Christina Lundin, For the Miami Student

The announcement of a new study abroad program has spawned a great deal excitement within Miami University’s department of Spanish and Portuguese.

In partnership with The Universidad de Oviedo, and with help from fellow colleagues, José Manuel Dominguez-Búrdalo, professor of Spanish and Portuguese, has organized a once in a lifetime trip catering to Spanish students seeking a unique academic, cultural and business experience.

“The first reason for this program is to provide what students were demanding: to study abroad,” Dominguez-Búrdalo said.

Starting spring 2011, 15-18 students will be among the first to take part in the new program. During this semester-long program students will attend classes at the Universidad de Oviedo in Spain. According to the Universidad de Oviedo’s guide to Spanish language courses, the university was founded in 1575 and has been linked to several renowned figures of Spanish and European culture.

According to a brochure from the Universidad de Oviedo, it is one of the top universities in Spain in terms of teaching and research quality and boasts a student body of over 28,000 students.

“Oviedo is large enough to have a lot happening, but small enough to be manageable,” said Robert DiDonato, interim chair of the department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Laurie Jacob, a first-year student and prospective participant, is excited about the study abroad program. 

“One of the big benefits of this program over other ones is the ease of credit transfers,” Jacob said. 

Three days a week, students will attend classes taught by both Miami faculty as well as faculty from the Universidad de Oviedo. Casa de las Lenguas, a new division of the department of Spanish at Oviedo, offers a number of classes, including introduction to Hispanic literature, business Spanish and cultural history of Spain. For business majors, there are business classes taught in English.

Possible topics include external trade, management of innovation and human resource management. All of the classes are equivalents to classes offered at Miami.

“The great thing about La Casa de las Lenguas is it is designed specifically for foreign students, which means they will be surrounded by students from all over the world,” Dominguez-Búrdalo said.

According to DiDonato, they are also looking to add engineering classes to the curriculum. 

In addition to classes, students majoring in Spanish, Spanish education and business will have the opportunity to work as an intern. Free time can be spent exploring Spain, or even flying to places in Europe and Latin America. According to Dominguez-Búrdalo, students will have access to direct flights to London, Paris, Barcelona, Sevilla and Madrid.

Furthermore, students will spend Holy Week exploring Spain during the spring session, and hiking along the coast and through mountains for 10 days on the Camino de Santiago during the Summer session.

“I can only really speak for myself, but I think that anyone interested in studying in Spain should definitely look into this program,” Jacob said.