Summer Abroad Spain - On Site

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Three Cultures of Medieval Spain


You will stay in a mix of accommodations including hotels, homestays, and residence halls.

UC Davis reserves the right to change the accommodation location. Should this be necessary, we will arrange comparable lodging. Please note that elevators, air conditioners, and other modern conveniences may not be available in all locations.


Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included in program fees.  All special requirements are taken into consideration such as a vegetarian diet, any allergies, etc.

Excursions and Day Trips

This four-week program will be divided into two parts: (1) an initial two-week orientation based in Salamanca where students will receive an overview of Castilian culture, the historical background, and the cultural context for the medieval period, together with several short trips to Madrid, the Jewish quarters of Salamanca and Zamora, the synagogues of Segovia, Cuellar, and Toledo, and the mosque of Toledo; (2) a two-week study trip to the heart of Al-Andalus and it’s three dynastic cities: Cordoba, Sevilla, and Granada.

Study Abroad Advisory of Student Risk

Participation in this UC Davis Study Abroad program requires travel to and extended living in a foreign location(s) abroad. UC Davis Study Abroad endeavors to reduce and mitigate risk wherever possible.  However, the environments and risks associated with living in these locations are substantially different than those found during a regular course of study at UC Davis. All participants must download and review the following information prior to departure. Any questions should be directed to the Program Coordinator.

Study Abroad General Risk Advisory

Program Specific Risk Advisories (PDF)

About Salamanca

Salamanca is a multicultural city, full of life, where you can always find places for music, dance, theatre and film, and of course specialised Spanish cuisine. Salamanca is a city with a rich history and overflowing with energy from its student population. Famous for its incredible architecture, its original golden stone which fills the streets with beautiful tones and a unique light gives the city’s buildings a rich feeling of culture.

About Sevilla

Some cities have looks, others have personality. The sevillanos – lucky devils – get both, courtesy of their flamboyant, charismatic, ever-evolving Andalucian metropolis founded, according to myth, 3000 years ago by the Greek god Hercules. Doused in never-ending sunlight, Seville's beauty is relatively easy to uncover. Its soul is a darker and more complex force, however. Flamenco's history is partially rooted here in the dusty taverns of Triana, and greedy conquistadors once roamed the sinuous streets of El Arenal counting their colonial gold. Tugged by the pull of both forces, it is Seville's capriciousness that leaves the heaviest impression.

About Granada

Seville may have the pasión and Córdoba a medieval charm, but Granada has an edge. Most visitors concentrate solely on the magnificent Alhambra, but if you explore further, you’ll find Andalucía’s hippest, most youthful city, with a ‘free tapas’ culture, innovative bars and intimate flamenco haunts.

Here the Islamic past feels recent, as Muslim North Africans make up some 10% of the population; there’s even a modern mosque in the medieval district of the Albayzín. And though Granada looks alpine, with the white-capped Sierra Nevada peaks startlingly close, you could just as easily go swimming down on the coast for the day and be back in time to enjoy the city’s nightlife.

Weather and Climate

Prepare for hot weather conditions. You are encouraged to monitor the weather in the weeks leading up to the program online.

Salamanca - The month of June is characterized by rising daily high temperatures, with daily highs increasing from 76°F to 84°F over the course of the month, exceeding 92°F or dropping below 65°F only one day in ten.

Sevilla and Granada - The month of July is characterized by gradually rising daily high temperatures, with daily highs ranging from 93°F to 97°F over the course of the month, exceeding 105°F or dropping below 84°F only one day in ten.

Research Your Destination

Keeping in Touch

Since communication options can vary dramatically from country to country, Summer Abroad advises checking with the instructor or the Program Specific Guide for advice about what might be the best option for your particular program.

Calling the U.S. from Abroad

Many U.S.-based long distance phone companies provide special services that make it easy for you to phone home from abroad. Some provide toll-free access numbers that connect with an operator in the U.S. Some provide the means to charge long distance calls to a credit card or to a third party. Some provide better long distance rates. Others provide access to emergency, medical, legal, translation, and entertainment information. Students are encouraged to investigate these options before departure and to shop for the best services and rates.

Global Cell Phones

Most cell phone companies can sell you a special global cell phone with the option to add more minutes as needed. Also, most cell phone companies can unlock your cell phone for global use, but this requires a trip to a provider at your destination who will give you a SIM card and sell you minutes. Check with your cell phone provider for more information. Global cell phones are also available through travel agencies and online. Be sure to check the policies for both incoming and outgoing calls and text messages.

Cell Phone Rental

Some students choose to rent a cell phone that works at their destination. Some companies will ship the phone directly to the student in advance of the program dates—and include a packet for sending the phone back when they return. Interested students can locate service providers via the Internet.

Phone Cards

Many travel agencies and specific phone providers carry great options for phone cards. Check the rates available from your long distance provider. You can often buy phone cards on site.


Skype is a computer program that you can download for free that allows you to talk (for free) on the phone over the Internet with anyone else who has Skype. Go to to download the program. For an extra fee (as low as .02 cents/minute) you can enable your Skype to call land lines instead of just other computers. You will need a microphone and headset so that you can talk to the person on the other line. Skype also includes a chat option for instant messaging.

Instant Messaging Systems

Instant messaging systems are also a great free way to communicate with people back in the states. There are numerous options for messaging systems from AOL Instant Messenger to Yahoo Messenger. Just about every messaging program can be downloaded for free online.

Internet Access

Computer and internet access varies by program. Information for your site will be listed in your Program Specific Guide.

Internet access is offered in all the countries we go to, but the reliability of it differs from program to program. Internet can be accessed through internet cafes. Some programs also offer access through the dorms or on-campus computer labs. Internet cafes are very reasonably priced and often times have various instant messaging programs installed and headphones available to chat with loved ones. Relying on internet cafes may reduce worry of bringing your own laptop with you. You can upload pictures at most internet cafes, but remember due to the speed of some connections, it may be a better idea just to bring multiple memory cards to avoid spending your whole day on the computer.

Cultural Learning

Living in a new culture can be exhilarating, rewarding, and stimulating. It can also be frustrating. It is one thing to tour a country, but it is quite another to live and function according to different norms. It is important to be open toward a new culture, to try to discard stereotypes, and to learn as much as possible about the culture before departure. If you educate yourself about the country you will be visiting, you will better understand and appreciate your new surroundings!

Even with preparation it is likely that you will experience "culture shock." Recent studies show that there are distinct stages of culture shock. Some of these stages include: awareness of the host culture and preparation, initial euphoria and excitement, irritability phase during acclimation, gradual adjustment, and adaptation to culture. Upon return to the United States, many students face "reverse culture shock."

There are some things you can do to minimize your cultural adjustment. Keep a sense of humor! Treat yourself to an occasional U.S. indulgence like a favorite food, or purchase a U.S. magazine or newspaper. Avoid other Americans who are overly negative or who complain a lot. Keep healthy. Above all, don't be afraid to try new activities!

Resources for Further Study

Ethical Considerations in Study Abroad