Sewanee Semester in Spain: Spain in the European Union

The program consists of six weeks of intensive study of the Spanish language and of contemporary Spain to introduce students to life in Spain and to the city of Madrid, where the program has its headquarters at the Universidad Complutense.  First, there will be six to eight hours of language classes per week.  In addition, there will be six hours of classes dealing with contemporary Spain.  These classes and lectures will deal with the nature of contemporary Spain, in particular the events and issues that have produced a vibrant democracy out of a forty-year dictatorship.  In addition to regular classes, there will be a series of guided visits to appropriate places of interest in the city (theaters, churches, stadiums, neighborhoods with particular urban configurations or that reveal unique social patterns, etc.).  The program will organize a walking tour of old Madrid and visits to Madrid's major museums.  

At the same time, students will be acquiring detailed knowledge of the Spain as they begin their study of the European Union and Spain’s role therein in the Economics and Art History classes. Class work will concentrate on contemporary issues in Europe and art history during this period along with continued language study.

At the end of the intensive period, the program makes a ten-day trip to Andalucía and Morocco.  Millions of immigrants from North Africa have entered Europe in the last several decades.  Some have arrived there legally, others as illegals, and their presence in the various European countries has created a number of new issues worthy of study:  cultural and economic contributions, racism, legal status, etc.  Islam has been present in Europe since the 8th century, and this trip will give us the opportunity to see the immense cultural heritage of Islam in Europe while providing insight into the social conditions in the Maghreb that lead to emigration.

The second major field trip of the program takes students on a weeklong journey to Brussels, Maastricht, Aix-la-Chapelle, Ghent, Bruges, The Hague, and Amsterdam  in order to visit and study the birthplace and the institutions of the European Union:  the Peace Palace or International Court of Justice in The Hague; and the headquarters of the European Commission, the European Council, and the European Parliament in Brussels. In addition to these institutions, the program visits monuments and museums in the various cities in order to appreciate better the common artistic and historical heritage of Europe.  We visit Maastricht since the treaty that created the European Union was signed there.  From Maastricht the program goes to Aix-la-Chapelle, the capital of Charlemagne’s pan-European empire to tour the Palatine Chapel, a superb example of Carolingian architecture.  This reference to Charlemagne reminds us that there have been many efforts to create a more unified Europe throughout the long history of the continent. Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp and Amsterdam, in addition to being important cultural centers of contemporary Europe, are all places of importance in the Spanish empire of the 16th and 17th centuries when the Hapsburg dynasty, with roots in Belgium and the Netherlands, attempted to develop its own concept of European unity. At the termination of the field trip the program returns to Madrid for a review and for final exams.

In short, the Sewanee Semester in Spain delivers an academic program combined with a cultural experience and a series of excursions and trips that are unparalleled in any study abroad program known to us.


 The scheduled trips of this program are subject to change according to the political situation of the moment. 

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