Is this program right for you?
This program is designed for performing arts majors and minors who are looking for a study abroad experience in a Spanish-speaking country. This program provides the best of both worlds:
- Students take 1-3 performing arts courses taught in Spanish at a premier performing arts school in Madrid: Centro Universitario de Artes TAI - Transforming Arts Institute - Madrid School of the Arts. Currently the courses at TAI are approved for AU students with a Music major or minor.
- Alongside those courses, students benefit from additional course offerings at the AU Center in Madrid and have the support of the AU Center including housing, field trips, internships, and Spanish language and culture courses.
Connect with Spain!
AU students are lucky to live in the DC area near the Spanish Embassy and DC Consulate. The Embassy and Consulate is located near George Washington University in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of DC. There is also a cultural center near 16th and Fuller St., NW where many events are held. The Embassy often holds events related to Spanish culture that will be of great interest to AU students before and after a study abroad semester in Spain. SPAIN arts & culture is another great site that features events and exhibits of the most cutting-edge works of international renowned Spanish artists in fields such as design, urban culture, architecture, visual arts, film, performing arts, literature and music. Take advantage of your DC location by participating in events and soaking up some Spanish culture stateside!
Students in this program combine performing arts coursework at the Transforming Arts Institute with courses at the AU Center in Madrid.
1) Courses at TAI
NOTE: Students take 1-3 courses at TAI and the remaining courses at the AU Center.
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. TAI is a truly unique place, and a cultural nexus in Madrid, as an on-going venue for concerts, art exhibitions, theatre, festivals, film and photography shoots, and master classes conducted by top Spanish and international artists. It is proud of its blend of interdisciplinary practices, contact with the art industry, intensive workshops, and dedication to creativity.
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
and see a full list of classes in the contemporary music composition degree plan on page 5 of this brochure.
View the AU Abroad Course Equivalency Database
to see a full list of courses on this program that have already been equated to AU courses. Please note that you are NOT limited to just these courses. Students simply need to request equivalency for courses which have not been previously reviewed. Read more about the course equivalency process and how AU counts study abroad credits on our Courses and Credits page
2) Courses at the AU Center in Madrid
To complement the 1-3 business courses that students will take at TAI, students will take the remainder of their courses at the AU Center in Madrid. This robust center houses all of AU's others study abroad programs in Madrid, and offers different courses in the Fall and Spring semester. Students will take these courses with the other AU students studying abroad in Madrid.
In the Fall semester, courses are focused around the theme of the many civilizations that have flourished in the Mediterranean region. The Spring semester courses focus more specifically on Spain and the unique culture, history, economy, politics, and society of the Iberian peninsula. Unlike the foreign university courses above at TAI which are listed in the course equivalency database, the AU Center classes all already exist in the AU course catalog and have AU course numbers attached to them. The following courses are on offer at the AU Center:
*FALL* COURSES: (Most Fall classes in the AU center are taught in English. There are usually 1-3 courses taught in Spanish in the Fall.)
- Mediterranean Politics - (SISA-383) Fall, instructed in English. 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.
- Mediterranean Art History - (ARTH 255; 3 credits) Fall, Instructed in English. The course counts as AU General Education credit in FA1. 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 Mediterranean Cinema - (LIT 379) Fall, instructed in English. Featuring a series of films, mostly produced in European and 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.
- Contemporary Mediterranean Cultures - (SISA-363) Fall, instructed in Spanish. The Mediterranean has been a crucible ofhuman 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.
- Journalism Abroad: Production as a Foreign Correspondent - (COMM-251; 3 credits) Fall and Spring, instructed in Spanish. 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) 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) Offered in Fall and Spring; Instructed in English. 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. Taught in English. Students who actively play soccer and wish to play while in Madrid will have the ability to play on several different soccer teams at various levels.
- Comparative Health Systems in Spain and Europe - (SISA-353) Offered in Fall only; instructed in English. 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.
*SPRING* COURSES: (most Spring courses at the AU Center are conducted in Spanish. There are usually two courses offered in English in the Spring).
- Spain & Latin America: The Immigrant Experience - (SISA-363) Spring, instructed in either English or Spanish. This course will review the different migratory waves as well as the social, political and economic impacts in both the sending and the receivingsocieties. 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 havesignificantly 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.
- Spanish and European Art History - (ARTH-250) Spring, instructed in English. The course counts as AU General Education credit in FA1. This course examines the European and Spanish Art from the Middle Ages until the beginnings of the 20th century. Main trends and individual styles will be made clear by analyzing the art pieces and masters of the different periods under study. Classroom teaching combines lectures with visits to important museums in Madrid: Prado Museum and the Thyssem-Bornemisza Museum.
