Course code: 
SP 410
Terms offered: 
Language of instruction: 
Montserrat Alonso Cuenca, Cristina Iborra, Amalia López Salso, Ana Martín Pascual, María Pardo

This course is for speakers of Spanish heritage who wish to maintain the Spanish inherited from their parents, recognize and value the Spanish as a cultural legacy and strengthen the pride of belonging to this linguistic community, valuing diversity of the Spanish language and become aware of the variety itself, analyze the present and future of the Spanish language and introduce the characteristics of the cultures living in Spain and in the countries of Latin America and reflect on these cultural references, cultural knowledge and behaviors. 
Research has demonstrated that study abroad can enhance every aspect of language ability. One of the most important general findings of this research is, however, that study abroad is most beneficial for the development of abilities related to social interaction. Students who go abroad can learn to do things with words, such as requesting, apologizing, or offering compliments, and they may also learn to interpret situations calling on such speech acts in ways that local people do…In short, and logically, study abroad has been shown to enhance the aspects of communicative competence that are most difficult to foster in classroom settings (IES Abroad MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication, p. 6). 


Completion of IES Abroad’s Emerging Competent II outcomes, determined by placement test.

Attendance policy: 

Class attendance is required for the proper functioning of this course. Following the general policy of the program, after 2 unexcused absences during the course, a subsequent absence will lower a grade out of your final grade, for example, from an A to an A-. Each subsequent absence will lower another grade. Late arrivals and early departures from class will count as half an absence.  It is important to be prompt!

Learning outcomes: 

Students who are placed in this level should be capable of achieving the outcomes in the Independent Abroad level as defined by the IES Abroad MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication.

By the end of the course, students will be able to achieve the outcomes for the Emerging Competent Abroad level as defined by the MAP for Language and Intercultural Communication. The key learning outcomes from the MAP are summarized below:

  1. Intercultural Communication
    1. Students will be able to describe and analyze key host cultures, subcultures, habits, norms, and behaviors in a variety of settings, and they will be aware of the risk that generalizations can lead to stereotypes.
    2. Students will be able to analyze the validity of their own cultural beliefs, behaviors, and norms by contrasting and comparing them with the host culture. 
    3. Students will demonstrate openness and acceptance of different beliefs and styles even when they do not agree with them.
    4. Students will assume responsibility for their own learning by defining their linguistic goals and demonstrating independence in their exploration of the culture.
  2. Listening
    1. Students will be able to identify a wide range of social and cultural dialects of the spoken language.
    2. Students will be able to understand most native speakers and non-native experts and comprehend a wide array of moderately complex interactions.
  3. Speaking
    1. Students will be able to participate fully in most academic and social interactions using, when appropriate, complex language including slang, colloquial expressions, double meaning, and humor, with increasing confidence. 
    2. Students will be able to make arguments to support hypotheses and opinions on topics of their interest.
    3. Students will talk about abstract topics, but only if they are topics previously studied or which they are personally familiar.
    4. Students will be able to understand different levels of formality.
  4. Reading
    1. Students will be able to read and understand textbooks and academic articles for classes taught in the host language as well as a wide range of popular texts for enjoyment.
    2. Students will be able to read and understand authentic materials including newspapers, advertisements, brochures, instruction manuals etc. on abstract topics with limited assistance.
    3. Students will take responsibility for the selection of their reading materials based on their own interests.
  5. Writing
    1. Students will be able to write for a wide range of native audiences and express themselves quite clearly and effectively.
    2. Students will be able to write essays for classes incorporating aspects of appropriate academic style with limited assistance.
    3. Students will be able to use a variety of formal written styles with accuracy. 
Method of presentation: 

This course focuses on expanding students’ knowledge of Spanish through a series of defined units with functional, grammatical, lexical, and cultural outcomes. The learning process will be presented with an emphasis on both written and oral comprehension. Likewise, production skills will promote the development of students’ communicative competence at all levels. Daily pair and group discussion will provide students with the skills for oral presentations based on intensive and extensive reading. Students will work with different types of authentic materials (newspapers, documentaries, films, poems, short stories, forums in Moodle) in order to enhance a real intercultural experience.

