University of California, Riverside

UCR Study Abroad - UCR Summer Abroad Program

2015 Madrid, Spain

Madrid: Past and Present

Please note: this program information is from 2015--look for 2016 update information COMING SOON!

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.

  • General Program Information

    The summer study abroad program in Madrid, Spain, offers students the chance to learn in Spain’s capital city, where royal palaces and 16th-century streets coexist with a modern metropolis, connected via metro and high-speed rail. Students will earn UC credits in courses about Spanish culture, past and present, and about the evolution of Spanish as a common world language and as a dynamic and varied system throughout its history. In both courses, the city itself will provide many of the materials and texts, including major national museum collections, institutions, buildings and monuments of significance, theaters, concert venues, and historic cafés. Weekly walking tours of the city will extend the classroom into the street, and excursions to historic sites and cities—including Toledo, Segovia and El Escorial—will further broaden the scope of students’ onsite learning experiences.

    Madrid: Past and Present is a four-week course which requires Spanish language proficiency in order to participate.

    Benjamin Liu, Hispanic Studies

    Host Institution:
    Colegio Mayor Universitario TBA
    Madrid, Spain

    Spanish 103 Spanish Culture and Civilization in Spain; 4 units
    Spanish 190 Directed Studies: A Brief History of Spanish; 4 units

    Arrive by June 27, 2015
    Leave by July 25, 2015
    Note that this is a 5-week Summer Session I course, and will require some academic work prior to departure.

  • Accommodations in Madrid

    Students will be housed in a Colegio Mayor associated with the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.  They are situated in Ciudad Universitaria in the CIty of Madrid, Spain, and are easily accessible by metro, taxi, or bus from the center of the city and airport.

    Look for more information in the coming weeks!

    Students will be given dates to plan their arrival and departure. 

  • 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 $2,482.54* $3,050.54*
    Remaining Program Fees – Accommodations, transportation, excursions $1,240.43 Same as undergraduate
    *Fees subject to Regental action (current estimates include the projected 5% increase)
    Estimated Additional CostsUndergraduates Graduates 
    Estimated Meal and Personal Costs $500.00 Same as undergraduate
    Estimated Pre-Departure Expenses (Photos, Passports, Books, etc.) $300.00 Same as undergraduate
    Estimated Round-Trip Airfare $1,600.00 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)

    Course Description and Requirements:

    It was Harvard student and professor George/Jorge Santayana, born in Madrid in 1863, who famously said in The Life of Reason (1905-06) that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In this five-week intensive summer course, designed for students in the summer study abroad program in Madrid, Spain, students will come to grips with how the intimately past and present are entwined in many aspects of Spanish culture, including art, architecture, urbanism, literature and film, as well as in widely-shared attitudes and expressions.

    Students will learn about, reflect on, observe, experience and debate a number of these key issues of Spanish culture as these manifest themselves in the historical past and the present day. Each week will present a topic that links a moment in Spain’s past with issues of pressing concern in the present day. Each topic will have weekly activities and walking tours that involve and engage Madrid’s neighborhoods, monuments and museums. Three day-long excursions in the vicinity of Madrid will further expand the learning space beyond the four walls of the classroom.

    Evaluation will be based on regular short writing assignments (30%) that will take the form of a journal or a blog, a final exam (30%) and participation in class and field trips (40%), including class presentations. This course is taught in Spanish. In all work done for this class, UCR policies must be scrupulously observed, especially as they apply to issues of academic integrity. 

    Required Texts:

    • Ugarte, Francisco, Michael Ugarte, and Kathleen McNerney. España y su civilización. 6th ed. McGraw-Hill. 2009.

    Recommended readings:

    • Tremlett, Giles. Ghosts of Spain: Travels Through Spain and Its Silent Past. Walker & Co. 1997.

    Week 1 (pre-departure): Pre-departure orientation. Spain, Spanish, and the Hispanic heritage. The historical context.The past in the present. Key readings for encountering Spain. The how and why of travel. Practical tips for arrival and survival.

    Walking tour: The Mission Inn and Mt Rubidoux (getting acquainted, walking as a way of life, mission history and folkore, California and Spain).

    Week 2 (arrival): Spain’s multicultural Middle Ages and its new multi-ethnic realities. Romans, Goths, Muslims and Jews in Spain’s cultural heritage. “New” Europeans, ethnic minorities, and the experiences of migration.

    Visit: Medieval Toledo and the three cultures. Synagogue of the Tránsito, El Cristo de la Luz, Santa María la Blanca, San Juan de Dios, iglesia de los Jesuitas (Mariana’s tomb), iglesia de san Román.

