The NW Cadiz Program has been providing a unique exchange experience in the south of Spain for over 20 years. Students are encouraged to live up to their full potential, hone their existing skills, and develop new perspectives through community involvement, service learning, and self-exploration.
Located on a peninsula in Andalusia, Cadiz is one of the oldest cities in Europe, having been founded over 3,000 years ago by the Phoenicians. Its security and small-town warmth belie the city’s history as a treasure port of the Spanish Empire and birthplace of the liberal Spanish Constitution of 1812. That rich history is apparent throughout the city, and students can easily walk from the university to Roman and Phoenician ruins to the beach in one afternoon. Today, Cadiz has become a modern hub for travelers and intercultural encounters, while still maintaining its unique culture and identity.
From the moment they arrive, students enjoy a comprehensive network of support that includes attentive host families, engaging professors, an active university community, experienced extracurricular instructors and, of course, dedicated program administrators.
It is precisely the intercultural dialogue that is the cornerstone of the Cadiz experience. The local community welcomes student involvement and students are not confined to learning in classrooms. In their host families, they learn about the customs, traditions, and the cuisine of this unique Andalusian city. In their cultural interactions, students practice not only the language they study, but are also exposed to challenges that task them to develop a sense of cultural sensitivity, to broaden their horizons, and to grow as individuals and citizens of an increasingly international world. Click below to hear the stories of three current students.
This immersive environment inspires program participants to constantly speak in Spanish and seek out invaluable real-life opportunities in order to build confidence and to develop a sense of belonging, which in turn produces tangible results, paving the way for future careers, additional studies, or other opportunities.
In addition to enjoying the day-to-day life of this unique Spanish city, students also have the opportunity to travel to other parts of the country and of Europe. Excursions are organized by the program to emblematic locations, such as Córdoba, Granada, and Salamanca, for example. In this way the program helps students refine their understanding of their own place in the larger world and the histories and relationships that define them.
Students returning home often reflect on how they have changed, and remark upon how improvement in Spanish fluency and increased confidence is accompanied by the acquisition of new leadership skills, cultural competency, and a more expansive understanding of the world. Indeed, a number of students who have participated in the NW Cadiz Program in the past have found life in southern Spain so captivating that they have returned to live, teach English, or pursue further studies. We can’t wait to see where this group will go!
By Rita Serghini