Penn Semester in Seville: Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA)
La Universidad de Sevilla
The University of Seville is one of the oldest universities in Spain. The royal warrant for its establishment was granted in 1502, ten years after Columbus set sail for what was to become known as the New World. In its first years, the university was housed in a building near the Cathedral and Reales Alcazares, and consisted of just four facultades: theology, medicine, civil and canon law, and liberal arts. A nearby colegio provided housing for the entire student body of fifteen. Today, the University boasts an enrollment of more than 70,000 students divided between seventeen facultades across several campuses. The main university building, in central Seville and convenient to the program center, houses the facultades of history and geography and philology, the principal schools in which program students are most likely to take courses. This building was once a tobacco factory--the same one where the heroine in Bizet's opera Carmen was employed.
The Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA) Sevilla program has its own program center and offices located in downtown Seville, easily reachable by public transportation or on foot. The location is attractive and convenient, directly across from the Torre del Oro along the bank of the Guadalquivir River. One of the main buildings of the Universidad de Sevilla is a ten-minute walk from the CASA Centro, and students can easily get between the two sites for classes. The program center occupies the third floor (segundo piso in the Spanish system) of a building on Paseo de las Delicias. Its facilities include a classroom, computer lab, hundreds of books available for student use, and offices for the program director and program coordinator. The center serves as a focal point for various activities--studying, checking e-mail, discussing concerns or issues with program staff members, and receiving mail. In addition, program courses, tutorials and lectures take place there.
Students must understand that this is a Spanish immersion program and should be prepared to speak Spanish at all times in the Center, and preferably in all contexts throughout the entire stay. Accordingly, there is a Spanish-only language pledge in the center that is strictly enforced by program staff and that students must sign.
Seville, the capital of Andalusia and of the province of Seville, is a city of approximately 700,000, making it the third-largest city in Spain. Founded by Phoenicians over two thousand years ago and conquered in turn by Carthaginians, Romans, Visigoths, and Islamic groups from North Africa, the city boasts a rich and vibrant history. As the Castillian monarchy proceeded with the re-conquest of Spain, Seville became the seat of the Spanish court during the reigns of several monarchs. Seville also served as the embarkation point for Christopher Columbus' journeys to the New World. Thanks to this lively history, Seville is considered the cultural, fiscal and artistic center of southern Spain.
With such an eclectic history, the city's architecture is unique and stunning. Seville's cathedral is one of the largest medieval and Gothic structures in the world. Its distinctive and magnificent bell tower, la giralda, was originally an Islamic minaret. The nearby Alcázar, the medieval royal palace of Pedro I built by Islamic and Christian architects and artisans, exemplifies Seville's wealth of monuments. Residential neighborhoods with narrow twisting streets, iron grillwork, flower-laden balconies, and tiny plazas create Seville's unique charm.
Did you know…?
In the spring Seville hosts two spectacular festivals: Semana Santa, with its magnificent and colorful processions organized by religious associations (cofradías) and Feria, which celebrates Andalusian culture. During Feria, women wear elaborate flamenco dresses and men dress in their best suits. Seville also offers an extensive variety of music, dance, theater, and food.
The Penn Semester in Seville: Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA) is for College credit only.
This program allows a maximum of 15 students per semester. Should more apply, all applications will be sent to a review committee for selection.
Minimum GPA Requirement: 3.0
Language Prerequisite: Successful completion of SPAN 219 or 223 with a grade of B or better in all Spanish courses at Penn required by the end of the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure. Students must be enrolled in a Spanish course during the academic semester (fall or spring) prior to departure.
Language of Instruction
The program begins each semester with a required Seminario Cultural for which students will receive SPAN 216 credit. The course name is: Más allá de los estereotipos: Encuentros con la historia, sociedad, lengua y cultura de Sevilla. All students are required to take this course. Participants will engage in activities that combine intensive Spanish language study with the study of Spain and Andalusian history, art, and culture. The Seminario runs for several weeks prior to the start of classes and continues in a condensed form throughout the academic semester. Some components of the Seminario include: orientation to the Universidad de Sevilla, integration into homestay families, personalized language training and evaluation, explanation of course offerings, introduction to the language, anthropology, history, and art that will form the foundation for courses, volunteering at a local community organization, and guided nearby excursions. Each student develops a learning contract to establish personal goals and an activity plan to achieve those goals over the semester. Between in-class hours, projects, and experiential learning, the SeminarioCultural requires a similar workload to a regular course.
Penn Abroad participants must maintain a full course load for their period of study abroad. Fall and spring semester students enroll in a total of five courses (cultural pro-seminar, one program course and three university courses). Full year students are not required to repeat the cultural pro-seminar in the spring semester. The Center courses guarantee small classes and a format similar to courses taught at Penn, while most university courses are large lecture courses. Final course selection takes place at the beginning of the term, but students will begin a detailed process of determining possible course options prior to arrival in Sevilla.
Traditionally most courses in a Spanish university are full year courses; students enrolling for the academic year will have the greatest course selection. Students who seek to participate for only one semester will have a more limited selection of semester-length courses from which to choose. Some departments will not permit single semester students to enroll in year-long courses. Some upper division seminar elective courses, called optativas, are an excellent choice in many fields, because class size is smaller and the opportunity for class discussion is greater. The optativas also require more specialized knowledge of their subject matter. The Center staff advises students about the appropriateness of courses for their level of Spanish proficiency and their preparation in different areas of study.
To assist students in their studies, the Center staff can arrange for tutoring in a variety of subjects. This resource has been very helpful to students in gaining a better understanding of the material and expectations of Spanish professors.
As on all Penn Abroad programs, grades are recorded on the Penn transcript and are calculated in the cumulative grade point average. The pass/fail option can be exercised according to the Penn on-campus policy of your home school. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s academic policies.
Courses will receive grades based on the Spanish university ten point scale (including decimal points, e.g. 7.5). The scale is not based on an equal distribution of points nor on a percentage. Grades are reported on the Spanish scale and are converted to Penn grades according to standard Spanish - U.S. grade equivalencies.
Grades are reported to Penn from CASA Seville and then converted to Penn grades according to the following grade equivalencies:
Participants must be willing to live under local conditions for students.
Students live in homestays in local Spanish households. Most host families house two program participants, who share a double room. Single rooms are very difficult to obtain, and the program has only limited single placements. Although the program generally does not place more than two American students in one home, you may find that there are Spanish students also living with the host family or American students from other programs. A typical host family will not necessarily include two parents or children your age. Students often find their host is a widow or a divorcee who houses students to supplement her income.
Most home stays are in apartment buildings, generally within a twenty to thirty-minute commute (walking, by bus, or by subway) from the program center and some University of Seville departments. Living in a private home is the best way to learn the language, customs and culture of Spain and participants in the Seville program have found this arrangement to be invaluable in terms of cultural insight and understanding. The Center staff assists the students in obtaining housing appropriate to their needs. Students may not make their own housing arrangements.
Cost and Finance
Penn Abroad Financial Policies
Students are charged Penn tuition and academic fees for all Penn Abroad programs. Additional expenses will typically include items such as housing, visas, and airfare. Please see the program budget sheets below for more information. Be sure to review Penn Abroad’s financial policies.