Berkeley Summer Abroad

Madrid, Spain: Spanish Language and Culture

  • Summary

    Sharpen your Spanish language abilities in Madrid, the stunning cosmopolitan capital of Spain.

    • Walk through Madrid's historic neighborhoods and visit important landmarks such as the Royal Palace, the Royal Theatre, and the Buen Retiro Park
    Tour premier art museums, including the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza, and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
    Take exciting excursions to cities like Toledo, which was declared a World Heritage Site for its extensive cultural and architectural history

    On this program, you will accelerate your Spanish language skills and live the day-to-day life of a madrileño/a. By experiencing the Spanish pace of life and interacting with locals in Madrid, you will get a taste of contemporary Spain from a native point of view.

    For a look at the program through the eyes of last summer's participants, see our video.

    Dates: June 24 – July 28, 2018
    All dates are subject to change.

    Units: 6 units

    Language of Instruction: Spanish


    • SPANISH N3: Intermediate Spanish (5 units) OR
      SPANISH N4: Intermediate Spanish (5 units)
    • SPANISH 16: Contemporary Culture (1 unit)
    • Spanish N102C: Composition - Breaking News: The Present and Past as Told by the Press (3 units)
    • Spanish 122: Spanish Culture and Civilization (3 units)



    • At least one year of college coursework completed by the start of the program
    • 2.0 GPA or higher
    • Must have one year of beginning college-level Spanish by start of program



    • Application opens February 1, 2018
    • Space is limited and applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis
    • Deadline to apply is March 9, 2018
    Berkeley students in Spain


  • Courses

    Please note that all classes offered in Madrid are equivalent to the classes taught on Berkeley’s campus and are accepted for major/minor requirements that they fulfill. The upper division classes require at least five semesters of college Spanish (or equivalent), including Spanish 25. For any questions regarding placement or program content, please contact Victoria Robertson at

    During the program, you will take two on-site courses for a total of 6  Berkeley units.

    Possible Course Combinations

    • Spanish N3 (5 units) + Spanish 16 (1 unit) = 6 units
    • Spanish N4 (5 units) + Spanish 16 (1 unit) = 6 units
    • Spanish N102C (3 units) + Spanish 122 (3 units) = 6 units

    Course: Spanish N3
    Title: Intermediate Spanish
    Dates: June 24 – July 28, 2018
    Instructor: Victoria Robertson, Ph.D.
    Units: 5 units
    Prerequisites: Applicants must have one year of beginning college-level Spanish by start of program

    The primary goal of SPANISH N3 is for you to develop written and oral skills beyond the level attained in SPANISH 2 to fully prepare you for the requirements of higher-level Spanish courses. In beginning-intermediate Spanish, you will gain and deepen your formal knowledge of grammatical structures, as well as increase your active vocabulary and site recognition so that you can function at a more sophisticated and complex level both orally and in writing. You will also increase your ability to read critically by analyzing both literary and non-literary prose. Conversation Spanish is higher stressed both inside and outside of the classroom; your daily environment in Madrid gives you excellent opportunities for constant reinforcement.

    Course: Spanish N4
    Title: Intermediate Spanish
    Dates: June 24 – July 28, 2018
    Instructor: Victoria Robertson, Ph.D.
    Units: 5 units
    Prerequisites: Applicants must have completed SPANISH 3 or the equivalent by start of program

    SPANISH N4 combines a review of grammar with the learning of new vocabulary and expressions, and the practice of conversation and writing. Throughout the summer, you will experience the language with the comprehension of lectures, and we will also be reading and analyzing some examples of Spanish literature. This is the next step in the learning process and an expansion of what has been studied in SPANISH 3. We will briefly speak about history and Spanish civilizations—we are going to try to better all aspects of your use of the language, learn more about Spanish culture, and grow from a tangible form.

    Course: Spanish 16
    Title: Contemporary Culture
    Dates: June 24 – July 29, 2018
    Instructor: Victoria Robertson, Ph.D.
    Units: 1 unit
    Prerequisites: Applicants must take SPANISH 16 with either SPANISH N3 or N4

    Consult with your college/major advisor to see which degree requirements this course may fulfill.

    Course: Spanish N102C
    Title: Advanced Composition - Breaking News: The Present and Past as Told by the Press
    Dates: June 24 – July 28, 2018
    Instructor: Anjouli Janzon, Ph.D.
    Units: 3 units
    Prerequisites:  Applicants must have completed SPANISH 25 or the equivalent by start of program

    This course is geared toward the improvement of students' reading and writing skills by reinforcing the real-life application of their foreign language knowledge and abilities in Madrid. They will participate within the academic discourse on contemporary news topics by interacting with televised or written texts, as well as conducting interviews with Madrid's citizens, and traveling to locations where news is happening. These activities will culminate in the production of critical essays using workshops, revisions, and presentations to the class. Oral skills will be reinforced, as well as the improvement of reading and writing skills.

    Consult with your college/major advisor to see which degree requirements this course may fulfill.

    Course: Spanish 122
    Title: Spanish Culture and Civilization
    Dates: June 24 – July 28, 2017
    Instructor: María del Mar Vega, Ph.D.
    Units: 3 units
    Prerequisites: Applicants must have completed SPANISH 25 or the equivalent by start of program

    This course combines lectures and readings about Spain's history, focusing on the 20th century with contemporary views of Madrid. There will be readings and visits to the contemporary art museum and the University of Carlos III. There will also be interviews with Spanish students. Additionally, students will be required to keep a journal of three entries per week.

    Consult with your college/major advisor to see which degree requirements this course may fulfill.

    You can fulfill the L&S International Studies breadth requirement by full participation in a Berkeley Summer Abroad program. All of the required courses must be completed with a C-/P or better.

    Summer Abroad staff will enroll you in courses after your acceptance to the program. Please make sure there are no active blocks on your student account that may impact your course enrollment.


  • Costs

    Tuition and Program Fee

    The fees to participate in this program are broken down into 1) tuition and 2) program fees, which are applied to your student billing account as follows:

    2018 Fees UC Students Visiting Students
    Tuition $2,526 $3,300
    Program Fee $1,418 $1,418
    Total Cost $3,944 $4,718

    Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses

    In addition to the fees outlined above, Berkeley Study Abroad has estimated costs for out-of-pocket expenses. These amounts are used to calculate financial aid packages for eligible students. Actual expenses will vary depending on your lifestyle and spending habits.

    Estimated Expenses Amount
    International Airfare and Transportation $1,600
    Additional Meals $473
    Books $222
    Personal Expenses (i.e., phone, passport, visas, etc.) $608
    Total Estimated Out-Of-Pocket Expenses $2,903

    Financial Aid

    Financial aid is available for Berkeley students who are enrolled in at least 6 units during the summer. All other students should contact the financial aid office at their home institution for more information.

    Tuition is based on a per unit cost:

    • The UC undergraduate student rate is $421 per unit
    • The visiting student rate for all non-UC participants is $550 per unit

    The program fee includes* the following items:

    • Student housing in a residence/hostel with 3 meals/day
    • Excursions to Toledo and Segovia, several museums in Madrid, a flamenco dance performance, etc.
    • On-site orientation activities including an introduction to Madrid and Spain, etc.
    • Travel insurance to cover accident/sickness medical coverage, emergency medical evacuation, security extraction, and other travel assistance services
    • Other program-related costs including fees for group transportation, guest lecturers, museum admissions, etc.
    • The initial non-refundable deposit of $400, which is due at the time of application and is applied to the program fee

    *Please note that the list of items included in the program fee is not all-inclusive and is subject to change.

    The following items are excluded from the program fee:

    • International airfare
    • Personal expenses (souvenirs, routine medical expenses, toiletries, etc.)
    • Course materials (textbooks and readers)
    • Other travel expenses (passport, visa, etc.)
    • Additional meals
    • Commuting costs for daily travel to and from classes


    Berkeley Students in Spain
  • Timeline
    Application opens February 1, 2018
    Application closes March 9, 2018
    Applicants notified of selection March 23, 2018
    Deadline to confirm participation or cancel for a refund of all program-related fees, minus $400 deposit April 6, 2018
    Attend pre-departure orientation* Late April-May
    Arrive in Madrid June 24, 2018
    Last day of program July 28, 2018

    * These events take place on the Berkeley campus. If you are not on campus during this time, we will schedule a meeting via phone or Skype.

    All dates are subject to change.


    Berkeley students in Spain


  • Instructors

    Victoria Robertson, Ph.D.
    Program Director

    Victoria Robertson was born to a Russian mother and a Spanish father. She lived long periods of time in Russia and Spain and is fluent in Russian and Spanish, as well as in English. Victoria holds a Ph.D. degree in Spanish literature from the University of Washington. She has taught Spanish language, literature, and civilization in several universities and community colleges in Idaho, Washington, and California. She is an expert on contemporary Spanish theater and is a published author. 2018 will be Victoria´s seventh time to lead the Language and Culture program in Madrid (Spain) offered through Study Abroad at UCB.

    María del Mar Vega Fernández
    Program Director

    María del Mar Vega Fernández started her university [add “university”] studies in Education at the Complutense University of Madrid. After that, she obtained another degree in Hispanic Literature and then she moved to Berkeley for her doctorate studies. In 1997 she achieved her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley with a thesis entitled The Catalan Holdings of the Library of Fernando Colón, 16th century. In 2004 she got her second doctorate at the Complutense University of Madrid with another dissertation this time about Pliegos sueltos catalanes de los siglos XV y XVI.

    She has researched and written about libraries and reading in the 15th and 16th century. In recent years her attention has moved to the Spanish Lyric Theatre of the 19th century and the work of the librettist. Since 2007 she works as Professor in NYU-Madrid where she teaches Cultural History of Spain. Since the summer of 2014 teaches at the "Global Internship Program in Madrid" of UC. Berkeley.

    Anjouli Janzon
    Program Director

    Anjouli Janzon received her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in Hispanic Languages and Literatures. While still at UC Berkeley, she developed a Summer Study Abroad Program in Madrid that offered Spanish Civilization and Culture course, taking advantage of the city and historic sites. After completion of her dissertation, she taught and directed the NYU in Madrid Program for 14 years. She is now the head of the Study Abroad office at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (UAM). She has become increasingly interested in Intercultural Development and offers workshops to students as well as international companies in Spain. Her primary research interests include Historical Memory, Nostalgia and Historiography in contemporary Spanish cultural expressions.