Tourism, Food & Culture in Spain

View of Castillo Santa Barbara in Alicante

Barcelona, Alicante, Valencia

Presented by the Departments of Sociology and Anthropology and the College of Advancing and Professional Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, in partnership with Active Learning Abroad.

Sociological Concepts In Motion

Tourism, Food and Culture in Spain is an exciting, faculty led 18-day study abroad program exploring Spain’s culturally and historically rich region along the Mediterranean Sea.

Because this program integrates the interdisciplinary perspectives of sociology, anthropology, and tourism studies, you will develop an understanding of Spanish culture focused on the reciprocal historical evolution of society, food, culture, and tourism in Spain. You will learn about sociological concepts in motion such as modernization, tradition, social and cultural change, diffusionism, innovation, acculturation, and sustainable development.

Spain enjoys world ranking in tourism and gastronomy:

Tourism and gastronomy will be interpreted as “texts” that speak directly and indirectly about the cultural and social forces that produced them. We will make an historical journey starting from ancient times and close with today’s slow food movement and Spanish chef celebrities. Along the way, we will highlight the different current gastronomies in the most relevant tourist regions of Spain.

Why Spain?

Spain offers a marvelous laboratory to study the inter-relationships of tourism, food and culture. Mass tourism in Spain began in the 1960s, exercising a strong impact on Spanish culture and society. While tourism is linked to modernizing, food is strongly linked to culture and tradition. The pervasive consequences of mass tourism’s “foreign” contribution can be observed by analyzing the changes occurring in Spanish culture and society.


At the heart of the Spanish Mediterranean coast, Alicante will be central to the program. Here, you will reside in centrally located shared apartments and classes will take place at the University of Alicante. From Alicante, you will embark on local field trips and visits to the fascinating coastal cities of Valencia, Altea, Benidorm, El Campello and Catalan Barcelona.


Program Itinerary

July 8 Departure from the US
July 9 Arrival in Alicante. Alicante city tour
July 10 University of Alicante welcome tour
July 11 Benidorm. Visit to Baly Hotel Sun
July 12 Free day
July 13 Taste of horchata y fartons
July 14 Lectures
July 15 Field trip to Altea
Visit to Alfas del Pi wineries
July 16 Santa Cruz Quarter and San Nicolás Cathedral. Santa Barbara Castle
July 17-19 Field trip to Barcelona
July 20 Lecture & culinary activity
Cooking paella/tortilla de patatas
July 21 Field trip to El Campello
July 22 Visit Central Wholesale Market. Fresh products in Spain; Tapas tour
July 23 Field trip to Valencia
July 24 Free evening
July 25 Depart for the US

Academic Credit

Graduate Credit
Graduate level credit is possible by special arrangement. Applicants interested in graduate credit must obtain permission before applying to the program.

The Faculty

Courses and lectures will be jointly directed and taught by:

Jorge Capetillo-Ponce, PhD
Associate Professor of Sociology
Director of Latino Studies, UMass Boston
p: 617.287.6284

Antonio Aledo, PhD
Professor of Sociology
University of Alicante

Arturo Jarque, PhD
University of Alicante
Founder and CEO, ALA


Please be advised that international programs are subject to change, slight or major, at any time due to circumstances beyond our control; this includes any and all fees, dates, itinerary, and program activities. We will do our best to inform all applicants of any changes in as timely a manner as possible.

Schedule and Fees

July 8 - 25, 2015

$799 tuition fee, payable to UMass Boston

$2,405 program fee, payable to Active Learning Abroad (ALA), to cover lodging, hotel accommodations during field trips, two meals per day, and all on-site program-related transport.

If enrollment exceeds 29, participants will enjoy a discounted fee; enrollments below 25 entail a small surcharge.

The program fee does not include textbooks, airfare to/from Spain. Please do not purchase airfare until formal notice of acceptance has been received.

To Apply

Application deadline:
May 8, 2015

« Download Application »

This course is open to all University of Massachusetts Boston students. Individuals from other colleges and universities are also welcome to apply.

Applications are reviewed every week until April 30th. Early applications are strongly encouraged, especially if planning to apply for a campus loan.

As part of the application process students must meet with Professor Capetillo during scheduled times in March and April.

Request Information

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Goode-Sollis