Toledo: Intermediate 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.

    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 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, Moslems, 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 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. 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.

    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. They receive four course credits: three for the Spanish language course 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.

    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
    • 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 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 their place with a nonrefundable study abroad administrative fee. If you are interested in applying for this program please fill out the online application.

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