Villanova Spain Program

photo of Cádiz, Spain
Cádiz, Spain

Villanova University / University of Cádiz

For over 20 years, Villanova students have spent the summer studying in the beautiful coastal city of Cádiz and now they have the opportunity to spend the entire semester exploring the Spanish language and culture.


Students enroll in a total of five courses during their time in Cádiz for a total of 15 Villanova credits. The courses are comprised of four main theme areas.  All students will enroll in at least one course from group A, and then choose the remainder of their classes from the other three groups, not taking more than two classes from each group.

GROUP A.  Spanish as a Foreign Language:
The courses aim at increasing language proficiency by      developing all language skills (speaking, writing, reading).

  • SPA1131. Conversation and Composition (3 CREDITS, 45 hours): This course focuses on developing skills in Spanish through all types of oral and written compositions. Grammatical points will be emphasized to keep the grammar alive as students practice to use it.

  • SPA1132. Advanced Written and Conversational Spanish (3 CREDITS, 45 hours): The course focuses on developing communicative skills in Spanish through all types of oral, literary readings, and written productions, increasing the students’ vocabulary, syntax and difficult grammatical structures.

  • SPA1138. Advanced Specific Studies on Grammar I (3 CREDITS, 45 hours): A course that deals with specific grammar aspects of the Spanish language: morphology, syntax, etc.

  • SPA3412. Introduction to Spanish Linguistics II (3 CREDITS, 45 hours). This course will introduce the core disciplines of linguistics, the scientific study of language: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. Additional topics to be addressed include dialects, social aspects of language and language change.

GROUP B. Spanish and Latin American Literature
These courses examine works of the most representative writers of Spain and Latin America. At the same time, the courses will help develop students’ communicative skills through reading and discussion over a range of the literary texts under analysis.

  • SPA3513. Early Modern Spain Literature and Culture (3 CREDITS), 45 hours. The course aims to provide deep insight into the understanding of Spanish poetry as a dynamic and complex creative phenomenon. The course offers an inter-textual approach that tries to relate the world of popular poetry (oral poems arising from folk-songs) and the polished poetry by educated writers. It will determine the origin of poetic genres and how they developed from its origin in European mediaeval times to the diverse forms in Latin America.

  • SPA3923. Spanish Narrative from Cervantes to Muñoz Molina (3 CREDITS, 45 hours). The connecting thread from the hybrid discourse of Cervante’s Novelas Ejemplares (‘Exemplary Novel’) to the late 19th century novel is essential in understanding the creation and development of the novel features in the Spanish language and in determining the complex relationship between story and fiction in novel writing.

  • SPA4140. Latin American Poetry and Narrative (3 CREDITS, 45 hours). The start of a genuine Latin American literature in the early 20th century established the conventions and defined the way contemporary modernism developed in the following decades.

  • SPA3412. The Latin American Avant-Garde Movement, (3 CREDITS, 45 hours). The experimentation and departure from the canon that took place at the beginning of last century gave rise to experimentation and continued until it reached its maturity in the eighties and nineties.

GROUP C. Sociology, Communication, Business:
These courses provide deep insight into contemporary cultural aspects of Spain, including its literature, art, history, geography, festivities, gastronomy, as well as current affairs, so as to help students shape their own opinion and take part in social and cultural debates.

  • PSC 4875 Culture, Ideological Context and Democracy: from the Republican Regeneration to Political Transition (Spain, 1931-1975), (3 CREDITS, 45 hours). A good grasp of today’s Spain requires good understanding of its political development throughout the 20th century. This course focuses on the understanding of today’s Spanish society organization based on the period from pre-war political and philosophical regeneration and its intermittent stability until the democracy transition period.

  • SOC4000 Tradition, Identity and Interculturality in Today’s Spain (3 CREDITS, 45 hours). The course aims to reveal the key components underlying a culture, namely the Spanish culture which is built upon three different foundations: traditions and cultural conservatism, the quest for a unique identity but showing overlapping nationalities, and the renewed make up of religions and customs reflected in today’s immigration.

  • COM3290 Representation, Image and Communication: Today’s Spanish Society (3 CREDITS, 45 hours). Influenced by Romanticism, in the 20th century Spain became an iconographic repertoire which, through time, ended in the portrayal of the Spanish tipismo (portrayal of Spanish society’s customs). The main objective of the course is to provide students with the tools to critically identify the topics and realities of Contemporary Spanish and analyze to what extents today’s Spanish culture has its foundations in the memory of its own history, image and representations created from the foreigners’ perspective.

