Toledo: Intermediate Spanish

Photo of Toledo at night
Final App Deadline: 
Friday, April 15, 2016
Language Requirement: 
Lauren Schneider
Core Credits: 
Art/Music/Drama Core

The University of Chicago’s Autumn quarter Toledo Program is designed for students who want to study Spanish intensively in a completely Spanish-speaking environment. At the center of this ten-week program is an intensive intermediate language course covering the University of Chicago’s complete second-year Spanish sequence (201, 202, 203). This course is based upon the principle of total immersion in Spanish culture and day-to-day life. In addition to the three-credit Spanish language course, students will also take a one-credit course in Spanish art and culture. This art course is taught in Spanish at an appropriate level and, apart from its content, functions also as a language exercise.

Throughout the program, Toledo itself—a living museum of Spanish art and culture—plays an important role in the student’s venture to improve his or her language skills and gain an understanding of Spanish culture. It is expected that students will devote some free time to exploring Toledo, especially those corners of it lying beyond the usual tourist haunts. Indeed, a primary asset of this program is its location in the celebrated, historically rich city of Toledo in central Spain. Home to a succession of peoples (Visigoths, Moslems, Jews, Christians), its striking profile made familiar by the paintings of El Greco, this 2000-year-old city has played a central role in the history of the Spanish people, who prize it as living museum of their art and culture. The proximity of Madrid, a fast-paced, modern metropolis, adds to Toledo’s allure and its value as a site for a Spanish language program.

The Toledo program is operated in cooperation with the Fundación José Ortega y Gasset, a private research institute named after Spain's most famous philosopher. With its main facilities in Madrid, the Toledo branch of the Fundación occupies the converted San Juan de la Penitencia convent, a modernized 16th-century building in the heart of the ancient city. In keeping with the immersion nature of the program, students live with local families, receive daily Spanish language instruction from the staff at the Fundación José Ortega y Gasset and observe a no-English rule. They also take a course in Spanish art and architecture, taught in Spanish at the appropriate level and itself constituting a language exercise. The program features excursions within Toledo and to nearby areas of interest.


Program participants are housed with host families, allowing students an intimate view of Spanish domestic life. Appropriate families are selected based on a detailed Housing Questionnaire. During their stay, students are expected to function as a full member of the household, eating meals with the family and participating in the normal social activities of the home.

Credits and Registration

Participants in the Toledo program remain registered as full-time students in the College. They receive four course credits: three for the Spanish language course and one for the Spanish Art course. The Spanish Art course meets the College’s Art/Music/Drama requirement. If a student has already met this requirement, he or she may use the course as an elective. The language courses will count as the College’s intermediate Spanish language sequence: 20100, 20200 and 20300. Spanish 20300 is the prerequisite for most Spanish literature and advanced Spanish language classes at Chicago. Upon completion of at least one such course, the student is eligible to take the examination for the Advanced Foreign Language Proficiency Certificate, an official recognition of language and culture study beyond what is required for a Chicago degree.


Study abroad students pay regular College tuition, a program fee and a non-refundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition and program fee are paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the non-refundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Precise figures for the Toledo program during the 2015-2016 year are listed below:

Autumn tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

Study abroad administrative fee: $650

Toledo program fee: $4,300


Program fee includes: Out-of-pocket expenses include:
accommodation round-trip airfare to and from the program site
instruction transportation on site
student support meals outside of host family home
program excursions course materials
cell phone (device only) personal entertainment and travel
meals with host family communications (including cell phone usage)
emergency travel insurance (ISOS) health insurance and upfront payments for care
  other miscellaneous expenses

Study abroad students retain their financial aid eligibility. For more information about financial aid resources, please see our Tuition, Fees, and Funding section.

A limited number of $1,000 need-based scholarships from the Fundación Ortega - Marañón en Toledo will be available to students admitted to the Autumn 2015 Toledo program. Admitted students will receive more information from Study Abroad about the application process for this funding.

Eligibility and Application

The Toledo program is designed for students beyond their first year in the College who have completed Spanish 10100-10200-10300 or who demonstrate, by examination, a comparable competence in Spanish. Students who have taken Spanish 12100-10300-20100 are also eligible for the program. Naturally the chief criterion for judging their application will be the quality of their work in Spanish. Apart from this applicants should present a solid academic record in general and demonstrate the kind of maturity that is necessary to participate successfully in an overseas study program.

A student accepting an offer of admission is expected to secure his or her place with a non-refundable study abroad administrative fee. If you are interested in applying for this program please fill out the online application.

Further Information

To discuss the Toledo: Intermediate Spanish program and the possibility of participating in it, please contact Lauren Schneider.

What you’ll see: 

Photo of Toledo at night