DISSTA: The Spanish Experience

Spain - scheduled to run June 2018 

DISSTA Study Spanish Abroad Summer Program

The Spanish Experience is a one-month, six-credit immersion learning experience spent living and studying in Spain.

The program is centered for four weeks in the city of Valladolid, whose university (UVa) was founded in the early 13th century by Alfonso VIII, King of Castile. The Centro de Idiomas of the university is well known for its summer Spanish as a Second Language program for foreign students. The classes are held in the Miguel Delibes campus, located about 10 minutes outside of downtown Valladolid. In addition to studying Spanish at the university, the students live with Spanish families (who do not speak English!). This will not only give them the chance to improve their Spanish speaking skills, but they will get the opportunity to experience first-hand the Spanish lifestyle and culture.

Click here for more information about the SPAIN program

Other experiences in different countries have been offered in the past.  Check out these videos made by student Parker Smith who traveled to Argentina in July 2015.  

Argentina Part 1         Argentina Part 2

Stay tuned for more offerings to travel Hispanic America!

UA students interviewed for article in local Spanish newspaper

Click here to read an article that came out the Spanish newspaper, El Mundo, about the study abroad program

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"I have always been determined to learn Spanish, but after needing it to communicate I noticed as I developed an even stronger desire  to study and absorb the language... I noticed my confidence in speaking Spanish improve each day, along with my cultural awareness.  This trip really helped me change the way I had perceived the world and built me into a stronger, more knowledgeable, worldly person."

- Rachel Mikolay, Speech Language Pathology Major, Spanish  Minor, Senior

“Before this trip my world seemed small and school was the center of everything I knew. I still value education but have learned that the people with whom you share your experiences are the true gifts in any situation…Without this program my first year here at the University of Akron would not have been the same and probably would not have meant as much to me; this has redefined my year at Akron. Thank you for this month abroad!"

- Lisa Mickley, Biology (Pre-Med)and Spanish  Major, 2016 Graduate

"To say my trip to Spain was life changing is a huge understatement. Being immersed in the Spanish-speaking world by living with a host family, taking grammar and culture classes, and traveling the country were all very important experiences that changed me as a person. By interacting with my host-family and by observing the attitudes and behavior of those around me, I have learned to be more gracious of a person.  … Traveling to Spain has given me a newfound appreciation for art, architecture, nature, and especially history … Most importantly to me, I grew as a Spanish student.  By living and studying with native-speakers, I became more able to communicate proficiently…  Finally, I am more motivated than ever to learn and practice Spanish and hopefully return to Spain one day soon."

- John Andrews, Psychology and Spanish Major, 2014 Graduate

"More importantly on an academic level, taking Spanish classes at a Spanish university was unbelievably practical and useful. It taught me so many finer details and intricacies about the language, not to mention practical applications and idiomatic phrases... There is nothing quite like the feeling of successfully communicating with someone in another language. It is quite an experience, especially when you understand the entirety of what they are saying to you and you are able to formulate an educated response back...However, this trip also made me see that at times, no language is necessary to understand."
- Daniel Slattery, Mechanical Engineering Major, Spanish Minor, 2015 Graduate

"I was constantly looking forward to each day and each new experience.  I was even looking forward to going to class! The professors at The University of Valladolid were, for lack of a better word, incredible. They helped me and my classmates understand Spanish and how to use it more effectively... By far, my favorite part of the trip was the evening trips to different cities throughout Spain. We went on at least one trip a week, all to different cities! There is  no way that if I came by myself I would have been able to go and see all of the cities and what they had to offer... The stuff that was considered not that old was still older than the United States of America!"

-Rachel Bodenschatz, History & English Major, Spanish Minor, 2015 Graduate

"It has been the most challenging time of my life, learning to communicate all over again. Therefore, I have learned a lot about myself, my view of the world, and about Spanish... I can laugh at myself over silly things. I also can stand on my own two feet, and make decisions for myself. I am more tolerant of others' beliefs and lifestyles, and more confident and comfortable in my own. I can disagree with people over topics, but still get along with them as people. I can stand up for myself. I can keep quiet when I need to. I can express myself clearly and concisely. This is the most recent gift from Spain... I am becoming a more rounded human-being, able to express myself in two languages. This trip has changed my life by opening my eyes up to new things. I will never forget this adventure."
- Micah Palitto, Senior, Education Major - AYA Integrated Language Arts, Spanish Minor

"When I finally decided to make the courageous decision to travel to Spain, I also decided that my main objective would be summed up in three words stated by Mark Twain: Explore. Dream. Discover.  I desired to explore a culture different than my own, make dreams a reality, and discover more about myself as a person. ... because I was completely immersed in a new and different culture, I began to gain a world perspective that I had never really considered before. ... All in all, the exposure to a culture completely changed my view of the world, whether I was sitting in a classroom or personally interacting with the various aspects of Spanish culture.... Although I now feel more cultured and more intelligent because of my time spent in Spain, it is my emotional and personal growth that is a result of this trip that I appreciate the most... Finally, and most significantly, I am blessed with precious and wonderful memories of Valladolid that will continue to shape who I am, even though I have left Spain behind."
- Katelyn Sondereker, Biology (Pre-Med) Major, Spanish & Chemistry Minor, 2015 Graduate