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.
Colby in Salamanca offers incoming first-year Colby students an in-depth language-intensive experience of cross-cultural study in the heart of Spain. Through a structured, demanding program of classes and cultural interaction, Colby in Salamanca seeks to provide students with an understanding of the differences between the American and Spanish ways of life, and to enable students to better understand the complexities of Spanish culture. The program is open to students with various levels of Spanish, from two years in high school to advanced placement. Upper class Colby students are also part of the Salamanca group.

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 city’s central location within the Peninsula facilitates travel within the Peninsula as well as international travel through Adolfo Suárez Aeropuerto de Madrid Barajas. See a glimpse of beautiful Salamanca.

All GLOBAL ENTRY SEMESTER in Salamanca participants are registered at the Universidad de Salamanca, and have full use of the campus. They take Spanish language courses at Cursos Internacionales, a branch of the university that specializes in the teaching of Spanish to foreigners. Students are placed at levels (inicial, intermedio, avanzado, superior) corresponding to their abilities, determined by an initial placement exam. They attend classes on a daily basis along with students from other countries. The Global Entry Semester has a fixed curriculum that includes the following courses:

  • Spanish language (at the appropriate level for each student).
  • A choice of Spanish Art History, Spanish and Latin American Cinema, Spanish culture, or the Arab World in the Hispanic World.
  • Contemporary Spain Seminar (offered in English and Spanish). Satisfies Social Science requirement and International Diversity requirement.
  • Literature Readings in Spanish Seminar taught by the Resident Director. Satisfies the literature requirement.
Spanish faculty hired by Colby and the resident director teach these courses. The courses are conventionally graded and grades count towards students’ Colby grade point average. They satisfy five of Colby’s all-college requirements: Language (grade C or better at Intermediate level), Social Science, Literature, International Diversity and either the Arts or History requirement (according to choices). More detailed information is available from the Off-Campus Study Office.
Colby in Salamanca Juniors can enroll in two programs: a language immersion program and an Integrated program at the University of Salamanca.
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.

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.

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. It is a portal to Spanish civilization and culture. Students take their breakfasts, lunch and evening meals in their host families. Not all the host families are traditional. Some families have children and some do not. Some are traditional families and some are single women who want to share their apartments with a Colby student. Some families host several international students and some do not. Some families may invite their host students to family events or outings; others will not. The resident director will try to place each student with the family that best seems to fit his or her profile in the housing form included with the registration packet.

All Global Entry Semester students spend the whole semester with a Spanish family.

All Juniors 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.

Animadores: Each year Colby arranges to have a number of Spanish college-age people, including university students, to work with the group. These animadores y animadoras have specific responsibilities toward the group during orientation and the first weeks of the program. Their role is to spend time showing students around Salamanca and organizing social events for the group. Some of them may also accompany the group to trips and excursions. They are expected to communicate in Spanish at every opportunity.

Cultural events: All students receive a “pasaporte cultural” that gives them special discounts at cultural activities, which include: concerts (classical, jazz, rock), operas, theater and cinema. Weekly activities are organized for Colby in Salamanca such as workshops (Latin and Flamenco dance, cooking, pottery), dinners, cinema, tapas, historical monuments, etc.

Excursions: are an important part of the semester and enable students to see fascinating parts of Spain. Excursions include:

  • Four days in the North of Spain (Cantabria and Basque Country) Fall
  • Four days excursion in the North of Spain (Galicia and Oporto) Spring
  • Four days in Andalucía (Sevilla, Málaga, Granada, Córdoba)
  • Madrid
  • Hiking excursion to San Martin del Castañar / Sierra de Francia Natural Park
  • Day trips to Segovia, Ávila, El Escorial, Toledo.
Fitness: There are modern, clean gyms in the center of Salamanca that welcome Colby students each semester. Colby will reimburse half of the membership fee.

Nancy Downey, Ph.D., Director:
Sue Forbes, Administrative Program Assistant:
Tel: (207) 859-4500
Eustis 103
Colby College
Mayflower Hill Drive
Waterville, ME 04901
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Walk-in Hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9:30-10:30 and 1:30 -2:30 p.m.
For individual student advising appointments, please see the Appointment Calendar on our home page.

Prof. Julia Piera Abad
Directora residente
Colby College en Salamanca
Rua Mayor, 21
37002 Salamanca, Spain
tel: +34 923 264037
fax: +34 923 262560