Salamanca – Advanced Spanish Immersion


Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description

Earn U.S. Credits Virtually This Summer

Get ahead! Earn extra credit through a globally recognized U.S. education program this summer on our Virtual World DiscoverIES program.

Just picture it: one day you're exploring business ethics with a professor in London and the next it's Japanese pop culture from Tokyo, studying alongside classmates from the U.S.’s highest-ranked colleges and universities. This is what it's like to take a course or two (of your choosing!) from IES Abroad’s most popular centers around the world this summer.

Learn more about how you can discover the world through IES Abroad.


Why Salamanca?

Combine the atmosphere of a university town and the charming hospitality of a small city and you have Salamanca. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988, Salamanca is the most important university city in Spain and is known for its contributions to Spanish language education. If exploring a bigger metropolitan city and connecting to a major international airport for travels throughout Spain and beyond interest, you, travel to Madrid on the new high-speed train in just 90 minutes.

What You'll Study

If you’re looking for a Spanish program that is fully immersive, this program in Salamanca is for you. In addition to an intensive Spanish language orientation and semester-long Spanish course, there are Spanish language writing, speaking, and theater workshops to bring your coursework to life.

The program is also linked to the academic and social life of the Universidad de Salamanca (USAL), the oldest university in Spain and one of the most prestigious in Europe. Learn alongside your Spanish peers by enrolling at USAL or the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca (UPSA). Regardless of your major, you may combine your interests in linguistic and cultural proficiency with your academic pursuits. You can contribute to a local organization by participating in an education internship in the spring semester or a service-learning experience at a local not-forprofit organization in the fall semester.

Daily Life

Salamanca will be your classroom. Get involved in activities like soccer games and language exchange gatherings with local students, movie nights, salsa and flamenco dance lessons, and local theater performances that will enrich your academic experience in Salamanca. You may also try out for official university sports teams that compete against other Spanish universities in sports such as soccer, volleyball, and rugby.

We want you to feel at home in Salamanca, so we do everything we can to help you integrate into life in the city. From internships to cultural activities, our job is to make sure you have the most authentic study abroad experience possible. IES Abroad and USAL’s International Student Office offer special events and activities to help you make the most of your time in Spain.


Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible— which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. We offer unique courses that explore the Spanish language, literature, and political science, as well as other topics, through an in-depth and hands-on approach.

Our world-class professors and course options at prestigious local universities enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class. Meet one of these professors, Dr. José Ramón Matito Fernández, in this faculty spotlight interview.

Students normally take 15-19 credits per semester (5-6 courses), and all IES Abroad courses are worth 3 credits unless otherwise specified. All courses are taught in Spanish.

Craft your own academic experience by selecting from the following required and optional components:

  • IES Abroad Spanish language course (required, 5 credits)
  • IES Abroad area studies courses (3 credits each)
  • IES Abroad Spanish language workshops (1 credit each)
  • Spanish-taught courses at partner universities (optional, 1.5-4 credits)
    • Universidad de Salamanca courses in Spanish (1.5–4 credits)
    • Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca courses (1.5–4 credits)
  • Education Internship placement and seminar (optional, 3 credits, Spring only)
  • Service Learning placement and seminar (optional, 3 credits, Fall only)


This is a list of planned course offerings. A final list of course offerings will be made available to you in your MyIESabroad account.

  • Reading the City: Literature and Art in Salamanca
  • Creative Writing Workshop
  • Internship Seminar: Education
  • Spanish Film Noir & Social Reality
  • The Franco Regime & the Transition to Democracy
  • Regionalism in Spain: Political Union and Cultural Intersections
  • Internship Seminar: Education
  • Reading the City: Literature and Art in Salamanca
  • Love, Sex and Death in the Spanish Golden Age: 16th & 17th Century Drama and Poetry
  • Literature & Cinema in Contemporary Spain
  • Photographing Art & Monuments: Salamanca and the Golden Stone
  • Political Systems in Spain and Latin America
  • The Franco Regime & the Transition to Democracy
  • Regionalism in Spain: Political Union and Cultural Intersections
  • Psychology, Health, and Wellbeing: Beyond Just Treating Mental Disorders
  • Paths of the Sacred: Pilgrimage in Religious Traditions and its Evolution in Europe
  • Comparative Religion: Tracing the Path of the Spanish Soul
  • Service Learning Seminar: Social Service Organizations
  • Her Side of History: Gender in Mediterranean Societies
  • Service Learning Seminar: Social Service Organizations
  • Creative Writing Workshop
  • Spanish Language in Context: Emerging Independent Abroad
  • Spanish Speaking Skills Workshop: Emerging Independent Abroad
  • Spanish Speaking Skills Workshop: Independent Abroad
  • Spanish Language in Context: Independent Abroad
  • Spanish Language in Context: Emerging Competent Abroad
  • Spanish Speaking Skills Workshop: Emerging Competent Abroad
  • Spanish through Theater Workshop
  • Love, Sex and Death in the Spanish Golden Age: 16th & 17th Century Drama and Poetry
  • Literature & Cinema in Contemporary Spain

Partner Institution(s)

Enrolling in courses at a local university is a great way to meet Spanish students and improve your language skills. You are strongly encouraged to enroll in local university courses. Course offerings vary each semester.

