This summer, Anderson University students will spend six weeks studying Spanish in Salamanca, Spain. This summer study abroad program, led by the College of Arts and Sciences, will allow students to explore Spain and study with AU faculty at the University of Salamanca.
“A language immersion program is by far the fastest way to learn a foreign language,” said Dr. Arlette de Jesus, assistant professor of Spanish and the faculty leader for the trip. “When students are placed in language immersion programs, results have shown to significantly improve a student’s fluency and skills. Five or more weeks in an immersion program will be equivalent to one year of taking Spanish in an AU classroom, in terms of comprehension, practicing vocabulary and living in the culture, not in a YouTube video or presentation in a classroom. It is a worthwhile and life-transforming experience.”
Anderson connected with the University of Salamanca through Dr. de Jesus, who has previously led study abroad courses to Salamanca. Students will stay with local families who will support their cultural immersion.
“In addition to taking a language course, the students will learn about the culture by living, eating and communicating with a family from the local area,” said Ann Themistocleous, director of the Anderson University Center for Global Engagement. “Studies have shown that students learn more about a culture when they are immersed both academically and personally, for example, by developing inter-personal relationships within the country. They gain a greater cultural perspective, often by observing and interacting with their new surroundings.”
Salamanca lies on the Tormes River and is on the Via de la Plata path of the Camino de Santiago, or the way of Saint James, which is a historical Christian pilgrimage route. Salamanca is also just a train ride away from Madrid, Spain’s capital. The old city of Salamanca is on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage List, and it is a popular study abroad destination.
“Students in such programs are constantly surrounded by a new language, running errands or studying in the classroom,” Dr. de Jesus said. “The ear becomes more susceptible to the pronunciation and accents, casual conversation, and common phrases. When the language is used as a form of survival in a foreign land, it is more unconsciously acquired, with grammar rules taking a backseat.”
The course, SPA 399, is a three-credit language course of varying levels, and students will be placed in their language level while in Spain. Students may also add on an International Studies class to the program to gain three additional course credits over the summer. Any student who holds at least a 2.5 GPA and is in good academic standing is eligible for the program. Students who are interested should visit the Center for Global Engagement to find out more about financial aid and the cost of attendance; they can also contact Dr. de Jesus to find out more about the classes and itinerary.
For more information about the study abroad trip to Salamanca, click here.