PORT 250: Cultures of Brazil & Lusophone Africa


Director: Ellen Oliveira, eoliveir@usc.edu 

Course Dates: May 18 – June 14, 2020 (1 week in L.A. & 3 weeks in Brazil)

Location: Salvador, Rio de Janeiro

Course description:

This course explores the cultures of Brazil and Portuguese-speaking Africa in the context of their shared history as Portugal’s former colonies as well as the cultures of European-influenced southern Brazil and African-influenced northeastern Brazil. In this course students will seek to understand the traditions that create culture, their theories, and values, as a universal concept, and specifically to the Lusophone countries. A cross-disciplinary approach will be used to help students immerse in the cultures of Brazil in light of Lusophone African countries and other countries over the years, while considering their own place in history and in contemporary society.

NOTE: This course satisfies the GE Category II (Global Cultures and Traditions) requirement.

Eligibility: Open to all Majors

Requirements: No requirements

Costs: (Excluding Spring Tuition)

Airfare: $800 – $1,200 (students can look for more affordable options)

Note: Students should wait to purchase airline tickets until instructed to do so, as courses may be canceled due to unforeseen circumstances.

Room & Board: $900

TOTAL: $1,700 – $2,100

Info Sessions: October 3rd & October 28th

SPAN 395: Visualizing Cuba: Arts, Politics and Society in Today’s Cuba

Department: The Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures

Director: For more information contact Professor Ivette Gomez at igomez@usc.edu

Dates: May 18 – June 14, 2020

Location: Havana, Cuba

Additional Info: SPAN 395 Cuba Maymester will not be offered in Spring 2022

Course Description:

This course will allow USC students to immerse themselves in today’s Cuban vibrant culture. The focus of the course will be to examine Cuban contemporary culture through the analysis of visual arts, literature and music, but we will also cover issues related to International Relations between Cuba and the Unites States, Cuba’s Health Care system and the general implications that recent warming of relations between Cuba and the United States have in the future of both countries.

Students will have the opportunity to go to Cuba for two weeks and visit Havana, the capital, the province of Matanzas and Varadero – one of Cuba’s most beautiful beaches. They will receive lectures and presentations given by Cuban faculty, local artists, writers, musicians, politicians and will also interact with Cuban students. The USC students will visit Cuban institutions like Havana’s University of the Arts), The National Arts Museum, The Museum of the Revolution, Finca Vigía (Hemingway’s house in Cuba) and other historical sites in both Havana and Matanzas. We will also attend a musical presentation. During the first two weeks of the course, which will take place at the USC campus, students will focus mostly on reading about the Cuban history, history of Cuba-US relations, Cuban society, politics and arts.

The evaluation of the course will be based in a research short essay that will be completed in the island, a midterm and a final written examination. This course will be conducted in English, but knowledge of Spanish will definitely enhance the experience and appreciation of Cuban culture.

CLICK HERE to view the 2020 syllabus.


Please contact Program Director Ivette Gomez igomez@usc.edu for the application.


Open to ALL majors, Spanish is not required.

Costs (Excluding Spring Tuition)

Airfare $500
Room and board $1,380
Cash to take to Cuba $500
TOTAL $2,380

Note: Students should wait to purchase airline tickets until instructed to do so, as courses may be canceled due to unforeseen circumstances.

PLEASE NOTE: A $400 non-refundable deposit is due upon student acceptance of a Maymester course. This deposit will be charged to the student’s account on or just after 1/24 and applied to the housing/program fee or refunded to student account on or just after 4/15.  While most spring courses allow for an add/drop period, Maymester courses require immediate commitment due to travel arrangements and budgeting.


SPAN 499: Cultural Convergence in Granada and Marrakech

Director: Marie Enright, PhD

Dates: May14-June 11, 2018

Location: Spain and Morroco

Course description:

This course explores the contemporary convergence of cultures and the collective memory of al-Andalus (Muslim Spain) as a point of cultural, racial and religious intersection in Granada, Spain and Marrakech, Morocco. During medieval times, Islamic rule in Spain led to important cultural exchanges and cooperation between Muslims, Christians and Jews, which we may continue to study today through the mixing of language, literature, music, theater, dance, cuisine and architecture. We seek to understand the capacity for tolerance and coexistence that existed in al-Andalus, while reflecting on contemporary challenges faced in diverse societies, particularly in terms of shared space, music, theater, literature and philosophies of life. Through this course students discover our shared cultural patrimony through literary works by Federico Garcia Lorca, Juan Goytisolo, Washington Irving, María Rosa Menocal, Fatima Mernissi, Edward Said, and others. This course is taught in English.

