Summer Study in Spain: “Spain Today: Madrid, Pamplona y el Norte” with K-State Faculty and Students

May 21-June 21, 2023: APPLY HERE


The 2023 program will repeat the localized itinerary of 2022 that allowed students to spend more time in Pamplona and visit lest “tourist-y” locations. K-State students and Dr. Bender will spend the first 5 days together in Madrid, with an excursion to Toledo, then the entirety of the program will be based in Pamplona with local full-day excursions to Olite and Ujué, The Basque Coastal region of Gipuzkoana (El Flysch), Burgos, Valle de Baztán, and a day trip to several Rioja vineyards. Students will depart from Pamplona on June 21 to their preferred airport (either MAD or BCN) or other destination city.


Dr. Bender‘s faculty-led study abroad program in Spain, “Spain Today: Madrid, Pamplona y el Norte”, allows students to spend nearly 5 weeks in Spain earning 6 Spanish credits at the 500-level and above: 3 for Span 569, and 3 for either a 500- or 700-level elective. All courses count towards the Spanish major or minor. The prerequisite is Spanish 550 by the Spring semester prior to departure (or permission from Dr. Bender). Space is limited, and preference will be given to Spanish majors, seniors and juniors. This is an annual May-June program that allows double-majors and dual-degree students to study abroad and complete their degrees on time; it can help minors convert to a Spanish major, without extending time to graduation. The 700-level course contains a unique “field”-research experience abroad and frees up busy senior year schedules — read about research projects completed by Spanish majors enrolled in Spanish 772 during the 2019 program here, or view one student’s video diary here.

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The application deadline is February 15, 2023. Below are details regarding the itinerary and classes. For more information, contact Dr. Bender (rmbender) to set up a Zoom or office meeting.  Make sure to follow @KStateSpanish on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for events and updates. You can also get a day-by-day re-cap of the 2022 program on both Instagram (and Twitter) by searching #KSUSummerSpain2022.

2023 ITINERARY: Spain Today: Madrid-Pamplona-El Norte

Students will depart the US no later than May 21 and arrive in Madrid on May 22. The group will spend the first four days in Madrid, visiting the Palacio Nacional, El Parque de Buen Retiro, The Prado, el casco antiguo, and one full day will be reserved for day-trip to Toledo.


K-State Spanish students at Madrid’s central Retiro Park during the 2019 program, #KSUSummerSpain2019

On Friday of the first week, the group will depart for Pamplona, where the program will be based for the remaining 3.5 weeks. In Pamplona, students will check-in to their new summer homes – private rooms and bathrooms in a residence hall within walking distance of the university and historic center of Pamplona. From Friday through Sunday we will become familiar with Pamplona and the Universidad de Navarra, where students will take their classes (one with the University; one with Dr. Bender). Pamplona is a small city of about 200,000 people, most famous for the annual Fiestas de San Fermin, or the Running of the Bulls, held every July. It is located in Navarra, in northern Spain, inland from the coast and surrounded by mountains, giving it a moderate climate with cooler, comfortable summers.


La plaza del Castillo, Pamplona / Pamplona’s main, central plaza

At the Universidad de Navarra, students will attend an advanced Spanish Conversation & Culture class every day from about 9:00am -1:00pm, with a few coffee and library breaks in between, and occasional class trips to the city center. At 1:30 they will eat lunch in the University cafeteria before going back to their residence halls in the afternoon or to an afternoon excursion within Pamplona or the surrounding area. Afternoon activities vary, but include meetings for the K-State course with Dr. Bender (Span 565 or 772), walking tours of Pamplona, a visit to the Pamplona Cathedral, a Kayaking trip, and of course… weekly Juevintxo.  Weekend trips or other day trips include a “Medieval Navarra” tour, to the medieval towns of Olite, with its impressive Royal Palace that dates to the 13th-century, and nearby Ujué, with a 11th century cathedral and 12th-century monastery. Other day trips will include the Basque Country (Pais Vasco) – specifically to the picturesque coastal region of Gipuzkoana (Zarauz-Getaria-Zumai, or El Flysch) full of seaside towns — the famed gothic cathedral in Burgos, and to the rural Valle de Baztan in the Pyrenese mountains. After nearly four weeks in Pamplona, the group will have a final “cena de despedida” before each student departs from Pamplona on Wednesday, June 21, for their preferred airport — MAD or BCN — or to another Spanish or European destination of their choice.


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Universidad de Navarra: Students will take an online placement test prior to departure to determine the level of their Spanish Culture & Conversation course at the Universidad de Navarra. They will enroll with a mix of their K-State peers, students from other US universities, and international students from throughout Europe and Asia. Upon successful completion of the course, students will earn 3 transfer credits (Spanish 569).

K-State Spanish students at the Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, during the faculty-led Spain Today program in 2019 – #KSUSummerSpain2019

Before departure, students enroll via KSIS in either Spanish 565 or 772 with Dr. Bender. Below are the descriptions of these courses. There are THREE meetings prior to departure, always on Sunday (5:00-7:30pm) and including a group cena (meal): one in March, and two in April (dates TBA), in Eisenhower Hall 218.

Spanish 565 Spanish Culture & Civilization: (Preq. Span 550) This course develops critical understanding of the historical, political, social and cultural forces that have shaped the Spanish nation. It will offer a panoramic view of Spanish civilization, with emphasis on geography, history, art, and the contemporary reality of the country. During the course, which includes a 4.5 week Study Tour of Spain, we will discuss, observe, and analyze evidence of the historical and cultural evolution of Spain’s central and northern regions in small towns, urban centers, museums, and at architectural and historical landmarks.

Spanish 772 Spain Today: (Preq. at least TWO Span 500-level courses) This course develops critical understanding of the historical, political, social and cultural forces that have shaped the Spanish nation (including the Spanish Civil War), and their role in contributing to contemporary Spanish society and culture. During the course, which includes a 4.5-week Study Tour in Spain, students will familiarize themselves with the main characteristics of contemporary Spanish culture, society, education, and family life, through active reflection on the geography, history, art, and contemporary realities they observe. Research projects will center on an aspect of “Spain Today” and will include academic articles and books, as well as critical observations of history, culture, and contemporary life collected while in small towns, urban centers, museums, and/or historical landmarks in Spain. See general projects and research from the 2019 group (Spanish Majors and Minors Present Research from the Summer in Spain Program) and read about Emory’s video diary ethnography project for 772 (Emory Mathes’s Summer in Spain… in 60 seconds!


K-State Spanish students exploring Madrid’s Gran Via during the 2019 Spain Today program – #KSUSummerSpain2019


Students arrange their own travel, allowing flexibility in their preferred departure (US) airport and the option to stay in Spain or explore Europe independently when the program ends. However, all participants must plan to arrive in Madrid by Monday, May 22, no later than 1:00pm if possible. Dr. Bender is happy to help answer travel questions or offer advice. The (estimated) cost of travel IS INCLUDED as a $1600 out-of-pocket expense in the estimated program budget from Education Abroad.

If you are interested in participating in “Spain Today: Madrid-Pamplona-Barcelona”, contact Dr. Bender (rmbender). Make sure to check out 2022’s program on social media (#KSUSummerSpain2022) and follow @KStateSpanish on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, so you never miss an update! Read about Emory’s 2019 experience and view her 1-second-everyday video diary here: Emory Mathes’s Summer in Spain… in 60 seconds!


Check out other fantastic experiences our K-State Spanish majors and minors have had in Spain for an entire semester… and in South America for several weeks in the summer.


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