According to a research developed from 2015 to 2017 in Spain, most of USA students on study abroad programs declare not to have received enough specific information about what to expect from their experience in Spain. For some students, not having clear expectations is something positive, since they come with an open mind and end up doing well, but for most of them, this creates a sense of missunderstanding, confussion and frustration.

The number of students going abroad is higher every year (according to the IIE’s Open Doors report[i]), and the need for a good pre-departure orientation can not be ignored. Professionals in charge of this orientation should have gone abroad and have experienced things first-hand, but we are aware this is not always a possibility.

The Cultural Translator online is a profesional development course that aims to bring you closer to the real experience of your students on a program abroad in Spain. Through different units and activities, we will follow a sample itinerary at the students’ general pace, so that we get to know and reflect on what students know, need, expect and achieve.

This course will demmand high levels of commitment and, what is most important, high levels of reflection on your side. You will need to put your empathy to work and try to think and feel as a student does when he/she is abroad.

Starting from a welcome in Spain, we will have a look at the different stages of a students’ experience: meeting new people, hearing a foreign language 24/7, living with a host family, suffering from culture shock, meeting local faculty & staff, getting immersed into the daily routines, health & safety issues, intercultural communication and reverse culture shock.

Course content is based on existing current bibliography as well as real situations and testimonies from local experienced intercultural and international educators from different backgrounds, who will make specific contributions to the course.


Addressed to…

This course is addressed to professionals who keep contact with international students. No matter your level of expertise, your academic background or wether you are part of the faculty or staff. Wether you work with international students on campus, or American students going abroad, this course will guide you through the steps they follow when they first arrive to the foreign country and will help you better understand their experience.


This is a 6-week course. The teaching/learning process is asynchronous, apart from a first individual chat with us in order to learn more about you, your needs and interests.

You will be able to access the contents at your convenience, and discuss with us and the rest of students through open forums and reflection activities.

There are 11 units, each of them released on Mondays and Thursdays. Each unit has an important theoretical component, but also a necessary practice activity, discussion forum and group outcome sharing.

You should expect to spend at least 4 hours for every unit, meaning a total of 44-60 hours of work.  The more you devote to your own learning process, the more you will achieve. We are open to participants requiring extra work.


Take the students’ perspective

Enhance your empathy

Gain intercultural knowledge and self-awareness

Reflect on better ways to help your students achieve their own goals


We will follow the same steps that students do when they arrive in a new country. Starting from the airport reception, going through the host family, clases in a foreign language, night life and culture shock, we will cover all stages and reflect on the student’s perspective taking their position. Our units include:

Arrival in a new culture

First days, new friends. Interacting and being “the other”

A new language everywhere

Host families, heaven & hell

Local faculty and staff, facilitators and cultural bridges

Classes in Spanish/ clases with spaniards

Night live. Spain is so much fun!

Culture shock. I’m homesick.

I love Spain (culture shock again)

What have I really learnt? Reflecting on my own experience

Reverse culture shock



One to one meeting prior to the start date

6 weeks of guided learning

Resources, handouts

Video tutorials

Full time online assistance

Open forum for group discussion

Access to real testimonies




Summer: June 4 to July 15

Fall: October 8 to November 18

Winter: November 19 to December 23 & January 14 to February 24

Spring’19: March 4 to April 14


(ask for customized group dates)


$550 Individual fee

(ask for group discounts)


[i] https://www.iie.org/Research-and-Insights/Open-Doors/Data