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Semester Programs: Advanced Spanish in Oviedo, Spain

Almost everywhere you look, you'll see reminders of a rich and long history surrounded by remarkable beauty. Oviedo, considered one of Spain’s cleanest and most elegant cities, is located in the center of the mountainous terrain of Asturias. From the 35,000-year old Paleolithic Cave Art to the university walls scarred by the 1934 Revolution of Asturias, vestiges of human history are evident everywhere. Just to the north you will find the cliffs and beautiful beaches of the Asturian coast reaching into the Cantabrian Sea, and in all other directions you will see the peaks of the Cantabrian mountain range, home of Spain’s oldest and most beautiful national park.  This is the natural setting surrounding Oviedo, one of Spain’s historic university towns and an ideal place for you to meet Spaniards of all ages and to deepen your understanding of the Spanish language and culture.

Our Semester in Spain programs partner with the Casa de las Lenguas at the University of Oviedo, where you'll take courses in Spanish language and culture. You'll also live with a local family and learn about the Spanish way of life firsthand.


You must be of at least sophomore status and have a 2.5 GPA or higher to study in Spain. Preference will be given to juniors and seniors if there are more applicants than there are spots in the program.

INTERIM/SPRING PROGRAM: You must be planning to study Spanish at an advanced level to be considered. You must successfully complete SPAN 301 before beginning the program. The Spring Semester in Spain is offered every Spring.


As part of this language program, you will live in a Spanish household in Oviedo.


The final program cost is based on many factors and is not known exactly until the number of students in the group has been identified. The financial information page covers the details that go into the cost of the program and rough estimates for each. The price for the Spain semester will include:

  • Round trip transportation between Grand Rapids and Oviedo
  • A number of program-related excursions
  • Tuition, room and board
  • Local transit
  • Visa fees

Additional expenses not included in the program fee: passport, books, medical insurance (required), and spending money.


The prerequisite for the Interim/Spring semester program is SPAN 301.

1.) The following course, taught by the Calvin director, is required for all students:

STSP 315: Contemporary Spanish Civilization
This course will focus on the examination of cultural axiologies of contemporary Spanish civilization through the study of issues related to religious belief and practice, sex and gender, crime, the welfare state, immigration, education, housing, and mass media. Course requirements include reading, discussion with host families about course topics, attention to the local media and keeping a journal while on field trips to Barcelona, Granada/Córdoba, and Madrid/Toledo/Segovia.

3 semester hours, fulfills Cross-Cultural Engagement (CCE) core requirement

2.) All students will also take at least one Spanish language class at the appropriate level at the Casa de las Lenguas.  Students may choose between:

STSP 303: Spanish Language: Written Expression and Interaction
3 semester hours, counts toward major or minor in Spanish and can substitute for SPAN 302 (required course for major and minor)
STSP 304: Spanish Language: Oral Expression and Interaction
3 semester hours, counts toward major or minor in Spanish
STSP 305: Spanish Language: Vocabulary and Textual Commentary
3 semester hours, counts toward major or minor in Spanish

3.) In addition, students who have completed SPAN 302 on campus will enroll in at least one university class taught at the University of Oviedo.  Students may choose from among hundreds of courses regularly offered to Spanish university students in a wide variety of subjects and disciplines.  This course, too, will count toward a major or minor in Spanish, regardless of the discipline.

Elective Courses:
Students may also choose from the following options, taking a combined maximum of 20 hours for the entire interim and spring semester. All courses will count toward a Spanish major or minor.

STSP 303:  Spanish Language:  Written Expression and Interaction
(3 semester hours)

STSP 304: Spanish Language:  Oral Expression and Interaction
(3 semester hours)

STSP 305: Spanish Language:  Vocabulary and Textual Commentary
(3 semester hours)

STSP 308 Introduction to the Hispanic World, I
(4 semester hours, required for Spanish major/minor, co-taught by Calvin director)

STSP 309 Introduction to the Hispanic World, II
(4 semester hours, required for Spanish major/minor, co-taught by Calvin director)

STSP 3xx Introduction to English/Spanish Translation (3 semester hours)

STSP 3xx Spanish Society and Culture (3 semester hours)

STSP 3xx Spanish Art (3 semester hours)

STSP 3xx Spanish for Business (3 semester hours)

STSP 393 Ethnographic Study (2 semester hours)

Contact Edward Miller for additional information concerning courses.


To apply for the program, please follow the directions to apply through our Horizons online system at this link.

The final application deadline for the SPRING 2015 program will be in September 2014.


Program Director for Spring Advanced 2015: Professor Ed Miller, Spanish Department 616.526.6359

Program Director for Fall Core Program 2013 and Spring Advanced Program 2014:
Professor Dwight TenHuisen, Spanish Department

Program Director for Spring 2013:
Professor Sandra Clevenger, Spanish Department


Location: The northern coast of Spain; 16 miles from the Atlantic coast and 270 miles northwest of Madrid.

Population: 225,000, with more than 860,000 in the metropolitan area.

Things to do:
-walk around the beautiful pedestrian zone
-attend a pro soccer or basketball game
-take public transit to one of the many beaches on the coast, mountain hiking trails, or ski stations during the winter
-golf at one of 4 local courses
-soak in a concert at one of Oviedo's two music auditoria, or visit one of the many museums in town

Oviedo's climate is moderate and is generally described as oceanic (similar to the Pacific Northwest). Temperatures range from an average high in the mid-70s in the summer to an average low in the mid-40s in the winter.

-One-day trips to regional destinations like León, Santiago de Compostela, Bilbao, and Burgos
-Extended trip or trips to cities like Barcelona, Granada, and/or Madrid