    Walking tour: Medieval Madrid, multicultural Madrid. From the Palacio de Oriente to Lavapiés.

    Week 3: Wealth and poverty inthe Golden Age and in the Great Recession. Madrid as villa y corte, and the center of imperial flows of capital. Cultural discourses about wealth, poverty and inequality. The Salamanca school and Austrian monetarism. Madrid’s earliest hospitals and poor-houses. City and country. Phillip II and El Escorial. Rich and poor in literature and painting. Cervantes, and Velázquez. Financial crisis in the age of abundance: banking, sports, and politics. The cityscapes of boom and bust.

    Visit: Segovia – El Escorial. Prado Museum.

    Walking tour: Paseo de la Castellana from Chamartín to Atocha.

    Week 4: Spanish modernities. The afterlives of the artists: Picasso and Velázquez; Goya and modern Spanish graphic art. Lorca, Alberti, Buñuel, Dalí: the generation of 1927 and the Residencia de Estudiantes. Revival architecture: neo-Gothic and neo-mudejar styles in Madrid.

    Visit: Reina Sofía museum. Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando.

    Walking tour: From the Templo de Debod to the Casa árabe.

    Week 5: Current debates. Democratic transition, historical memory and cinema. Nationalisms, regionalisms, federalisms. Modern social movements and new political parties. The renewal of the monarchy.

    Film screenings: Volver (2006). Ocho apellidos vascos (2014). Cuéntame cómo pasó (clips).

    Projected guest lecturers: Prof. Jaime Ferri, U Complutense de Madrid; independent filmmaker, Dr. Arantxa Aguirre.

    Visit: Filmoteca española.

    Walking tour: To be determined.

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

    Course Description and Requirements:

    This course, designed for students studying abroad during summer session in Spain, will explore the history of Spanish from the early Middle Ages to modern times.

    Rather than dwelling on historical grammar, the course will trace the trajectory of Spanish in its external interferences with social and political situations, intellectual and literary models, and other languages as part of the vital cultural processes that have shaped how the language is spoken and written to this day. Special attention will be paid to the varieties of Peninsular Spanish, as well as to the diversity of spoken forms throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

    These overarching patterns of historical linguistics will be tested against a series of short texts that will serve as examples and case studies for close textual analysis. Taking advantage of the study abroad location, samples of real speech will be gathered “in the wild,” as it were, and analysis of field interviews will be part of the learning process. Finally, field trips will be conducted in Madrid to institutions that have played and still play a key role in the ongoing evolution of Spanish, notably the Real Academia de la Lengua and the Instituto Cervantes.

    Evaluation will be based on several short writing assignments (30%), a final exam (30%) and participation in class and field trips (40%), including class presentations. This course is taught in Spanish. In all work done for this class, UCR policies must be scrupulously observed, especially as they apply to issues of academic integrity. 

    Required Texts:

    • Pharies, David A. Breve historia de la lengua española. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2007. ISBN: 9780226666815.

    Recommended readings:

    • Alatorre, Antonio. Los 1001 años de la lengua española. 3rd ed. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2002. ISBN: 9789681666781.
    • Lapesa, Rafael. Historia de la Lengua Española. Madrid: Gredos.

    Week 1 (pre-departure): Models of language change and contact between languages. The case of “spanglish.” Historical overview and rough chronology of major shifts in Spanish usage. Key features of Spanish in Madrid, and what to look out for.

    Week 2: Lexicon: the varied sources of Spanish vocabulary. Pre-Roman, Hellenic, Latin, Germanic, Arabic, American and other sources. Popular word evolution vs. learned words. Personal names, surnames and toponyms. Spanish and bilingual dictionaries from the Middle Ages on.

    Week 3: Phonetics and Orthography: Popular word evolution from Latin to Spanish. The sound system in medieval Spanish. Key phonetic features of Spanish as contrasted with other Romance languages. The role of the Real Academia Española. Visit to the RAE (tentative). Guest lecture by Prof. Joseph Snow (TBA).

    Week 4: Grammar (morpho-syntaxis): prescriptive and descriptive. Antonio de Nebrija, Juan de Valdés. Pronouns, forms of address, and other common “doubts and difficulties” for Spanish speakers. The problem of “correctness” in Spanish.

    Week 5: Dialectology, or the varieties of Spanish. Toledan vs. Andalusian speech in the 15th century. Coastal and highland varieties of Spanish around the world. The future of Spanish. Visit to the Instituto Cervantes.

  • Pre-departure Orientation

    Check back later for information on more pre-departure Spain orientation sessions!

    Europe's orientation session: April 15th in HUB 355

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General Campus Information

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

Contact Information

Education Abroad
0321 Surge Building

Tel: (951) 827-4113