Summer Language Institute - Spanish

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Spanish SLI opens the door to the Spanish-speaking world, whether at home or abroad.  The third most spoken language in the world, Spanish, is spoken by an estimated 470 and 500 million people worldwide.  The U.S. has the world's second-largest Spanish-speaking population, where Spanish ranks as the second most spoken language behind English.  

The goal of the Spanish SLI is translingual and transcultural competence, defined by the 2007 Modern Language Association Report as “the ability to operate between languages.”  In other words, SLI will prepare you to function as an informed and capable Spanish speaker, to reflect on the world and yourself through the lens of another language and culture, and to relate to members of your own society who speak languages other than English. 

You’ll leave the Spanish SLI with an intermediate-level competence in the language and will be able to handle everyday communicative tasks in the target culture, such as the exchange of basic information related to work, school, recreation, and personal information covering self, family, home, daily activities, interests and personal preferences, as well as physical and social needs, such as food, shopping, travel, and lodging. 

Pedagogy and Philosophy  

The Spanish SLI is a near-immersion accelerated language program intended for students with little or no prior experience in the language.   

At SLI, we believe that language learning occurs most effectively in a student-centered classroom that offers the practice of linguistic and cultural knowledge and fosters the development of the four language skills – speaking, listening, reading, and writing.  In this learning model, you’ll be actively engaged daily in learning, practicing, and applying knowledge, while your teachers will be the facilitators of this process. By the end of SLI, students will be able to: 

  • Communicate via speaking, listening, reading, and writing at an intermediate proficiency level. See the Benchmarks and Activities chart to understand what intermediate-level proficiency looks like and the activities we will do in class to help you develop it.  

  • Make comparisons between products and practices to help understand perspectives in the own and other cultures.  

  • Develop intercultural skills applicable to other studies and situations you may encounter in any global context.   

  • Apply self-directed strategies for learning through reflection.  

  • Develop digital literacy skills that effectively use different media forms.  

Unique Features of the Program  

What makes the Spanish SLI a unique learning experience?  The Spanish Summer Language Institute offers an intensive near-immersion program in which students complete beginning and intermediate levels of Spanish instruction, 12 credits, in eight weeks - two years of coursework (SPAN 1016, 1026, 2016, and 2026) in one summer!  

The Spanish SLI is unique because all students sign a pledge to speak Spanish only throughout the entire 8-week program.  All contact and communication in and outside the classroom are in Spanish only from the first day of the program.  This near-immersion format will help you learn Spanish more effectively while developing cultural and linguistic fluency. 

The intensive student-centered approach to learning Spanish makes the Summer Language Institute different from most summer language programs. SLI participants find the experience rewarding. 

What students say about Spanish SLI: 

Utterly fantastic. The instructor’s understanding of the language and how it functions is amazing and is very fun to learn from...”  

The instructor reinforced why I took SLI: to dive deeper into Spanish and culture. I believe the topics we covered in this class will stick with me more than in other classes. The professor went above and beyond in the amount of effort and dedication to SLI” 

Required Textbook: 

Thalia Dorwick; Ana M. Perez-Girones; Anne Becher. Puntos de Partida, tenth edition. McGraw-Hill Education, 2017 

Program Structure  

SLI classes meet from Monday through Friday for seven and a half hours a day with three different Spanish instructors. Students meet from 9 to 12 for grammar and vocabulary instruction and practice; the afternoon class meets from 1:00 to 4:00, focuses on the in-depth communicative practice of the material learned during the morning class, and includes work in an instructional technology classroom. In the evening class, from 6 to 7, students learn about Hispanic cultures and participate in cultural activities such as cooking meals together, watching films, creating short films or other presentations, guest lectures, and other hands-on cultural learning experiences.  Each Friday, students, and teachers meet for a communal lunch in an informal atmosphere to practice their conversation skills in Spanish. h.  

Attendance in all three classes (morning, afternoon, and evening) is required of all students, regardless of whether they are enrolled for credit or non-credit. Furthermore, every student, regardless of enrollment type, must earn a passing grade in each class of the SLI's first half to continue in the program's second half. 

Eight weeks – 12 credits – Tentative Daily Schedule: 

The program meets five days a week for eight weeks. 

Morning 9:00-12:00 Grammar-Vocabulary  

Afternoon 1:00-4:00 Communicative Practice  

Evening 6:00-7:30 Cultural Activities 


2024 Costs 

Students in all SLI programs, including the non-credit option, must pay the Institute Fee of $60.00 and the Comprehensive Fee.  See Summer Session Housing for information on housing costs. See Dining for Information on meal plans. 


Virginia Resident 

Non-Virginia Resident 

Required Fees 

       Institute Fee  

       Comprehensive Fee 







Undergraduate Student Tuition 
(12 credits) 

$443 x 12cr = $5,316 

$1,625 x 12cr = $19,500 

Graduate Student Tuition 
(12 credits) 

$509 x 12cr = $6,108 

$1,032 x 12cr = $12,384 

Non-Credit Study Option Tuition 



Please note that graduate-level tuition applies to current UVA students who will graduate in May, before the start of the SLI. 

Contact Information: 

Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese
Director: Professor Joel Rini 
New Cabell Hall 455
(434) 924-4657


Applications will continue to be accepted until the program reaches its capacity.

Currenlty, there are only a few seats remaining.