Spanish Summer Travel Awards
Award: $2565 for summer research travel in a Spanish speaking country. (Research can be combined with a short period of study).
- Be a major or minor in Spanish
- Be a sophomore or a junior
- Have completed at least SPA 202 when applying
You need to submit a proposal to the Spanish Department Chair. In your proposal you should describe your research project. Include:
- Why the project interests you
- What the main focus of inquiry will be
- Methodology you will use
- Contacts you have established in the place in which you will conduct your research
- Outcome of your research (poster, paper, presentation, etc.)
You need to have at least one advisor that would supervise your project. Your advisor needs to be from the Spanish Department. If you are interested in doing research from a specific perspective (e.g., Anthropology, Art, Biology, etc.) and you prefer to have an advisor from a different department, you can do so as long as a member of the Spanish Department is a co-adviser.
Both the quality of the application and student's involvement in Spanish activities and department life will be taken into account when selecting the award recipient.
Applications must be received by 4:30 pm on February 28, 2022.
Application and budget form are available here:
Max Geuder ’20, BOS and Spanish joint major and the winner of the 2019 Spanish Summer Travel Award
The summer of 2019, I had the opportunity to spend a month in Buenos Aires, Argentina, performing economic research at the University of Buenos Aires. The university is free of charge for everyone, regardless of nationality, and is part of the university’s mission to provide free education to all. My research focused on how Argentina transitioned from the 10th wealthiest country per capita in 1913 to a country that has defaulted on its debt nine times and experienced inflation as high as 5000%. Specifically, I focused on the economic policies implemented during the presidencies (1946-1952, 1952-1955, 1973-1974) of Juan Peron and how these measures contributed to the detriment of Argentina’s economy. I performed all my research directly with Miguel Francisco Gutierrez, an economics professor at the University of Buenos Aires.
In addition to research, I was able to join the soccer team for the University of Buenos Aires and attend weekly practices and games. One of the most memorable experiences was attending a Boca Juniors, one of the largest and most famous soccer teams in Argentina, with teammates from the university. I also was able to travel outside the city and went to Foz de Iguaçu, one of the largest waterfalls in the world, Uruguay, and Rio Janeiro.
Although the transition from the Spanish classroom setting to the streets of Buenos Aires proved to be challenging at times, the experience proved to be incredibly rewarding. I had the opportunity to be immersed in another culture through the language, sports, food, history, and countless other aspects. I hope to have the chance to return to Buenos Aires one day and I am extremely grateful to everyone who made my summer travel possible.
Elizabeth Reed '19, Spanish Major and the winner of the 2018 Spanish Travel Award:
I had the privilege of spending the month of May in Madrid, Spain living with a host family and doing research about Francisco Franco and the Spanish military. My research focussed on identifying the remnants of the Franco era (1939-1975) in the modern Spanish military through interviews and research. Although I expected to find that the general perception of the modern Spanish military is still negativiely influenced by the repressive nature of General Franco, my research and interviews brought me to the conclusion that the Spanish transition to democracy during the late 1970s and 1980s truly did change the way that people think of their military and created a generally more positive military image.
In addition to research, I also got to live in the heart of Madrid in the Salamanca barrio with my host mom, Virginia, and her two children. I studied abroad in Madrid during the fall of 2017 and even though I couldn't live with my host family from that semester during my summer research, I did get to catch up with my original host family and cook some delicious Spanish tortilla with my host mom, Teresa. I also got to travel outside of Madrid to Zaragoza and Aranjuez for research interviews and cultural exploration.
I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to learn more about Spanish history and return to my favorite city. It is such a privilage to have two wonderful host families and many friends in Madrid. I am extremely grateful to everyone who made my summer travel possible and I am already looking forward to returning to Madrid someday!
Avery Madison '18, Spanish minor and the 2017 winner of the Spanish Tavel Award:
My month in Buenos Aires…
The original project I had proposed for the Summer Travel Award involved conducting interviews and volunteering in both Lancaster and Buenos Aires in order to compare how the two cultures helped people that were dealing with situations of crisis. With the funding from the award, I was going to be able to spend a month in Buenos Aires. I ended up staying with a woman who was very accustomed to helping American students get to know the city. Pini and her two cats had been hosting students for years and actually already had two students living with her when I arrived. She was incredibly sweet and welcoming, and since I was there on my own, without an official program to rely on for support, it was a pleasant surprise to have such a great group of people surrounding me.
With the help of a psychologist from Buenos Aires, Marcela Gonzalez, I was able to carry out my plan for the project. She helped me set up interviews with different experts that allowed me to understand the culture more thoroughly. It was really thanks to her that the project grew to become what it did: an experience about understanding one culture in its entirety versus trying to make a comparison between the two.
Although definitely challenging at times, the experience as a whole was incredibly rewarding and unexpected in a great way. I would honestly love to go back and live in Buenos Aires if I ever have the chance in order to gain a deeper understanding of the culture that, thanks to this opportunity, I was able to begin to explore.
Chengcheng Zhai '18, Spanish major and the 2016 winner of the Spanish Travel Award:
The summer of 2016, I spent two weeks in La Habana, Cuba, a country with an almost 100% literacy rate and a completely free access to colleges. I did a research on Cuban college education and the continuity into the professional working field. I interviewed students form University of Havana about their college experience and their hope and plan for the future. I spent most of my time walking around the city, especially in parks, or places where people sit down to relax so that I could have a more in depth conversation with the local people about their personal experience both as a student and as a professional. I grew up so much from this experience, not just in terms of Spanish conversational ability, but also in terms of maturity. I am now able to start a conversation with a complete stranger and feel no awkwardness. I also became more independent, getting around in the city using a map, ordering food that I actually like, living without Internet, etc. …
Coming from a communist country (China) without actually living a “communist life”, I have always wanted to visit a more communist country like Cuba, which is full of mystery to the outside world. Without this Spanish Department Summer Travel Award, my dream will not have come true at such an early stage in my life. Thank you!
Ryan Sukley '15, Hispanic Cultures minor and the 2012-13 winner of the Spanish Summer Travel Award:
This summer, I travelled to Cochabamba, Bolivia, to study the educational services that nonprofit non-governmental organizations are providing to youths. Bolivia is the poorest country in South America, with an average income of about $2200 per year. Families live in houses they've built themselves, children are forced to work in the streets, and social protests arise in response to extreme income inequalities. As an Economics and Sociology double major, I had an incredible opportunity to expand upon the knowledge I had gained in the classroom by going abroad. I stayed with a host family, interacted with the local population, conducted interviews, and volunteered as an instructor for two NGOs. I worked in schoolhouses and assisted with homework in math, English, social studies and even Spanish grammar and vocabulary. My Spanish improved rapidly, and my eyes were opened to a way of life that I didn’t even know existed when I first arrived at the college. This immersive cultural experience left me with friends that I still speak with regularly, and allowed me to leave the United States for the first time in my life. And none of it would have been possible without the Spanish Summer Research Grant, and support from the Spanish department at F&M!