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Semester Programs: Core 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.

FALL PROGRAM: You may be studying Spanish at any level (beginner to most advanced) to be considered. The Fall semester is ideal for beginning and intermediate students wishing to complete the foreign language requirement. Advanced students may consider the fall program, but only if they intend to spend the academic year in Spain or they have special circumstances that they approve with the director in advance. The Fall Semester in Spain is offered during odd-numbered years: Fall 2013, Fall 2015 and Fall 2017.


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.


There are no prerequisites.

All participants must take a minimum of 11 hours of Spanish language at the appropriate level.  During the month of September, all students will take an intensive 3-hr language class, and starting in October, all students will take an additional 8 semester hours of Spanish language and/or culture courses at the Casa de las Lenguas.  All students who successfully complete the semester program will fulfill the Calvin Core requirement for Foreign Language regardless of their level before departure.

The following course is taught in English by the Calvin director, and is required for all students, regardless of language level:

STSP 215: Perspectives on Contemporary Spanish Culture and Society
(3 semester hours, fulfills CCE)

Interested students may also enroll in one class taught in English at the University of Oviedo.  Examples of university programs offering courses in English include Business Administration, Engineering, and Literature. Click here for courses that may be available.

Beginning and Intermediate students who participate in the Fall program may also opt to stay for the spring program provided there is room to accommodate them.  Advanced students wishing to spend the academic year in Spain may participate in both the Fall and Spring semester programs, but it must be arranged in advance.  Students interested in spending the academic year in Spain should discuss this option either with the director or with an advisor in the Spanish Department in advance.


Students wishing to spend the academic year in Spain may participate in both the Fall and Spring semester programs, but it must be arranged in advance.  Contact the Spanish department for additional information concerning courses.


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


Program Director, Fall 2015
Olena Shkatulo, Spanish Department

Program Director, Fall 2013
Professor Dwight TenHuisen


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