Summer Abroad Spain - Instructor

Spanish Art

Instructor Profile Image, UC Davis Summer Abroad Spain

Cristina Martínez-Carazo


I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and give you an idea of what an international experience means for me.

I was born in Spain and traveling has always been a key part of my life. For over ten years I spent long summers in Morocco which gave me the necessary time to learn how to live in a different culture and to put my own native culture in perspective. Due to the fact that distances in Europe are relatively short I had the opportunity to travel around many European countries and see at the same time how close and how far Spain was from the rest of the continent.

The passion about traveling is one of the main things that I brought with me to the US when I came for graduate school. And this is one of the gifts that I am trying to pass to our students: the enthusiasm about knowing other cultures and the desire to visit a different country. Besides the value of knowing other cultures I consider that in order to know his/her own culture, a students needs to contrast it with another culture.

I am a Full Professor in the Department of Spanish and teach courses in Spanish film, art, culture and literature. I have been a faculty member of UCD since 1995 and for the last thirteen years I have been leading a Summer Abroad Program in Burgos and Quarter Abroad Program in Madrid. Taking students abroad is the most rewarding part of my job. The constant contact with these young adults in Spain allows me to help them immerse in my own culture and grow personally and academically. I am convinced that these international experiences permanently impact our students' lives and prepare them for the challenges of the global culture of the third millennium.

I will be happy to give you any additional information you may need to make your decision about studying in Spain and I hope to have you in my program.

A Message to Students and Parents

Taking a class on Spanish arts and cultures allows the students to understand the artistic diversity of Spain and the links between art, culture and politics. Besides that my goal is to transfer to my students my passion for the arts and to teach them how to “experience art” by feeling the grandiosity of a Gothic Cathedral, the intimate space of a Romanesque church, the silence of a monastery, the human scale of a Renaissance palace, the overwhelming decoration of a Baroque church and the multiple readings that a painting has. Students will also learn about the plurality of languages and cultures of Spain. The cultural and linguistic differences among Cataluña, the Basque Country, Galicia and Castilla show the complexity of Spanish history and the link between culture and politics, as well as the meaning of diversity in Spain. The best achievement for me would be to inspire my students to love art and to help them keep this passion for the rest of their lives.

What Students Are Saying

"Cristina is very well versed in Spanish Art and history. The tours she planned were informative, engaging, and a great supplemental addition to classroom materials. Cristina is passionate about the program and was so much more than just a professor. Cristina is incredible!"

"The program was the best experience of my life! Cristina really gave us a hands-on view of Spain and I felt that it was very reasonably priced for all of the traveling/experiences we had."

"I learned a lot that will stay with me beyond the summer."