University of California, Riverside

UCR Study Abroad - UCR Summer Abroad Program

2014 Madrid, Spain

Major Moments in Spanish Culture and History (Cumbres de la Cultura e Historia de España)

Spend four weeks exploring modern Madrid and environs, with ready access to three of the great museums of Europe. Take in theater productions, films, and perhaps travel afterward on a high-speed train to Sevilla or Barcelona. Four weekly walking tours to sites of interest will orient you to the riches of the capital, while the three weekly excursions by chartered bus will take you to places of great historical and cultural importance, such as Toledo, the historic capital of the country; Segovia with its monumental Roman aqueduct; Ávila, the walled city of Santa Teresa; and Salamanca, with its historic university and irreplaceable plateresque façades.

In the classroom and beyond, the focus will be on the greats of Spanish history, literature, painting, music, and film. And the greatest of these is Cervantes and his Don Quixote. See where he was born, married, buried, and three former residences. This is a land of enchantment where the spirit of Don Quixote lives on. Prof. and Dr. Parr have conducted this program for seven consecutive summers.

  • General Program Information

    Spain, a country of tremendous cultural resources, a crossroads of civilizations, and a contributor of consequence in all the arts, in literature, and ideas.

    Spend five weeks exploring the cultural resources of Madrid's unique cluster of great museums; see Velázquez's masterpiece "Las Meninas" in the Prado and Picasso's powerful "Guernica" in the Reina Sofia. The group will move outward from the city via weekly excursions and independent travel to see a very different Spain of castles, palaces, cathedrals, and surprising natural beauty. Students will learn about student life in Spain by living in a Colegio Mayor. The program will be directed and led by Dr. James Parr, UCR Distinguished Professor of Spanish Literature. Participants in this program must be proficient in Spanish. Students will earn 8 units of UC credit by successfully completing two 4-unit courses.

    Visit three of the great museums of Europe, within easy walking distance of one another. Independently, take in theater productions, films, and take trips on weekends on high-speed trains to visit other cities of interest, such as Sevilla and Barcelona. Weekly excursions are planned for the group (by chartered bus) to Toledo, a city of unending fascination; to Segovia, with its magnificent Alcázar, and then to a summer palace of the Bourbons at nearby La Granja; to the unique palace built by Philip II, El Escorial, from which he ran the Spanish empire; to Ávila, the city of Santa Teresa, and Salamanca, with its great plaza mayor and university. Students will be housed in a Colegio Mayor on the campus of the Universidad Complutense, along with the director and his wife. 

    The classroom will seldom have four walls but will be all of Madrid and as much of the outlying area as time permits students to visit and study. Study Abroad participants are more likely to meet in the Prado or the Reina Sofía or the Palacio Real-or in Toledo or Segovia-than in a traditional classroom.

    Major Moments in Spanish Culture and History is a four-week course which requires Spanish language proficiency in order to participate.

    James Parr, Hispanic Studies

    Host Institution:
    Colegio Mayor Universitario Jaime del Amo
    Madrid, Spain

    Spanish 103 (Spanish Culture and Civilization in Spain; 4 units)
    Spanish 190 (Directed Studies; 4 units)

    June 28-July 6, 2014
    Note that this is a 5-week Summer Session I course, and will require some academic work prior to departure.

  • Accommodations in Madrid

    The Colegio Mayor is situated in Ciudad Universitaria in the CIty of Madrid, Spain at Avenida Gregorio del Amo, 5.  It is easily accessible by metro, taxi, or bus from the center of the city and airport. Special thanks to Director, Padre Teodoro Bahillo Ruiz and his staff for providing accommodations to the UCR Summer Study Abroad program and for providing classroom space, as well as other important amenities that add comfort to the participants' stay.

