Semester in Spain

Basic information

  • Location: Oviedo, Spain | Map
  • Dates: For spring 2023 the Semester in Spain program will be offered in conjunction with Semester in Spain through Trinity Christian College in Sevilla, Spain. See your Spanish advisor for more information.
  • Class requirement: Sophomore
  • GPA requirement: 2.50+
  • Prerequisite courses:
  • Cost: To be announced

Nestled in the mountains with the ocean just a half-hour away, Oviedo is a great place to study Spanish. In the language program, you'll spend interim and the spring semester living and studying in Spain.
[Photo by Simon Post Class of 2021]

How to apply

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Oviedo, Spain


Oviedo, Spain

Oviedo is on the northern coast of Spain. It is located 16 miles from the Atlantic coast and 270 miles northwest of Madrid.

Almost everywhere you look, you’ll see reminders of a rich and long history surrounded by remarkable beauty. Oviedo, considered one of Spain’s cleanest and most elegant cities, is located in the center of the mountainous terrain of Asturias. From the 35,000-year-old Paleolithic Cave Art to the university walls scarred by the 1934 Revolution of Asturias, vestiges of human history are evident everywhere.

Just to the north you will find the cliffs and beautiful beaches of the Asturian coast reaching into the Cantabrian Sea, and in all other directions you will see the peaks of the Cantabrian mountain range, home of Spain’s oldest and most beautiful national park. This is the natural setting surrounding Oviedo, one of Spain’s historic university towns and an ideal place for you to meet Spaniards of all ages and to deepen your understanding of the Spanish language and culture.

Our semester in Spain programs partner with the Casa de las Lenguas at the University of Oviedo, where you’ll take courses in Spanish language and culture. You’ll also live with a local family and learn about the Spanish way of life firsthand.

Things to do
  • Walk around the beautiful pedestrian zone
  • Attend a pro soccer or basketball game
  • Take public transit to one of the many beaches on the coast, mountain hiking trails or ski stations during the winter
  • Golf at one of four local courses
  • Take in a concert at one of Oviedo's two music auditoria, or visit one of the many museums in town
  • Make day-trips to regional destinations like León, Santiago de Compostela, Bilbao and Burgos
  • Take extended trips to cities like Barcelona, Granada or Madrid
Approx. 225,000, with more than 860,000 in the metropolitan area
Oviedo's climate is moderate and is generally described as oceanic (similar to the Pacific Northwest). Temperatures range from an average high in the mid-70s F (low 20's C) in the summer to an average low in the mid-40s F (low 10's C) in the winter.

Program Profile: Oviedo, Spain

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.

Physical expectations: Moderate
Language Importance: High
Cultural acclimation difficulty: Low
Level of Cultural Interaction: High
Safety & Security Considerations: Moderate

Health Considerations: Low
Mental Health Considerations: Moderate
Lodging: Host Families

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.


Physical Expectations


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.


Language Importance


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.

Knowing 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.

No 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.


Health Considerations

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.

Host Families

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
$$ $2,501 to $3,800
$$$ >$3,801


Disclaimer: Talk with your advisor/professor about courses if you are planning on studying Advanced Spanish. 

All students will take:

  • STSP 315: Contemporary Spanish Civilization, taught by the Calvin director
  • At least one Spanish language class at the appropriate level at the La Casa de las Lenguas.

In addition, students who have completed SPAN 302 or SPAN 34x on campus will enroll in at least one university class taught at the University of Oviedo. Students may choose from among hundreds of courses regularly offered to Spanish university students in a wide variety of subjects and disciplines.

Most students will take STSP 308 and 309 in Spain, which are the Calvin courses offered there. Majoring students are advised to reserve those courses for their semester abroad.  Those who are completing a second semester abroad or who have taken 308 and/or 309 on campus should discuss their case with their advisors or the program director.

Previous to the program orientation, the directing professor will provide documentation to facilitate course selection. Given that the selection and enrollment situation in Oviedo is more complicated, you should not fill out the “Course Selection Sheet” (part of the common program application) for Spain.

Contact Professor Dwight TenHuisen for additional information concerning courses. Learn more about direct-enroll transfer credits in academic services.

Course Fulfillments

All courses will count toward a Spanish major or minor.


As part of this language program, you will live in a Spanish household in Oviedo.


You must be of at least sophomore status and have a 2.5 GPA or higher to study in Spain. Preference will be given to juniors and seniors if there are more applicants than there are spots in the program.

The Spring Semester in Spain is offered every Spring.


The final program cost is expected to be within $2,000-$6,000 of Calvin tuition and room and board on campus. More specific cost information will be sent with your acceptance letter. The final program cost is based on many factors and is not known exactly until the number of students in the group has been identified. The financial information page covers the details that go into the cost of the program and rough estimates for each. The cost for the Spain semester will include:

  • A number of program-related excursions
  • Tuition, room and board
  • Local transit
  • Visa fees

Additional expenses not included in the program fee: passport, books, medical insurance (required) and spending money.


This year's application deadline has passed. Check back next year to apply.

Questions / contact

Dwight TenHuisen

Dwight TenHuisen
On sabbatical

Professor, Department Chair
Full profile

Alisa Tigchelaar

Alisa Tigchelaar

Full profile



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