Course format:

1 week at USC

2 weeks in Granada, Spain with day trip to Córdoba

1 week in Marrakech, Morocco

Estimated costs: USC Spring tuition (4 units), plus airfare $1,800, lodging and meals TBD


SPAN 499: Cultural Mappings of Mexico City

Director: Samuel Steinberg, samuelst@usc.edu

Dates: May 13–June 10, 2019

Location: Mexico City

Course description:

The Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures announces its Mexico City Maymester for 2019. Improve your knowledge of Spanish language and Mexican culture and earn four units of credit while living in one of the world’s most exciting cities. For three weeks, one of the largest cities on Earth will be our classroom, as we learn about Mexican history, art, cinema, politics, and literature. We will visit restaurants, museums, architectural jewels (and ruins), archives, as well as popular cultural events, and will meet with significant cultural figures from the Mexico City scene in the process.


SPAN 396: Oaxaca and Oaxacalifornia: Responsible Tourism, Traditional Culture and Migration

Director: Sarah Portnoy, portnoy@usc.edu

Dates: May 18 – June 12, 2020

Location: Oaxaca, Mexico

Course description

Oaxaca is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the most culturally and biologically diverse of Mexican states with sixteen different languages spoken in addition to Spanish, and environments as varied as desert, pine forest, and tropical rain forest.

The food of Oaxaca stands out as one of the richest and most diverse in all of Mexico. Based on a synthesis of Spanish and Indigenous legacies, Oaxacan cuisine is known for its many moles, complex sauces made of chilies, chocolate, herbs and spices; for its many corn products; for its mescal, a locally cultivated, distilled beverage made from agave; and for the rich Oaxacan chocolate.

During the Maymester, students will explore Oaxacan culture, food, and agriculture, discover how food is used as a tool for activism, sovereignty and empowerment of women, and learn about the connection between Oaxacan food and politics and immigration.

CLICK HERE to view a tentative course syllabus.

CLICK HERE to view a video about the course.


USC undergraduates from any major/school

Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher

Spanish level of 220 at a minimum, preferred majors or minors


Complete the online application form and submit a 1 page personal statement discussing your personal and academic interest in the program.

For more information please contact Professor Sarah Portnoy portnoy@usc.edu.


Department: The Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures

Director: For more information contact Professor Martín Ocón-Gamarra at ocongama@usc.edu or Professor Karen P. Pérez at perezk@usc.edu

Dates: May 18 – June 13, 2020. (Students will spend 1 week at USC and 3 weeks in Peru)

Location: Lima and Cusco, Peru

Course Description:

This course explores the cultures of Peru (Spanish, indigenous, mestizo, African, etc.) in the context of their shared history and their shared language: Spanish. Students will be immersed in the language, history, music, dances and culinary traditions of Peru and will use tools for addressing a range of problems associated with Quechua cultural and linguistic loss, the gain of the Spanish language, deculturation, ethnic discrimination, and other related topics.

The program incorporates a community service component where students visit an indigenous site and volunteer in the community in order to have a more enriching experience. Besides learning the way of life of an Andean indigenous community, students will have a Quechua basic language introduction class taught by a native Quechua speaker.

Lastly, and because Peru has one of the best cuisines in the World, students will have the opportunity to experience a hands-on cooking class by a local chef.

CLICK HERE to view the tentative syllabus.

Course credit:

This is a 4-unit English or Spanish-taught course that counts as an elective for most majors. Based on demand, a number of applications and applicants’ proficiency, the course may be taught only in Spanish so that students can receive appropriate credit towards their Spanish major or minor.

Application Deadline: November 15th, 2019 at 6 pm. CLICK HERE to access the Application Form.

Eligibility: This is a class open to all undergraduate and graduate students. No prerequisites. Intermediate knowledge of Spanish is required

Flyer CLICK HERE to access the flyer.

Estimated Costs (Excluding Spring Tuition)

Internation flight (USA-Lima-USA):              $700-$900

Domestic flight (Lima-Cusco-Lima):            $250

Room & Board:                                           $800 (Hotel in Lima: 5 nights, hotel near Machu Picchu: 2 nights, and Homestay with full board in Cusco: 2 weeks)

*Meals no covered by the program:             $150-$200

Past Summer Programs


Madrid 2020

Directors: Prof. Roberto Ignacio Díaz, rdiaz@usc.edu and Prof. Sam Steinberg, samuelst@usc.edu

Tentative Dates: May 17 – July 3, 2020


Course description:

The Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures at USC Dornsife announces its seven-week program in Madrid for 2019. Improve your knowledge of Spanish language and culture and earn eight units of credit while living in one of Europe’s most exciting cities. Students take two courses, live with a Spanish family, attend lectures at Madrid’s museums, take a five-day tour of Barcelona, and make daytrips to the monastery of El Escorial and the historical cities of Córdoba, Segovia, and Toledo. Estimated costs: USC tuition (8 units), plus airfare and room and board. Students with a Dornsife major or minor are eligible for assistance from the Del Amo Fund.

