Duke in Alicante



Duke’s intensive language institute for elementary and intermediate level Spanish provides you the opportunity to combine two semesters of study into one summer session. The course is designed to meet the needs of both beginners (no prior Spanish experience) and intermediate students (have completed two semesters of college-level Spanish).

The program is taught in Alicante, Spain, a city whose rich culture is attributable to the importance of its port throughout history. The picturesque Mediterranean architecture is complemented by Roman and Arabic influences. Today it is the eighth largest city in Spain and a popular area for tourism.


Location: Alicante, Spain

Term: Summer

Dates: May 15-June 27, 2020

Application Deadline: December 1

Academic Theme(s): Spanish Language

Credit Type: Duke Credit

Eligibility: Open to all majors. No previous Spanish experience necessary for beginner level. Two semesters of college-level Spanish or placement interview required for intermediate level. Non-Duke students are welcome to apply.

Duke Affiliation: Co-sponsored by Duke’s Department of Romance Studies

Housing: Homestay Families

GEO Advisor: Abigail Grubbs

  • Proud winners of a scavenger hunt in downtown Alicante

  • Alicante is a small city on the Spanish coast, south of Valencia

  • Speaking Spanish with language partners from the Universidad de Alicante

  • Learning how to cook a traditional Spanish dish: tortilla española

  • Practicing salsa moves during an afternoon dance class

  • Touring the cathedral while on excursion to Valencia

  • The City of Arts and Sciences in Valencia is very photogenic

  • Learning about Spanish food at a market in Valencia

  • Touring the gardens of the Alhambra while on excursion to Granada

  • Posing with beautiful Moorish tiles and carvings at the Alhambra

  • Visiting the Universidad de Alicante campus

  • Posing with Don Quixote in Plaza España in Madrid

  • Overlooking the city of Toledo, an UNESCO World Heritage site

  • Students with their Spanish host mothers at the goodbye dinner


Based on your level of experience, you’ll enroll in one of the two intensive Spanish courses offered, each worth 2 Duke course credits. Duke faculty members and local instructors teach four hours of daily instruction. Afternoon workshops highlight Spanish culture and history and help students get to know the city.

You’ll enroll in one of the following courses:

Intensive Elementary Spanish

FL, 2.0 Credits

A combination of Duke’s SPANISH 101 and 102.

Prerequisite: None. Students in this course should have had no or minimal exposure to Spanish. If you have had more than two years of high school Spanish, please contact the director to determine your eligibility. 


Intensive Intermediate Spanish

FL, CZ 2.0 Credits 

A combination of Duke’s SPANISH 203 and 204.

Prerequisite: Completion of SPANISH 102 or SPANISH 111 or any of the following:

  • An AP Spanish score of 3 (language or literature)
  • An SATII score of 460-580
  • At least 2 years in high school in which material pertaining to Spanish 102 was covered


In addition to coursework, students will participate in cultural workshops in Alicante, such as a cooking class and a dance class. Students will also go on a day trip to Valencia, and travel on two long-weekend trips. Possible locations for these trips include Madrid/Toledo and Granada.


You will stay with carefully selected local homestay families, which will help enrich your linguistic and cultural experience. You will have your own bedroom with a bed, desk, closet, and wi-fi. Families will provide three meals per day and laundry once per week. Most families are located within walking distance of the classroom facilities.


The Duke Intensive Spanish in Alicante program co-directors can assist with questions related to program academics, admissions, on-site needs, etc. For all other inquiries, please contact the Global Education Office.

Melissa Simmermeyer

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Romance Studies

Abigail Grubbs

GEO Program Coordinator / Advisor


These costs are estimated based on previous years’ programs and the current exchange rate. All costs are subject to change.

Summer 2020

  Duke Students Non-Duke Students
Tuition $7,158 $7,158
Program Fee $1,600 $1,600
Transcript Fee N/A $40.00
Other Costs Other Costs Other Costs
TOTAL (Estimated) $12,148 $12,188


Explanation of Costs

Financial Aid

Duke students receiving institutional need-based grant aid are eligible for aid for this program; work-study funds are converted to grants. Students are individually responsible for making the necessary arrangements with the Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support and the Duke Bursar’s Office.

Non-Duke students are not eligible to receive financial aid at Duke and should contact their home institutions for financial aid information.


This program offers the following scholarship opportunities:


Attendance is required at all classes, excursions, and group events. Given the intense nature of this program, late arrival and/or early departure is not permitted.

  • Arrival: May 15, 2020
  • Departure: June 27, 2020

Detailed Itinerary: A detailed program handbook including the program itinerary will be provided during the Pre-Departure Orientation meeting held at Duke in April.


You will make your own travel arrangements to and from the program site. You are expected to arrive on the arrival date cited above, which usually means departing the U.S. one day prior. Once you have a flight itinerary, log in to MyGlobalEd to update your travel registry.

