Spanish Culture

Universidad de Salamanca

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Spanish Culture

  • Host University

    Universidad de Salamanca

  • Location

    Salamanca, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Art History, European Studies, History, Sociology

  • Language Level

    Intermediate, Advanced, Superior

  • Prerequisites

    This class has similar descriptions for each level, but the students are split into the three different language levels according to their placement test results.

    Hours & Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    INTERMEDIATE Course Description:
    This course in Spanish culture gives an organized and systematic view of contemporary Spain focusing principally on the history, art, and culture of the Spain today.

    The following subjects will be covered:
    a) Contemporary history of Spain from the Second Republic until the present.
    b) Principle artistic and cultural movements within the above period.
    c) Institutions: a description of the present-day Spanish State.
    d) Economic and political life: a panorama of present-day Spain.e) Aspects of everyday life: schedules, food, customs, and past times of Spaniards.

    Within these general guidelines, the professor in charge of this course will make his/her explanations applicable to the life experiences enjoyed by the students while they are in Spain. The didactic material with which the students work will be presented and elaborated by the professor using documents of everyday occurrence: newspaper articles, magazines, television news, etc. and keeping in mind the necessities and suggestions of the students. This is a practical course in which active participation and direct motivation of the students is essential.
    **Evaluation: consists of classroom participation, projects, and a final exam.

    ADVANCED Course Description:

    ? To relate the culture from which the student comes with Spanish culture.
    ? To identify and utilize a variety of strategies to establish contacts with people from other cultures.
    ? To act as a cultural intermediary between one?s own culture and Spanish culture, and to approach intercultural misunderstandings effectively.
    ? To overcome stereotypes.
    ? Acquisition of cultural contents:
    1. principal artistic components
    2. principal Spanish historical events
    3. principal Spanish institutions
    4. principle geographic features

    ? To understand the models of Spanish society.
    ? To develop the skills necessary in order to localize and organize information on the cultural aspects of Spain.


    1. The system of names in Spain: ?a country of Garcías.?
    1.1. Origin and evolution of names and surnames in Spain.
    1.2. Why do Spaniards have two last names?
    1.3. Words and diminutives.

    2. Spanish social customs and conventions: how to behave in Spanish society.
    2.1. Greetings and goodbyes.
    2.2. The Spanish schedule.
    2.3. The difficult task of paying in Spain.
    2.4. Praise and compliments.
    2.5. Tú or Usted?

    3. A trip through Spain. The Spain of the Autonomous Regions.
    3.1. The formation of the autonomous communities.
    3.2. The differentiating factor: minority languages.
    3.3. A brief history of the Spanish language.
    3.4. Mediterranean Spain: Catalonia: The Barcelona of Gaudí.
    3.5. Green Spain: Galicia: The Way to Santiago.
    3.6. Basque Culture.
    3.7. Central Spain: Castile and León.
    ? Getting to know Salamanca
    3.8. Andalucía. Cultural blending.
    ? Arab and Jewish city planning.
    ? Flamenco.
    ? The Gypsies and their culture.
    3.9. From Madrid to the Sky: How to see a bullfight in Ventas.

    4. The Spanish political system.
    4.1. The functioning of Spanish democracy.
    4.2. The role of the monarchy in contemporary Spain.

    5. The way we are: present-day Spanish society: life conditions, social relations, and major problems.
    5.1. The new Spanish families.
    5.2. Spaniards? major problems.
    5.3. Social life.

    6. Spanish food.
    6.1. Main products
    -How to choose a Spanish wine.
    6.2. Important ?platos típicos.?


    Class participation, attitude, and attendance are the important factors as regards evaluation in this class. Homework is very important to passing the class (50%). We will have an exam at the end of the course.

    SUPERIOR Course Description:
    This Spanish Culture course gives an organized and systematic view of contemporary Spain. It is divided into three subsections:
    1) Spain on the verge of the 21st century
    Historic, artistic, geographic, and cultural framework
    Causes and reasons of the political modernity in Spain
    Democratic transition: from Suárez to Aznar
    Spain and its relationships to the world
    Analysis and revision of present-day Spain
    2) A plural country: Autonomous Spain
    Plural nationalisms: similarities and differences
    The princes of Asturias: a unique community
    The Valley of the Fallen: the beginning and end of Franco's reign
    Toledo, Cordoba: Spain as a mural of the different cultures
    El Escorial: the Golden Age
    The islands: tourism in Spain
    3) Everyday culture: what's unique about Spaniards
    Holy week: religious festivals
    Spanish opinions, beliefs, and attitudes
    Tradition and folklore: popular fiestas
    Spanish youth: similarities and difference from other countries
    Written press and other means of communication

    **Evaluation: This is a course that requires the active participation and the direct motivation of the students. The evaluation will consist of classroom participation, projects, and a final exam.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.


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