Center for Advanced Studies Abroad

Experiential learning is an integral component of international study. In this type of course, students combine in-class preparation with independent research, significant field-work, and a guided observation/analysis paper. They experience first hand what can only be studied in a classroom setting at their home university. All international programs should have some experiential learning components.

CASA currently offers two interesting and unique experiential learning courses. The Camino de Santiago Walk and Study Tour and A Museum-Based Survey of Spanish Art, are offered each semester as part of the regular curriculum.

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The Camino de Santiago Walk and Study Tour

This unique experiential learning teaches participants about the history, art, music, religion, architecture and urban development of northern Spain, while challenging themselves physically, having an unparalleled opportunity to commune with nature, and reaping the benefits of interacting with  “pilgrims” from all over the world. The Camino de Santiago Walk and Study Tour is a complete academic and personal growth experience.

The Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route runs from the Pyrenees to the Cathedral of Saint James (Santiago) in the city of Santiago de Compostela in the northwestern corner of the Iberian Peninsula.  Santiago has been the “Mecca” of Christians in Western Europe since the 9th century, and for many centuries was considered one of Christianity’s three holy cities along with Rome and Jerusalem. Millions of pilgrims have walked the trail over the centuries, and evidence of their journeys can still be found along the way.

Trip features and highlights:

  • Orientation sessions in Alicante prior to pilgrimage.
  • Transportation from Alicante to the origination point and from Santiago back to Alicante.
  • 5-7 days of walking along the pilgrimage trail for a total of 100 – 125 kilometers
  • Lodging in pilgrim shelters along the Camino and sharing of communal meals
  • Daily information sessions about points of interest along the Camino
  • 2 days in Santiago to visit the Cathedral and the city
  • Pilgrim’s passport

Participants must be able to walk 12-15 miles per day.

This course is accepted for credit at several U.S. universities.

There is an extra fee to cover travel, lodging and meals.

Academic Field Trips



A Museum-Based Survey of Spanish Art

Art is best appreciated by observing it first hand. Students studying art at their home institutions are limited to electronic or slide representations of the magnificent pieces of art that have been produced over the centuries by Spanish artists such as Velázquez, Goya, el Greco, Ribera, Murillo, Picasso, Dali, Miró, and Sorolla among many others.  Studying abroad in Spain provides an excellent opportunity for students to get out of the classroom and into the museums to see the original works as they were produced, in full size and proper lighting.  It also allows the students to experience the culture and context in which these works of art were produced to obtain a more complete understanding of the pieces.

This course takes students to the museums of Spain – large and small – and exposes them to the architecture of Spanish cities, an important component in a course on art.  The museum and city visits are led by the course professor and explanations are given on site. Pertinent information on the artist, period, artistic styles and movements and a reading list to complement museum visits are provided. Students choose an artist, period, style or movement that interests them and carry out an in-depth study for a final paper and presentation.

To complement the course activities, the professor also tailors the course to each student’s activities while in Spain and Europe. In other words, when a student travels independently, indications are given as to the pieces of art and architecture to be seen in the cities visited. In this way, students are taking advantage of all of their travel experiences to expand their knowledge of Spanish art.

Academic Field Trips

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