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 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.  The Spanish SLI is unique in that all students sign a pledge to speak Spanish only throughout the entire 8-week program.  All contact and communication in and outside the classroom is 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.

At SLI we believe that language learning occurs most effectively in a student-centered classroom that offers practice of linguistic and cultural knowledge and fosters development of the four language skills – speaking, listening, reading, and writing.  In this model of learning, you’ll be actively engaged every day in learning, practice, and application of knowledge, while your teachers will be the facilitators of this process.  As a student, you’ll be responsible for your own learning and the learning of the entire class, which is accomplished through hard work, a positive attitude, a willingness to take risks in learning, patience and tolerance for small setbacks, and compassion and helping others.

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 in eight weeks - two years of coursework (SPAN 1016, 1026, 2016, and 2026) in one summer! This fast-paced program is unique in that all students sign a pledge to speak Spanish only throughout the entire program. As a result, participants leave the program with a high level of fluency and competency in the language.  Our program structure emphasizes development of linguistic knowledge, the four skills, with a focus on cultural knowledge and cultural competency.  Our faculty  are trained in second language pedagogy and hold years of teaching experience at the college level.  Class time is devoted to the development of listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills, conversation practice and interactive activities, and work in the Language Lab and computer classrooms using internet resources, videos, and other technologies. 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.

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 9:00-12:00 in the morning for grammar and vocabulary instruction and practice; the afternoon class meets from 1:00-4:00 and focuses on in-depth communicative practice of the material learned during the morning class and includes work in an instructional  technology classroom; and in the evening class from 6:00-7:30, 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 together for a communal lunch in an informal atmosphere to practice their conversation skills in Spanish. 

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 type of enrollment, must earn a passing grade in each class of the first half of the SLI in order to continue on in the second half of the program.

2022 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)
$423 x 12cr = $5,076 $1,552 x 12cr = $18,624
Graduate Student Tuition
(12 credits)
$489 x 12cr = $5,868 $992 x 12cr = $11,904
Non Credit Study Option Tuition $5,076 $5,076

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


College policy states that all students who have had previous experience in Spanish present a placement score before enrolling in a Spanish course. Applicants who have previous high school or college-level Spanish experience and do not have an AP Exam score or a SAT II Exam score are required to take the Spanish placement exam offered at UVA. Applicants must take the Spanish placement exam before applying for the Spanish Summer Language Institute. The exam is available online.

If you have had prior experience in Spanish, please include your Spanish placement exam score, SAT II Exam score, or AP Exam score in your SLI application. Applications that fail to do so will not be processed.

For more information about placement in Spanish courses, please consult the Department of Spanish, Italian & Portuguese website or contact

Contact Information: 

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