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  • Locations: Leon, Spain
  • Program Terms: Early Fall
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Program Information:
sociology italy
 Location Leon, Spain
Early Fall 2017
August 22 – September 17, 2017
 Estimated    Program Fee $4,200
 Credits 5 UW credits
 Prerequisites None
 Program      Directors Edgar Kiser, Cicero Delfin
 Program  Manager Katherine Kroeger |
 Application    Deadline March 15, 2017 - EXTENDED!
 Information  Session(s) Contact Program Director for more information.
  General This program analyzes the politics, economics and culture of Spain in order to understand the social conflicts and struggles for social justice that emerged after the economic crises in Spain. Our main goal is to meet and talk to the people involved in politics and social movements, but we supplement that with academic lectures and visits to important Spanish sites.
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

Students on this program travel to three parts of Spain to learn about some of the critical issues affecting Spanish society in the wake of the global economic crisis. Students will have the opportunity to hear from a range of policymakers addressing these issues as well as affected groups and individuals, and will be encouraged to reflect and write on how Spain's situation and efforts in these areas are similar or different from the US. Topics will include: the challenge of regional diversity and separatist movements, debates about feminism, the Roma community, integration of immigrants and minority rights, activism against housing evictions, youth unemployment and the broader challenges and repercussions of economic austerity.

The four-week program will run in early fall 2017 and will be led by Dr. Edgar Kiser, UW Professor of Sociology, and Dr. Marisa Herrera, in the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity.

The program will begin with a three-day introduction to Spain in the nation’s energetic capital, Madrid. The session in Madrid is designed to introduce students to historical and contemporary Spain, and will include walking tours of the city, site visits and meetings designed to update students on the country’s current situation and challenges as seen from the nation’s capital.

Most of the program will be located at the UW Leon Center, taking advantage of the Center's connections to the local community. The Leon Center is located in the heart of the old city in the 16th century tower of the Palacio del Conde Luna. Students will be housed in single-room dorms in Leon within walking distance of the Leon Center. The historic city is famous for its Medieval architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The very popular Camino Santiago pilgrims' trail runs though Leon, and the city receives thousands of pilgrims and other visitors every year. A very livable and approachable small city, Leon is an excellent venue for getting acquainted with Spanish culture and society.

The program will conclude with a three day trip to the Barcelona, where we will again visit museums, talk with local politicians and activists, and spend some time enjoying local architecture and beaches.


Leon, Spain


Madrid, Barcelona


The Leon Center will house students in local dorms.


Pre-Requisites/Language Requirements

This program is open to current UW undergraduate students from any discipline, interested in learning more about Spain, its contemporary social and economic challenges, and students interested in social sciences, Hispanic cultures & societies.

There are no prerequisites for this program. All courses and excursions are conducted in English.

The program requires moderate walking to site visits and other extracurricular activities. There are no planned required activities that require excessive amounts of walking or trekking. There’s a small chance we might offer a day hike along the Camino Santiago or the Picos de Europa, but these will be optional events not part of the official curriculum.


5 Credits


SOC 401 or JSIS 488 (5 credits)

Contemporary Spain faces many serious challenges: they are still trying to recover from an economic crisis caused mainly by a housing bubble, the state is deeply in debt, unemployment is very high (especially among young people), inequality is high and increasing, and there are ongoing conflicts over religion, regional differences, and immigration. This should all sound very familiar, since Spain is facing many of the same problems that plague the United States. This class will use theories from sociology, political science, and economics to analyze contemporary Spain, focusing on the challenges they currently face. We will address several specific questions, including: are neoliberal austerity policies the best way to increase economic growth?; do economic crises increase conflict between majority and minority groups?; what is the best way to integrate immigrants into new societies?; when do regional differences within countries lead to conflicts and separatist movements? We will also explore issues such as gender equality in the workforce, the Spanish Monarchy and how it relates to Basque and Catalan separatist movements, and the legacy of the civil war in contemporary Spanish politics and society. Contemporary Spain provides a perfect context for discussing some of the most important debates in the social sciences today, and will also give us new insights into our own country.

Learning Goals: 

This program has three interrelated learning objectives. First, students will get to know Spain in depth through a combination of classroom lectures and reading, visits to several important sites in different parts of the country, meeting with local politicians and activists, and exploring the diversity and dynamism of Spanish culture in their free time. Second, students will learn general theories of economic crisis, group conflict, immigration, and diversity and use these ideas to understand important features of contemporary Spain. We will constantly be going back and forth between abstract ideas and the concrete realities of contemporary Spain. Third, we will use the Spanish case and a lens to analyze similar problems and issues in the United States. We too are affected by the global economic crisis, and we have our own debates about how to handle immigration and minority rights – by seeing how these issues are addressed in Spain we can gain new insights about our own country.

Assessment: students will be evaluated on a final paper on a topic of their choosing that they will present to the class (70%), and on participation both in class and in other program activities (30%).

Program Directors & Staff

Edgar Kiser, Department of Sociology, Program Director

Edgar Kiser is Professor of Sociology and (by courtesy) Political Science and International Relations. He has directed three study abroad programs in Spain, three in Italy, and taught in two programs in Greece. After countless hours of very hard work, he has become an expert on Spanish food and wine.

Cicero Delfin, Department of OMA&D, Program Co-Direcotor

Cicero Delfin is the Assistant Director of the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center and oversees the center and theater operations as well as social media and marketing.  He has traveled around the world leading a leadership program for Semester at Sea in 2010, and he loves to travel and explore culinary cuisines from all over the world.    He received his master’s degree from Western Washington University and his undergraduate degree from Cal Poly Pomona.

Program Expenses

Cost: $4,200

Estimated Program Fee of $4,200, the UW Study Abroad Fee ($350), airfare, food (about $10/day), UW Study Abroad Insurance ($62/month), other health expenses/immunizations and personal spending money.

Average Airplane Ticket Price

$1,200 - $1,500* 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 October 13, 2017
Program Fee Balance $4,200 October 13, 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.