Students are required to sign up for four courses during the fall and spring terms.

Art, Dance and Film

Documentary Film Workshop: “A Student Self-portrait in Madrid” (Offered in FALL) This workshop allows students to discover and explore creative documentary filmmaking through two parallel and complementary lenses. First, via a theoretical approach to documentary filmmaking focusing specifically on Spanish production; second, by creating a documentary project. Students will use documentary filmmaking as a form of personal expression in order to articulate through this medium their expectations, perspectives, and experiences when immersed in a different culture and society. Each student will direct their own documentary self-portrait, which will give voice and make visible their reality and life experiences in Madrid. Prof. Jean Castejón. (16 students max.) Download syllabus

Introduction to Flamenco Dance  (Offered in FALL and SPRING). Overview of flamenco dance as a performing art. Emphasis on sevi llanas, tangos flamencos and alegrías. Special attention to body awareness, partner communication and movement efficiency. Performance presentation required at the end of the course. Prof. Laura Murcia. (12 students max.) Download syllabus

What Makes This Art? (Offered in SPRING). Throughout this course, we will study the aesthetic ideas that have changed the way art is perceived as such over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Concepts such as beauty, originality, genius, works of art, the spectator, creativity and authorship have undergone constant overhauls from the avant-garde movements to postmodernism. Our objective will be to study the meaning of these concepts through the lens of a variety of artistic trends and philosophical theories related to political and social contexts. To that end, we will analyze and debate the changes that have occurred in painting, architecture, art installations, performance art and museum spaces themselves. This will entail visits to modern and contemporary art museums in Madrid. Prof. Sergio Antoranz. (16 students max.) Download syllabus.

Madrid’s Prado Museum: Masterpieces in Person (Offered in SPRING) Madrid’s Prado Museum is one of the world's most influential and prestigious art museums. As such, it has been a cornerstone of Art History around the world. Its holdings encompass almost a thousand years of Western art, including works of medieval art, Renaissance art, the best of the Baroque, as well key Neoclassical and Romantic pieces. This course examines the styles, artists and most significant works of the museum's collection, and includes key figures of Art History from Spain as well as other countries. Among them are some of the great masterpieces of global art. Some examples are the most emblematic paintings by El Bosco, Durero, Titian, El Greco, Velázquez and Goya. Prof. Ruth Gallego (16 students max.). Download syllabus.

When Art Speaks (Offered in FALL) This course seeks to familiarize students with the history and ramifications of Spanish art. Although focused mainly on emblematic paintings and architecture, students also explore other artforms such as film and video, experimental art installations, performance art and urban art such as graffiti. A major component of the course consists of classes taught on-site in the many museums, iconic architectural spaces and other unique artistic features that characterize Madrid. Students learn about periods of Spanish art history, from the Middle Ages to the latest trends of postmodernism, as well as the considerable influence that Spanish art has had around the world. Prof. Sergio Antoranz. 

Field Internships

Understanding the Madrid Experience - The Internship and its Context  (Offered in FALL and SPRING) On this course, students can explore career interests while strengthening their language skills and cultural competence. This is an opportunity to assess the professional, academic, and personal learning acquired during a work placement in Madrid in a scholarly and practical way. There are a wide range of possibilities for various types of internships. Although a placement within a specific field cannot be guaranteed, we will do our best to place every student in their area of interest. This is an experiential learning course, where the student will be fully immersed in a given workplace and will receive a research-based understanding of broader social, economic and political trends in Madrid in the field and in the classroom. The course also has a reflective component that will be presented at the end of the semester based on how associated skills evolve as the program proceeds.  Please, note that all internships require students to work 16 hours a week with an employer, and that students must inform HCAYS at the time of enrollment as internships are secured several months before arrival. Internships are organized with HiF’s partner EUSA, a not-for-profit educational organization. 