  • Readings: Through in depth study of authentic texts from different genres, students will be expected to interpret the explicit and implicit meanings of a text, recognize grammatical and discursive structures, analyze vocabulary and context, and engage in discussions or debates about current topics.
  • Compositions: Producing clear and well structured texts about topics related to the Spanish reality. Practice with structures and vocabulary in context. Use of different forms of cohesion. Use of different genres of written communication.
  • Debates, colloquia: Moderating a debate/colloquium based on a previously selected article by the moderator. Group participation (required). Practice with written comprehension (grammar, functions, lexicon, and contextual phrases).
  • Field study: Research, reflection, and presentations about sociocultural topics. Interaction with the Spanish and with foreigners through interviews and conversations with family, friends, etc. about the topic chosen in small groups.
  • Out of classroom activities: Integration of linguistic and cultural aspects while observing and analyzing behavior, especially interaction between the Spanish and foreigners. Pre- and post-activities to enhance the students’ socioculural awareness.
  • Moodle: Comment on the forums regarding cultural topics covered in class.
Field study: 

On the second week of the course, groups of 2 or 3 will be organized and the topic for the field study will be discussed. The students will have direct contact with different aspects of Spanish life through field study, which promotes group work and practicing Spanish language in contexts outside of formal education. The instructor, along with the students, will establish the calendar for the presentation.

The instructor will evaluate the following aspects:

  1. Information contributed for the explanation of the topic
  2. Interviews
  3. Presentation method
  4. Execution of surveys and its conclusions
  5. The students’ ability to communicate; students shouldn’t read their parts, but be able to explain to others their findings and what they have learned with their research. The research will be part of the oral skills evaluation of the student.

Students can present all the difficulties they may find in the realization of the work to the professor.

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Midterm exam (20%): On contents covered in class.
  • Final Exam (20%): On contents covered in class (specific contents tested in the midterm exam will not be included).
  • Field study (20%)
  • Debate/Colloquium (5%): Each student should select an article to be read by the rest of the class. He/she will explain the unknown words/expressions in context and debate on the chosen topic.
  • Homework and participation (15%): All homework and written assignments required by the instructor must be handed in on time. Your participation grade depends on a number of variables, including, but not limited to the following: your use of Spanish in the classroom; your willingness to participate in all class activities; your cooperation during group- and pair- work; your respect and attitude toward your peers and toward your instructor.
  • Compositions (10%)
  • Activities outside the classroom (10%): Students will have the opportunity to participate in several activities outside the classroom. Your instructor is allowed to plan an activity for the group if such activity is considered necessary. You can also take part in activities organized by IES. Preparation and further reflection on this event will be worked in the classroom.




Corresponding Learning Outcome(s)

Week 1

Presentation of the course. Orthographic rules: Accents.

Functional: Speaking and writing about biographies: Expresar una acción que es interrumpida o modificada por otra. Retomar una conversación interrumpida. Expresar intención de hacer algo. Describir situaciones, lugares, personas y cosas en el pasado. Contar acontecimientos que ocurrieron en un momento del pasado. Contar una acontecimiento pasado anterior a otro también pasado. Expresar una acción pasada en un tiempo no terminado. Reaccionar a un comentario. Comprender y expresar razones/causas para hacer algo.

Grammatical: Past Tenses: Uso del pretérito perfecto, pretérito indefinido, pretérito imperfecto y pretérito pluscuamperfecto de indicativo para hablar en pasado. Adverbial phrases: Claro que sí, ni siquiera, a lo mejor. Adverbial Clauses (causal clauses) : porque, ya que, puesto que, dado que, es que, lo que pasa es que, no porque…sino porque…,a fuerza de . Verbal periphrasis.

Vocabulary: Languages: Relaciones personales. Razones para aprender un idioma. Colloquial expressions.

Culture: Languages and Dialects.


Composition 1.Biography

Colloquium: Los jóvenes empobrecen o enriquecen el lenguaje. ¿Quiénes son los culpables o responsables? (Preguntar si está de acuerdo. Invitar al acuerdo. Expresar acuerdo. Expresar desacuerdo.)


