Students sitting on top of very large wood carved yellow block letters spelling Caceres

The University of New Mexico, through the Honors College and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, presents Conexiones- an intensive program of Culture and Language study at UNM and the field site, Cáceres (Extremadura).  Conexiones offers students up to ten semester hours' credit, with two orientation sessions at UNM and thirty days of field session.

Conexiones offers students an extraordinary and unique experience.  Students will live with a host family in Cáceres, a city whose history and architecture represents in itself the history of Spain (from Iberians and Romans, Moors and Christians, to the famous Spanish nightlife, modern architecture and cyber cafés). Students will attend Spanish classes at the Universidad de Extremadura's Instituto de Lenguas Modernas in downtown Cáceres. Weekly excursions are part of the program, including the visit to the medieval city of Trujillo and the Roman city of Mérida, the medieval town and monastery of Guadalupe and a day in the sister city of Alburquerque, with a visit to its medieval castle.

Conexiones is an intensive Spanish language and culture study abroad program. Conexiones began in 1982 and has since become a premier language study program.


Conexiones immerses students in the living, breathing reality of Spanish society. The main theme of the program is the connections between the U.S. Southwest and Spain, with emphasis in Extremadura, a region with strong historical and cultural connections to New Mexico.

The key to the Conexiones approach is integration. Intellectual, linguistic, and personal growth are seen as a unified process. The program is designed to expedite that process.

The support groups are a unique feature of Conexiones.  These groups emphasize personal growth and help students to understand culture shock as a positive (if sometimes uncomfortable) growth experience.


Applicants must have finished two semesters of College Spanish or the equivalent. Applicants must have a minimum of 3.2 GPA. Students with a lower GPA may apply since all applications will be considered individually and exceptions may be made. Students with “Degree status” and “Non-degree status” can apply. Once students are accepted to the program, they will be required to read selected readings on Spain and listen to audio recordings about America's Hispanic heritage. Students will be required to write two essays on both the readings and recordings. The essay must be completed in satisfactory fashion by Friday, May 19, 2017.


In New Mexico 
Out-of-town participants need to make their own living arrangements in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Out-of-state students should maintain close contact with the Director, Margo Chávez-Charles at the UNM Honors College by e-mail:, telephone: (505) 984-2126, or fax: (505) 277-4271.

In Spain 
Students will live with a host family in Cáceres. Cáceres is the second largest city in Extremadura, and is characterized by its constant evolution in history from Roman times until the present day. Many cultures have left their mark on Cáceres' rich history: Romans, Moors, Jews and Medieval Christians all called Cáceres home. In the course of the centuries, the old city of Cáceres has preserved the air of an Arab city transformed into a medieval city complete with palaces and fortified houses of rival families. Arab and Gothic influence, Italian Renaissance, art from the Americas... all of these can be found in this unique city. Students will enjoy beautiful churches, fascinating museums and an educational glimpse into the history of Extremadura.

caceres at night


Applying to Conexiones is easy! The application is a .pdf document which you can save to your computer or flash drive and print once completed. 

Early Application Deadline: February 17, 2017, 5:00 p.m. It guarantees a place in the program and, if students are accepted, they will have time to apply for the Regents’ International Study Grant before their deadline of March 15.

Regular Application Deadline: March 17, 2017, 5:00 p.m.

In addition to the application process through the Honors College, students will need to register with the Global Education Office and follow their procedures for providing the necessary documentation (copies of passports, health insurance, etc). Click here to visit the GEO website and familiarize yourself with those requirements.

Once completed, applications should be returned to:

Conexiones: Spain
Attn: Margo Chávez-Charles
UNM Honors College
MSC06 3890 1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

You can also hand-deliver your application to the UNM Honors College which is located on the ground floor of the Student Health Center (Building 73, Room 21).  There is a $200 application fee due once students have been accepted into the program. This fee is non-refundable. Make the check payable to: UNM, noting "Conexiones: Spain" on the memo line. Payments can be sent to the same address listed above. 


The Conexiones Program fee is $2,300 plus a $200 deposit due after acceptance in the program (the deposit is non-refundable). The Conexiones fee covers room and board for 30 days in Spain. The tuition for one Spanish class, all meals, entrances to museums, specials events, all excursions, transportation from and to Madrid airport are also included. 

In addition, students will pay UNM tuition for 7 credit hours (4 credits in Honors and 3 for the second Spanish class). Out-of-state students should note that non-resident summer tuition is the same as resident tuition.

While the cost of participating in Conexiones might seem steep, students are encouraged to take advantage of the many forms of travel stipends and scholarships available!



Honors Travel Stipend
Honors students are eligible to apply for the Honors Travel Stipend. A hard copy of your completed application must be submitted in-person to the Honors College front office by 5:00pm Monday,  March 20, 2017.