    Arrangements have been made for students to stay at the Colegio Mayor Universitario Jaime del Amo during the 2014 summer term.  Students will be given dates to plan their arrival and departure.  The program fee includes three on-site meals each day during time of residence at the C.M.U. Jaime del Amo.  Boxed meals will be provided for group organized excursions.
    Each student will have their own dorm room. You may visit the C.M.U. Jaime del Amo website by clicking the picture above.  The college amenities include:
        * swimming pool on premises
        * on site gym, tennis, and basketball courts 
        * snack bar 
        * beautifully landscaped grounds
        * air-conditioned classrooms and common areas 
        * free high-speed Internet access available in all rooms 
        * laundry facilities available on site

  • Detailed Program Fees

    Program Fees

    Program-Related FeesUndergraduates Graduates 
    Non-refundable application fee/deposit $300.00 Same as undergraduate
    2nd Deposit $700.00 Same as undergraduate
    Course fees – 8 units $2,200.04 $2,699.58
    Remaining Program Fees – Accommodations, transportation, excursions $2,148.00 Same as undergraduate
    Estimated Additional CostsUndergraduates Graduates 
    Estimated Meal and Personal Costs $500.00 Same as undergraduate
    Estimated Pre-Departure Expenses (Photos, Passports, etc.) $400.00 Same as undergraduate
    Estimated Round-Trip Airfare $1,500.00 Same as undergraduate
  • Courses & Syllabus


    Spanish 103 (Spanish Culture and Civilization in Spain; 4 units)
    Spanish 190 (Directed Studies; 4 units)

    Course One: Spanish 103 (Spanish Culture and Civilization in Spain; 4 units)

    Prerequisite(s): Spanish Proficiency and faculty waiver

    The course presents an overview of Spanish culture and civilization from pre-Roman times to the present, with emphasis on literature, painting, architecture, language, and film. This is a unique opportunity to see where and how modern-day Spanish civilization developed, to see a number of ancient artifacts first-hand, and at the same time visit world-class museums such as the Prado and the Reina Sofía. There will be day-long weekly excursions to sites that highlight important phases or aspects of this civilization: the imperial city of Toledo; the Escorial, that austere palace from which Philip II governed his empire in the Americas and which is also the royal mausoleum; to the Valley of the Fallen, Franco's attempt to surpass Philip II in grandeur; to the royal palace in Madrid; to Segovia and its unique Roman aqueduct; the walled city of Ávila, with its reminiscences of Santa Teresa; and Salamanca with its famous university and plaza mayor. Our classroom will have four walls on MWF, but on TR it will be Madrid and the places mentioned above. There will also be ample time for exploration of the city on your own. You should budget for modest travel, perhaps during the week after the program.

    Textbooks: SPN 103: España y su civilización, 6th ed. only (2009). By Ugarte, Ugarte, and McNerney. Ordered through Bookstore. Must be taken with you to Spain or purchased and downloaded as an e-book. Supplemented by a web component, lectures, handouts, videos, and films. Readings for SPN 190 are posted on iLearn.

    Readings and course requirements:
    Spain itself will be our primary textbook and our living laboratory. Reading to be completed prior to our first class is Parts I and II of the textbook. A good time to do this is on the flight over. Once in Madrid, you will be responsible for taking notes on the professor’s, guest lecturers’ and guides' remarks and are expected to take notes during visits to museums and other cultural sites, drawing upon information available in writing or by expert commentary. There will be a mid-term and a final based on everything assigned, covered in class, on field trips and excursions. A successful academic experience in this setting depends less on memorizing data than on timely reading, reflection, questioning, being alert and paying careful attention, and being critically engaged with your surroundings. When abroad, it is prudent to be alert and responsive to your surroundings at all times, of course. MWF classes will meet 9:30-11 AM; break 11:00-11:30; class 11:30-1:30 PM. Two evening films, TBA, on Wednesdays.

    Grading:      Attendance, classroom decorum*: 20%                     
                          Midterm: 25%
                          Oral reports on team visits:  20%                     
                          Final: 35%

    Nota Bene: The expectation is that you come to class each Monday with that week’s reading assignment completed, ready to discuss all parts of it.

    N.B. 2:          Various recognitions will be made at the farewell dinner.

    Schematic overview of course (and events), week by week:

    Week 1 Reading: Parts I & II of textbook (read before arrival). Background on Iberia: peoples who populated the Peninsula, especially the Romans, Visigoths, and Moors. Tour of specified works in the Museo Arqueológico Nacional on Tuesday. Visit Toledo, the ancient capital, on Thursday to see a selection of treasures, including the cathedral, the Museo de Santa Cruz, masterpieces of El Greco, and a synagogue/museum. We also visit Esquivias, where Cervantes was married and lived; we tour his former home. Videos on history, culture, geography. Sunday or Monday evening: Coctel de bienvenida.