Week 2

Functional: Learning and writing a letter of complaint. Expresar cortesía Expresar curiosidad Influir en alguien. Solicitar una explicación. Comprender una entrevista. Comprender y expresar consecuencia

Grammatical: Past Tenses. Present Conditional. Present Subjunctive. Adverbial Clauses (consecutive clauses): de manera/modo/forma que, con lo que, por lo que, por (lo) tanto, en consecuencia… Phrasal Verbs.

Vocabulary: Travelling. Transportes por tierra. Viajes combinados. Turismo accessible. El sector turístico. Ropa y calzado. Objetos de aseo e hygiene. Colloquial expressions.

Culture: Spain and Latin American: Trips.


Composition 2. Letter of complaint: Pérdida o daño de equipaje

Field Study: Select topic

Colloquium: Es el Estado el que tiene que ayudar a potenciar el turismo alternativo? (Expresar aprobación. Expresar desaprobación. Dar el turno de palabra. Concluir.)


Week 3

Functional: Learning and writing an anecdote. Expresar deseos. Preguntar y expresar conocimiento y desconocimiento. Pedir un favor y ayuda. Hablar de carácter y del estado de ánimo.

Grammatical: Past Tenses. Present Conditional. Imperfect Subjunctive. Present Subjunctive. “Ser y estar” with adjectives.

Vocabulary: Pets. Relaciones de Amistad. Animales salvajes. El carácter. Los estados de ánimo. Colloquial expressions.

Culture: Treatment of Animals.


Composition 3. Anecdote.

Articles about Field Study.

Colloquium: ¿Estás de acuerdo en cómo son utilizados los animales? ¿(Cómo se podría mejorar su forma de vida? Expresar acuerdo rotundo. Expresar acuerdo parcial. Expresar desacuerdo rotundo.)


Week 4

Functional: Learning and writing a recipe. Referirse a personas y objetos concretos conocidos y no conocidos. Preguntar por la existencia de algo o alguien. Negar la existencia de algo o alguien. Pedir objetos. Responder a una petición. Expresar aversión. Expresar condición. Dar una orden o instrucción.

Grammatical: Relative Pronouns. Adjectival Clauses. Present Subjunctive. Imperfect Subjunctive. Adverbial Clauses: por si (acaso), siempre que, siempre y cuando, con tal de que, a condición de que, salvo si, excepto si, a no ser que, salvo que. Imperative

Vocabulary: Foods: Recetas. Condimentos. Ingredientes y medidas. Utensilios y envases. Dieta y nutrición. Colloquial expressions.

Culture: Eating Habits and Food Preparation in Spain and Latin American.


Composition 4. Recipe

Colloquium: Una dieta para cada uno. (Pedir opinión. Dar opinión. Mostrar escepticismo)


Week 5

Functional: Reading and writing sports and cultural news. Expresar alegría y satisfacción. Expresar tristeza y aficción. Proponer y sugerir. Solicitar confirmación de una propuesta previa. Aceptar una propuesta, ofrecimiento o invitación. Rechazar una propuesta, ofrecimiento o invitación

Grammatical: Nominal Clauses. Present Perfect Subjunctive. Imperfect Subjunctive. Conditional. Phrasal Verbs. Estructuras reduplicativas.

Vocabulary: Free time: Juegos. Actividades turísticas en parques temáticos. El mundo del deporte. Elementos, acciones de una película y sus características. Colloquial expressions.

Culture: Favorite Weekend Activities: Spain and Latin American


Composition 5. Film review.

Debate: Espíritu competitivo, ¿a favor o en contra? (Posicionarse a favor y en contra. Presentar un contraargumento.)


Week 6

Functional: Review

Grammatical: Review

Vocabulary: Review

Culture: Spanish Cinema. Tapas


Talking about field study.

Midterm exam


Week 7

Functional: Speaking and writing about medical articles. Expresar simultaneidad. Expresar anterioridad respecto a una acción futura. Expresar consejos. Expresar obligación y necesidad. Expresar falta de obligación o de necesidad. Expresar finalidad.