Universidad de Salamanca (USAL)

The Universidad de Salamanca (USAL) was founded in 1218 by King Alfonso IX of Leon, and currently enrolls approximately 30,000 students annually, of which 700 are international students. USAL is recognized for academic strength in Biology, Education, History, Philosophy, and Spanish Language and Literature. The Department of Natural and Physical Sciences offers courses in Biology and Biochemistry that correspond to courses at U.S. institutions for students majoring in these fields. There is a two-course minimum requirement at USAL.

Location & Commute Time

There are four different USAL campuses in different areas of the city. The commute times from the IES Abroad Center, located near the Plaza Mayor, to different university areas by foot are as follows:

  • Campus Histórico - 5 minutes
  • Facultad de Educación - 10 minutes
  • Campus Miguel de Unamuno - 15 minutes
  • Facultades de Psicología y Bellas Artes - 30 minutes

Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca (UPSA)

UPSA was originally founded in the 13th century but closed in the mid-1800s. In 1940, the school was re-established and has continued to broaden its academic offerings with new opportunities for degrees and fields of study.

Location & Commute Time

UPSA is five minutes away from Salamanca's historic Plaza Mayor and has numerous departments and university schools spread out among the Salamanca campus. UPSA also has departments and schools in Madrid and throughout twelve Spanish provinces.

Service Learning

Service-learning: Social service organizations

Fall Only

Participating in a service-learning experience in Salamanca is an opportunity to give back to the community while gaining a much deeper understanding of the city’s culture and society. Working alongside local people toward a common goal, you experience first-hand some of the social and political issues that affect Salamanca while contributing your skills toward a community-driven solution.

A service-learning experience consists of time spent with a local organization, accompanied by an academic, for-credit service learning seminar. Through the seminar, you have structured time for reflection and discussion, and even research, on the issues of your host community.

Possible placements may include organizations focusing on disaster relief, immigrant services, and social and political advocacy.


Education Internships

Spring Only

Interning abroad as part of your study abroad experience will help distinguish your application for graduate school or a job opportunity in today’s competitive market. It’s an exhilarating challenge, and we’re here to help guide you in securing your placement and succeeding in your internship.

Participating in an internship abroad helps you:

  1. Add international experience to your résumé
  2. Gain real work experience and skills
  3. Build your confidence

All of our education internships are supervised and earn IES Abroad credit. You participate in a seminar to complement the practical experience you gain during the internship.

Field Trips & Events

Even though your adventure starts in Salamanca, our field trips take you beyond the city to discover the culture and traditions of the Iberian Peninsula. Each trip is fully or partially subsidized by IES Abroad. Here are a few possible destinations.

Camino de Santiago

5 Days | Fall

Experience one of the oldest and most unique pilgrimage routes in Europe that ends at the site of the remains of St. James, one of the 12 apostles.

Sevilla & Granada

3 Days | Fall

Explore the famous cathedral in Sevilla and the Alhambra in Granada—the greatest monument of Moorish architecture in Spain.


1 Day | Fall & Spring

Segovia is known for its Romanesque and Gothic architecture and for having one of the longest and best-preserved Roman aqueducts in all of Europe.


1 Day | Fall & Spring

Tour a winery and see the largest collection of Romanesque churches in all of Europe.


3 Days | Spring

Visit the oldest Portuguese University in Coimbra, the monastery of Jeronimos in Lisbon, and the Basilica of Fatima.

Sanabria Lake

3 Days | Spring

Hike through this natural park with local guides and explore the history and the legend of this lake on the Helios Cousteau, the first solar-wind powered boat.

Course-Related Trips

Course-related excursions are academic trips associated with courses. They are organized to complement IES Abroad courses and contribute to a general knowledge of Spanish culture and society. Participation is based on course registration. All transportation costs and entry fees are included in your program cost.

Past examples of short course-related excursions include:

Tour the Atapuerca sites and paleo-anthropological enclave, the most popular in the world. Observe and have direct contact with archaeological remains.

Travel to La Alberca, a historic town in the Salamanca province. Tour a typical Albercan house and learn about the traditions of the small village. Your guide will describe life in a Spanish town of fewer than 1,000 people during the Spanish Civil War and the Dictatorship, as well as the changes that have taken place over the years regarding housing construction, gastronomy, and other aspects of daily life.

Visit the oldest library of the University of Salamanca to learn about the socio-cultural impact of the University on Spanish and international history throughout many centuries.

Explore the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid to see the main works of Surrealism in Spain.

Daily Life

Part of making you feel at home in Salamanca is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it is an orientation program that makes you feel prepared, housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips that take you places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services.