Possible courses:

Spanish 260 – Advanced Spanish: Arts and Sciences
Spanish 311 – Advanced Spanish through Contemporary Issues
Spanish 341 – Advanced Conversation and Culture
Spanish 465 – Cultural Perspectives of the Iberian Peninsula
Spanish 499 – Special Topics

Estimated Costs: USC tuition (8 units) plus airfare (around $1300) and room and board (around $2100). Students with a Dornsife major or minor are eligible for assistance from the Del Amo Fund.

For more information, contact Prof. Roberto Ignacio Díaz (rdiaz@usc.edu) or Prof. Sam Steinberg (samuelst@usc.edu).

Santander 2020

Director: Goretti Prieto Botana, botana@usc.edu

2020 Program Dates: May 16th-June 13th, 2020

Location: Universidad de Cantabria-Santander

Course description:

The UCAN-Santander Summer program is geared toward students who are in the process of fulfilling their language requirement. As such, it offers students the chance to complete SPAN III/SPAN220 (occasionally and depending on demand SPAN150 may be offered as well) and yields automatic credit upon successful completion of the course. Courses are taught by faculty from Universidad de Cantabria but as per the same syllabus and textbook used at Department of Spanish and Portuguese at USC. USC faculty travel with the program to assist and support UCAN faculty, as well as the USC students with any issue they may encounter throughout their stay.

Course format:

Classes take place from Monday to Thursday for four hours a day, a schedule intended to accommodate program and individual trips. Included in the program are two trips: one to Madrid and another one to the Basque Country or a different location within Spain. During these trips students attend cultural events and/or conduct mini-research projects that are instrumental for the completion of course tasks. Students are free to travel on their own on free weekends (they will be asked to provide contact details for safety reasons).


Program cost, based on our 2020 edition, should be approximately as follows:

Tutition:           $7600 approx. (4 summer units)
Lodging:           $1200 approx. (full board in host families)
Airfare:             $1500 approx. (depending on when students purchase it)

Dornsife students who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher are eligible for financial support from the Del Amo fund.


Santander is a mid-size, coastal city in northern Spain. It is a common tourist destination for Spanish nationals and offers plenty of entertainment for visitors but remains largely untouched by international tourism, making it a perfect location to access the Spanish culture and ensure ample exposure to the language. It is very safe and easily accessed by way of the local Seve Ballesteros Airport (SDR) or the neighboring Bilbao-Loiu Airport (BIO).

Early admission period: The deadline to turn in applications for early admission is January 16th, 2020 with notification of acceptance by January 20th. We encourage you to submit your application by then to receive early consideration, particularly if you are looking to decide on your Spring Spanish courses.

Application deadline: January 25th, 2020.

Please sign up here to receive updates for the program

Download application and recommendation forms here.

Valencia 2015

Information for 2015

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese announces a four-week program inValencia, Spain, for the summer of 2015. Improve your knowledge of the Spanish language and culture, and fulfill your language requirement while living in one of Spain’s most interesting cities. Students will take SPAN 220; live in a colegio mayor (student residence); explore Valencia through visits to museums and historical sites; and participate in cultural events around the city and beyond.

The program is open to qualified undergraduate students who have successfully completed SPAN 150 or have placed into SPAN 220.

Estimated costs: USC tuition (4 units). Room and board = 800 Euros ($1200). For further information, contact Dr. Marianna Chodorowska-Pilch of the Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese, Taper Hall 156 L. Email: chodorow@usc.edu. Phone: (213) 740-1258.

USC reserves the right to cancel any program in the case of an emergency beyond its control, or to cancel programs due to low enrollment or unavailability of faculty. Should the program be cancelled, deposits will be refunded to students. Students must register for one course only. If the program is cancelled due to insufficient enrollment, the decision to do so will be made by April 2015.

USC Dornsife Magazine published in October 2014 the article “A Wish Granted” by Senior Engie Salama about her experiences in the Valencia Summer 2014 Program. In this article Engie praises her experience in the program.