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Dickinson in Spain
Málaga, Spain (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: Academic Year,
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This program is currently not accepting applications.
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Language of Instruction: Spanish
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Class Eligibility:
2-Sophomore, 3-Junior, 4-Senior (fall only)
Minimum GPA: 3.0
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Housing Options:
Family Stay
Maximum Credits Earned (per semester): 4.5 Academic Area of Study: Art & Art History, Economics, English, Environmental Science, International Business and Management, International Studies, Internships, Latin American Studies, Music, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Spanish
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Foreign Language Prerequisite:
Spanish 231 or higher (For Business track only - Spanish 202)
Program Description:
Program Description:

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The seaside city of Málaga is home to Dickinson in Spain. Under the guidance of a Dickinson faculty member serving as resident director, students pursue classes in Spanish language, culture, history and art. Participants live with families and may undertake internships and community-service activities while living in Málaga.

The Picasso museum, the recently restored Alcazaba, and numerous theaters and museums attract thousands annually to the city's rich cultural life. Málaga is well located, with the three best-known cities in Andalucia - Granada, Córdoba and Sevilla - just a quick bus ride away.

Find more details below and in the Dickinson in Spain HANDBOOK

Universidad de Málaga

Dickinson College offered its first full-year study abroad program in Spain in 1985 in cooperation with the Universidad de Málaga. Since that time, Dickinson has expanded its offerings in Málaga and now runs a comprehensive program that focuses on Spanish language and literature, culture and society and includes internships and courses in economics and international business, as well as course offerings through direct enrollment at the University of Málaga.UMA

Students take courses at the Teatinos campus of the Universidad de Málaga, which has eight schools and institutes and more than 50,000 students. For Dickinson students, this is an opportunity to participate in Spanish university life and to see how the experience of attending a large university compares to that of attending a small liberal arts college.


The expectations to apply for this program are as follows:

  • 3.0 GPA
  • Students must complete Spanish 231 before studying abroad.
    • For students studying on the Business Track - Spanish 202 and permission of the on-campus coordinator
  • Interviews, in Spanish, may be conducted at the discretion of the faculty coordinator at any time in order to review a candidate’s eligibility for this program.
  • All students must have a declared major at the time of application.
  • As a part of the review process students’ conduct records and account status are also reviewed.  Students and their parents should note that the review process takes all elements of the student’s academic record into consideration and that even if students have the expected GPA and language pre-requisites, they may not be admitted.

Students who have questions about the review process or their particular candidacy for a program should come into the Center for Global Study and Engagement for advising.

Center staff will not discuss students’ applications with parents, friends or any other party without the student’s consent and presence in the conversation


Most students who complete the academic year in Málaga earn 8.5 credits, depending upon their selected courses. 4.5 credits can be earned in the fall semester and four in the spring. Semester students earn a total of 4.5 credits. 

How is instruction different?

The academic environment that you will experience while studying at a Spanish university will be different to that at Dickinson. All students will take classes on the campus of the Universidad de Málaga (UMA) and at the CENTRO INTERNACIONAL DE ESPAÑOL (CIE). Students will have the opportunity to take classes with Dickinson students, with other international students (CIE) and with Spanish students (at UMA- main campus). The expectation is that courses are Monday through Friday.

The Resident Director will help you acclimate to the academic culture of Málaga. You also have a personal responsibility to create your environment: get out, explore, find opportunities to interact with local people on your own, and speak Spanish! The best thing that you can do is to accept that you will be uncomfortable in many situations, academically, and socially. This is normal- you're in a completely foreign environment. Step out of your comfort zone, and you will be pleased to see how you develop over time. 

What classes are available?

All students enrolled in the program must take four (4) courses each semester, plus the Malaga Colloquium, for a total of 4.5 Dickinson credits (4 credits in the Spring for Academic Year students). Students may not under-enroll under any circumstances. Students wishing to take more than the required courses, must receive permission to overload from the Resident Director, their academic advisor(s) at Dickinson, and the Center for Global Study and Engagement. If permission is not requested or not given, the course credit will not transfer.

