Pitt in Spain - July Session

The small, cobblestone streets of Alcala de Henares are only 30 minutes away from Madrid but will transport you back to a different time.  Pitt in Spain offers you the chance to live and study in this historic city while improving your Spanish skills.  The atmosphere of the small and manageable city combined with your Spanish host family will leave you feeling like a true Spaniard by the time your program is over.  
Courses are hosted at the Franklin Institute of the University of Alcala, one of the oldest universities in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  With the option of participating in the June, July, or both sessions, you can earn up to 12 credits toward a Spanish major, minor, or European Studies certificate.
The Pre-Departure Meeting for this program will be on Friday, January 31, 2020. 

What You'll Accomplish

As an active and involved participant you will:

  • have real world application of the Spanish language at an intermediate and/or advanced level
  • understand the influence of language on culture and vice versa
  • interact with Spanairds at the local level by living with a host family and taking courses by faculty from the University of Alcala

Along with the University of Alcala, the Old Town of Alcala de Henares is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its beautifully preserved buildings from the 15th to 18th century.  The town is also historically significant as the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes.
Wander the streets of this beautiful town or take a quick train ride to Madrid.  Either way, you will experience Spain in an intimate and meaningful way.

Where You'll Live

You will be housed with local Spanish host families offering you the chance to not only learn about Spanish culture, but to immerse yourself in the language and improve your skills. All host families are in safe areas, include three meals per day, and weekly laundry service. You may share your room with another student. The Franklin Institute is responsible for conducting thorough background checks of all host family placements.
Keep in mind that living with host families can present challenges if you follow a special diet (vegetarian, vegan, Kosher, Halal, etc.).  Get in touch with Gisselle before applying to the program if you'd like to discuss this more in depth. 
If there are a large number of students participating in the Pitt in Alcala program with a few host families some students may need to live in the dormitories of the Universidad de Alcala. The dorms are a five-minute walk from the university. The dormitories include three meals per day, 24/7 security, bedding, laundry facilities, weekly cultural activities, and a gym which students have access to. Laundry services are an additional cost. For more information please contact Gisselle

What You'll Study

You will select one course from each time block to take while abroad. The selection of specific courses will be pending passing the language placement test administered at the Instituto Franklin at the University of Alcala. 


  • SPAN 0004: Español Avanzado (Advanced Spanish)
  • SPAN 1300: Fonetica y Español Oral (Phonetics and Oral Spanish)
  • SPAN 1323: Traducción médica (Medical Translation)
  • SPAN 1603: España contemporanea por el cine (Contemporary Spain through Film/ Spain in Images)



  • SPAN 1321: Español de Negocios (Business Spanish)
  • SPAN 1250: Civilización y Cultura Española (Spanish Civiliazation and Culture)
  • SPAN 1601: Literatura Española Contemporanea (Contemporary Spanish Literature)
  • SPAN 0120: Tradiciones de España: Comunicación Oral (Traditions of Spain: Oral Communication)
  • SPAN 1323: Español Para Profesionales de la Salud (Spanish for Healthcare Professionals)


Advanced Spanish (SPAN0004)

The course is aimed at students who wish to enhance their communication skills in Spanish. To achieve this goal, new grammatical structures will be introduced, and others that have already been acquired by the student will be strengthened. This course requires students to have passed level B (intermediate level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) in order for them to be able to learn about the contents explained in class with no difficulty. The contents of the course will include four skills: speaking, writing, listening and reading comprehension. Students will therefore acquire greater confidence and independence, enabling them to express themselves in Spanish fluently. Cultural and social aspects will also have great presence and they will be integrated into the communication process.

Fonética y Español Oral (SPAN1300)

The course is aimed at students who wish to have a comprehensive and thorough knowledge of Spanish phonetics, and improve their pronunciation. It is structured from a practical point of view, always focusing on practical exercises within a theoretical context. It is important for students to hear and contrast first, and modify and improve later, through a detailed study of phonemes, syllables, stress and a general knowledge of the Spanish phonetic alphabet. This study will delve into phonetic transcription with exercises and explanations to train them in order to achieve an effective use of the language.

Medical Translation (SPAN1323)

This course is intended for students with an advanced level of Spanish who have specific medical/scientific background.  Medical translation, like any specialized translation, requires specific definitions and terminology. Language as well as concepts are equally important. The course will have a theoretical and practical approach. On the one hand, students will learn the role of the medical translator, they will analyze specific English and Spanish medical texts and they will work with direct and indirect translations, that is from Spanish into English and from English into Spanish. Moreover, students will be introduced to interpretation and intercultural mediation in a medical context through different exercises.

Literatura Española Contemporanea (SPAN1601)

The aim of this course is to bring students closer to the life and work of our most influential authors of the 20th and 21st centuries. We will study the essential stylistic features of each author and we will situate them in a particular period or movement. The aim is to integrate different art forms into the most recent historical development, in order for students to identify them in the literary texts of each period.

Spain in Images: Spanish Culture through Cinema (SPAN1603)

Cinema is one of the most popular artistic representation due to its expressive power and narrative ability. Film productions allow us to gain knowledge of and come closer to the Spanish reality from two perspectives: as a historical document and as an aesthetic expression. In this course, students will learn about the Spanish by filming speech, taking as reference important directors and films in the history of Spanish cinema. Moreover, the course aims to make a journey through the history of Spain, from the Civil War until today, taking as reference film productions on this historical period. Spanish film productions are studied from a multidisciplinary perspective to analyze the most relevant historical periods of contemporary Spain. In addition to studying and undertaking critical analysis from different perspectives, students will have the opportunity to acquire the specialized language used in cinema and historiography, enabling them to improve their speaking and to be able to write down their ideas in Spanish, as well as appreciating cinema as a form of artistic and cultural expression that reflects the history of Spain.