    Week 2 Reading: Part III of textbook. Monday: presentation by Dr. Delfín Carbonell, philologist and lexicographer. The 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries; some issues with the concept of “Renaissance”; 1492 as an annus mirabilis; the great writers, artists, and works of the Golden Age. Tour Lope de Vega’s home; see where Quevedo and Góngora lived; also where Cervantes was buried. Take a virtual tour of the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza for an overview of Western art. Discussion of Don Quixote, the picaresque, the mystics, and Lope's comedia nueva. Excursion to El Escorial and Valle de los Caídos. Videos on history. Mid-term Friday at 1.

    Week 3 Reading: Part IV of textbook. More on the Golden Age, a time unrivaled in Spanish history for its creativity and productivity. Problems of two far-flung empires (Old World and New); the leyenda negra: its origins, dissemination, and import. The Dominicans and their significant role in the New World. Consider taking in a performance of a Golden-Age play during the Veranos de la Villa. Samples of Don Quixote on film. 19th and 20th centuries; Larra and Galdós; the Generation of 1898: Unamuno, Azorín, Valle-Inclán, Baroja, and Antonio Machado, with excerpts from some of these. Screen Galdós’s realistic period piece, El abuelo, and a film on Goya. Excursion to Segovia/ Ávila /Salamanca. Reports.

    Week 4 Reading: Part V of textbook. The 20th and 21st centuries. Screen Dalí and Buñuel’s short surrealist film, Un chien andalou. Poems by Lorca. View Picasso’s “Guernica,” and Dalí’s and Miró’s works in the Reina Sofía museum. Franco and his import. Spain as a democracy and a part of Europe. Her relations with her former colonies. Today’s financial crisis. The threat of terrorism. Film directors Buñuel, Saura, and Almodóvar. Flamenco as an art form. Reports. Final on Friday, 10-1. Cena de despedida Friday evening. Saturday, depart.                                                       

    Classroom decorum: Courtesy and consideration at all times; punctuality and attentiveness do count; appropriate use of electronic devices. These guidelines are designed to facilitate an environment that fosters teaching and learning.
    Your collaboration is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    Course Two: Spanish 190 (Directed Studies; 4 units)

    This course is custom-designed for this program, based on perceived needs of the students who enroll.  It extends the reach of SPN 103 to include the twice-weekly field trips, and it brings in a linguistic component from which our students have profited greatly.  Language is, of course, a basic component of culture.  The two courses are conceived as a seamless whole and provide a unified experience for the student.  Both count toward the Spanish major or minor, and 103 satisfies a culture requirement for either. 

    We shall be devoting considerable attention to Cervantes and to Don Quixote, his masterpiece and the best work of fiction ever written, according to today's leading writers, polled by the Nobel Institute in 2002.

  • Tentative Program Itinerary

    Activities within Madrid (Los Martes: Visitas por Madrid)
    [SALIDA A LAS 9]

    Martes, TBA, Visita concertada al Museo Arqueológico Nacional;Ver Biblioteca Nacional; Plaza de Colón; Paseo de Recoletos; estatuas de Juan Valera y Ramón María del Valle-Inclán; Café Gijón; Cibeles; antiguo Palacio de Comunicaciones (actual Ayuntamiento); Banco de España; Paseo del Prado; Neptuno; Parque del Retiro (estatuas de los reyes visigodos y el estanque).

    Martes, TBA, Visita concertada a la Casa de Lope de Vega; Ver Barrio de las Letras: casas de Quevedo, Góngora, Cervantes; convento donde fue enterrado Cervantes;  Real Academia Española; Iglesia de San Jerónimo; Pasar por Museo del Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza; Plaza de las Cortes (estatua de Cervantes); Congreso de Diputados; Plaza de Santa Ana (Teatro Español [antiguo Corral del Príncipe], con estatuas de García Lorca y Calderón); Calle de Álvarez Gato (los espejos cóncavos asociados con el esperpento de Valle Inclán); Puerta del Sol (el oso y el madroño; kilómetro cero).

    Martes, TBA, Visita concertada al Palacio Real; Visitar la Catedral de la Almudena; Ver Senado; Plaza de España (estatuas de Cervantes, Don Quijote y Sancho, Dulcinea); Visitar la Ermita de San Antonio de la Florida (tumba de Goya y un fresco importante); Casa Mingo (sidrería tradicional)

    Miércoles, TBAVisita concertada al Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (cerrado los martes); Visitar el Monumento en recuerdo de las víctimas del 11-M, en Atocha;  Habrá clase el martes, en el aula.