  • COM3490 Cross Cultural Marketing & Communication in Europe (3 CREDITS, 45 hours). This course focusses on the analysis and observation of the birth, development and consolidation of the disciplines of Marketing and Communication in the European socioeconomic environment.  The course studies both disciplines within a capitalist society that promotes mass communication and the emergence of commercial and management ventures.

  • COM3390 Designing Tourism Campaign in Media and Film (3 CREDITS, 45 hours).  This course centers around the evolution and economic structures of tourism, as well as the functioning of the variables that articulate the business sector. It will also show how Spain and Andalusia extends through images and media beyond our territory. The overall objective of the course revolves around the different phases that define the birth, evolution and consolidation of this process in order to reach the necessary skills to perform the contextual analyzes necessary for the development of touristic plans.

  • LA 2993/BA 2002 Business Internship (3 CREDITS, 45 hours). Our Internship Program offers several exchanges in a typical Spanish atmosphere. This program is thought to help the students to improve their linguistic skills in a business environment. The most important enterprises at the Bay of Cadiz are involved at the moment in this project. These companies are distributed in different sectors such us: naval, aeronautic, services, etc.

  • ECONOMICS OF THE STRAIGHT OF GIBRALTAR (3 CREDITS, 45 hours) (in development)

  • GLOBAL BUSINESS (3 CREDITS, 45 hours) (in development)

GROUP D. History, Art & Cultural Studies.
The courses seek to provide the students with an analytical and thoughtful view on the most important landmarks in contemporary history and other disciplines of Spain. They also seek to encourage and promote critical thinking over the aspects that shape Contemporary Spanish society.

  • HIS3950. Spain’s Cádiz Constitution of 1812 (Constitución Gaditana) and its repercussion on the constitutions of the Americas (3 CREDITS, 45 hours). The new period after the French Revolution gave rise to the Constitution of 1812; a Carta Magna that set the basic principles underlying modern democracy and served as a model for the organization of the Americas’ states. The aim of the course is to analyze such a process from a historical, social and political approach.

  • HIS3950. The Al-Andalus Civilization throughout its texts (3 CREDITS, 45 hours). The main objective of the course is to provide students with an insight into the most important aspects of al-Andalus through its texts, both original Arab written texts and their translations that stemmed from this culture.

  • AAH 3009. History of Spain throughout its artistic manifestations (3 CREDITS, 45 hours). The course focuses on the most significant landmarks in the Spanish history and their related artistic manifestations.

  • CST3100. Spanish Exile: artistic and editorial activities in Latin America (1937-1977), (3 CREDITS, 45 hours). The Spanish Civil War and the postwar years interrupted a process of cultural regeneration in Spain. However artistic production kept alive in the exile of many intellectuals, especially in the United States, México and Argentina. This course analizes the artistic and literary legacy of Spanish writers in their American exile in their most representative manifestations: popular and children theater, Spanish oral tradition, journalism, fiction and the fine arts. It will also study the material conditions in which the exile culture developed.

Villanova students will receive a letter grade from A to F from the Instructors at the University of Cádiz.  According to OIS policies students will receive transfer credit for these classes upon receiving a ‘C’ grade or better.  The OIS will ensure that these courses are posted on the Villanova students’ academic transcript with the appropriate Villanova University course equivalency, but the Cádiz classes will not impact the VU GPA.  Upon program completion official transcripts shall be issued and submitted to the OIS by the University of Cádiz. 


Students may request host family or dorm style accomodations in Cádiz.

Students choosing host family accommodations will receive a full room and board scholaship for the entire semester.

Students may also choose to be in a student dorm, in which case they will be responsible for their room and board. 

A host family stay is recommend for the following reasons:

  • Staying with a family enables students to achieve a high level of immersion in terms of using the language and helps them to learn the everyday life in a Spanish home.
  • There is no doubt about the advantages of residing with a local family for increased integration into the culture and social environment, as well as a comprehensive and practical learning period of the language being studied.
  • This period of family life will provide not only the opportunity to put into practice the Spanish language theory the student is learning, but will also promote the knowledge of the customs, values, food, habits and culture of the Spanish families. 
  • Choosing this option will also save money to the students through the VU scholarship.