Tradiciones de España: Comunicación Oral (SPAN0120)

This course aims to improve students’ oral and conversational skills. The course provides both linguistic and cultural knowledge. Units follow a linguistic progress for this which goes from the verb to be; ser / estar / haber; prepositions; reflexive verbs; direct and indirect pronouns; irregular verbs; past perfect / imperfect / indefinite; simple future; the conditional tense and the present subjunctive. These grammar points are studied in a context that is related to cultural aspects in Spain. Thus students will see topics such as; the parts of the house, giving directions, using public transportation, food, fashion, a doctor’s visit, cultural festivals: Fallas, bullfighting, Christmas and Easter, among others.

Business Spanish (SPAN1321)

This course is aimed at students who are interested in improving their language skills in a business scenario. The course, its activities, assignments and assessments have a communicative approach, and real-life and business situations are proposed. It focuses mainly on the acquisition of company-specific terminology, oral expression and communication, written expression in letters, resumes and other specialized documents, without forgetting the essential elements involved for a correct cultural and linguistic expression.

Spanish for Health Professionals (SPAN1323)

This course requires to be studying a major in biology, medicine, nursing, pharmacy or psychology and to have a B2 Level of Spanish. Teaching will take place both in class and in hospitals. A series of activities and tasks will take place in the classroom with a communicative approach and real-life and health-related situations will be proposed. Special attention will be placed on acquiring terminology in this context, on oral expression in specific situations and on writing, without forgetting cultural elements. At the hospital, students will apply what they have learned in class, they will learn about the Spanish healthcare system firsthand and they will observe the most common health practices that take place in visits with patients, in operating rooms, in the laboratory, etc. 

Spanish Civilization and Culture (SPAN1250)

The course offers a historical and interdisciplinary overview of the most relevant characteristics and events of Spanish culture and civilization up to now. It is important to learn and understand the history and the past in order to fully understand Spanish history and society today. This course provides an interdisciplinary approach that integrates the social, political, artistic, religious, ethnographic, anthropological and economic perspectives that will help students understand in greater depth the reality and challenges of the country throughout the different historical periods.

Experiential Learning Description

SPAN 1323: Español Para Profesionales de Salud includes field placement visits in a local hospital as part of the course. Students interested in this course will need to submit a criminal background check and medical report to the Franklin Institute. 

The Franklin Institute has an experienced staff of professionals that will serve as your on-the-ground guides and resources! 

Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts

Gisselle Arce

Oi pessoal! I am Gisselle Arce, a Program Manager at the Pitt Study Abroad Office. While in undergrad at Ramapo College of New Jersey, I studied abroad in Spain. Shortly after graduating, I worked in Chile as an Assistant English Teacher. I came back to the US for graduate school and returned to Spain once again for my graduate internship. When I am not at work, I enjoy cooking, kickboxing, and spending time with my dog. Feel free to set up an appointment with me via Pathways. 

Schedule an appointment

Schedule an appointment with me using Pathways!

  • Log in to Pathways or use the Navigate app.
  • Select Appointments > Schedule an Appointment
  • Select Pitt Global as the Care Unit.
  • Select Study Abroad Virtual Advising as the Location
  • Select Study Abroad Program Specific Questions as the service
  • Select my name and find a time that works for you!

Don't see a time that works for you? Just send me an email!

Items Billed by Pitt

  In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $4,656 $4,856
Program Fee $43 $43
Study Abroad Fee $300 $300
Total Billed by Pitt $4,999 $5,199

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Airefare $1,300
Optional Day/Overnight Excursions Price Varies
Personal Expenses $1,500-$2,000
Criminal Background Check ** $20-$50

Total Estimated Program Cost

  In-State Out-of-State

Total Estimated Cost of Program
(Includes items billed by Pitt and additional expenses)

$4,999 $5,199

The amounts above are for the 2019-2020 academic year and should be used as estimates only. Pricing for 2020-2021 will be posted and announced in the fall term.

What's Included

As a part of your Pitt in Spain fee, the follow are included in the program:

  • Tuition for 6 credits
  • Housing with a host family
    • In the event of limited host families, students will be placed in single or double occupency dorms
  • Three meals per day
  • Arrival and Departure Events
  • Travel Health Insurance
  • Excursion of Madrid

While your program fee will cover most of your expenses, keep in mind that you are also responsible for the following:

  • Study Abroad Administrative Fee
  • Airfare
  • Visa support if needed
  • Medical and **Criminial Background check
  • Optional day and overnight excursions
  • Personal expenses

Remember that your lifestyle and spending choices can greatly affect the amount of money you'll need while abroad.  Visit our Budgeting page for more information.

When You'll Go

Dates for the 2020-2021 academic year will be posted in the fall!

What Else You Need to Know


  • You must be enrolled in or have completed at least SPAN 0004 to participate in the program. 
  • If you are an international student or permanent resident please make an appointment with Gisselle Arce, gissellearce@pitt.edu to go over the visa application process.
  • You will take a language placement test upon your arrival. The results of the exam will determine if you are eligible to take the courses you have listed as your primary choice. If you want to take a specific class but have not passed the placement exam to be listed in the course you have the option of taking the placement test again for the following session. However, this does not guarentee placement into the class rather it will depend on your new test results.
  • If you have registered for Español Para Profesionales de Salud you will need to submit a medical report and background check to the Instituto Franklin.Only 15 students who score a 90% or above are admitted to this course as that is the number of doctors available to have students shadow them. Students should be advanced/native speakers. Should you have any questions please contact Gisselle Arce gissellearce@pitt.edu
  • Some students may be asked to participate in an interview process before they have been notified if they have been admitted into the program.