ABOUT CASACASA is a non-profit academic consortium of eleven leading comprehensive research universities formed for the purpose of organizing and delivering rigorous education abroad programs in collaboration with leading world universities. CASA member institutions are Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, Trinity College Dublin, the University of Melbourne, the University of Pennsylvania, and Vanderbilt University. CASA associate member institutions are Amherst College, Barnard College, Grinnell College, Swarthmore College, and Williams College. From its inception, the intention of CASA is to go beyond traditional study abroad, harnessing the combined resources of its member institutions — world-renowned faculty and highly inquisitive students — to deliver full immersion opportunities that engage students with leading academics and thought-leaders around the world. Each Divisional Center has a fully operative physical presence in the host country, led by a permanent on-site administrative director and support staff. The centers provide a rich academic environment for CASA students and faculty from across disciplines to engage with select international partner universities. CASA's focus is to provide profound learning opportunities both in and out of the classroom, engaging students locally through carefully programmed curricular and co-curricular activities that are delivered, wherever possible, in the target language.
ACADEMICSThe CASA-Granada program is open to students from all academic disciplines and all levels of Spanish proficiency. Participants have the opportunity to hone their Spanish skills while participating in an academic program — from beginner to advanced - that supports their particular proficiency level. Students enroll in the appropriate program based on their specific level of Spanish:
- Intensive Spanish Language Studies (CILE): The CILE track is exclusively language-focused, and is designed to immerse students fully in the Spanish language. Students with beginner (including none at all) to low-intermediate levels of Spanish enroll in a semester of intensive Spanish classes that will dramatically advance their language learning. Students at the intermediate levels of Spanish may also enroll in this program with the approval of their home institution. The program consists of 20 hours of instruction per week over the course of the semester. Students are not permitted to enroll in content courses outside of the “Curso Intensivo de Lengua Española” (CILE).
- Spanish Language and Culture (CLCE): Students with intermediate to advanced levels of Spanish language proficiency (Levels B1.2 and B2.1) take a full load of courses at the University of Granada’s Center for Modern Languages, taught entirely in Spanish. The semester course load includes conversation and composition classes, grammar classes, and content classes in a wide array of subject areas. In the fall semester, CLCE students complete four weeks of intensive language classes (CILE) followed by five classes of the Spanish Language and Culture Course (CLCE). Due to the structure of the spring semester, students go directly into five Spanish Language and Culture classes.
- Hispanic Studies (CEH): Students with high-intermediate to advanced levels of Spanish language proficiency (B2.1 in the fall; B2.2 in the spring) take a full load of courses at the University of Granada’s Center for Modern Languages, taught entirely in Spanish. The semester course load includes conversation and composition classes, grammar classes, and content classes in a wide array of subject areas. In the fall, CEH students complete four weeks of intensive language classes (CILE) followed by five classes of the Hispanic Studies track. Due to the structure of the spring semester, students go directly into five Hispanic Studies classes.
- University Studies: Students with high-advanced levels of Spanish language proficiency (B2.2 or above) directly enroll in courses offered at the various schools of the University of Granada.
- Translation and Interpreting: Students with exceptional Spanish language skills (C1 or above) directly enroll in a special semester program of study at the University of Granada’s prestigious Facultad de Traducción e Interpretación, commonly referred to as "Traductores." Traductores offers the largest array of linguistic offerings of any university in Spain, and is renowned for its rigor in preparing students to translate and interpret at a professional level. Serious students of language will have an opportunity to immerse themselves in specialized courses that will significantly improve their language skills and give them a competitive advantage for professions that require highly-honed second language proficiency.
Students' first two nights in Granada are spent together in a centrally-located historical hotel, an excellent point of departure for walking tours around the city center. CASA-Granada directors welcome the students and begin to get to know them during group meals provided during the first two days of the program. On the third day, students move into their respective housing arrangements. Students who choose home stay accommodations will be picked up at the hotel by their host families in time to have lunch with them that day.
Most students live with carefully selected Spanish host families in Granada. There are numerous benefits to living with a host family, the most important of which is the constant exposure to Spanish language, cultural norms and cuisine.
In a homestay, all meals are provided and shared with the family (as work and class schedules allow); and daily conversations around the table can be a wonderful way to expand one's vocabulary and understanding of current events in Spain. Bed linens and towels are also provided, and students’ laundry is washed weekly. Students are given keys to the home (generally a “piso” similar to a condominium) and can come and go as they please.
There is no curfew, only an expectation of common courtesy and open communication. Internet access is also provided in every homestay accommodation.
It is important to make note that, as in the USA and elsewhere, the composition of a Spanish family will vary from home to home. A “family” may be comprised of a full family including mother, father, kids and a dog, or a single mom and her kids, or a young couple with no kids, or a widowed señora and her adult son/daughter, etc.
Limited spaces are available at centrally located, full-board student residences where serious CASA-Granada students can live and study with UGR students in a dynamic and supportive environment. Interested students should make this preference known as soon as possible to improve their chances of reserving an available room.
INDEPENDENT HOUSING IN LOCAL APARTMENTS (note eligibility requirements below)
The CASA Granada Program permits independent living arrangements strictly for: 1) full-year students during their second semester in Granada, 2) students who have previously had a semester-long study abroad experience in a Spanish-speaking country. Only students in these specific circumstances may choose to secure their own housing in local apartments with other university students. The qualified CASA-Granada students who choose independent housing are responsible for locating an apartment, signing a lease, finding/screening roommates, paying rent and all utilities, and living truly independently (grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc.). It is recommended that only the eligible students who have lived on their own previously consider this option.
ACTIVITIESThe CASA-Granada program offers a wide range of cultural, linguistic, and outdoor activities for students at all levels of Spanish language proficiency.
