Experiential Learning and Extra-Curricular Opportunities

In the department of Languages and Literatures, students are  encouraged to engage in many experiential learning and extra –curricular opportunities that we offer. Each language of the department provides different faculty-led study abroad programs and trips, clubs, internships, and service learning. We work closely with the Study Abroad Program to ensure their students get a truly international experience. We also collaborate with several national honor societies, and assist our students in finding awards and scholarships.


Upcoming Trip: Summer 2019 (Spain - and the Camino de Santiago)

To travel through Spain is to experience first-hand the centuries-long intermingling of Roman, Visigoth, and Islamic cultures, as well as the religious exchanges that marked both la convivencia ("the living together") and the Christian Reconquista. The history of Spain will come alive as students visit major cities and small villages, capped by a 119 km hike on the Camino de Santiago, the ancient pilgrimage route of St. James. Through these experiences, students will improve their cultural and historical literacy; they will better understand cultural and religious diversity through the study of art and architecture; and they will develop their own understanding of the experience of pilgrimage. Suitable for any student physically able to backpack the Camino, and highly recommended for any student interested in Spanish, Religious Studies, History, or Art and Art History. For more information contact: Dr. Michelle Bettencourt, mbettenc@unca.edu or Dr. Rodger Payne, rpayne@unca.edu.

RELS/SPAN 372 (2) ST. The Camino de Santiago

This course is designed to encourage students to reflect upon the act of pilgrimage in its historical, aesthetic, and cultural contexts (including religion). Students will read from a variety of pilgrimage accounts and scholarly analyses. SPAN 372 students will read primarily from Spanish language sources and complete all assignments in Spanish;
RELS 372 students will read and complete assignments in English.

SPAN 374 (4): ST: Developing Cultural Competency. Students of Spanish will develop and apply skills in cultural competency - including interpersonal communication (verbal and non-verbal), and negotiating interactions in multiple contexts (formal and informal) - that are applicable to a wide variety of international experiences.
RELS 374 (4): ST: ARTS: The Religious Art and Architecture of Medieval Iberia. An exploration of the rich religious tapestry of medieval Iberia through visits to museums, churches, mezquitas (mosques), and synagogues.


Amazon to the Andes - Summer 2018 -
Cultural Expressions, Community Actions, and Global Citizenship - Dr. Juan Sánchez Martinez

Cuba: Spring Break 2017 - Greta Trautmann, Associate Professor of Spanish and Maria Cebria, Lecturer in Spanish - took a group of students to Havana, Cuba.  Students were enrolled in either LA 478 (Cultivating Global Citizenship (Trautmann) or SPAN 374 (Cuba Today: Visual Arts, Literature and History (Cebria).

Students met with scholars and professionals from various disciplines who engaged them with historical realities as well as with current developments in artistic movements, sustainability and cultural heritage and technology and communication. Non-academic excursions included: guided tour of La Habana Vieja (Old Havana); visits to the Cemetery of Colón; Museum of the Revolution, Contemporary Art Museum (Cuban Collection); visit to Cigar factory and Rum distillery; an overnight trip to the Terrazas biosphere and Vinales.  Students also participated in a service project of El espiral community foundation, in which they assisted in re-painting an elementary school in a very modest neighborhood west of the city.

Spain and the Camino de Santiago: Summer 2017

Michelle Bettencourt, Associate Professor of Spanish and Rodger Payne (Professor & Chair, Religious Studies) led a group of students on an exploration of the rich history in Madrid and Toledo before spending a week in Valladolid, studying at one of Spain’s prominent universities and living with local families.  The final week was spent hiking 117 kilometers of the Camino de Santiago (The Way of Saint James), one of the most significant pilgrimages of the Christian world, which dates back to the 9th century. Along the way, they passed through remote villages and towns, visited important architectural and artistic landmarks, and met other Pilgrims from around the world before arriving at the end of the Camino, Santiago de Compostela.