Grammatical: Simple Future. Future Perfect. Present Subjunctive. Imperfect Subjunctive. Imperative. Conditional. If (si) Clauses. Adverbial Clauses: para que, con el propósito de que, con la idea de que, con motivo de que, con el fin de que… - Preposiciones: tras, hacia, por, para, según, contra, entre


Vocabulary: Health. Especialidades y especialistas. Órganos y partes del cuerpo. Enfermedades. Avances médicos. Higiene. Estética. Colloquial expressions.

Culture: Laughter is the best Medicine


Composition 6. Comment on a forum

Colloquium: ¿Cómo cuidas tu cuerpo y tu imagen? (Manifestar curiosidad por algo. Responder a esa curiosidad. Poner un ejemplo. Essay about Field Study.)


Week 8

Functional: Speaking and wrinting about bussines. Expresar nerviosismo. Expresar sorpresa. Expresar admiración y orgullo. Pedir valoración y valorar. Expresar (falta) certeza y evidencia

Grammatical: Pluperfect Subjunctive. Imperfect Subjunctive.

Vocabulary: Business. Empresas y productos. Palabras relacionadas con la creación de una empresa. Organigrama de una empresa. Estrategias para ascender en un trabajo. Colloquial expressions.

Culture: Business in Spain and Latin American.


Composition 7. Testimonial Letter.

Questionnaires about Field Study.

Group Dynamics: Expresar empatía. Reforzar argumentos. Replicar las intervenciones de otros. Explicar ideas. Rectificar. Recapitular lo dicho.


Week 9

Functional: Reading and speaking about gifs. Preguntar por gustos e intereses. Expresar gustos e intereses. Preguntar por preferencias. Expresar preferencias. Expresar indiferencia o ausencia de preferencias. Expresar simultaneidad. Expresar acciones progresivas.

Grammatical: Present Subjunctive. Imperfect Subjunctive. Simple Future. Verbs with two means. Nominal Clauses. Adverbial Clauses: mientras, mientras tanto, entretanto, al mismo tiempo que, en lo que. conforme, a medida que, según.

Vocabulary: Shopping: Regalos. Lista de bodas. Colloquial expressions.

Culture: Shopping Habits in Spain and Latin American


Composition 8. Thank-you Letter

Interviews about Field Study.

Debate: El regalo: ¿puro consumismo o necesidad afectiva? (Abrir una digresión. Cerrar una digresión. Interrumpir. Indicar que se puede reanudar el discurso.)


Week 10

Functional: Speaking and reading about a picture/sculpture/photography. Expresar anterioridad. Expresar posterioridad. Expresar delimitación. Expresar posibilidad. Comparar. Formular hipótesis. Expresar aburrimiento. Expresar diversión.

Grammatical: Present Conditional. Imperfect Subjunctive. Conditional Perfect. Pluperfect Subjunctive. Adverbial Clauses: antes de que, después de que, en cuanto, en el momento en que, tan pronto como , apenas, una vez (que), nada más, hasta que.

Vocabulary: Art: Pintura, escultura, fotografía. Colloquial expressions.

Culture: The Art in Spain y Latin America.


Composition 9. Describing a picture.

Field Study: presentations 1.

Debate: Graffitis, ¿vandalism o arte? (Expresar hartazgo. Expresar enfado e indignación. Expresar vergüenza. Activity outside the classroom: Visita al Museo de América.)


Week 11

Functional: Reading and Speaking about renewable energy. Expresar un inconveniente para que se realice una acción, pero no la impiden. Preguntar por planes e intenciones. Expresar planes e intenciones.

Grammatical: Adverbial Clauses (Concessive Clauses): aunque, a pesar de (que, tanto como si…com si…, por más, por mucho/poco, por mucho/as, por poco/as, y eso que… Indirect discourse (Verb-Tense Changes, No Verb-Tense Changes, Person Changes, Time Changes, Other Changes)

Vocabulary: Environment: Energías renovables. Reciclaje. El agua. Colloquial expressions.

Culture: “Ciudadanía y conciencia medioambiental en España y Latinoamérica”


Composition 10. Writing indirect discurse.

Workshop: Expresar preocupación. Expresar esperanza. Reprochar


Week 12





Field Study: Presentations.

