Learning Abroad in Spanish & Portuguese

Learning Abroad in Spanish & Portuguese

“In my classes I am always impressed with how much confidence students have gained from their time spent studying abroad. They often demonstrate great leaps not only in their language proficiency, but also in their cultural competence and their appreciation for cultural difference. They gain immeasurably in their study of literature and culture from having lived and studied in a Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking country.”
—Barbara Weissberger, Professor Emeritus

Have you always wanted to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking or Portuguese-speaking country, but you do not know where to begin? The following information will help familiarize you with some of the many programs available to you so you can determine if you want to study in the medieval city of Toledo or the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires.

Department Recommendations

Contact your adviser in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies before beginning your study abroad research.

Choose your study abroad experience wisely

The Department strongly encourages all majors and minors to study abroad in a Spanish or Portuguese speaking area. An ideal time to plan for study abroad is in the early stages of the 3xxx-level, returning to campus thereafter to take several advanced electives with departmental faculty in culmination of the major.

Did you know that studying abroad can actually speed your academic progress toward achieving a major or minor? Many classes can function to fulfill university or degree requirements as well as departmental requirements. The Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies co-sponsors several programs with the Learning Abroad Center.

Department-Sponsored Program Locations

Levels of departmental sponsorship

Department-sponsored programs

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese has a very special relationship with the five programs listed above.

Department-endorsed programs

The department has selected additional programs on the basis of two criteria: They work well for students majoring or minoring in Spanish or in Spanish and Portuguese, and they complement the department-sponsored programs by offering different locations, curricular directions, or teaching formats. Department-endorsed programs usually yield University of Minnesota resident credit.

Academic Planning

Fulfill Liberal Education requirements

Fulfilling major or minor requirements

Procedures for petitioning study abroad courses

College/Department Scholarships for UofM Students

Learning Abroad Programs

 For help deciding between Spanish language options, consult the Spanish Language Programs Comparison Chart (PDF).



Study Abroad in Buenos Aires

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • Very cost-effective UofM program
  • Offers four 3000-level courses: 
    • ARGN 3015: Spanish Composition & Communication
    • ARGN 3001: Colloquial Spanish
    • ARGN 3009: Argentina: Stereotypes & Identity
    • ARGN 3104W: Introduction to the Study of Hispanic Literatures
  • Homestay housing option increases your language skills and your connection with local culture 
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year, winter break or summer.

IES Argentina—Buenos Aires

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center (and University Study)
  • Three different tracks in this flexible program can accommodate students at any level of Spanish proficiency from beginner to advanced.
  • No Pre-approval is granted for classes.
  • All three tracks offer language courses, a wide range of area studies courses, and internships and service-learning; the two more advanced tracks also offer access to university courses.
  • Direct enroll option - required for advanced students.
  • Instruction in the lower track is in English, in the two more advanced tracks in Spanish. Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.

IFSA Argentina—Buenos Aires

  • Direct enroll with some center based classes.
  • Language classes are only three credits—No Pre-approval granted.
  • This program combines Spanish language, a program course, and Argentine university courses with local students at one or more of the best universities in Buenos Aires.
  • A research option is available. The summer program includes Spanish language and one or two area studies courses.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; two year of college-level Spanish required.


IES Chile

  • Location: Santiago, Chile
  • Program Type: Study Abroad Center
  • Choose either from a wide variety of courses at the IES Center or enroll in regular university courses at the Universidad de Chile and the Pontifícia Universidad Católica.
  • Take advantage of a service-learning project in connection with any of the program courses.
  • Internships available in business, the arts, and governmental agencies.
  • Taught in Spanish by Chilean faculty.

IFSA Chile

  • Program Type: Study Abroad Center
  • Program Term: Fall Semester, Spring Semester, Academic or Calendar Year
  • Combine intensive language and culture courses, university courses, and specially designed program courses while living in Santiago.
  • Choose from several university study programs.
  • Courses are taught in Spanish.

CIEE Chile

  • Universities in Santiago or Valparaíso
  • Program type: University Study (and Study Abroad Center)
  • The CIEE Santiago and Valparaíso programs give access to four of Chile’s top universities, three in Santiago and one in Valparaíso. On the CIEE website look under Liberal Arts programs.
  • In addition to regular university courses, participants take an advanced Spanish language course plus at least one other center course.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; 6 prior semesters of prior Spanish are required. Fall or spring semester, academic or calendar year.

