Spanish Culture

Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo - Santander

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Spanish Culture

    Course Required
  • Host University

    Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo - Santander

  • Location

    Santander, Spain

  • Area of Study

    Spanish Culture

  • Language Level


    Hours & Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    3 - 3
  • Overview


    This course is designed to introduce some of the elements that make up the "Spanish culture". This has produced a list of themes including political, geographical, historical, social, and folklore of contemporary Spain. This overview of Spain today, although also relating to globalization, is complemented with a reflection on what the general culture and Spanish culture in particular are, and on the need to achieve intercultural competence when relating to a different culture.


    Through this course of Spanish culture the learner is provided with the necessary base to be able to do the following:
    - Reflect on the meaning of the word culture in general and the meaning of the Spanish culture in particular
    - Analyze the causes and consequences of cultural misunderstandings
    - Discuss how cultural generalizations can be useful and dangerous
    - Investigate the relationship between language and culture
    - Develop an anthropological view of the complex reality of Spanish cultura
    - Understand the structure and organization of Spanish politics
    - Become familiar with the recent history of Spain
    - Understand the current issues that are most important to the Spanish
    - Know and understand some of the Spanish traditions and customs
    - Delve into a specific aspect of Spanish culture


    The subject, in addition to being organized around the exhibition of a series of socio-cultural content, also aims to develop the student's language skills in Spanish. As a result, various techniques are used for teaching and learning as oral presentations (by the teacher and student), readings and reading comprehension activities, debates and classroom discussions.


    - What is the "Spanish culture?". Cultural habits. Stereotypes. Everyday life. Cultural misunderstandings. Body language.

    - Spain, a country of contrasts. The geographical environment. The Spain of Autonomous. Notion of "capital". Concept of "provincial towns". Artistic attractions. The languages of Spain.

    - Yesterday and today in Spain. The recent history. The Civil War and the Franco regime. The democratic transition. A democratic country.

    - Political and administrative features. The Spanish Constitution. The head of state and the symbols. The separation of powers. Political parties. Unions. The territorial organization.

    - Education. Organization of the school system. The "bachillerato." College. The study-related labor market.

    - Profile of Spanish society. Young. The family. The man and the woman. Ecological awareness. Social values. Current problems. Religion and superstition. The Camino de Santiago.

    - Popular traditions. Fiestas in Spain. Music and flamenco. Bullfights.

    - Spanish cuisine. A gastronomic tour of Spain. Value of nutrition and a balanced diet. Dining habits.

    Criteria of evaluation:

    Active participation in class: 15%
    Project and oral presentation: 25%
    Written work: 25%
    Homework: 15%
    Final exam: 20%

    Attendance and participation:

    Class attendance is important and mandatory. Absences are justified with a written document. Students with more than three unexcused absences will receive a grade of 0.0 in the course. Student participation in discussions, debates, and group work is highly valued. Class attendance does not guarantee a good participation grade.

    Bajo Álvarez, F. y J. Gil Pecharromán (2003) Historia de España, Madrid: SGEL

    Bellón Alonso, V. y Roncero Doña, E. (2005) España ayer y hoy: apuntes de lengua y civilización españolas, Madrid: Edinumen

    López Moreno, C. (2005) España contemporánea, Madrid: SGEL

    Mora, C. (2001) España: ayer y hoy, Madrid: SGEL

    Ruiz Jiménez, J. J. (2000) Aproximación a España, Granada: Editorial Comares

    Quesada, Sebastián (2006). Esp@ña. Curso de Civilización, Madrid: Edelsa

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.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations