IDIS W11 Spain: Land of Three Cultures
- Dates: Jan. 3-22
- Class requirement: Sophomore
- GPA requirement: 2.00+
- Cost: $4,300 (estimate)
For over eight hundred years, Jews, Christians, and Muslims lived together in cities across the Iberian Peninsula. Cross-cultural interactions between people of these three faith traditions dramatically shaped the history of Spain. Using background reading and on-site explorations, this course focuses on religious confluences and conflicts, addressing how these encounters affected the production of art and architecture, as well as language and cuisine.
Students travel to three regions (Castile, Andalusia, and Catalonia) to deepen their understanding, visiting both large cities and tiny villages. In addition to touring art museums and major architectural sites, they also explore mountains, coastlines, and the rural countryside. During the first week in Madrid, students examine Catholic, Jewish, and Islamic art, and travel to Toledo to study a medieval synagogue informed by Islamic architecture that was later converted into a church. In the second week, students examine Córdoba’s Great Mosque, which today serves as the city’s cathedral. Students also visit the Alhambra, a Muslim palace perched above the city of Granada and will see the Capilla Real, where the Catholic monarchs who instituted the Spanish Inquisition are buried. During the final week, students travel up the Mediterranean coast to Barcelona, where they continue to address the historical interaction of the “People of the Book.” They hike to remote Romanesque churches in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Throughout the course, students also experience local gastronomy and learn how cultures from the Middle East and northern Africa have informed Spanish cuisine. Students are evaluated based on an exam, journal entries, and oral presentations. The ability to speak Spanish, though helpful, is not required. Optional CCE.
In most cases students adapt well to their circumstances, but it is helpful to know what to expect as you prepare for a specific experience. If you have specific questions about a program, we would encourage you to speak directly to your off-campus instructor or director or, feel free to stop by the OCP Office at any time.
Social Expectations: By their nature, semesters and interims off-campus are inherently social experiences. Heavy emphasis is usually put on building a strong sense of community within the group, which requires openness, sociability, and a collaborative spirit from everyone involved. Acknowledging that having a diversity of personalities makes a group stronger, it is expected that all participants willfully agree to be an active part of the social community of their interim or semester program.
These experiences require no more physical exertion than being on Calvin’s Campus. You don’t have to worry about doing anything physically demanding unless you want to. No physical preparation is required to make the most of this experience.
Moderate physical activity is expected and an average level of fitness is required. You will be doing a great deal more walking then on campus, often over uneven surfaces and rough roads. Some physical preparation is recommended before departure to make the most of this experience.
Be prepared for some serious physical activity requiring an above average level of fitness. This will include a high level of walking over all kinds of terrain as well as other physical demands in all kinds of extreme temperatures. The fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy this experience as many activities will be challenging.
English is the predominant language in course location.
Knowing another language is helpful to fulfill the goals of the course but English is also prevalent in course location.
HighKnowing another language is important to fulfill the goals of the course.
Cultural Acclimation Difficulty
Western conveniences are prevalent. Host culture is very similar to traditions and culture of West Michigan.
Few western conveniences, the need for students to blend in with the surrounding culture is important. Host culture shares similarities and differences with the culture of West Michigan.
HighNo western conveniences, the need for students to acclimatize to local culture is readily apparent. Host culture is vastly different than West Michigan.
Level of Cultural Interaction
Interaction with local culture is limited and very formal (e.g. through organized tours).
Intentional opportunities to interact with local peoples and culture.
Intensive immersion in local culture – host families, service-learning, etc.
Safety & Security Considerations
Although no one can guarantee your safety or eliminate all risks from a study-abroad experience, Calvin College is committed to doing its utmost to provide secure environments in which you can live and learn. Our goal is to minimize risks and keep you aware of special situations as you make decisions about studying off-campus.
Safety concerns are similar to living on campus. Incidents can happen anywhere, but there are no indications that you are more at risk during this experience then you would be at home. You always need to continually be aware of what is going on around you and partner with your Calvin instructor or director to assure your safety while off-campus.
There are no specific safety concerns of the U.S. State Department for the areas where you will be studying. However, additional care must be taken to assure a safe and secure experience. You always need to continually be aware of what is going on around you and partner with your Calvin instructor or director to assure your safety while off-campus.
There are safety concerns you should be aware of as you commit to this trip. The U.S. State Department has issued a Travel alert or Warning for the area where you will be studying. You will need to partner with Calvin in addressing safety concerns and follow all safety guidelines for the experience.
Remember, Calvin follows the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for all Calvin sponsored off-campus experiences.
Health concerns are similar to living on campus. Illnesses and accidents can happen anywhere, but there are no indications that you are more at risk during this experience then you would be at home. Health Care resources (clinics, medical personnel, etc.) are numerous and you would have easy access to medical care if needed. Some vaccinations will be required, but overall precautions are minimal.
In general, health concerns are slightly higher than living on campus. Typical travel illnesses (diarrhea, intestinal issues, etc.) are often experienced and appropriate health care is available but can be harder to access than on campus. Several vaccinations may be required and students must be diligent in taking precautions before and during the experience.
Health concerns are higher than living on campus. Typical travel illnesses (diarrhea, intestinal issues, etc.) are often experienced at some point. Plans to assure adequate health care are in place but health care facilities could be hard to access during the experience. There may be many vaccinations required for the experience and students must be diligent in taking precautions before and during the experience.
Mental Health Considerations
Remember, the Broene Counseling Center cannot provide on-line or phone consultations with students.
Mental health resources are similar to living on the Calvin campus. Mental Health resources (clinics, counselors, etc.) are available and you would have access to these resources, if needed. It could be challenging to find the right resources on short notice and for a short period of time.
Mental health resources are present in various locations during the experience but maybe difficult to access for a variety of reasons.
Group will be camping (living outdoors) at times during the trip.
Students will be staying with host families for parts or all of the experience.
Staying in College dorms, similar to Calvin. Roommates will be other Calvin students or other international students depending on your preference.
Dormitory style lodging, shared bathrooms.
Individual rooms (with roommates) and private baths.
Cost of off-campus experiences vary as a result of a number of factors, including the number of students enrolled in the program. Amidst all these factors, the following categories could be helpful, but students are encouraged to check with instructors and directors on specific cost information.
$ Within $500 of tuition, room & board on campus
$$ Between $501 and $2,000 of tuition, room and board on campus
$$$ More than $2,000 over tuition, room and board on campus
$ Less than $2,500
$$ $2,501 to $3,800
Questions / contact
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