Institute for Field Education

Program Overview

Gijón and Oviedo comprise a thriving urban area in a beautiful natural setting. The area is home to a university of 28,000 students with an excellent reputation and virtually no programs or exchanges offering American students the chance to study there. Gijón is a city of nearly a half million people and, combined with nearby Oviedo and Aviles, is the center of a network of some 600,000 residents.
Asturias is a green, mountainous region with a rugged Atlantic coastline, intensely agricultural and home to a thriving milieu of small and medium-sized enterprises as well as a population of one million. Boasting the historical city of princes, Oviedo, and the modern bustling city of Gijón, Asturias offers a myriad of perspectives by which to understand the modern Spanish experience: autonomous not federal, both agricultural and industrial, a contemporary society built on deep historical foundations that have not been forgotten and, most importantly, a strong regional identity.
One of the great advantages of Asturias as a destination for an education abroad program aiming for significant local contact is that it constitutes an urban area and a region in its own right, not a tributary of a larger metropolitan area. Asturian society is built on its own foundations, economic, demographic, and cultural. Opportunities for field experience are wide-ranging, from social affairs, public health, agriculture, and marine biology, to cultural management and tourism, or business administration in small and mid-sized enterprises. IFE has seized the advantage of a mid-sized city to build ties with the Gijón municipal government and local administration. As elsewhere, IFE’s rootedness as a local actor translates into greater exposure and opportunity for its students.
The presence of the first-rate University of Oviedo adds to the attractiveness of this city and region for serious education abroad purposes. For one thing its European-level laboratories and research centers offer opportunities for research internships. The University is also the source for highly qualified teachers for IFE courses, and advisers for student research projects. Finally, the University’s lovely Gijón campus, set at the edge of the city, a ten-minute bus ride from downtown, is home to IFE’s Asturias Center.
Students are housed with host families, located in safe and lively neighborhoods within the city limits of Gijón.

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