- International Relations: Spain & the European Union - (SISA-383) Spring, instructed in Spanish. The EU has been a successful integration process in the international scene. It is very difficult to classify the outcome of this integration, that despite its scope and influence remains far away from the ordinary citizen. An economic giant but a political dwarf? This course will introduce the key features to understand why there is such a project, how it works, its nature and the main debates revolving around its present and its future.Objectives of the course: To understand the integration process of the EU; To analyze its main institutions and its decision-making process; To consider the main ongoing debates on its structure and functioning; To investigate EU´s main policies; To explore the effects of this integration process on member states and third countries.
- Security Issues - (SISA-313) Spring, instructed in Spanish. This course introduces students to the study of terrorism as a political act. We discuss the difference between state and oppositional terror, but the bulk of the course focuses on terror by non-state actors. The course is divided in three Modules: 1) An Introduction to the concept of terrorism. We compare different theories that attempt to explain why, how and when the opposition uses terror tactics to pursue their goals. The approach to the terrorism is theoretical but also historical. Also we examine the ways that states counter terror. 2) “Basque Country Conflict” Module. Here we study the emergence of the terrorist group ETA during the final stages of Franco. From there, we analyze the evolution of the conflict, the main actors, the ideological foundations, the international context, the behavior of the Spanish Governments and the role of victims. We also look at how we have arrived at a scenario of non-violence. 3) “Jihadist terrorism” Module. We study the ideological and political basics of the political Islamism and the Jihadism. From there, we analyse the historical evolution of the Jihadist terrorisms. We also study the Jihadist terrorism in recent decades from Al-Qaeda to the Islamic State (DAESH)
- Contemporary Spain & Latin America through Literature and Film - (LIT-347) Spring, instructed in Spanish. This course aims to establish the purpose and limits of the relationship between literature and other aesthetic systems like film. Specially, the course will look at Spanish socio-cultural environment in literature and film produced in Spain during the last third of twentieth century. We will View both full-length movies as well as fragments to help us help in understanding the literature and its context.
- Journalism Abroad: Production as a Foreign Correspondent - (COMM-251; 3 credits)? Fall and Spring, Taught in Spanish. 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.
- Public Speaking in Spanish - (COMM 351; 3 credits) Spring, taught in Spanish. Offered as part of the Madrid AU Abroad program, students in this course master public communication in Spanish. Students first learn to outline and write speeches in a persuasive and compelling manner, then pursue skills to deliver them effectively, such as enhancing and projecting the voice, polishing pronunciation and diction, controlling nervousness and anxiety, and learning improvisation techniques.
- Spain's Soccer Obsession: Managing and Marketing Soccer Clubs in Spain - (KSB-350) Offered in Fall and Spring; Instructed in English. 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. Students who actively play soccer and wish to play while in Madrid will have the ability to play on several different soccer teams at various levels.
(SABD-391) Internships of two days per week provide a unique opportunity to work and interact with Spaniards outside the academic context, while at the same time meeting academic requirements such as projects and papers. A variety of internships in the arts world are available for performing arts students. Internships are an option for students with advanced Spanish language skills. Language ability will be tested on-site. The experience of interning abroad exposes students to the unique aspects of the Spanish workplace and provides students the opportunity to use their Spanish in everyday life. Students who wish receive credits towards a Spanish Major or Minor for the internship course must take this course on a pass/fail basis. In addition to the internship, students attend a biweekly seminar taught by a professor in Madrid. This seminar gives students a chance to talk with students who are interning at other organizations and provides a forum for discussions about workplace differences between Spain and the United States.
At the geographic center of this varied country lies the capital, Madrid. With its elegant architecture dating back to the 16th century, world famous art museums and handsome parks, Madrid is a welcoming environment. Stroll through the lovely Retiro Park on a Sunday morning 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.
Madrid is known for its serene beauty, lavish architecture, and friendly locals. Influences of Europe, the Mediterranean, and North Africa meld making Madrid a unique international meeting place. As students take courses during the semester they become part of the warmth and energy of this dynamic city! It's an ideal location to gain worldly experience, study Spain's history and culture, and fine-tune Spanish language skills.
Students are assisted on-site, by full-time AU program staff who will coordinate orientation and other activities to make the time in Madrid a true success. Staff at the AU Center have been working with AU students for many years and find it delightful to help more AU students understand the many facets of life in Madrid.
Housing and Meals
Full cultural integration happens in the home, as well as the classroom. While you are studying in Madrid, 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, and 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. Once you have completed AU Abroad on-line pre-departure forms, an on-site Housing Coordinator will organize your living arrangements before you arrive.
Upon acceptance, the international coordinators at Comillas and AU Abroad will provide students with a visa letter. AU Abroad will distribute the letters to students. Students are responsible for contacting the Spanish Embassy or Consulate to find out which additional documents are needed to obtain a student visa.