All students have the option to request family accommodation for the period of their course by filling in a request form, essential for adapting the needs of each student to the characteristics of the families. After the form has been reviewed and enrolment finalized, the student will be assigned family accommodation according to their prior requirements.

If a student prefers to be in a dorm he/she can choose between full-board accommodation (breakfast, lunch and dinner included) or half-board accommodation (breakfast included and lunch or dinner at their choice).

An accommodation specialist will be available on-site to the students throughout their stay.

Upon arrival in Spain, the accommodation service, and the Villanova resident director will coordinate a pick-up at the train or bus station in Cádiz and introduce students to their assigned family. On their arrival, both parties (student and family) will sign the corresponding accommodations agreement.

Program Activities

The activities program offers several extracurricular excursions to various locations throughout Spain.

Trip to Seville: 1-day field trip to Seville. Morning departure from Cádiz. Sightseeing tour of the most emblematic monuments and neighborhoods (barrios) of the capital city of Andalucía: the Jewish quarter of Barrio de Santa Cruz, the Cathedral, La Giralda and the Alcázar.

Trip to Madrid: 1-weekend trip to Madrid. Departure on Friday morning and return to Cádiz on Sunday afternoon. This includes visits to the Prado and Reina Sofía Museums and a tour of the city’s most emblematic parks and neighborhoods (barrios and districts).

Trip to Granada: 1-weekend trip to Granada. Departure on Friday morning and return to Cádiz on Sunday afternoon. This includes visits to the Alhambra Palace, Nasrid Palaces, the Palace of Carlos V, Mirador de San Nicolás (San Nicolas viewpoint) as well as walk tours of the city’s most popular sights and neighborhoods through.

Semester Dates 2014-2015

Fall semester 2014
Classes start September 15, 2014
Program ends  December 19, 2014

Spring semester 2015
Classes start February 9, 2015
Program ends May 29, 2015 

Students may leave the US for Cádiz a few days prior to the beginning of the semester to get acquainted with their host family and the City of Cádiz before the start of the semester.

Resident Director

The program has an on-site Villanova resident director, Dr. María Jesús Ruiz Fernández, Profesor titular de la Universidad de Cádiz (Associate Professor at the University of Cádiz). She will serve as a local adviser to students and is available to the students on a daily basis from the day of arrival.  You may contact her for information prior to leaving for Cádiz.

Student Requirements

Completed through SPA 1122 or equivalent Spanish language experience

Have a 2.75 GPA

Must not be on academic or disciplinary probation prior to semester overseas

Must gain approval from the Office of International Studies by the April 15 or October 15 deadline

Application Procedure

Interested students will need to submit a completed application, a letter of reference, and their official transcript to the Office of International Studies prior to the fall and spring break deadlines. All students planning to study abroad in Cádiz will be required to complete the Prior Approval Form with the help of their Office of International Studies adviser.


Student Testimonial

“Studying abroad at the University of Cádiz, Spain is the best decision I ever made! I made friends, people I have continued and will continue to talk with, from all over the world (Europe, Russia, Asia, México, etc.).  Cádiz happens to be a popular location for European students.  It is a beautiful historical city; it is near airports that can help you travel all over Europe.  However, you never feel like you are not getting a legitimate cultural immersion.  Cádiz allowed me to learn so much about myself and what I am capable of.  I would recommend this trip to everyone and anyone who wants to learn Spanish, be immersed in its culture, and wants an amazing study abroad experience.” Mallory Morgan (Cádiz, Spring 2013).

Semester in Cadiz

Housing and Meals

The University of Cádiz's Centre for Modern Languages (CSLM) will coordinate host family accommodation for all students in the Villanova program for the first two weeks of the program.  This period of family life will provide not only the opportunity to put into practice the Spanish language theory the student is learning, but will also promote the knowledge of the customs, values, food, habits and culture of the Spanish families. All students will complete a family request form, which will guide the CSLM staff in identifying the appropriate family for each student.

After the two week period in a host family, the Centre for Modern Languages can help students to find another type of accommodation in student flats or studio apartments for the rest of their stay in Cádiz. Students may also remain in their host family accommodation. Staying with a family throughout the semester is strongly encouraged and enables students to achieve a high level of immersion in terms of using the language and helps them to form part of everyday life in a Spanish home.