Spanish and Portuguese

Event Date: 

Monday, February 1, 2021 - 2:45pm

Study Abroad in Brazil!


Hear from a Spanish Major
who studied in Spain

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese believes all of its students should complete a portion of their undergraduate study through the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP). Spanish and Portuguese majors can deepen their understanding of Spanish and Latin American literature and cultures, including Brazil, by studying in a foreign university and at the same time adding an international dimension to their undergraduate education. Because all courses taken through UCEAP are accepted as UC courses, with careful planning, students may spend as much as a year of study in a foreign university with no loss of time in completing their degrees.

Why study abroad?

The opportunities for enhancing one’s understanding of literature written in Spanish through foreign study are almost boundless: exploring the land of Don Quixote de la Mancha, tapping into the history of Mexico and its writers, from Sor Juana to Octavio Paz, or discovering Neruda’s Chile. The vast country of Brazil, with its rich human and cultural resources, is also open to UCEAP students of Portuguese.  

Spanish and Portuguese majors who study abroad come to understand that cultural context is crucial for interpreting literary texts, that knowledge is constructed differently in other political and social milieu. They may gain fluency in the language while at the same time studying its literature. 

Spanish majors find that a term, or better, a year in a foreign university not only enhances their critical thinking and writing skills, but that the experience of adapting to another academic system and culture expands their self-understanding and gives them a keen sense of the political and social differences in today’s world. The personal and intellectual growth of study abroad provides further advantages when it comes to the challenges of graduate and professional study.

When should I study abroad?

Students interested in language programs or in fulfilling General Education requirements can participate as early as their sophomore year. Students wanting to fulfill upper-division major requirements should, in most cases, go abroad in their junior or senior years. 

If you go abroad in your junior year, you should strongly consider doing a senior honors thesis based on the coursework and intellectual interests you developed abroad. This provides an ideal way of integrating time abroad with the completion of your major.

Where should I study abroad?
If you are interested in taking lower-division language classes, look into language programs in Spain. If you want to take upper-division coursework for the Spanish major abroad, Hispanic literature and other possible major elective courses are offered at all immersion program universities in MexicoChile and Spain. Spanish majors will find plenty of courses to fulfill upper-division major requirements on immersion programs. 
If you want to study Catalan literature and culture, in addition to Spanish, go to Barcelona. If you want to study non-Spanish speaking Mexican indigenous groups, do the Field Research in Mexico program. If you’re interested in colonial literature, consider a program in Latin America. If you like medieval poetry or golden-age drama, study it in Spain.
Portuguese majors should choose a program in Brazil.
What classes should I take?

If you have taken less than two years of university-level Spanish, you can participate in the Spanish in Madrid program in Spain. If you have already completed two or more years of university-level Spanish (Span 1-6 or Span 16A), you can do a fall or spring semester or full year abroad in Mexico, Chile or Spain and take major or elective coursework in Spanish. Portuguese majors can study in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Generally, any upper-division literature or linguistics courses taken abroad will be accepted for major credit upon petition. Students should look for courses that are equivalent to the 110 series (Spanish Literature in specific time periods), the 111 series (Latin American Literature in specific time periods) or for general literature or linguistics courses. 

In addition to literature and linguistics course, students may apply one upper-division UCEAP course as an elective in each of the following categories:

  • Advanced Grammar/Composition – If you have not taken SPAN 25 prior to studying abroad, the UCEAP Intensive Language Program (ILP) can be petitioned to count towards the SPAN 25 requirement. If you take SPAN 25 prior to studying abroad and participate in the UCEAP Intensive Language Program (ILP), the ILP cannot be petitioned as an elective. The ILP is only offered on the UNAM program for the Fall and year terms.

  • Film/Cinema – You must study film/cinema of a Spanish-speaking country or region, not film from a variety of countries, like European Cinema.

  • Society/Culture – You must study society/culture of a Spanish-speaking country or region, as reflected in its literature. Please note that it must have a heavy emphasis in literary traditions.

Just because a course is taught in Spanish doesn’t mean it will count towards the major. For instance, political science, art history, music, economics, etc. courses taken in Spanish will not count toward major/minor requirements.

All Spanish language courses taken on UCEAP will be viewed as lower-division equivalents.  Students who have not taken UCSB Spanish 25 may petition appropriate language courses towards that requirement. 

Use Gaucho Credit Abroad to search for the types of credit (i.e. major, minor, GE areas, or electives towards graduation) that UCSB students received for courses taken on UCEAP. You can find more UCEAP courses in the UCEAP Course Catalog and additional course listings on UCEAP partner university/program websites.

What Language Level Am I?

If you took courses in high school, you should take the Spanish placement exam through the Spanish Department.

If you took the Spanish Language or Literature AP exam, your level depends on your score:

AP Spanish Exam Score Equals Placement
Language & Culture 3 1-3 Span 4  
Language & Culture 4 1-4 Span 5  
Language & Culture 5 1-5 Span 6  
Literature & Culture 3 1-4 Span 5  
Literature & Culture 4 1-5 Span 6  
Literature & Culture 5 1-6 Span 25








Native/Heritage Spanish speakers should take the Language Fluency Evaluation through the Spanish Department. Enrolling in Spanish 16A and 16B prior to participating in an UCEAP immersion program is generally recommended to ensure that you are ready for writing all of your papers and exams in Spanish.

How do I get started?

Academic Planning Form Tutorial

Gaucho Credit Abroad Database