Students will take the DELE language placement test upon their arrival, in August or in January and be placed in the appropriate Language and Grammar courses. These courses will run for four to five weeks and meet every day for four hours each day.

*All students are required to take Spanish 251: Spanish for Academic Contexts in Malaga, Spanish 253: Malaga Colloquium, and Spanish 372: Spanish Society and Culture during their first semester (fall or spring).

251 Spanish for Academic Contexts in Malaga- An advanced and in-depth study of grammatical structures to prepare students for the demands of Spanish university classes, with a focus on achieving the necessary command of the language according to DELE standards. Students will learn some of the intricacies, complexities and subtleties of Spanish grammar through personalized instruction, oral presentations and written analysis of diverse texts. These will include cultural texts, literature, art, current affairs, politics, etc. This is an intensive, four week pre-semester required course, which includes weekly exams in addition to other specific assignments. 

Spanish 253: Malaga Colloquium - This is a half credit course that addresses challenges that students face in course work taken at the Universidad de Málaga. Students will learn in detail about expectations for student work in Spanish universities, will present to Dickinson peers research related to their university courses, and will also participate in mentor and/or tutoring sessions that will focus on their university work. The course will include readings on study and research skills, as well as Spanish university culture. 

372 Spanish Society and Culture- This course is an in-depth study of several aspects of Spanish cultural traditions and values. Contrasts Andalusian culture with other peninsular cultures. Oral and written reports concerning cultural aspects of life in Malaga. Local field trips and interviews are an important part of the course. 

One (1) course credit is equivalent to four (4) semester hours:

FALL SEMESTER (for fall and year students):
Core courses taken by all students:
Spanish 251: Language Tutorial at CENTRO INTERNACIONAL DE ESPAÑOL (CIE) (pre-semester intensive course)
Spanish 253: Malaga Colloquium taught by the Resident Director
Spanish 372: Spanish Society and Culture at CENTRO INTERNACIONAL DE ESPAÑOL (CIE)

One course at the UMA in any department
One CIE Cursos course
Two UMA courses in any department

FALL SEMESTER (for fall Business Track students only):
Core courses taken by all students:
Spanish 251: Language Tutorial at CENTRO INTERNACIONAL DE ESPAÑOL (CIE) (pre-semester intensive course)
Spanish 253: Malaga Colloquium taught by the Resident Director
A second required Spanish grammar course

One CIE-UMA course in Spanish
One CIE-UMA or UMA Business School course in English
Two CIE-UMA courses in English
*examples of courses taken by students who previously studied on the Business Track in Malaga include: International Marketing (in English), Intercultural Management (in English), International Relations (in English), Spanish Economy (in Spanish)

SPRING SEMESTER (for spring only students):
Core courses taken by all students:
Spanish 251: Language Tutorial at CENTRO INTERNACIONAL DE ESPAÑOL (CIE) (pre-semester intensive course)
Spanish 253: Malaga Colloquium taught by the Resident Director
Spanish 372: Spanish Society and Culture 

One course at the UMA in any department 
One CIE Cursos course 
Two UMA courses*

SPRING SEMESTER (for spring Business Track students only):
Core courses taken by all students:
Spanish 251: Language Tutorial at CENTRO INTERNACIONAL DE ESPAÑOL (CIE) (pre-semester intensive course)
Spanish 253: Malaga Colloquium taught by the Resident Director
A second required Spanish grammar course

One CIE-UMA course in Spanish
One CIE-UMA or UMA Business School course in English
Two CIE-UMA courses in English
*examples of courses taken by students who previously studied on the Business Track in Malaga include: International Marketing (in English)Intercultural Management (in English), International Relations (in English), Spanish Economy (in Spanish)

SPRING SEMESTER (for year-long students):
One CIE Cursos course
Three courses at UMA
One CIE Cursos course
Two courses at UMA
The Intercultural Seminar, which is tied to a local internship (this is optional; if students chose not to do this, they can take 3 UMA courses). 

*Students who do not have adequate language preparation may be allowed to take 2 CIE courses in their 1st semester.

Instructions for finding courses at UMA:
1. Go to the UMA website
2. Select the GRADO that interests you. 
3. On the right-hand side, click on PROGRAMACIÓN DOCENTE
4. This will give you a complete list of courses for both semesters (in the "cuatrimester" column, a 1 means it's offered int eh fall and a 2 means it is offered in the spring)
5. Click on the desired course: this will give you the information about the course (professors, place and time, etc)

Are there any internships available?

The opportunity for all-year students to earn one credit as an intern during the spring semester is considered a privilege. A limited number of formal internships are available as part of the Intercultural Seminar in the spring semester. The Málaga program has long-standing relationships with several organizations where strong, responsible students representing Dickinson have been placed as interns. Highly-qualified, all-year students interested in participating in a one-credit internship during the spring semester should discuss their interest with the Resident Director early in the fall semester. 

If you are interested in interning in a specific area, take the initiative and research different opportunities early in your time in Málaga. Internships are not a common practice in Spain. However, while many organizations are not familiar with the practice, they may be willing to take on extra help. Do not hesitate to initiate contact with an organization about the prospect of interning with them. Many students find (non-credit bearing) extracurricular volunteer opportunities to be equally rewarding experiences.

When will I register for courses?

Registration for courses occurs upon arrival.

Will the courses count towards my major?

Consult your major advisor for more information. Spanish 251 and Spanish 372 count towards the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Will they count in my GPA?

UMA courses will be listed on your transcript with course titles, grades, and credits earned. These courses will not be computed in the Dickinson grade point average.

For courses specially organized for program, students receive Dickinson course credit and  these courses will be listed on the transcript with course titles and letter grades (e.g. SPAN 251 and SPAN 372). The courses will be computed in the cumulative grade point average of Dickinson students.

What is a full course load and how will my courses transfer?

Each Dickinson course in Málaga earns one course credit (equal to four (4) semester hours). The normal course load for semester students is 4.5 credits. The normal course load for all year students is 8.5 credits.

Only liberal arts classes will qualify for transfer credit.

Generally speaking, courses must have an equivalent at Dickinson. Exceptions include classes that focus on the culture and/or history of the country in which the student is studying.

Transfer credit will not be awarded for coursework that duplicates what a student has already completed at Dickinson.

To receive transfer credit, University courses must be completed with the equivalent of a “C” (2.00 on a 4.00 scale) or better.

Is there a language requirement?

Students must complete Spanish 231 before studying abroad. INBM majors studying on the Business Track must complete Spanish 202 before studying abroad, and have permission from the on campus coordinator. 

The Málaga program is designed so that students can reach the highest level of linguistic and cultural understanding of Spain and its people. To accomplish these goals, you are required to speak Spanish at all times, even among yourselves. This may not be easy at first, but you will receive steady assistance and will discover that the effort is worthwhile.

Shortly after arrival in Málaga, you will be required to sign the program’s language agreement. We take this very seriously and expect you to do so as well. As preparation for speaking Spanish only, maintain your linguistic skills before departure by listening to Spanish music, watching Spanish films, reading a Spanish novel, or tuning in to Spanish TV.

Academic Excursions

Does this program include any academic travel once I’m in country?

Yes, it does.  Participants in this program typically enjoy academic day excursions to numerous historic and cultural sites around Málaga as components of the program.  All students on the program during the fall semester travel to Madrid as well as other locations in Andalucía.  In the spring semester, program participants take part in academic excursions to Barcelona, Valencia and Portugal.Segovia

What expenses are covered during excursions?

Students’ lodging costs will be covered during overnight excursions.  Also, any meals that would not be otherwise covered by a standard meal stipend for all students on the program will be covered.  Group transportation to and from the excursion site, as well as group travel for all group activities will be covered.  Students will not be reimbursed for snacks, personal travel and personal activities during an academic excursion.

When will I find out where and when we’re travelling?

Specific dates and locations for the multi-day excursions will be announced shortly before semester preceding the excursion.  Site visits in and around Málaga will be organized and announced by the professor during the semester. Do not book independent travel until you have the program academic excursion dates.

Can a friend or family member who is not on the program also travel with us?

No, unfortunately, for logistical and academic reasons non program participants are not able to join program excursions.

Are excursions optional?

No, as excursions are linked to course work and, in some cases, content delivered through the excursion will be relevant to a student’s studies and assessment.  All students should plan to participate in all excursions.  If a student misses an excursion or a planned departure for a trip, these arrangements and costs will not be made up for the student.  It is each student’s responsibility to be where they need to be in order to participate fully in each academic excursion.

Dates and Flights

When is orientation? 

In addition to the mandatory on-campus pre-departure orientation, there will be an on-site orientation in Málaga the week before classes begin for Dickinson students.

El onceDuring the orientation, you will meet and work with the on-site director.  Events include a tour of the Teatinos campus, an overview of Málaga ‘s public transportation system, a welcome reception with homestay families, university and course registration meetings, and an overview of your health and safety while studying in Spain. 

What are the program dates?

Dickinson in Spain ACADEMIC CALENDAR

Students will be given a precise date and window of time during which to arrive at the Málaga airport (AGP).  You must communicate your arrival plans with the on-site director and the CGSE.  To notify the CGSE, you should enter the flight information in your online application.  Upon arrival, students will be met by the director and put into cabs to make their way to their homestay family.  

Is there a group flight?

Unless otherwise stated, the CGSE does not arrange group flights. Students are responsible for booking their own travel to/from Spain. Accepted students will be given a timeframe in which they should plan to arrive and depart. Students should not purchase their flights until instructed to do so by the CGSE and/or on-site staff. We encourage students to carefully review the change fees and cancellation policies before booking a flight.

The CGSE does not endorse any particular travel agent or booking website but does provide additional guidance about booking flights on the CGSE website

MalagaWhat if my family wants to visit me?

If you have family or friends who are planning to visit you, please do not make travel plans until you arrive at the program and become familiar with your class schedule and program excursions.  It is not acceptable to skip class for personal travel. 

When will I have time to travel?

You will travel in and around Málaga as you work your way through the core course offered at the Cursos.  There will also be group academic excursions throughout each semester.  Exact dates for the excursions will be announced as each term gets underway.  Many students also travel on their own during major Spanish holidays when classes are not in session.

Can I arrive early or stay after the program ends?

Students may not arrive early or stay late without the written approval of the resident director.  Please note that if you choose to arrive early or stay late, you may not be able to stay with your homestay family and, if you do stay with your family, you may be asked to pay additional fees in order to cover the expense.  You should also consider your visa validity when you make the decision of whether or not you may arrive early or stay late.  No student may arrive late for the start of the program.


How much does the program cost?

The program budget can be found at the top of this page, to the left of the "Apply Now" button. 

What is included in the program fee?

The fee includes tuition, room, board, academic excursions and emergency insurance.  Airfare and visa fees are not included.  The budget sheet also lists additional fees students should anticipate.

Is my flight included?

The flight is not included but the cost is taken into consideration when your financial aid need is calculated for your semester abroad.

How much extra money do I need to bring?Euros

This depends on you.  We encourage students to not travel every weekend, but to really engage their host city in meaningful ways during their semester abroad.  An estimate of personal expenses is included on the budget sheet, but it really depends on you and your spending habits.

Will I receive a stipend?

You will receive a monthly stipend to purchase a bus pass.  Do not rely on this stipend for spending money.

How will I access my money in Málaga?

ATMs are a convenient way to transfer money and exchange currency.  ATMs connected to international networks such as Cirrus and Plus allow you to retrieve cash in the local currency directly from your bank account in the United States.  Inquire at your bank to be sure that your ATM card will allow cash withdrawals abroad.  Major credit cards are also accepted; however, be sure to check about foreign transaction fees for using your card overseas.  It is very difficult to cash travelers checks in Málaga.

Can I work part time?

There may be a limited number of work-study opportunities in Málaga.  If you are eligible for work study, please consult with the Resident Director. College work-study payments are made monthly; those funds will be deposited directly into each student’s designated U.S. bank accounts.  In order to collect your work study earnings, you must have filed a W 4 form, an I 9 form, and a bank deposit form in the Student Payroll Office before leaving campus.


How do I access health care in Málaga?

PaellaYou will be enrolled in a Spanish health care program (Medifiat) that will cover you for routine medical care.  Visits to a doctor’s office will be free because of the public health care system, but prescription drugs will not be covered.  There are many pharmacies throughout Málaga. Several are designated to remain open 24 hours, called farmacia de guardia.

What if I become seriously ill?

Spain has a good reputation for medical health care and has an ample number of hospitals and clinics for treatment as well as very good emergency services.  Minor ailments are usually treated by private doctors, either at their assigned clinic, or, if necessary, at home.  Some doctors still make house calls.  Qualified pharmacists can also offer medical advice or prescribe over-the-counter remedies in the case of minor ailments.  During your orientation period, you will receive more information about medical, dental, and eye care in Málaga.

In Málaga, students live with local families.  Many of these families have hosted Dickinson students for several years.  The college and the students deeply value the relationships we have with these families who open their homes to our students.  Not only will students gain invaluable insight into daily Spanish life and culture, they are also fully immersed in the language while inside the home.

Dickinson also provides students with medical and travel security assistance through International SOS. Please visit our Health and Insurance Abroad page for more information.


When do I find out information about my homestay family?

Full details about your homestay family will be sent to you from the Resident Director as soon as they become available, but this may not come until shortly before your departure.  If you find out earlier, many students choose to introduce themselves with a short letter to the host family. 

MalagaHow far from classes will my homestay family be?

Most homestay families live to the east of Málaga in residential neighborhoods, Pedregalejo and El Palo. One of the main bus lines (the 20) runs from the University of Málaga to El Palo, which is roughly a 40 minute bus ride. 

Will I eat every meal with my homestay family?

Your homestay family will provide three meals a day.  If you have class at the university and will not be able to return home for lunch, your host family will pack a lunch for you.  Also, if you plan to eat out, please be courteous to your family and let them know that you will not be there for that meal.

How will I do my laundry?

Your homestay family will provide laundry services.  Some homestay families will do your laundry; others will allow you to use their washer/dryer so that you can do your own.  Discuss these preferences with your family.

Can I have friends over?

Spaniards usually do not have friends over to the house; they will meet at cafés or restaurants.  If you would like to have a friend over, first ask your family if this is acceptable.  Keep in mind that this friend should not stay long or too late into the evening, nor over mealtimes.  Some families may not allow friends of the opposite sex to visit.

Should I bring a gift to my homestay family?

It is always a nice gesture to bring your host family a token from your hometown or region and as an initial ‘thank you’ for having you in their home.  You could also bring them something from Dickinson.

What if I don’t like my homestay family?

If there is an issue with an aspect of your housing, it is always best to try to resolve this first with the family.  Talk to your Resident Director if there is an on-going problem and he/she will talk to the family or mediate a conversation. 

Will my homestay family have internet access?

The homestay families all have internet and most have wifi. There are also many internet cafés around the city that will allow you to connect to their wifi for a small fee.


Are internships available?

Academic-year students have the opportunity in the spring semester to do an internship in a local firm or institution where they are immersed in the daily working environment of the city. In recent years students have interned in many fields of interest, including fine arts, literature, journalism, multiculturalism, translation, tourism, economics, international business, social services, hotel and restaurant management, veterinary medicine, pre-school child care, primary and secondary education, politics, government, economics and law.

MalagaCan I earn credit for an internship?

Students who wish to complete an internship for academic credit must be academic year students and enroll in the Intercultural Seminar. Semester students can earn a transcript notation on their Dickinson transcript through the Internship Notation Program

Can I conduct research while abroad?

Students can conduct research abroad under the guidance of a Dickinson advisor. The Student International Research Fund (SIRF) was established to help students with extra travel costs associated with independent research projects. Students are encouraged to present their research at the International Research Symposium when they return to campus.


What is a visa?

A visa is a document, normally affixed within your passport, which allows you to enter the country and stay for the duration of your program.  The requirements for the visa and visa process are controlled by the government of the country you are entering, are non-negotiable, and can change regularly.  If you arrive without the proper visa, you will be sent home by immigration officers at your own expense.

Do I need a visa?

Dickinson in Spain VISA GUIDELINES

A student visa is required to participate in the Málaga program.  If you do not hold a US passport, you should consult with the Spanish embassy in your country of citizenship for the student visa requirements. Obtaining a student visa is the student’s responsibility. We will review the guidelines for obtaining a student visa at the Pre-departure Orientation.

We have produced visa guidelines to provide you with an overview of what you will need to do to obtain a student visa.  Please note: this is only a tool to help you get started!  It is not a substitute for consulting with the Spanish consulate that has jurisdiction over your state of home residence.  Make sure you are familiar with the most up-to-date regulations by visiting their website frequently.

Also, you need to ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months after the program end date.

How do I get a visa?

Currently, the CGSE requires all Dickinson in Spain program participants to apply for a Spanish visa through Dickinson College. Students will need to in submit previously-gathered documents that are required for the visa. Please consult the Visa Guidelines for your country of study.

Do I have to go to the consulate/embassy?

No. Currently, the CGSE requires all Dickinson in Spain program participants to apply for a Spanish visa through Dickinson. You will submit previously-gathered documents that are required for the visa to the CGSE to take to the Spanish Consulate in New York.

How much does a visa cost?

Currently the visa fee is set at $160. This amount is subject to change.  Be sure to check the consulate’s website for any fee change before you submit your visa paperwork.

How long does it take to receive my visa?

At the New York consulate, it can take up to 8 weeks to obtain a student visa.

If I’m not a U.S. passport holder, are there any additional requirements?

Yes, you will need to do your own research on visa requirements for citizens of your home country to study in Spain. The CGSE may be able to help you with the required documents.

Also, you will need to inform International Student Services that you will be studying outside of the United States and discuss how you will remain in valid F-1 status during your studies abroad.

May I use a visa service to get a visa?

Yes. Currently, the CGSE requires all Dickinson in Spain program participants to apply for a Spanish visa through Dickinson. 

Student Perspective

Global Ambassadors are returning study abroad students who serve as peer advisors for their program. Please feel free to contact them for a student perspective.

Alissa Lema
Luke Twill




On-Site Administration

A Dickinson faculty member serves as the resident director and supervises all aspects of the program. The current resident director is Prof. Reyes Zaga. He is available to answer questions about academics and to provide guidance and advice on your study in Spain. In addition, the resident director teaches two courses in the Dickinson in Málaga program.

On-site Resident Director:

Professor Hector Reyes Zaga
Associate Professor of Spanish

On-campus Coordinators:

Fall 2019
Jorge Sagastume
Associate Professor of Spanish

Spring 2020

Elise Bartosik-Velez
Professor of Spanish & Portuguese

General program questions:

Center for Global Study and Engagement
Dickinson College


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This program is currently not accepting applications.