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College of Charleston in Trujillo, Spain

Program Overview

The College of Charleston offers an interdisciplinary fall semester program abroad in Trujillo Spain. Students are immersed in Spanish language and culture through living with experienced host families.  Fall 2018 offerings include Biology, Environmental Studies, and Spanish courses. Interested students are encouraged to visit the Trujillo program blog, here.

Program Dates

September 10, 2018- December 15, 2018 *dates subject to change*

Program Directors

Dr. Erik Sotka
Department of Biology
sotkae@cofc.edu 
843-953-9200

Carolyn Sotka
Department of Biology
sotkacm@cofc.edu
843-953-9200

Program Requirements

  • Students must have at least a 2.5 overall GPA
  • Students must either already possess a valid passport, or be able to obtain a passport
  • Students must apply for a student visa issued by the Consulate of Spain
  • Students should have completed their Spanish language general education requirements before participating (through SPAN 202)

Program Highlights

There are many opportunities for students while studying for the fall semester in Trujillo.  The town of Trujillo, under consideration for UNESCO World Heritage status, is also known for its wide variety of Mediterranean ecosystems.  Extremadura is one of the best birding locations on the planet and harbors critically endangered species such as the Iberian lynx, hispanic mountain goat, black stork, black vulture and the black-wing kite.  Watch the sun set from a tenth century Moorish castle and wander a medieval city with Roman heritage and palaces raised with American gold and silver.  

Students will live with local Spanish families during their semester abroad. The families are selected by staff in Trujillo and placement is based on answers to a questionnaire that the students complete. Most of the families have hosted College of Charleston students for years. Living with families provides students a great opportunity to learn about daily life and culture in Spain, while improving their Spanish language skills.

The College of Charleston offers semester-long programs abroad at its Trujillo campus in Spain, but it is rare that these include Biology courses. For Fall 2018, we are offering a program entitled "Natural History, Environmental Sustainability and Policy: An Immersive Experience in Trujillo Spain". Students are immersed in Spanish language and culture through living with experienced host families. The town of Trujillo, under consideration for UNESCO World Heritage status, is embedded within a fantastic diversity of geological settings and Mediterranean ecosystems. The area surrounding Trujillo is one of the best birding locations on the planet, and harbors critically endangered species such as the imperial eagle, hispanic mountain goat, black stork, black vulture and the black-wing kite. Multi-day field trips will allow students to compare the coastal ecology of the Mediterranean and North Atlantic, go whale watching, and witness marine conservation and aquaculture in action. There will also be opportunities to travel thru Spain or other European destinations on your own. 

Courses Offered

Students must enroll for the full 13 credits to participate. The courses offered are actual College of Charleston classes; therefore students will earn grades just as they would if they were offered on-campus.  Grades earned will factor into the student's GPA at the College. Classes are generally held Monday-Thursday each week, providing students long weekends to explore Trujillo and to travel throughout Spain and Europe.

This semester-long program integrates Biology and Environmental Studies classes in a hands-on, field-oriented curriculum with enthusiastic faculty. The major goal is to compare and contrast sustainability efforts at local, regional and global scales, focusing on topics such as threatented species protection, ecotourism, and production and extraction of food, energy and other products in Spain. Courses will be taught in English by two CofC faculty (Dr. Erik Sotka, Professor of Biology; Carolyn Sotka, MS in Marine Policy and adjunct Professor of Biology). A Conversational Spanish course is led by a professor from the Universidad de Caceres. 

We designed the program to allow student advancement toward graduation for Biology majors, Environmental Studies minors or both. The program may also be of interest to any major in the School of Sciences and Mathematics.

Upper-division Biology majors:

- BIOL 406 Conservation Biology (3 credits)

- BIOL 453 Natural History of Spain (4 credits)

- POLI 319/ENVT 352: Environmental Sustainability and Policy: An International Comparison of Best Practices, Opportunities and Challenges (3)

- SPAN 328 Conversational Spanish (3)

Lower-division Biology majors and non-Biology majors:

- BIOL 250 Conservation Biology (3 credits)

- BIOL 250 Natural History of Spain (4 credits)

- POLI 319/ENVT 352: Environmental Sustainability and Policy: An International Comparison of Best Practices, Opportunities and Challenges (3)

- SPAN 328 Conversational Spanish (3)

Program Costs

Students will pay their normal College of Charleston semester tuition and a program fee of $6,726. *fee is subject to change* The program fee includes housing with local Spanish families, comprehensive international medical insurance, and an International Student ID card. Also included in the program fee is the costs for planned program excursions, including the transportation, hotels, 2 meals a day, and entrances into sites and museums.

Additional costs beyond the tuition and program fee are: roundtrip airfare, passport fees, student visa fees, any personal travel and other personal expenses/spending money during the semester, and one meal per day while on the planned program excursions.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Any financial aid that a student currently has at the College of Charleston will apply like normal for their semester abroad in Trujillo, Spain.  Students should meet with an advisor in the Office of Financial Assistance to determine eligibility for aid.  Additionally, the Center for International Education awards scholarships for the semester that are worth up to $2000.

Application Process

Application deadline for the Fall 2018 semester is April 1, 2018. Applications can be found online at https://cofc.abroadoffice.net. Application questions can be directed to the Center for International Education (studyabroad@cofc.edu or 843.953.7661). The CIE is located in the Multicultural Center (207 Calhoun Street). A non-refundable $50 application fee will be charged to the student's MyCharleston account once the application has been submitted to and approved by the CIE. This fee is included in the program fee of $6,726. *fee is subject to change*

External Resources

youtube Watch a video from a previous year's program to learn more

Trujillo Fall 2011 Facebook page

Viva Trujillo Blog