Founded well over 2000 years ago by the Romans, Valencia is the third largest city in Spain and the capital of the Comunidad Autónoma de Valencia. It is the largest port in the Western Mediterranean and a major metropolitan area in Spain. Yet Valencia has the beauty and breezy tranquility of a seaside town even as it offers all the resources and conveniences of a big city. Wide tree-lined plazas with fountains and outdoor cafés show off Romanesque, Gothic, and Moorish architecture from Valencia's vivid history, while thoroughly modern electric trams whisk you to the beach or to world-famous local architect Santiago Calatrava’s futuristic landmark, la Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias. Visit Europe's largest aquarium or climb the Gothic bell tower called El Micalet overlooking the Plaza de la Reina, or just have an ice cream on the Plaza de la Virgen. Valencia offers a wealth of opportunities for cultural exploration. The river Turia has also been converted into a vast greenspace that runs right through the city; parks and gardens, biking and jogging trails, soccer fields, basketball courts, and the occasional fair amid the palm trees and flowers provide a natural refuge from the noise of the city. In the spring, program participants also live the week-long locura of Fallas with its surreal, gigantic figures dominating every square and public space, while summer participants can see the countless bonfires on the beaches during the Fiesta de San Juan. Valencia moreover has the added color of being a bilingual, bicultural community, with both Spanish and Valencian being spoken in many parts of the province. Add to all this the nearby beaches and mild climate and you’ll understand the considerable charm of this ancient, seaside city.
The Valencia Program includes a 15-week spring semester as well as a 7-week summer option. Students take four courses for the spring or two courses for the summer, choosing between language, culture, literature, and film courses. Courses are taught on the campus of the University of Valencia by native UV faculty, and students live at the Colegio Mayor Rector Peset, an official UV residence hall located in the heart of the city’s casco antiguo. Native Spanish as well as international students from South America, Asia, and elsewhere in Europe provide a wealth of opportunities for new friendships. The Cathedral, the Plaza de la Virgen and the Plaza de la Reina, and the Turia river greenspace are all within a 5-minute walk from the residence hall. The Valencia programs thus provide constant opportunities for the program's participants to immerse themselves in Spanish academic and social life.
Students live in the Colegio Mayor Rector Peset, a renovated 17th century palace that is now a residence hall of the 500-year old University of Valencia, one of the most important in Spain. Students are within walking distance of the classrooms and are a short tram or bus ride from the beach. Each fully air-conditioned double room is equipped with internet connections, private telephones, a full bathroom, and a weekly fresh towel and sheet service. Three meals a day are provided in the residences dining hall and cafeteria, and coin-operated laundry facilities are also available. Full-time security staff and receptionists provide an additional element of security in what is already a relatively peaceful and safe city.