Dominican Republic

CIEE Dominican Republic

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • The language and area studies program, based at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in Santiago, the Dominican Republic’s second city, has a strong focus on Caribbean studies.
  • Participants also have the option if a service-learning placement and/or enrollment in one or two university courses.
  • Instruction is in Spanish, four prior semesters of language study are required.
  • Fall semester, spring semester, or academic year.


MSID—International Development in Ecuador

  • Program Type: Field Study
  • Program Term: Fall Semester, Spring Semester, Academic Year
  • Location: Quito and other locations, Ecuador
  • MSID offers credit through coursework, research, field placements and internships. Work along-side host nationals on development projects or with agencies working in their area of interest.
  • MSID internships and research projects are related to development, and are grassroots-immersing you directly and personally in the social realities of the poorer strata of the population.
  • Past examples includes opportunities to work in schools, public health and nutrition, family planning, youth work, and many more.
  • Two years of College-level Spanish required.

Intensive Spanish in Ecuador

  • Location Type: Quito, Ecuador
  • Program Type: Study center program with a focus on language acquisition
  • Study the Spanish language while you explore Ecuador, a country known for its remarkable geographic and biological diversity.
  • Winter Break, Summer Session


Language and Culture in Mexico

  • Intensive Spanish language program that allows you to complete one semester’s worth of Spanish in three or four weeks.
  • Convenient terms offered over winter break, May and summer
  • Small class size (maximum of 5 students)
  • Courses offered at the beginning, intermediate & advanced level (1004 - 3015)
  • Affordable program fee that includes credits, housing and all meal.
  • Housing with local host families increases cultural immersion.
  • Medical Spanish (1044) course available during May term.



  • Program type: University Study (and Study Abroad Center)
  • Lima-based PUCP is Peru’s oldest private university. Program participants take university courses plus 2 required center courses.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; five prior semesters of Spanish required.
  • Fall or spring semester, calendar or academic year.



Language and Culture in Portugal

  • This program, based at the University of Coimbra⏤one of the oldest universities in Europe, offers Portuguese language and culture courses designed for foreign students
  • Students with sufficient language proficiency may also be able to take one or two university courses alongside Portuguese students.
  • Spring semester of academic year.


Study & Intern in Toledo

  • Program type: Study Abroad Center
  • UofM language/humanities/social science program located in Spain’s former capital and one of Europe’s most picturesque cities⏤a living museum of medieval and Renaissance architecture.
  • Instruction is in Spanish; four prior semesters of Spanish are required.
  • Students have the opportunity to take courses at the local university, la Universidad Castilla-La Mancha, with native Spanish students.
  • The semester program offers internships as well as a service learning course emphasizing immigration in Spain.
  • Fall or spring semester, academic year, May term, or summer.

CIEE Spain

  • Program Type: Study Abroad Center
  • Program Term: Fall Semester, Spring Semester, Summer Term, Academic Year
  • A variety of available program tracks and course offerings are designed to meet the needs of a wide range of students.
  • The Liberal arts track offers coursework in English and Spanish for students with beginner to advanced Spanish language skills.
  • Based on language level, students enroll in CIEE electives and courses for foreign students at a University.


Additional Options to Consider

Global Seminars

Non-Credit Opportunities

Student Experiences

Explore how other students built study abroad into their major:

Craig C. Studies Physiology and Spanish in Ecuador

Through the year-long MSID program in Ecuador, Craig C. was able to complete an internship within his Physiology major while also receiving credits towards his Spanish major.

Carrie G. Studies and Interns in South America

First with the MSID program in Ecuador, then on an internship with the State Department in Peru, and finally spending a year in studying in Santiago, Chile, Carrie has traveled extensively in South America. She is now pursuing a career as a U.S. Foreign Service officer, hoping to become an ambassador someday!

Alice S. Studies Development in Ecuador

Alice, a sociology major, lived in Ecuador for the academic year, and spent time both in Quito and the Cotacachi area in rural Ecuador. She gained experience working with a non-governmental organization, and studying culture and development.

Tavia Travels to Toledo

Tavia enjoyed spending a semester in Spain, studying Spanish. Her favorite part is the lifestyles Spaniards live.

Leslie L. Studies Spanish in Spain

Leslie is a sociology and accounting major who spent six weeks studying in Toledo, completing requirements for her Spanish minor. Because of her trip, she is now interested in adding an international dimension to her career.

John W. Studies Spanish in Spain

John studied in Toledo for a semester, where he completed his Spanish minor requirements. He also interned as a columnist for Toledo's newspaper, La Tribuna.