, students will find an array of pre-approved coursework available in the areas of Spanish and world music, composition, orchestration, music technology, piano, the music industry, and more. Read about TAI's music program on their website.
(SABD-490; 1-3 credits)
Students in this program are encouraged to work with a faculty member to develop and complete an independent study project during their semester in Madrid. The Program Director and other Faculty who teach at the AU Center have various research interests and can guide students in their preparation of independent research. Students interested in this should discuss their research interests with their study abroad advisor and on-site Program Director during the pre-departure process.
Spanish language courses:
All students participate in an Intensive Spanish language program during the first week of the program during orientation. Students who are not already at an intermediate level of Spanish continue with a Spanish class which lasts all semester long. The intensive language program is available at all levels.
Intensive Beginning Spanish I (SPAN-136; 4 credits) The elements of Spanish grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. This course is equivalent to SPAN 152 offered on campus at AU.
Intensive Intermediate Spanish I (SPAN-236; 4 credits) Students gain proficiency at an intermediate level through grammatical, literary, and cultural exercises. This course is equivalent to SPAN 252 here on campus and the pre-requisite is SPAN-137 or SPAN-153 or equivalent.
Intensive Advanced Spanish I (SPAN-336; 4 credits) Students acquire fluency in comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing. The course focuses on expository writing through analysis of a variety of texts with emphasis on the study and practical application of written discourse. Grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation are also addressed. This course is equivalent to SPAN 352 taught at AU and the prerequisite is SPAN-237 or SPAN-253 or equivalent.
Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition (SPAN-389; 3 credits) In this course students develop and improve written language skills as well as examine advanced grammar rules used to attain linguistic fluency. The course emphasizes written abilities and analyzes the different elements of creative writing, personal and work letters, legal documents, books, and movie reviews.
Madrid Internship (SABD-391; 3 credit hours)
Students with high-level Spanish proficiency will have the option of an internship. The practical experience will provide an excellent opportunity to examine the work environment in Spain and to learn more about the professional sector in a given field first-hand. Students work with on-site staff who help identify internship placements and schedule interviews for students. Internships are available in a wide variety of disciplines including but not limited to the arts, non-profits, local NGO's, teaching English, public relations, media, international relations, etc. Students who wish to receive credits towards a Spanish Major or Minor for internship courses must take the course on a pass/fail basis. Please contact the Spanish department for more information. Previous internship sites have been (note not all sites are available each term and this is certainly not a full list of all options!):
Only in Madrid can you stroll through the lovely Retiro Park and enjoy the jugglers and mimes, treat yourself to "tapas" while taking in the exquisite design of the old Plaza Mayor, or view the paintings of Goya, Velasquez, and El Greco at the Prado Museum. Also Madrid's fabulous public transportation system makes conquering this exciting city easy!
Madrid truly lives up to its title as the city that never sleeps. Night-owls delight in Madrid as you are expected to eat and dance the night away, whether you're twenty years old or fifty years old. There is always something to do in Madrid no matter what time it is.
Housing & Meals
Full language integration happens in the home, as well as the classroom. During your participation in the Clashes and Alliances of Mediterranean Civilizations program, you live in a Spanish home. Your homestay allows you to experience the warmth and hospitality of Spain while improving your language skills. In the homestay, students enjoy breakfast, evening meals and, in most cases, weekly laundry. Students may be in single or double rooms. Students commute approx. 30 min from their homestays to the program offices in the center of Madrid. During program excursions, students stay in pensions and hotels.
Students enjoy two meals a day with their host families in Madrid. One meal a day is usually provided during the study trips.
The Clashes and Alliances of Mediterranean Civilizations Program incorporates study trips to several important Mediterranean sites into the academic program. These site visits are most strongly incorporated into the required Seminar course, but several other courses draw on the information presented during this visits as part of the course material. Past destinations have included various cities in Spain, Italy, Greece and Morocco!