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

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Affiliated Department: International Studies, Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity, Sociology Foreign Language Required: None
Primary Language(s) of Instruction: English UW Credits: 5
Estimated Program Fee: 4750 UW Program Director: Jimmy Merino-Cruz, Steven Pfaff
UW Study Abroad Program Manager: Katherine R Kroeger UW Program Staff Email:,
Program Information:

Location Madrid, Spain; Leon, Spain; Barcelona, Spain
Academic Term Early Fall
08/19/2019 - 09/15/2019
Estimated Program Fee $5,200
Credits 5
Prerequisites There are no prerequisites for this program. All courses and excursions are conducted in English or will be translated in English.
Program Directors Steven Pfaff |
Program Manager Katherine Kroeger |
Priority Application Deadline February 15, 2019
Extended Deadline March 10, 2019
Information Sessions Thursday, February 7th, 11:30-12:30pm, Savery 245
Monday, February 4th, 3 - 4pm, Savery 245
General This exploration seminar analyzes the politics, economics and culture of Spain to understand the social conflicts and struggles that emerged after their economic crisis. There are opportunities to meet and talk to people involved in politics and social movements, and we will visit important Spanish sites. Join us as we visit Madrid, León and Barcelona.
Visas This country is part of the Schengen area. Note that there are strict rules and restrictions for foreign visitors to this area that may impact a student's ability to travel within the region before or after their program, or to attend two subsequent programs in this area. It is critical that the student reviews the information and scenarios here to learn more about Schengen area visa requirements.

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 2019 and will be led by Dr. Edgar Kiser, UW Professor of Sociology. Kiser's specific areas of interest include political sociology, and the effects of culture and history on politics. 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 four day trip to Barcelona, where we will again visit museums, talk with local politicians and activists, and spend some time enjoying local architecture and beaches.




Madrid, Spain; Leon, Spain; Barcelona, Spain


The Leon Center will house students in local dorms typically used by students from the University of Leon, Spain. Fees are coordinated with FGULEM.



Prerequisites and Language Requirements

There are no prerequisites for this program. All courses and excursions are conducted in English or will be translated 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. Due to the nature of some of the locations, participants will have to carry/roll their luggage for the arrival and departure to and from our locations.


5 UW Quarter Credits


SOC 401: Challenges in Contemporary Spain (5 credits) I&S, Diversity

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 include:
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%).









Steven Pfaff
Professor, Sociology






Program Expenses

Estimated Program Fee: $5,200

Included in the program fee:

  • $450 Study Abroad Fee
  • Instruction
  • Housing
  • Program activities and program travel
Not included in the program fee:
  • Airfare (average price subject to when and where your buy your ticket - Subject to when and where you buy your ticket, ~$1500)
  • Food (about ~$25/Day)
  • UW Student Abroad Insurance ($1.64/day)
  • Other health expenses/immunizations
  • Personal spending money

Payment Due Date: October 11, 2019

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.

Financial Aid

  • A large percentage of UW students utilize financial aid to study abroad. Most types of financial aid can be applied to study abroad fees.
  • You can submit a revision request to increase the amount of aid for the quarter you are studying abroad. These additional funds are usually awarded in the form of loans. To apply, fill out a revision request form, attach the budget sheet (available via the link at the top of this brochure) and submit these documents to the Office of Student Financial Aid.  For more information about this process, consult the Financial Aid section of our website.
  • Consult the Financial Aid section of our website for more information on applying for financial aid, special considerations for summer and early fall programs, and budgeting and fundraising tips.


  • There are many scholarships designed to fund students studying abroad. The UW Study Abroad administers a study abroad scholarship program and there are national awards available as well.
  • Scholarships vary widely in their parameters. Some are need-based, some are location-based, and some are merit-based.
  • To be considered for a UW Study Abroad Scholarship fill out a short questionnaire on your UW Study Abroad program application.  You must apply by the priority application deadline for the program in order to be considered for a scholarship.  Click the Overview tab to view application deadlines.
  • Consult our Scholarships page to learn about UW-based and national scholarships. The Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards can help you learn about additional opportunities.

Budgeting Tools

We understand that figuring out your finances for study abroad can be complicated and we are here to help. Below are some ways to find additional support.

  • Click on the Budget Sheets link at the top of this brochure to view the estimated budget of all expenses for this program.
  • Contact the Global Opportunities Adviser at to learn more about how to pay for study abroad.
  • Attend a Financial Planning Workshop offered by UW Study Abroad – more information is on the Events page of our website.
  • Visit the Finances section of our website.



Application Process

The study abroad application includes a personal statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the online application process, you 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.


To be eligible to study abroad, you must complete the mandatory pre-departure online orientation provided by UW Study Abroad. You must also attend program-specific orientations offered by the program director.

You will be able to access the online orientation through your study abroad application once you have been accepted to a program. Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.


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. This is an especially important consideration if you are planning to do more than one study abroad program. You can research visa requirements 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 $450 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable once you have submitted a contract. 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 will be 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 business day a withdrawal application is received by UW Study Abroad. 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.
  2. Submit a withdrawal application to UW Study Abroad.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.