The program begins with a mandatory orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad Salamanca staff, your fellow students, and the city of Salamanca. Topics such as academics, housing, transportation, and health and safety are covered during this time.

Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the semester with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home.

You will participate in a one-credit Spanish language orientation course that includes intensive classes in Spanish conversation and colloquial usage.

Past orientation activities have included dance classes, a soccer tournament with Spanish students, and an excursion to Segovia, known for its Romanesque and Gothic architecture and for having one of the best-preserved Roman aqueducts in all of Europe. You also visit the charming Romanesque town of Zamora and the famous wine region of Toro. The program is designed to integrate you into every aspect of life in Salamanca.


We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Salamanca, it will feel like home.

Homestays – Live with a local resident(s) in your own private room and receive three meals a day while the program is in session.

Residence Halls – All rooms are singles with an en-suite bathroom and a shared kitchenette. The residence hall features a weight room, laundry facilities, computer lab, study area, and game room. IES Abroad provides you with 14 meals per week. You'll receive a meal card to use in various university dining halls. Placement in the residence hall is limited.

Extracurricular Activities & Cultural Events

Redefine the way you live and learn in Salamanca through our cultural events, such as:

  • Local gastronomy outings
  • Spanish films, theater productions, concerts, and art exhibits
  • Spanish cooking classes
  • Guest lectures and cultural events sponsored by IES Abroad

Orientation Leaders and Mentors

Participate in activities organized by Spanish volunteer students from our partner universities. Whether it's an international potluck, a pickup game of soccer, or a tour of the city's best restaurants you will gain a unique perspective into student life in Salamanca and create lifelong friendships.

El Club de Español

Our IES Abroad Salamanca faculty takes great pride in the quality of its language training. While in Salamanca, you are expected to speak Spanish within the Center and also outside the Center in your everyday activities. We invite you to join El Club de Español (Spanish Club), in which members wear a bracelet that indicates they are committed to speaking only Spanish all semester.

University Clubs & Events

Involvement in sporting clubs and student societies can be a great opportunity to meet local students. Club and event availability for IES Abroad students at the Universidad de Salamanca varies each semester; during your orientation, you will learn about the different opportunities available during your semester in Salamanca.


Consider these prices as a starting point. We encourage you to contact your study abroad office to determine the actual cost to you when factoring in financial aid, scholarships, your home school policies, and other factors.

Spring 2020

Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Spring 2020 $10,075 $2,645 $230 $12,950

Academic year

Term Tuition Housing Insurance Total
Academic year $18,125 $5,290 $455 $23,870

Scholarships & Aid

Program-Specific Scholarships

Dr. William Louis Gaines Need-Based History or International Relations Scholarship

Up to $1,875; awarded to 4-6 students each year.

This scholarship is named in honor of Dr. William Louis Gaines, President of IES Abroad from 1974-1992. Dr. Gaines was dedicated to strengthening IES Abroad's academic framework, broadening the scope of IES Abroad locations, and securing the financial foundation of the organization.

Open to students majoring in History or International Relations.

William E. & Mary M. Dwyer Need-Based Spanish Scholarship

Ranges up to $1,000; awarded to 4-6 students each year.

These scholarships are intended for students interested in studying in a Spanish-speaking country.

Kathleen Kervin Diamond Endowed Scholarship

Up to $2,000 each; awarded to 4-6 students each year.

Kathleen Diamond is a consultant, entrepreneur, and business leader in the language services industry. In 1979, she founded Language Learning Enterprises, Inc. (LLE®), a full-service language company based in Washington, D.C. She is recognized as an early pioneer in Telephone Interpreting, launching LLE-LINK in the early 1990s. Over the next 20 years, under her leadership, the company grew into a dynamic, multimillion-dollar corporation, serving a wide range of clients, in both the private and public sectors, across the United States, and worldwide. In 2009, Ms.

Our Center

The IES Abroad Salamanca Center is located in the core of the city, near the Plaza Mayor and the historic campuses of the Universidad de Salamanca and Universidad Pontificia. Features include:

  • Modern facility
  • Wireless Internet access
  • A student lounge and study area
  • A small library
  • A computer lab
Last updated May 2020

About the School

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectation ... Read More

Everything we do is about the IES Abroad student. Our profoundly passionate team of study abroad professionals believes in creating once-in-a-lifetime educational adventures that transcend expectations. Our goal is to rock the world of some 6,000 study abroad students every year. Read less
Chicago , Amsterdam , Arles , Auckland , Barcelona , Beijing , Berlin , Buenos Aires , Cape Town , Christchurch , Dublin , Freiburg , Granada , London , Madrid , Milan , Nagoya , Nantes , New York , Nice , Paris , Oxford , Quito , Rabat , Rome , Salamanca , Santiago , Shanghai , Siena , Sydney , Tokyo , Puerto Ayora , Vienna , Hong Kong , Puerto Baquerizo Moreno , Cambridge + 35 More Less