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Madrid Study Group

Universidad San Pablo CEU
Director Fall 2019: Marta Pérez-Carbonell, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures 

History of the Madrid Study Group

Colgate’s first study group in Spain was established in 1970, in Granada, in affiliation with Wells College and the University of Granada.  The group, created and directed four times by Professor Robert Hathaway of the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, ran during the January intersession and spring semester. 

In the 1980s, Colgate entered into in a consortium arrangement with Vassar College and Wesleyan University and the study group site was moved to Madrid.  Each of the three universities provided directors in rotation.  For two decades the program was housed at the Instituto Internacional along with a number of American university programs.  An important feature of the V-W-C program was an introductory session in Santiago de Compostela, in the northwest region of Galicia, of several weeks in late August/early September.  The purpose of this session was to prepare students for life and study in Spain and for the semester in Madrid.  In 2002-2003 the V-W-C consortium relocated the program to Getafe, on the outskirts of Madrid, where it was affiliated with the Universidad Carlos III, a large public university. 

Desiring to have its own autonomous program again, and to return the group to Madrid proper, the Colgate Spanish faculty of the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures created a new, independent study group affiliated with the Universidad San Pablo CEU, a smaller, private university in a residential neighborhood of the city.  The newly designed study group ran for the first time in the fall of 2003, and has run every fall since.  The directorship of the program has been shared among Colgate professors Frederick Luciani, Fernando Plata, Lourdes Rojas, Chrystian Zegarra, and Marta Perez-Carbonell. The program maintains the Santiago de Compostela introductory session, which has been operating with great success for more than thirty years.  Another important feature of the study group is the direct enrollment of all student participants in regular classes at the Universidad San Pablo CEU, along with courses designed especially for the group.  Direct supervision of the homestay families in Madrid by a housing coordinator who works with the director has helped to ensure the quality of the linguistic and cultural immersion experience for students.


The Madrid Study Group celebrates Colgate's bicentennialThe Madrid Study Group offers qualified Colgate students the opportunity to live and study for one semester in a dynamic and culturally rich European capital. Designed for junior year students with significant Spanish language ability, successful applicants will seek to perfect their Spanish language skills, acquire a deeper knowledge of Spanish life and culture, and undertake a diverse and challenging academic experience at a private university in Madrid. Sophomores and seniors are also welcome to apply.

At the same time, the group is organized to recognize the unique needs of U.S. students studying abroad. It includes a two-week introductory session in Santiago de Compostela in the northwestern region of Galicia, followed by a 13-week semester at the Universidad San Pablo CEU in Madrid. The curriculum balances courses designed especially for the group with a broad array of courses drawn from the regular offerings of the Universidad San Pablo CEU. All courses are taught in Spanish.

Through academic experiences connected with the cultural resources of Madrid, participants will become acquainted with the richness of Spanish painting and the performing arts, and through the experience of living with Spanish families and sharing classes with Spanish students, participants will engage with Spanish culture in the more everyday sense. Excursions will be designed to give participants a good sense of the geographic and cultural diversity of Spain, its complex history, and its major artistic monuments.


Students must register for four courses, and are eligible to receive a maximum of four Colgate credits including two credits for a Spanish major or minor. The course offerings are as follows:

The Program Seminar: Spanish 400 This course, required of all participants, includes two segments: 1) the introductory two-week session in Santiago de Compostela, designed to prepare students for the semester in Madrid, and 2) “Madrid and the Arts,” offered in Madrid. In the Madrid segment, participants will attend weekly lectures on Spanish art, film, and theater complemented by visits to museums, cinemas and theaters. This course counts toward a Spanish major or minor.

Major Hispanic Authors: The Subject and the City in Contemporary Spanish Fiction: Spanish 482 This seminar, taught by the Director, examines the link between contemporary subjects and cities. Students will read a series of Spanish novels, short stories, journals and hybrid texts that complicate the relationship between fictional characters, writers and readers, while examining the literary dimension of cities. As a final project, students will work in groups to create texts about their experience in Madrid. This seminar counts toward a Spanish major or minor.  

Perfecting Language:  Spanish 380 This course will provide students with a comprehensive review of the finer points of the Spanish language, with an emphasis on fostering near-native pronunciation, correctness of grammar in speech and writing, and the idiomatic use of the language in a variety of contexts. Placement in this course is determined by the Director in consultation with the Santiago de Compostela faculty following the two-week introductory session.

Participants, with guidance from the director, will choose one or two electives from the regular Universidad San Pablo CEU course offering, in diverse fields in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Students may petition departments at Colgate to have these electives count for a major or minor.

The group will include a one-day excursion during the Santiago de Compostela session to the south of Galicia and the Miño River valley and the Portugal border region. During the semester in Madrid, there will be a one-day excursion to Toledo and two weekend excursions; these visits are linked to academic components of the group. One excursion will be to Granada, with a focus on the study of the palaces and gardens of the Alhambra. Another excursion will be to the island of Mallorca in the Balearic Islands, with a focus on the architecture of Palma de Mallorca, its culture and language, and its unique mountainous topography in the Mediterranean.

Living Arrangements

During the two-week Santiago de Compostela session, participants will live in a dormitory of the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela. In Madrid, students will live with families, who will provide most meals. No more than one Colgate student will be housed with any given family. All housing arrangements will be made by the director after consultation with accepted students on living preferences.


Prerequisite courses for participation in the group are at least one 350-level Spanish class and Spanish 361. The Spanish faculty will choose students for participation based on their ability in Spanish, their academic record at Colgate, their interest in the Group and commitment to its goals, and their disciplinary record. Preference will be given to Spanish majors and minors, and those majoring in Latin American Studies, but all qualified and interested students are strongly encouraged to apply.


For details of student expenses on this study group, please see Student Cost Estimate Sheets.

Calendar and Deadlines

The study group application will open  on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, and will close on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.   Applications are on the Colgate University Off-Campus Study website and are submitted online at The faculty director will announce admissions decisions by late December 2018.

Passports and Visas

You must confirm that your passport is valid through June 2020. With participation on this study group comes the responsibility of understanding and complying with the Spanish government’s visa requirements. If you will not be traveling on a U.S. passport it is imperative that you contact an adviser in Off-Campus Study and International Student Services, to learn as much as you can about the visa requirements. For all students there are significant requirements to be met that take time, advance planning, and incur extra costs.

Program Dates

Madrid Study Group program tentative dates: Mid-August to Mid-December, 2019

Informational Sessions

Tuesday, October 16th at 11:30am in 205 Lawrence Hall and
Thursday, October 25th at 4:15pm in 205 Lawrence Hall

More Information

For more information contact Prof. Marta Perez-Carbonell in 219B Lawrence Hall, 315-228-5770 or

Helpful Links

Sponsoring Department

Romance Languages Department

General Information

 All about Spain

Course-related Materials