A comprehensive, mandatory orientation program is delivered during the first several days of the semester to help students get acclimated to the city, the university, and to the cultural norms they will experience in their accommodations and in their daily lives. Health, safety, and emergencies are covered in great detail. Academic culture and regulations are also explained in depth, and students sign a contract acknowledging and accepting their academic responsibilities.
Beyond the initial orientation period, ALL ACTIVITIES ARE CONDUCTED ENTIRELY IN SPANISH. They are specially designed to take the students’ various levels of language skills into consideration and support the advancement of their respective proficiencies. Students receive the right balance of challenge and support, facilitating their learning in both the subject matter and the language. The activities are always educational, engaging and participative.
CULTURAL AND OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
Every semester, the CASA-Granada program includes several cultural activities and excursions. Active student participation is expected in all of the program activities, as they are considered an integral part of the overall learning experience.
The focus of the guided visits and hands-on activities ranges from monuments to mountains, from musical to culinary, from ancient to cutting-edge. The goal is always the same: to offer co- and extra-curricular activities that are both educational and fun. We explore the city of Granada in depth and venture well beyond its limits, too, traveling to destinations such as Madrid, Barcelona or Bilbao, and to Morocco.
In addition to walking tours with expert faculty, and cooking classes with local chefs, students are invited to participate in a wide range of outdoor activities organized by the Center for Modern Languages. Students can hike out of the city, mountain bike along trails behind the Alhambra, ski on the Sierra Nevada, and sail on the Mediterranean Sea with trained and friendly CLM group leaders.
RESEARCH, INTERNSHIP AND VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIESINTERNSHIPS
CASA-Granada students have the option to apply for non-credit-bearing internship opportunities made available by special arrangements with various departments and research institutes at the University of Granada, and with other local non-profit organizations. Placements are based on students’ academic interests, time commitment, previous experience and language levels, and on availability (which may fluctuate each semester). Examples of where these practical experiences can take place include:
- The Office of Internationalization at the University of Granada (UGR)
- International Relations offices at the various UGR Faculties
- The Institute for Peace and Conflict
- The Sephardic Memorial Center
- The UGR School of Education Science
- The Alhambra (in collaboration with UGR departments)
STEM RESEARCH INTERNSHIPS
STEM students admitted to the CASA-Granada program have the exciting opportunity to apply for research assistantships at the University of Granada. CASA students accepted into this unique program will be paired with UGR graduate students in their respective fields of study. CASA students work closely with the UGR graduate students and faculty, acquiring hands-on experience in UGR and/or PTS (Parque Tecnólogico de la Salud) research labs, and they contribute their English skills in the revision of articles and posters.
CASA students at any level of Spanish language proficiency can apply for an assistantship. Beginner-level students take intensive language classes at the Center for Modern Languages in the mornings and spend afternoons at their respective UGR/PTS placements. CASA-Granada staff work with students in the other programs to arrange an assistantship schedule around their classes at the UGR/CLM (wherever possible). Interested students must apply for the assistantship well in advance of their program start date. Students should contact the CASA-Granada staff as soon as they are accepted into a CASA-Granada program and confirm their participation, so that appropriate placements can be identified.
There are numerous opportunities for students to engage in volunteering activities in the city of Granada: in local schools, homeless shelters, charitable organizations, etc. CASA-Granada staff will assist students in securing an opportunity that fits their interests and experience.
CASA CENTER IN GRANADA:The CASA-Granada Center is located in the very center of the city, in the UGR’s Palacio de la Jarosa Building, near the School of Translation and Interpreting, offering easy access to students enrolled in the various programs at the UGR & CLM.
Christine Kelly-Vereda Resident Director
Christine is originally from southeastern Massachusetts, although now she has spent over one third of her life living in Spain. Prior to moving to Granada, Christine worked at the Office of International Programs at Brown University and for the LASPAU Program at Harvard University. She moved to Granada to direct Arcadia University’s programs in Spain and, since then, Christine and her husband have become fully integrated into the local community, started a family, and embraced all of the benefits of living in Granada. Among her favorites are the proximity of the Sierra Nevada (for the great hiking and skiing!) and the Mediterranean Sea.
Christine has been working in international higher education for over 20 years. The most fulfilling part of her work is facilitating the learning that happens outside of the classroom, where students living in another culture not only learn about that culture but learn a lot about themselves. Christine holds a Master’s Degree in Developmental and Educational Psychology from Boston College, where she focused on identity development in college students.
María Maldonado Rubiño Program Director
María is from a small town in the “Alpujarra Granadina,” the region of valleys nestled in the south-facing side of the Sierra Nevada. María had the opportunity to live in France for several years and this experience awakened her passion for other cultures, having come to realize how much they enrich life. She studied at the School of Translation and Interpreting of the University of Granada, majoring in French and minoring in English, and went on to complete two years of doctoral studies in French language and literature at the UGR’s School of Philosophy and Letters.
María loves Granada and being able to share the opportunity to experience a new culture with students, especially in this city and its surroundings. Having worked for the California State University Program for 24 years, and knowing very well the academic system of the University of Granada, María is aware of the challenges that North American students face. She is well-equipped to help them surpass the difficulties they may encounter living in a completely different culture and academic system.
Together, in 2012, Christine and María launched the Brown in Granada Program, which ultimately evolved into the CASA-Granada Program in 2016.
Each academic year the CASA-Granada Center chooses one or two graduate students from the schools of the University of Granada to assist the program directors with the day-to-day running of the program. The CASA-Granada interns play an integral role in the planning and execution of language partner encounters and cultural activities throughout the academic year. They are also qualified to serve as tutors for students who require academic support.