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Colby in Salamanca

Program Information for Juniors


Colby in Salamanca was established in 1984 by Colby College as a year-long study-abroad program integrated into Spain's oldest and most prestigious university, the Universidad de Salamanca, founded in the year 1218. Numerous celebrated Spanish writers graduated from or attended the University of Salamanca, among them: Antonio Nebrija, Fernando de Rojas, Fray Luis de León, Luis de Góngora, Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, Pedro Calderón de la Barca, and Miguel de Unamuno.

Colby in Salamanca offers an integrated academic program, which means that students attend classes with Spanish students at the University of Salamanca. The program is available to students from Colby College, or elsewhere, either for the entire academic year or for the first semester (from September through late- January) or the second semester (early January to the beginning of June). Colby also offers a language acquisition program for students seeking to improve basic Spanish skills. Students enrolling in the language acquisition program also study at the University of Salamanca, but in specially arranged courses for international students. The resident director for the fall semester of 2006 is Dr. Javier González Alonso of Colby College. The program assistant is Miriam Pérez Prieto. The Resident Director for the spring semester 2007 is Montserrat González García.

Salamanca is a very manageable city. One can get almost anywhere by foot in about twenty to thirty minutes, and there is an excellent public transportation system. The university is located in the center of the city, and there is a new campus a short walk from the center. Salamanca, like its counterparts Oxford and Cambridge in England, is very much a university city, home to scholars from around the world.

Although there are other American programs in Salamanca, the Colby program is unique in its integration into the university. Students take the same courses Spanish students attend. In addition, students on the Colby program in Salamanca keep their promise to speak only Spanish; this alone distinguishes them from most other Americans in the city. Spanish is the only language of the Colby in Salamanca program. All students are expected to speak Spanish to the resident staff, the animadores, and other students at all times.


Colby Center

A Center for Colby in Salamanca students is located in the center of the city, not far from the university. It is open from Monday to Friday, in the morning and again late in the afternoon. The center contains the offices of the resident staff, as well as a lounge, kitchenette (for snacks), and a small study room. Students may also study at the University libraries or in their rooms or apartments. Spanish is the only language permitted at the Colby in Salamanca Center.



Full-year and fall-semester students arrive to Salamanca in late August, prior to the official opening of the university, and attend a two-week orientation course in Spanish language and culture given by the Cursos Internacionales of the University. Student on the fall semester integrated program will follow-up their semester with a two week workshop on practical Spanish language and culture in January. Students who opt for the spring semester arrive in Salamanca in early January and attend a three-week orientation session, also provided by Cursos Internacionales.

The academic components of the Orientations are linguistic and cultural. After taking a placement exam, Colby program students are placed at the appropriate level in language classes made up of students from other parts of the world, principally from the European community. These classes, taught by the faculty of the Universidad de Salamanca, meet Monday through Friday for three hours. A fourth hour of class on a daily basis is devoted to culture.


Integrated Program: Academic Program

The Universidad de Salamanca begins its regular academic year in October and lasts until May, or sometimes into the beginning of June, when final exams are given. Students who opt for the fall semester only depart from the US with the year-long group but return in late January. They take courses which have graded work (papers and/or exams) assigned in time for them to leave. Spring semester students enroll in regular university courses that begin in mid-February and last until May, with final exams in the beginning of June.

Although semesterization has taken place in many departments, not all of them offer distinct fall and spring courses. Fall-only or spring-only students, therefore, have a more limited choice of courses than do full-year students.

In an attempt to encourage American students to learn as much as possible within the Spanish university system, Colby in Salamanca has developed a curriculum that allows its students to select courses from three categories:

  • Courses from a core program. These are regular university courses in which the professor teaches a weekly tutorial for students in the Colby program. The purpose of the tutorial is to allow students to ask questions they might hesitate to ask in the regular class, and to allow the professor to get to know students better.
  • Courses designed specifically for Colby in Salamanca students. There are very few of these courses because the purpose of the program is full integration into the Spanish university system. A short language workshop is required of all students, and there are typically two special courses offered per year, one in the fall and one in the spring.
  • Courses at large offered by the Universidad of Salamanca. The University has many departments and a great many courses are offered. Students are guided in their choice of courses by the resident director and the program assistant; courses are selected in September (fall-only and full-year) or in February (spring-only).

Academic credit is given by Colby College on the following basis: the orientation program carries four Colby credits in the fall semester and three Colby credits in the spring semester; the required language workshop carries two Colby credits; most courses offered at the university carry three Colby credits per semester. Students typically take four courses per semester (or the equivalent in year-long courses) to get thirty-two Colby credits, which is considered a "full load". Final grades are assigned by the resident director on the recommendation of the Spanish professors. Students from colleges or universities other than Colby should consult with their study abroad office or registrar regarding transfer of credits from Colby.


Language Acquisition Program: Academic Program

Colby College offers an intensive Spanish language semester in Salamanca, Spain, run in conjunction with its integrated program at the Universidad de Salamanca. The department of Cursos Internacionales, courses for international (non-Spanish speaking) students, hosts Colby's language program. Located in the center of the oldest part of the university, Cursos Internacionales offers instruction in Spanish at all levels, from basic to advanced; courses in literature, history, and art history are also offered. About 80 per cent of the students taking Spanish language courses at Cursos Internacionales are European; in addition there are other American students and Asian students. For most of their courses, Colby students in this program will be in classes with students from around the world.

