Toledo: Intermediate or Advanced Spanish

Toledo program, Autumn 2016

Program Term:


Language Requirement:



 Naira Ovsepyan

Application Deadline:


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. The program offers an Intermediate track and a new Advanced track.

    The eleven-week language and cultural immersion program in Toledo offers students an opportunity to study Spanish at an intermediate or an advanced level.

    Students enrolled in the Intermediate Spanish track take the following courses: Grammar and Composition, Conversation, Phonetics, Art of Reading Texts, Spanish and Cinema, and Spanish Art and Culture. Students will earn UChicago credits for SPAN 20100-20200-20300 and ARTH 17105 (Arts Core).

    Students enrolled in the Advanced Spanish track have the option to choose four courses from the following list: 20th Century Spanish Literature; Spanish Film; Master Painters of Spain; Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Art in Toledo; Spain and the European Union; Spain since 1936; Ethnology and Folklore of the Iberian Peninsula; The Cultural Heritage of Spain; The Camino de Santiago, then and now; Marketing in European Business; Comparative Public Health; and Medical Spanish. The literature, culture, and history courses have been pre-approved for credit toward the Spanish major or minor. All the courses can also be used as general electives.

    Throughout the program, Toledo itself plays an important role in the student’s venture to improve their 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, Muslims, Jews, Christians), its striking profile made familiar by the paintings of El Greco, this 2,000-year-old city has played a central role in the history of the Spanish people, who prize it as a 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 – Gregorio Marañón (aka Fundación Ortega-Marañón), a private research institute jointly named after Spain’s most famous philosopher, José Ortega y Gasset, and one of the country’s most renowned scientists/humanists, Gregorio Marañón. 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 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 and observe a no-English rule. 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.

    It is important to recognize the cultural context of student housing in Spain and understand that the amenities of the homes may vary. Although some of these differences may take some getting used to, remember that cultural differences extend to all aspects of your experience abroad. Having realistic expectations for your term in Toledo will help you approach the study abroad experience with a positive attitude.

    Participants in the Toledo program remain registered as full-time students in the College. Students enrolled in the Intermediate Track receive four course credits total: three for the Spanish language courses and one for the Spanish Art course. The Spanish Art course may count toward the College’s Arts Core requirement. If a student has already met this requirement, they 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.

    Students enrolled in the Advanced Track receive four credits for four courses of their choosing. The literature, culture, and history courses have been pre-approved for credit toward the Spanish major or minor. All the courses can also be used as general electives. Their use, partial or total, in any other program of study (major) must be approved by the undergraduate chair of the student’s respective major.

    Study abroad students pay regular College tuition, a program fee, and a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. The tuition and program fee are paid in conformity with the home campus payment schedule, and the nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee is submitted when accepting a place in a program. Precise figures for the Toledo program during the 2024–2025 year are listed below:

    Autumn tuition: as set by the Bursar’s Office

    Study abroad administrative fee: $675

    Toledo program fee: $5,960

    Program fee includes:

    Out-of-pocket expenses include:

    • round-trip airfare to and from the program site
    • passport/visa fees
    • transportation on site
    • meals outside of host family home
    • course materials
    • personal entertainment and travel
    • communications (including cell phone usage)
    • 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.

    The Toledo program is open to University of Chicago undergraduate students only. Applications from outside the University are not accepted.

    The Intermediate track 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.

    The Advanced track is designed for students who have completed two full years of Spanish (through Spanish 20300) or who demonstrate, by examination, a comparable competence in Spanish.

    While the program stipulates no minimum grade-point average, an applicant’s transcript should demonstrate that they are a serious student who will make the most of this opportunity.

    Each application is examined on the basis of the student’s scholastic record and personal statement. If you are interested in applying for this program please fill out an online application.

    To discuss the Toledo program and the possibility of participating, please contact Naira Ovsepyan.