Cornell - Cantabria Exchange Program

Spend your junior year in Spain!

Informational Meeting
Friday, May 12, 2017
2:00 - 3:00pm, Hollister 201

Follow the program on Tumblr where we capture Q&A between current, past and future program participants:          

Questions? Contact Prof. Cowen

Hola from Santander - a blog from students in the program

Information for Applicants

Information on Santander

2011 Heiskell Award Honorable Mention: Best Practices in International Partnerships

This prorgram is available to any College of Engineering student affiliated with a degree program who can maintain their academic progress so as to graduate in eight semesters.  To date we have had partication from civil, environmental, mechanical, chemical and biological engineering students including students who have participated in co-op. We are working on starting a new program in electrical engineering with opportunities in distributed energy resources and the smart grid.

Welcome to the home page of a program developed by the School of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Cornell University with the goal of facilitating Cornell College of Engineering students to spend their junior year in Santander, Spain at the Universidad de Cantabria. Check out this video introduction to U. Cantabria in English and Spanish. Information on the University in English, can be found here.  The  program, launched in August 2007 with eight members of the Class of  2009 participating, has now exchanged over 110 students. Current freshmen through juniors interested in such an experience are particularly encouraged to fill out the survey of initial interest (link below).  Anyone interested in studying Engineering or working as an engineer in Spain is encouraged to complete the survey as we have advised and found opportunities for Cornell Engineering students to carry out summer internships as well as find permanent jobs in Spain. 

The proposed program was developed around School of Civil & Environmental Engineering core course requirements but continually expands.  We have recently sent CEE, BEE, MAE and ChemE majors to Spain and are always interested in working with students and degree programs in the College of Engineering to develop a viable path for all engineering students.  

The program allows Cornell College of Engineering students to participate in the program each year.  Students arrive in Santander, Spain in August or January and take an emersion Spanish language course.  The language requirement for applying to the program is the completion of SpanR 123 or its equivalent or demonstration of this background through scoring a minimum of 56 on the Language Placement Spanish (LPS) exam offered online by the Department of Romance Studies.  If you are interested in the program but ot quite at this proficiency level speak with Prof. Cowen.

The Cornell group is paired each year one-for-one with Universidad de Cantabria Engineering students and the total group of students (24 for the 2014-2015 academic year) begins taking classes around the 4th week of September if they start fall semester and the first week in February if they start spring semester.  The fall semester student group takes four Cornell College of Engineering equivalent courses taught in English, and the Cornell group takes a fifth course in Spanish language taught entirely in Spanish, equivalent to SpanR 3xx level, or another liberal distribution studies course taught in Spanish.

The spring semester begins around the second week of February and many core College of Engineering courses are offered in English and a liberal studies course, developed especially for this program on Prehistoric European Art, is taught in Spanish. The Universidad de Cantabria together with the Instituto del Prehistoria (Institute of Prehistory) house many of the leading world exports in this field, due to their proximity to the Altamira Cave (a UNESCO World Heritage site, 30 km from Santander).  

Any students with the language skills to take regularly scheduled Universidad de Cantabria courses may do so at any time as students are fully registered Cantabrian students.   Our students generally find that by second  semester, they have more than sufficient language skills to be able to take courses in Spanish if they are interested.  

The second semester final exams finish in June and interested students  have the option of being placed in a Spanish engineering firm for an internship experience before returning to Cornell to complete their senior year in Ithaca.  About half of the Cornell students carry out such an internship.  

The Cantabrian students paired with the Cornell students in Santander will spend their next year at Cornell forming a true exchange program and it is a goal of the program to create opportunities for the entire group of students to continue to interact and support each other during this second year.  

At right: Cornell Class of 2009 student with their Cantabrian peers, Jose (Pepe) Revilla (Director of E.T.S de Ingenieros de Caminos, Canales y Puertos), Federico Gutierrez-Solana (Chancellor of the University of Cantabria), Angel Agud (Economic Advisor of the Cantabrian Goverment).

If you are interested in this program and would like to be on the email list about future meetings and social opportunities, please start an application at CUAbroad.  This does not commit you but allows us to know who is interested and stay in touch.  You can find the apploication by logging in at and search for "Cantabria".

If you have any questions about the proposed program our studying engineering in Spain please contact Prof. Cowen in CEE - he would be more than happy to hear from you.