History and Social Sciences

The Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality: The Colonial Imaginary and Other Forms of Knowledge (Offered in SPRING) This course on the Western mindset regarding the bodies of colonized populations from a historical perspective. From the moment of the encounters between  colonizers and indigenous peoples, Judeo-Christian notions about the body have conflicted with other perceptions of gender and sexuality. This initial discord was then followed by a systematic process of demonization and discipline, which proved most severe with respect to the female body. We will analyze how non-Western feminisms and forms of knowledge form the basis of new theoretical approaches that enable a conceptual shift for rethinking the body, sexuality and gender. We will incorporate critical voices from Latin America that illustrate the importance of historical context, and situate these discussions geopolitically, calling into question what has been called the “modern colonial system.” Prof. Aída Bueno. (16 students max.). Download syllabus

The Spanish Political System: from Transición to Coalition (Offered in FALL) This course investigates key topics of the Spanish political system, beginning with the transition to democracy (1975-1981), through the presidencies of González (1982-1996), Aznar (1996-2004) and Zapatero (2004-2011). Then, we will turn to changes provoked by the 2008 economic crisis, the 15M movement, the Catalan pro-independence movement, the creation of Podemos, and the first left-wing coalition government since the Civil War. Prof. Pablo Iglesias. (16 students max.) Download syllabus

Spanish Society and Economy in the EU (Offered in SPRING) Study of the main changes in the Spanish Society and Economy in the last decades with special emphasis on questions related to EU origins, the Euro vs. the US dollar as an international currency, pros and cons of the European social model, the situation of women in Spain and the consequences of immigration in Spain. All these topics will help students to understand the daily realities they will face during their stay in Madrid. Prof. Ainhoa Marín. (16 students max., prerequisite ECON 101) Download syllabus

Political History of Spain and Latin America through the Lens of Cinema (Offered in SPRING). This course delves into some of the most pressing political issues of contemporary Spain and Latin America through  analysis of twelve fiction films and scholarship on the topics they address. We will examine not only some of the most influential films in Spanish from recent decades, but also the most talked-about political contexts of the Spanish-speaking world. Prof. Pablo Iglesias. (16 students max.) Download syllabus.


Advanced Spanish Language in Context I (Offered in FALL and SPRING) Review and refinement of grammatical structure, practical vocabulary and syntax. Regular written compositions will be required. Special emphasis will be placed on the development of conversational skills. (16 students max.)

Advanced Spanish Language in Context II (Offered in FALL and SPRING) Study and analysis of the structure of the Spanish language in both written (formal) and oral (colloquial) contexts, in order that the students acquire maximum competence in the recognition and use of the subtleties of the language. (16 students max.)


Cervantes - El Quijote (Offered in SPRING) Study of Cervantes’ masterpiece, with emphasis on its unique contribution to the birth of the modern novel and its reflection of Golden Age Spain. Prof. Francisco Layna Ranz. (16 students max.) Download syllabus

The Short Story in Contemporary Spain (Offered in FALL) This course explores the best Spanish short stories of the past century through critical analysis and class discussion. We will address the work of twenty emblematic authors from an interdisciplinary lens, taking into consideration cultural codes, sociological and philosophical theories, gender and sexuality, psychoanalytical concepts, genre conventions, narrative structure and more. The course will also include a writing workshop where students will write their own stories. Prof. Marcos Roca


Subjectivity and Identity in Contemporary Spanish Poetry (Offered in SPRING) Study of the most characteristic, stylistic and thematic concerns of poetry of the 20th century. Prof. Marcos Roca. (16 students max.) Download syllabus

Courses at a Spanish university

Studying at a local Spanish university is a fundamental part of the cultural and academic experience for HCAYS students in Madrid. In addition to courses offered at the HCAYS Center, students can enroll in one course at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) or at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM). Both universities offer courses taught in Spanish, including anthropology, economics, international relations, law, literature, political sciences, sociology and history. We help students navigate through the process of finding the course that best fits their needs and curriculum requirements. Additionally, UAM and UCM offer sports facilities, choirs, bookstores, cafeterias and other extra-curricular activities, allowing students to be fully immersed in the Spanish language and culture. Please let us know if you are interested in taking a course at one of the Spanish Universities by contacting Carlos Jurado, the Academic Coordinator, at cjurado@hamilton.edu 


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Hamilton College Academic Year in Spain

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