    Activities outside of Madrid (Los Jueves: Excursiones en autocar)
    [SALIDA A LAS 8]

    Jueves (TBA) -  Toledo y Esquivias

    Jueves (TBA) -  El Escorial y Valle de los Caídos

    Jueves (TBA) - Segovia, Ávila y Salamanca

  • Faculty Letter

    Major Moments in Spanish Culture and History (Cumbres de la Cultura e Historia de España)

    Dear Prospective Student:

    I encourage you to take the necessary steps to join Dr. Patricia Parr and me for an unforgettable four weeks in Madrid next summer.  This will be our eighth such program, and we shall build on the seven preceding, attempting to make version 8.0 the best ever.

    Participants and faculty are housed in a self-sufficient colegio mayor universitario on the campus of the central university in Madrid, the Complutense. The colegio is in a very quiet area, so you are scarcely aware of being in a large city.  Bus and metro stops are within 100 meters.

    On site are classrooms, a modest library, a dedicated study room, computer room, and other amenities such as tennis courts, a swimming pool, gym, rec. room, lounge and snack bar. You will have a private room with private bath, equipped with high-speed cable connection.  Wi-fi is available in the common areas and classrooms. You are urged to bring a laptop, not just for e-mail and Skype but also to facilitate completion of some assignments. 

    Upon request, we can provide a library card granting access to the excellent holdings at the International Institute (C/ Miguel Ángel, 8), which is readily accessible by bus or metro.  It is the best undergraduate library in Madrid.  Graduate students will also be able to use the most important and comprehensive collection in Spain, the Biblioteca Nacional.  Undergraduates will be enrolled in SPN 103, a culture and civilization course, unique to this summer program, and SPN 190.  Both receive letter grades.  Graduate students will enroll in SPN 290 and 291, both of which are graded S/NC.  SPN 290 and 291 can be custom-tailored to individual needs and interests.

    Our normal routine for each week is to have lectures, discussions, reports, and view audio-visual materials at the colegio on MWF, 9-1.  Tuesdays are set aside for excursions within the city, often to a major museum or other sites of cultural and historical interest.  Thursdays are for excursions by chartered bus to places outside Madrid, such as Toledo, Segovia, Ávila, and Salamanca.  These visits complement the course work and are places that will leave an indelible imprint.

    There is sufficient unstructured time for visits to the numerous smaller museums in the city, to enjoy a play or movie, to go shopping, take in a soccer match or bullfight, and, on weekends, to take short trips to other nearby sites of interest, for instance Cuenca or Alcalá de Henares, or to experience the huge Sunday-morning flea market in Madrid, the Rastro.  Nightlife in Madrid is legendary, but you are expected to indulge only on Friday and Saturday nights.  Behavior that reflects well on UCR is expected at all times, and academic standards must be maintained, but Patricia and I will be available to you 24/7 and will go out of our way to accommodate your special needs, to give you personal and travel advice on request, and make these four weeks a time you will remember with pleasure for a lifetime.

    Space is limited.  Our enrollment target is 20-25 participants, so please make your reservation in a timely manner.  If you do not have a passport, be sure to begin the process now, since it takes several weeks to get one.  We will provide information once you have enrolled about cell phone options in Spain, travel tips, great weekend trips, staying healthy, saving money on public transportation in Madrid, using ATMs in Spain, insurance, and other matters of interest.  Most participants now communicate with family and friends via Skype rather than by telephone.

    We are happy to respond to any questions you may have now about the academic program or life at the colegio mayor.  My email address is, and Patricia's is An even better source of information may be Jonathan Ceja, my graduate student assistant for recruiting (  Jon was a participant in the 2012 program and fully understands the student perspective.  A second information session will be announced shortly for January, in classes, on my office door, and perhaps on the [Summer Study Abroad] web page.  Estimated program costs for 2014 are just under $5,500. Do look into financial aid--from all possible sources.

    Looking forward to talking with you soon,

    James A. Parr

    Director, Summer Program in Spain
    Distinguished Professor of Hispanic Studies
    Office: HMNSS 2418
    Winter-quarter hours: Thursday afternoons and by appointment; always available by email.

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University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Education Abroad
0321 Surge Building

Tel: (951) 827-4113