Activity outside the classroom:

Visita al Museo del Traje.


Week 13

Functional: Review

Grammatical: Review

Vocabulary: Review

Culture: Review

Final exam



Required readings: 
  • Alonso, Cuenca Montserrat y Rocío Prieto Prieto. Embarque. Curso de español lengua extranjera. Libro del alumno. Madrid. Edelsa. 2013.
  • Alonso, Cuenca Montserrat y Rocío Prieto Prieto. Embarque. Curso de español lengua extranjera. Libro de ejercicios. Madrid. Edelsa. 2013.
  • De Prada, Marisa y otros. Uso interactivo del vocabulario y sus combinaciones más frecuentes. Madrid. Edelsa 2012.


Brief Biography of Instructor: 

Montserrat Alonso Cuenca: Licenciada en Filología Hispánica por la Universidad de Alcalá de Henares. Diploma de Estudios Avanzados en el programa La Acción Educativa: Perspectivas Histórico-Funcionales. Departamento de Educación por la Universidad de Alcalá de Henares. Máster  en Enseñanza de Español como Lengua Extranjera. Memoria: El español del turismo. Una propuesta de unidad didáctica mediante tareas por la Universidad de Alcalá de Henares. Certificado de Aptitud Pedagógica por la Universidad de Alcalá de Henares. Máster en Literatura Hispanoamericana por la Universidad de Maryland, EE.UU.

Cristina Iborra has a Bachelors Degree in English Filology from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. She also has a certificate of Proficiency in English from Cambridge University. She has a master’s degree in Publishing from Oxford Brookes University and has taken doctoral courses in Spanish Filology at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. She was a visitor at the CARLA Summer Institutes for Language Teachers, University of Minnesota and at the Scottish Universities International Summer School. Cristina has worked as a Spanish language instructor at the International School of Languages (Essex, England); as a journalist for Cinemanía (cinema magazine), Vogue (fashion magazine), and La Casa Marie Claire (decoration magazine); as an editor for Cambridge University Press, Hiperión (poetry publishing house), Visor (poetry publishing house), and Fundación Santillana (publishing house); and as a translator for Planning Lessons and Courses/Designing Sequences of Work for the Language Classroom (Cambridge University Press), Talking and Letting Talk (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), Discourse and Power (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), and On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts by Thomas de Quincey (La Máscara). She has worked for IES Abroad Madrid since June 2002.

Amalia López Salso: Licenciatura en Ciencias Biológicas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, 1970.Master of Arts (Spanish), Humanities and Sciences Graduate School, Southern Methodist University, Dallas (Texas)1972. Cursos de Doctorado en Lengua y Literatura españolas , Departamento de Español, Syracuse University, Syracuse (New York) 1976-77. Certificado de Aptitud Pedagógica (C.A.P.) ,  Instituto de Ciencias de la Educación, Universidad Complutense de Madrid,1980. Profesora de ‘Didáctica del español como segunda lengua’ para profesores de origen hispano en EEUU Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana. Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores de España, Madrid (veranos de 1985-86-87). Teaching Assistant, Spanish Department, Syracuse University. Syracuse, New York,1976-77. Profesora de Lengua y/o Literatura españolas en varios programas americanos en Madrid: University of Southern California, Pepperdine University, Illinois State University, Hamilton College ,Windsor University (de Canadá). Profesora de Lengua, Syracuse University,Madrid, 1973-90. Coordinadora de Lengua, Syracuse University, Madrid, 1982-90. Profesora de Lengua y/o Literatura en IES Madrid desde 1984.

Ana Martín Pascual has a Licenciada in Filología Hispánica and has taken doctoral courses in the Department of Hispanic Literature from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She spent a year as a teaching assistant for the Romance Language Department in Bowdoin College, Maine (U.S.). She has been teaching at IES Abroad Madrid since 1994.

María Pardo has a degree in geography and history from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She was a Spanish instructor at Syracuse University from 1988 to 1991, and a history professor at Kalamazoo College in 1990. She was awarded the “First Annual Excellence in Teaching Award” in October, 2000. María has been a Spanish teacher at IES Abroad Madrid since 1986.

Contact Hours: