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  • Locations: Leon, Spain
  • Program Terms: Summer B-Term
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:
sociology italy
 Location León, Spain
Summer B 2017
July 20 – August 18, 2017
 Estimated    Program Fee $5,650
 Credits 12 UW credits
 Prerequisites None
 Program      Directors Ron Krabill, Santos Rodriguez
 Program  Manager Katherine Kroeger |
 Application    Deadline March 15, 2017 - EXTENDED!
 Information  Session(s) Wed. Feb, 8, 3:30-4:30, UW1 103
Thur. Feb, 9, 3:30-4:30, UW1 103
Where You Will Study
Expenses, Financial Aid, & Scholarships

  Visas This country is part of the Schengen area. Please click here to learn more about important rules and restrictions for foreign visitors to this area.

Program Description

Participants in this program will approach futbol (soccer) as a political and cultural phenomenon, examining the ways in which the sport functions as a site for political contestation on local, regional, national, and international scales. Students will take a five-credit course that focuses this analysis on issues of political economy, race, gender, nationalism, colonialism, and popular culture. While Spain will be a key site of this exploration – with its recent spate of sporting success on the international scene and a famous rivalry between two of the best club teams in the world (with political overtones involving the Franco dictatorship and Catalonian independence) – the course will also explore the politics of soccer elsewhere, including human rights violations and corruption surrounding recent and future World Cups, and the exploitation of (often very young) athletes from across the globe. The course will also include guest speakers; during the last version of the class (in Summer 2015) speakers included a former Barcelona and Spanish National Team player; the Spanish Women’s U19 goalkeeper; a former World Cup, UEFA, and La Liga referee; and a leading soccer journalist. This course will begin in Madrid and end in Barcelona, but the vast majority of the course will take place in León.

Students will also take a five-credit course that focuses on Spanish language, literature, and culture, providing both historical context to their location and language skills that meet each students at the level in which they enter the program. Finally, participants will take an additional 2-credits of directed research that explores some aspect of the politics of soccer in León itself, bringing the global scale of their analysis in the other class to bear on the local context. The program will include an opportunity for host families and others in León to attend a program where students present these directed research projects to the community. All classes will take place in the Palacio del Conde Luna, a 14th century palace that houses the UW León Center, and be taught by the Program Director or by local faculty from the University of León Language Center. Outside of class, students will have the opportunity to participate in cooking or dance classes, and go on excursions to nearby cities and provinces, which will allow them to gain a deeper understanding of the culture in which they are immersed.

León is a cosmopolitan city of about 137,000, located in the Northwestern part of Spain. It is known for its 13th century Gothic Cathedral and monumental buildings, as well as for its fiestas. Every year people from all over the world visit León to see and participate in its many processions and colorful traditions.


León, Spain




The students’ primary housing will be with home stay families, who will provide students with a room of their own and 3 meals a day. No more than one native English-speaking student will be placed in a home. Students will fill out a form indicating their preferences for characteristics of the family, as well as any allergies. While in Madrid and Barcelona, we will stay in hotels.


Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements

This program is geared toward a wide array of students, including those who are passionate about soccer as a sport and those who have no interest whatsoever in the sport. Students should be willing to approach soccer as a phenomenon of popular culture that can be broken down and analyzed like any other element of popular culture. The course will be particularly attractive to students with a preceding interest in soccer, or those who would like to improve their Spanish language skills and/or are interested in the literature, history, and culture of Spain. However, it is open to any student from any of the three UW campuses, including both undergraduate and graduate students.

There are no prerequisites or language requirements for the program. Our partner institution in León is able to accommodate students with a wide range of language skills, including beginners. Participants will be chosen based on their enthusiasm and willingness to engage in the intellectual project of the class.

A basic level of physical fitness will be to students’ advantage as students tend to walk quite a bit while in León and the other cities we will visit.


12 UW Credits


BIS 480 (5 credits)

This course approaches soccer as a political and cultural phenomenon, examining the ways in which the sport functions as a site for political contestation on local, regional, national, and international scales, examining issues of political economy, race, gender, nationalism, colonialism, and popular culture. While Spain will be a key site of this exploration, the course will also explore the politics of soccer elsewhere. The course will begin in Madrid and end in Barcelona, but the vast majority of the course will take place in León.

Learning Goals: 

  • Students will become familiar with and able to conduct cultural studies analysis of popular phenomena
  • Students will become familiar with and able to engage key international debates in the study of sports, especially soccer, and their intersections with politics and economics
  • Students will become familiar with key intersections of the history of Spanish soccer and Spanish history and politics All of the above will be assessed through intensive class discussions (facilitated, at times, by the students themselves), short think pieces written by the students during the course, and a final, summative essay

BSPAN 196/296 (5 credits)

In this course, students will study the language, culture and history of Spain. Students will be placed into an appropriate class based on their previous experience with the Spanish language.

Learning Goals: 

  • Students will increase their skills in both written and conversational Spanish
  • Students will become familiar with the history and culture of the city and region in which they are living, as well as Spain as a whole Assessment will be conducted by the local instructors, all of whom have immense experience in teaching such classes to non-native Spanish speakers from around the world.

BIS 498 (2 credits)

In this community-based learning experience, students will conduct directed research as individuals or in small groups that explores some aspect of the politics of soccer in León itself, bringing the global scale of their analysis in the other classes to bear on the local context. The program will include an opportunity for host families and others in León to attend a program where students present these directed research projects to the community.

Learning Goals: 

  • Students will become proficient in basic cultural research methods and skills through practice
  • Students will learn to operationalize broad, theoretical concerns into a small-scale, local research project
  • Students will learn the nuances of presenting their research findings in an innovative, engaging way to the community in which they conducted the research All of the above will be assessed through the keeping of a research journal that catalogues and reflects on the steps each individual (whether conducting research as an individual or group) undertakes to complete the assigned project, as well as on the individual’s or group’s final presentation to the León community.

Program Directors & Staff

Ron Krabill, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell, Program Director

Ron Krabill is an associate professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (IAS) at UW Bothell and an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Communication at UW Seattle. His research explores the intersections of cultural studies, media studies, and African studies, particularly surrounding media and politics. He is the author of Starring Mandela and Cosby: Media and the End(s) of Apartheid (Chicago, 2010) and he is a recipient of the 2006 University of Washington Teaching Award. He has co-led several study abroad programs to South Africa and Tanzania, including a program to South Africa during the 2010 World Cup: “Critical Perspectives on the 2010 Football World Cup.”

Santos Rodriguez, Leon Center On-Site Coordinator

Program Expenses

Cost: $5,650

Estimated Program Fee of $5,650, the UW Study Abroad Fee ($350), airfare, food, UW Study Abroad Insurance ($62/month), other health expenses/immunizations and personal spending money.
All meals are provided while in León. While in Madrid and Barcelona (several days each), breakfast will be at the hotel, lunch and dinner will be out-of-pocket for participants except for a welcoming dinner in Madrid and a farewell dinner in Barcelona.

Average Airplane Ticket Price

$1,600 - $1,800* roundtrip

*Subject to when & where you buy your ticket

Payment Schedule

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
Non-Refundable Study Abroad Fee $350 August 4, 2017
Program Fee Balance $5,650 August 4, 2017


There are a variety of scholarships available to help fund your study abroad experience. Visit the Global Opportunities page for more information and application deadlines.


To be eligible to study abroad, all program participants must attend an in-person pre-departure orientation facilitated by the Study Abroad office as well as your program-specific orientations, offered by your program director.

You must register for orientation through your online study abroad account in order to attend scheduled orientations. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current orientation schedule.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most forms of financial aid can be applied to study abroad. You can verify that your financial aid award will apply to your program costs by contacting the Financial Aid Office. Financial aid or scholarships awarded as tuition waivers or tuition exemptions might not apply so you will need to verify that these funds are eligible for use with study abroad by contacting the funding office.

Financial aid and most scholarships are disbursed according to the UW academic calendar (at the beginning of the quarter). If your program starts before the start of the UW quarter, your financial aid will not be available to you prior to your departure. If your program starts after the first day of the quarter, your financial aid will be disbursed at the start of the program. In either of these cases, you will have to finance any upfront costs such as airfare, health insurance and the start of your time abroad on your own. Please take this into consideration when you are making plans.

Revision Request

In some instances you may qualify for an increase in your financial aid award (typically in loan funds). Check with the Financial Aid Office about your options. To request a revision in your aid, you will need to submit the following paperwork to the Financial Aid Office:

  1. Revision Request Form
  2. Budget of student expenses for your program: The UW Study Abroad Office will upload this budget to your study abroad account after a signed contract has been submitted to the UW Study Abroad Office. You can request an unofficial copy of this budget by emailing

Visit the Finances section of our website to learn more about disbursement, revising your aid package, short-term loans and scholarships.

Application Process

The application includes a Personal Statement, three short answer questions, two recommendations from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the on-line application process students may be contacted by the Program Director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. You can do so by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $350 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable and non-revocable once a contract has been submitted, even if you withdraw from the program. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the date (business day) a withdrawal form is received by the UW Study Abroad Office. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

1. Provide notice in writing to the Program Director that you will no longer be participating in the program for which you have signed a contract and accepted a slot.

2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to the UW Study Abroad Office, 459 Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.