The mission study abroad component of the Department of Hispanic Studies is to encourage students to engage in international and intercultural learning and to promote understanding of self and others through contact with diverse cultural and linguistic behaviors.

In addition to on-campus courses taught in language, culture and literature, and internships in the Twin Cities, the Department of Hispanic Studies recommends study abroad to all enrolled students, and requires it of Department majors. Our focus is on high quality intellectual, cross cultural and language-acquisition opportunities that live up to the promise of a serious internationalist liberal arts college. The challenges and opportunities associated with study abroad are many, including:

  1. Study abroad calls upon students to use their Spanish or Portuguese language skills daily, inevitably resulting in dramatic improvement in all areas of competency, including grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and speaking ability. 
  2. Family home stays provide students with an interpretive lens through which to view a country’s culture and they can examine the relations between self and society. This window on daily life and understanding supports students as they engage with the broader community. 
  3. Study abroad academic programs whether offered in a university setting or a private institute, complement on-campus offerings by exposing students to diverse teaching methodologies new perspectives on their major course of study and by providing opportunities for internships and independent projects tailored to students’ interest. 
  4. The study abroad experience challenges students’ notion of themselves, their worldview, and their place in it. As a result of their engagement with bilingual and bicultural realities, students enrich their perception of themselves and their relationship to society.

Popular Programs

Be sure to understand Macalester’s study abroad program on the Center for Study Away website. Both the Center for Study Away and the Department of Hispanic and Latin American Studies recommend the programs listed below. They have a history of providing rigorous, well-structured, and meaningful experiences abroad. Each includes a home stay. Spanish minors are advised to consider field-study programs, which require only three semesters of Spanish.

South America

IFSA-Butler University coordinates study abroad programs in Santiago, Chile, through its Chilean Universities program. A wide variety of courses are offered at such universities as Pontífica Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad de Chile, and Universidad Diego Portales.
IFSA Butler in Santiago, Chile

IFSA-Butler University coordinates study abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Argentine Universities Program offers flexibility in a cosmopolitan city with course offerings from just one or from all four of the associated Buenos Aires universities: Universidad de Buenos Aires, Universidad Católica Argentina, Universidad del Salvador, or Universidad Torcuato Di Tella. 
IFSA-Butler in Buenos Aires, Argentina

The School for International Training (SIT) offers a program on Multiculturalism, Globalization, and Social Change in Cochabamba, Bolivia. The program explores the key role played by cultural processes, identities, and resources in defining who “develops” and how. Field excursions to the tropical lowlands and the altiplano, including spectacular Lake Titicaca and the world’s highest capital city, La Paz, provide opportunities to observe social and cultural life in both urban and rural Bolivia. Visits to development agencies and seminars on the history of Bolivian social movements enhance your understanding of this predominantly indigenous nation.

The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) offers a program in Bahía, Brazil, designed for students with at least two years of college-level Spanish or one year of Portuguese. The program’s objectives are to increase students’ oral and written Portuguese language skills; to facilitate students’ knowledge of contemporary Brazil and the northeastern region; and to provide students with the opportunity to take regular Brazilian university courses, especially in the fields of Afro-Brazilian issues, cultural studies and/or the arts.
Click here to view syllabi from CIEE’s programs. 

The Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs (HECUA) offers a semester in Quito, Ecuador, called the Community Internships in Latin America program (CILA), which is a semester of study and experience with a focus on community participation and social change. A home stay is combined with a hands-on internship and independent study opportunity designed to meet your own learning goals. A field seminar involving local experts and activists provides an intensive immersion into Latin American daily life and culture. Models of community participation, organization, development and social change are compared and contrasted. Students learn firsthand about challenges in Ecuadorian communities and explore ways that they are being addressed.

Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean

The School for International Training (SIT) runs a program called “Youth Culture, Literacy, and Media” in Managua, Nicaragua.  More information coming soon!
SIT Nicaragua

ACM Costa Rica: Community Engagement in Public Health, Education, & the Environment takes place each fall. Since 1974, the program has prepared students to explore Central America and beyond through an intensive and effective Spanish-language program, coursework and experiences that further develop language skills and deepen understanding in particular fields such as Public Health, Education, and the Environment. The program is highlighted by a month-long community practicum where students experience rural life in Costa Rica by living with campesino families, and participating in a community engagement project, all while making great strides in Spanish proficiency.
ACM Costa Rica: Community Engagement

ACM Costa Rica: Field Research in the Environment, Social Sciences, & Humanities is a spring Costa Rica program based in San José, only blocks away from the Universidad de Costa Rica. The program takes full advantage of the resources and scholars of that institution, while reaching out to local and international NGOs and investigators throughout the country to facilitate student research in science and the humanities. Students spend a month in San José at the beginning of the program to polish their Spanish and their research plans, and at the end of the program to analyze their data and write their final papers.
ACM Costa Rica: Field Research

The Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE) offers a program in Guanajuato, Mexico, in which students pursue a liberal arts curriculum. Students take two Spanish courses, two CIEE content courses, and the required core course, which requires an independent project. This program is designed to provide students with an intellectually rigorous experience that directly links intense language study to a critical curriculum related to creative and intellectual expression, and to a deeper core concern with issues related to writing about culture, language, and identity.
Click here to view syllabi from CIEE’s programs. 


Universitas Castellae in Valladolid is a private educational institute offering courses in language, literature and culture to international students. Its professional team is composed of highly qualified professors and researches in the field of Hispanic studies from both foreign and Spanish universities.

The CIEE Advanced Liberal Arts program in Seville allows students to take classes at the Universidad de Sevilla alongside Spanish students in their degree program. Sample courses include history and languages, anthropolgy and Arabic studies. Students participate in tertulia lecture series, a conversation exchange program, volunteer opportunities and independent study options
Click here  to view syllabi from CIEE’s programs.

• The program(s) below are emerging programs not yet on Macalester’s list of recommended programs, but may be of interest to some students.

The IES Abroad Madrid program offers internships in a variety of public and private organizations. Students take classes at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. During the program students live with host families or student apartments. Each semester students go on guided visits around Madrid and participate in arranged cultural events and activities 
IES Madrid