Colby in Salamanca language students will earn sixteen Colby credits for successfully completing the program. Students are tested by the Universidad de Salamanca and are placed in courses according to their knowledge of Spanish at the time they arrive. These placement exams do not affect students' grades. While the schedule varies depending on the students' choice of semester (fall or spring), the mainstay of the program is daily, intensive language study. Students earn credit for Spanish at Colby on the following scale:

Level inicial (beginners): SP125, SP126
Level intermedio (intermediate): SP126, SP127
Level avanzado (advanced 1): SP127, SP128
Level: superior (advance 2): SP129, SP130

Students who complete the intermediate level or higher with a grade of C or better will satisfy Colby's language requirement. Students who do not complete the intermediate level will normally be required to take a semester of Spanish at Colby to satisfy the language requirement.

Students in all levels except inicial may also choose between courses on Spanish literature, the History of Contemporary Spain, and the History of Spanish Art. Students who place in the inicial level will take an additional hour of language lab and conversation per day instead of these other courses; this will appear on the transcript as SP197, Spanish Conversation.

All courses taught in Salamanca are conventionally graded. Grades are awarded by the resident director, in consultation with professors from the University and count in the Colby GPA. The pass/fail option and add/drop deadlines do apply.


Housing and Meals

During the orientation period (September or January), all students live in a Spanish household. In some cases this is a family situation; in some cases more than one or two students may be boarding in the household. Students take their meals in the Spanish household and participate in family life to the extent practical under the circumstances.

Colby in Salamanca Language Acquisition program students are housed for the entire semester with Spanish families in Salamanca. Most of these families live within walking distance of the University; some live within a short bus ride. There is one Colby student per family, and choices of families are made by the resident director on the basis of a housing form, which will be sent to participating students before departure.

Students on the Integrated program may choose to remain in their homestay after the orientation period, or they may live in an apartment (piso), which is usually shared with other students. Colby in Salamanca requires that students who choose this option live in a piso with Spanish-speaking students (i.e., from Spain or Latin America); students may not live in an apartment with another American or another English-speaking student. Students are responsible for finding their own apartment, should they decide to use this option. The program assistant provides some help and advice. Most apartments have three or four students, each in single bedrooms. Students who opt to live in a piso are responsible for their own meals, rent, and utilities. They receive a monthly allocation equivalent to the amount paid the homestay families.

Although every effort is made to find the best living situations possible, students and their parents should understand that many of the households open to students in Salamanca are run more like rooming houses than "families" in the US sense of the term. There may be another students living in the household (although this will not be another English-speaking student) and there may be few "family activities."


Social Life and Extra-Curricular Activities

Animadores: During the orientation program, Colby in Salamanca organizes a group of Spanish students called animadores. These young men and women are chosen by the resident staff to introduce the American students to the city of Salamanca and generally make them feel at home during their first weeks on site.

Cultural Events: Salamanca offers a very rich program of cultural activities. To encourage students to attend these events, Colby in Salamanca will reimburse students half the cost of admission (up to a reasonable limit). Cultural activities sponsored by the University in collaboration with other institutions include concerts, film festivals, and theater. In addition there are a number of student-organized activities, including sports clubs (teams and individual sports such as hiking, climbing, etc.), chorales, and other activities.

Excursions: During the orientation period, Cursos Internacionales of the Universidad de Salamanca organizes day excursions for visiting international students. Later in the semester, Colby in Salamanca organizes a number of excursions which have, in past years, included Madrid, Galicia, and Seville, as well as a number of destinations of historical and cultural interest in the Salamanca area. Group dinners are held at the beginning and end of the semester.

Fitness: The University of Salamanca has a sports center, but there are no intercollegiate teams and there is no field house or equipment such as at Colby. There are, however, a number of private fitness centers located throughout the city. Colby in Salamanca will reimburse students up to half the cost of membership in a private fitness center, up to a reasonable limit.


Courses Taken by Colby Students in Recent Years (Integrated Program)

Full-year courses
International Public Law
Psychology of sexuality
Drawing I

Fall semester courses
Art of the Baroque period
Art of the classic period
Community Law
Hispano-Muslim art
History of moral systems
History of religions
History of the contemporary world
History of the European community
Human resources and population trends
Immigration law
International Organizations
Latin-American literature of the colonial period
Latin-American narratives
Mythology and art
Painting in the siglo de oro
Politics and society
Prehistoric Art of the Near East
Portuguese language I
Spanish art of the 19 and 20 centuries
Spanish literature of the 18 and 19 century
Spanish literature: poetry

Spring semester courses
Art history: Baroque sculpture in Spain
Art history: impressionism and post-impressionism
Art history: Spanish Baroque art
Community Pedagogy
Economics of the European Union
Education and Sexual Evolution
Geography of Latin America
History of contemporary Spain
History of ideas and their political forms
History of the nineteenth century in Spain
Impressionism and Postimpressionism
Islamic culture in the Spanish peninsula
Literature of the Siglo de oro
Social-economic history of Latin America
Social Movements in Contemporary Spain
Society and Conflict in Spain
Spanish literature of the twentieth century
Spanish Theater
The North: Geography of power
Theory of Literature
Transition to Democracy in Spain
Women in modern Spain


Program Fees

The fees for Colby programs abroad are equivalent to the comprehensive fees for Colby College: $23,050 per semester in 2007-2008. Please note that program fees are also subject to any annual comprehensive fee increases. Students are billed by Colby, and are exempt from the $1000 study abroad fee. The fee covers: tuition, room, board or a board allowance, excursions, and roundtrip airfare and, in some cases, transfers to program sites. Books, meals during vacation periods, health insurance, laundry expenses, and personal travel are not included. A forfeitable deposit of $500 is due at the time of acceptance.

For Colby in Salamanca, the fee also includes use of the Colby Center, laundry expenses during homestay, and limited Internet access.


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