Two Salamanca Programs

Colby runs both a language acquisition program in Salamanca, and a semester-long or year-long university
integrated program for juniors who have a high level of Spanish proficiency.

Salamanca: The City

Salamanca is about 200 km west of Madrid and 100 km east of the Portuguese border and is easily accessible to the capital by train and bus. With a population around 160,000, it is a medium sized city which is easily walkable. The city is large enough to be able to offer the advantages of a real city, but at the same time it keeps the intimacy of a village. In Salamanca, the inhabitants speak the “purest” Spanish in Spain – Castilian. For this reason Salamanca is enormously popular with people all over the world who want to learn Spanish. The University of Salamanca, which was founded in 1218, is the oldest university in Spain and the third oldest western university. Salamanca’s Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. The Colby Center is located right downtown, just off of the Plaza Mayor.


The academic program begins with your orientation, comprised of linguistic and cultural components. After completing an initial placement exam, Colby program students on both the language acquisition and integrated programs are placed at the appropriate level in language classes made up of students from around the globe and taught by the faculty of the Universidad de Salamanca. An additional hour of class is devoted to culture and is taught for Colby in Salamanca group members only. Program specific details are listed below.

Integrated Program

Available full academic year or either semester, Colby’s program integrates American students directly into the Spanish university system. After a one month orientation session (intensive language review and thematic culture courses), students enroll in regular courses at the Universidad de Salamanca. A curriculum of “core” courses (regular University courses with an extra hour per week of tutorials) and other courses provide opportunities for the study of literature, history, politics and law, sociology, art history, and other subjects. It is impossible to know which university courses will be offered in advance and the Resident Director will assist you in selecting appropriate courses during the orientation period.

In addition to the one month orientation program, students typically enroll in four courses per semester, plus a mandatory, 2-credit writing class. Final assessment for courses is determined by the Universidad de Salamanca faculty and is administered according to the regular exam schedule. The regular academic year at the Universidad de Salamanca extends from late-September through May or June, depending on individual student exam schedules. The resident director and associate director will help you select courses that are appropriate for the period of time that you will be enrolled at the university. You can download a sample of university courses students have taken in the past.

Credits and Grades: Students in this program normally receive between 16-18 credits per semester. Final assessment for courses is determined by the Universidad de Salamanca faculty and is administered according to the regular exam schedule. Final grades are assigned by the resident director, upon recommendation in consultation with the Spanish professors from the University.

Eligibility: Applicants to the Integrated Program must have an overall GPA of at least 2.7 (on a four-point scale) and have the equivalent of 6-7 college semesters of Spanish study including one advanced Spanish composition course and a literature course, with an average (in Spanish courses) of at least B. All Colby students must have completed SP135 and SP231 before departure. The program is open to juniors with any major. Students from any institution may apply for the full academic year or either semester. In most areas in the humanities and social sciences, students will be able to find courses in their major.

Language Acquisition Program

Colby offers a language acquisition program in Salamanca either semester, suitable for students who wish to study language intensively and/or work toward completion of Colby’s language requirement. Students take language and civilization courses for five hours a day at Cursos Internacionales of the Universidad de Salamanca. The department offers courses in Spanish for international (non-Spanish speaking) students at all levels, from basic to advanced. You will be placed in language and culture classes according to your proficiency level (inicial, intermedio, avanzado, or superior) which will be determined by an initial placement exam. Students who place in any level except initial may also choose two classes from among the following:

 Spanish literature, (L)
• History of Spanish Art (A)
• Spanish and Latin American cinema (A)
• Spanish Culture
• History of Contemporary Spain (H)
• The Arab World in the Hispanic World (H)
• Business Spanish

Students who remain in one of the courses above during the whole semester, may also be able to satisfy the arts requirement, the history requirement, or the literature requirement, depending on which classes you choose to take.

Students who place in the initial level will take an additional hour of language lab and conversation per day instead of these other courses; this will appear on the transcript as SP197, Spanish Conversation.
Language program students will earn sixteen Colby credits for successfully completing the program. Students generally earn credit for Spanish at Colby on the following scale:

• Level inicial (beginners): SP125, SP126
• Level intermedio (intermediate): SP126, SP127
• Level avanzado (advanced 1): SP127, SP128
• Level superior (advanced 2): SP129, SP131

Credits and Grades: Final grades are assigned by the resident director, in consultation with professors from the University. Students who complete the intermediate level or higher with a grade of C or better will satisfy Colby’s language requirement. Students who do not complete the intermediate level will normally be required to take a semester of Spanish at Colby to satisfy the language requirement.

Eligibility: Open to students in good standing who have a cumulative grade point average of 2.7 or higher and have had at least one semester of college Spanish (or three years of high school Spanish).


The homestay, in which students are placed with selected families in and around Salamanca, is as important an aspect of the program as the academic courses. The homestay is more than a place to sleep and eat; it is here that students will develop their spoken Spanish and learn the most about Spain.

All students are required to spend the first month in a homestay. After that, students in the integrated program have the option of living in an apartment with Spanish students.

Social Life and Extra-curricular Activities

Animadores: Colby arranges to have a number of Spanish college-age students to meet with the group during the semester to provide a student perspective on life in Salamanca.

Excursions (the cost of excursions is included in the program fee):

Weekend excursions to Segovia, Madrid, Toledo, Avila and more
Excursion to Asturias-Cantabria
Excursion to Andalucia

Cultural events: All cultural activities (museums, movies, theatre, sport, etc…) in Spain are reimbursed 50%.

Fitness: there are several gyms that offer reasonable rates.

Community service: Volunteer activities through the University or in the community are also possible.

Program Fee

The fees for Colby programs abroad are equivalent to the comprehensive fees for Colby College. (Please note that program fees are also subject to any annual comprehensive fee increases.) Students are billed by Colby, and are exempt from the study abroad fee. The fee covers: tuition, room, board or a board allowance, excursions, and roundtrip airfare and transfers to program sites. Books, meals during vacation periods, insurance, laundry expenses, and personal travel are not included. A forfeitable deposit of $500 is due at the time of acceptance.

To Apply

Colby programs abroad are open to any Colby student, regardless of major, who meets the specific program requirements outlined above.

Colby students should follow the Colby Application for Approval process due February 20.

Grossman 100
(207) 859-4500
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