Institute for Field Education

Academic courses

The curriculum of the Asturias Program

During the preparatory session all students follow two foundational, interdisciplinary courses specifically designed to provide non-specialists a grounding in the regional and national context. As a result of this preparation students become interns ready to take their place, and take part in the work of their host organization.

The two courses comprising the preparatory session:

- Historical and Cultural Foundations of Modern Spain and Asturias: A thematic approach
- Asturias and Spain in the 21st Century: Society, Economy, Culture


I. Historical and Cultural Foundations of Modern Spain and Asturias: A thematic approach
Highlighting key moments and themes in Spanish history, this course provides non-specialists a grasp of the institutions and realities of contemporary Spain by demonstrating their historical origins. Students’ understanding is deepened by a discussion of cultural and social events illustrating each theme.

II. Asturias and Spain in the 21st Century: Society, Economy, Culture
A pluridisciplinary method is used to depict contemporary Spain including recent changes and current issues while also identifying historic vestiges. A second part of the course examines the social and economic realities of Asturias as well as regional identity, contemporary cultural activity, and the like. By the end of the course students will have acquired a coherent, analytical and practical view of life in Asturian society as well as the identity Asturias in Spain. Students are encouraged raise relevant issues from their own fields of study, for discussion within the context of each theme.
Each course is comprised of both lectures and discussion or workshop sections (clases practicas).

The preparatory session includes two study tours exploring relevant site in Galicia to the west and the Basque Country to the east.

During the Internship Period


III. The Asturias Seminar – The Spanish Socio-economy in Europe and the World
During the internship period, all students follow an IFE course on the socio-economic structures and current issues in Spain, in both a European and world context. The course includes lecture-visits to key sites around Gijon to understand economic life, urbanization trends, etc.

IV. Independent Field Study and Research Paper
During the internship period students complete an independent research project to be handed in at the end of the semester. This project is a thirty-page research paper established according to formal methodological guidelines under the direction of a research advisor thoroughly familiar with the subject area of the research. Research topics are carefully chosen and validated to ensure an organic link between the central themes of the internship itself and the topic of the independent study. A well-designed research question draws upon primary sources available through student’s professional milieu such as interviews, data, documentation, access to other actors in the field, etc. as well as a familiarity with the relevant literature.

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