Housing Before/After

You will need to make your own housing arrangements if you will be arriving before the program start date or leaving later than the program end date.



No visa is required of U.S. citizens to participate in this program. Non-U.S. citizens should special attention to the visa requirements for your specific citizenship by contacting the Spanish embassy. GEO can provide a letter that may be required as part of the visa application process. Please begin the visa process as soon as you have been admitted to the program to ensure you receive your visa in time for the program start date.


All participants must have a valid passport. Make sure your passport has at least six months of validity beyond the program end date to avoid unintended disruptions. For instructions on obtaining or renewing your U.S. passport, visit passports.state.gov.


An International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is optional. ISIC is the only internationally recognized form of student ID, endorsed by UNESCO. If purchased in the U.S., the card also carries with it a supplemental insurance policy, which can prove to be very helpful in the event of serious injury. You may purchase this card through www.myisic.com. Processing of the card takes between 4-15 days. 


Deadline: December 1

This program does NOT have rolling admission. Applications must be received by the deadline to be considered.

Decision: Due to winter break, you will receive an admission decision before the end of the Spring semester add/drop period.

Eligibility: See the Academics section above to determine which track is best based on your previous experience learning Spanish.

Physical Demands: The program includes at least two multi-hour bus trips to large cities. During these trips, students will walk for some extended distances, in which the terrain can be hilly. Apart from some moderate climbing in cities such as Toledo and the Castle of Santa Bárbara in Alicante, there is no strenuous physical exertion required during the program. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the program director.

Priority: Priority is given to applicants who submit all materials by the deadline and meet the language prerequisite.

Non-Duke students: This program is open to all majors and applicants from accredited colleges and universities. You must be a degree-seeking student in good standing at an accredited college or university. Consult your university’s registrar and/or study away advisor for assistance with transfer credit. Students who are not matriculated at a college or university are not eligible to participate in Duke’s study away programs.


Please start your application early to ensure that it is complete by the deadline! Incomplete applications will not be forwarded to the program directors for consideration.

To apply to this program, please submit the following items using MyGlobalEd

  1. Online application
  2. Official transcript(s) from all colleges and universities attended.*
  3. One academic letter of recommendation, preferably from a language professor noting your linguistic and academic abilities. If you have not taken a language course at Duke, please request a letter from a Duke professor who knows you well. Letters from high school teachers will not be accepted.
  4. Personal statement, no longer than one page, explaining:
  • How this program will complement your studies.
  • Your experience learning Spanish to date (how many years of Spanish, any tests taken (AP/SAT II) and their scores, what kinds of readings you have done in Spanish, the length of papers you have written). You do not need to answer this part of the question if you are currently taking (or have taken) a Spanish language course at Duke.

*First-Year Students: By the application deadline, you must send a transcript request to the Registrar’s Office, but ask them to wait until fall grades have posted to send it to us. All other components of the application must be complete by the deadline.

Apply Now - Elementary

Apply Now - Intermediate


Alicante Tea

"I look forward to continuing talking with my Spanish speaking family and friends on campus. Traveling throughout Europe was a blast and has led me to consider traveling again next summer."

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Caminos, Castles, and Centering

"Upon arrival, the entire group centered to the top of the castle, but after this, it became a practice that spurred reflection and friendship (and a little exercise after demasiado paella)."

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Duke in Alicante: My First Experience Traveling and Studying Abroad

This was my first time outside of the United States, and my love for this study-abroad experience has sparked my interest in spending a semester abroad in Madrid."

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Immersion in Action in Alicante

"The people of Alicante commission dozens of enormous art pieces on street corners throughout the city, and at midnight on Saint John’s Eve, the statues are set on fire."

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Cassia on Duke in Alicante: Cultural Immersion

"I observed the daily telephone conversations between my host mom and her daughters; the locals walking and holding hands; the students at the University of Alicante offering to hang out despite their exams."

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Liat in Alicante

"My favorite part of this experience was really all of it. I especially loved the daily excitement and the constant learning and exploring. I loved living in Alicante, a small, compact city on the Mediterranean. I loved living with my host mom, a feisty, energetic woman who cared for me deeply despite the language barrier."

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Hogueras in Alicante

"As I look back on my experience in Alicante, I hope to continue learning Spanish at Duke so that I can apply my language learning skills both in volunteering and a career in medicine."

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Jason Finds Alicante a 'Gem of All Cities'

"One memory from this program that will always stick with me is when my host mom complimented me on how much my Spanish had developed. I can still remember how nervous I was walking into her small apartment, stuttering between every word of Spanish I thought I knew."

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Las Hogueras: Festival of San Juan

"How incredible is this statue made entirely of paper and wood? During our last week in Alicante, these gigantic hogueras (Spanish for “bonfires”) appeared in the streets almost overnight, blocking major roadways and decorating the city."

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