UNM Regents' International Study Grant

The UNM Board of Regents does provide international study grants in an effort to increase the number of UNM students participating in credit-granting international programs, and to heighten international awareness and expertise among students and the public.  APPLY FOR THE REGENTS GRANT NOW.

You are eligible to apply if you are:

  • a degree-seeking undergraduate UNM student,
  • in good academic standing at UNM,
  • planning to participate in an approved UNM study abroad program,
  • able to receive UNM credits or transfer credits for the international program, and
  • demonstrate financial need.

The deadline for the Regents' Grant is October 15 for spring semester programs or March 15 for spring break, summer and fall programs. Students who plan to apply for this grant for Conexiones must meet the February 17 deadline.

Travel Info

Students will make their own arrangements for air transportation to Spain. Chartered buses will provide transportation from the Madrid airport to Cáceres and from Cáceres to Madrid at the end of the field session. Once in Madrid, students can travel by themselves during an extra week (not included as part of the Program). Students are responsible for their expenses during the extra week. Then they will fly back on their own from Madrid.

Important Travel Dates

Travel to Spain: Thursday, May 25, 2017
Field Study in Spain: May 26 - June 25, 2017
Optional Free Week of Travel: June 25 - July 2, 2017
Travel Back to New Mexico: June 25 or July 2, 2017

moon in spain at dusk over building

Tickets, Passports, and More

Students travel to Spain at their own expense. Due to the rising costs of airline travel and to the fact that group discounts have been reduced, Conexiones is now encouraging students to find their own best airfare. We will provide recommendations, but students will be responsible for making their own travel arrangements. We will also try to facilitate students traveling together. In order to ensure that you have made your reservation in a timely way, we will require that you provide a copy of your ticket or e-ticket by the date in the spring that will be communicated to you. You must arrive in Madrid by the early morning of May 26, as we will depart from the Madrid Airport that morning no later than 11:00 a.m. At the end of the program, students will fly back on their own from Madrid.

Passports and Insurance

A passport is required for traveling to Spain. Applicants who are U.S. citizens do not need a visa for a six-week stay. To apply for a passport visit the U.S. Department of State's website:

All students are required to have accident and medical insurance coverage for the duration of the program. The Global Education Office at UNM has information regarding insurance.

The program directors will also provide information on insurance.


Students taking Conexiones sign up for one Honors seminar (UHON 301, 3 credits), and one Honors Independent Study (UHON 399, 1 credit) and two Spanish courses (3 credit hours each) for a maximum total of 10 credit hours over the summer semester. Conexiones students attend small Spanish intensive classes (3 hours daily) and lectures in Spanish taught by faculty from the Universidad de Extremadre. Experiential assignments in Spanish dovetail with work in the Honors culture study course. All students must register for one of the following courses: Spanish 200 (3 credits), 301 (3 credits), or 439 (3 credits). In addition, students will sign up for one Spanish conversation class. Students will be required to purchase assigned texts listed and read assigned selections from the text in preparation for the field study, as well as listen to the audio recording, America's Hispanic Heritage, Deep Roots, and Continuing Enrichment. Two essays on the readings and the CDs are due on May 19, 2017.



UHON 301-030: SEM: CONEXIONES SPAIN  CRN: 24463 (3 credits) Instructor: Margo Chávez-Charles This course is an in-depth examination of Spanish culture and history and it is experientially based. It features investigative assignments to be completed in Caceres, and during the field trips within Extremadura. The richness of Cáceres' history and all the ages of its architecture make the culture study a unique experience in which students learn in the field the connections of time, space and culture of Spain’s past and present. Requirements for this class include two short essays before departure, field study in Spain with completion of Cuaderno activities, group research, and presentation in Cáceres, and final individual research presentation at UNM.

UHON 399-016: INDEPENDENT STUDY  CRN: 44229 (1 credit) Instructor: Margo Chávez-Charles The course is based on some preliminary preparation work and attendance at several meetings and the orientation session. Students register for this course in the second eight weeks of the spring semester. All students registered for the above course (UHON 301) must also register for this course.



Profesora: Anna Sánchez Rufat,

Objectives: This course takes into account the abilities and needs of the student, with the principal objective of the course being to help the student to communicate from the very first days; to accomplish this, the student will learn to understand oral and written texts, to discover the grammar and vocabulary, and to speak about their likes, their lives, and their world.

Profesor: David Carmona Centeno, 
Objectives: The course España en su Cultura is a journey through Spanish culture in its different expressions. It deals with, on one hand, culture “with a little c”, essential so the learner can reach a certain level of cultural awareness to help in understanding the functioning of Spanish society and to negotiate within it. In addition, the course presents a wide and varied vision of Culture “with a capital C”, that is, in its various artistic and scientific manifestations which can help to explain and define the particular characteristics of the Spanish people.

Profesor: Francisco Jiménez Calderón,
Objectivos: Esta asignatura supone un acercamiento a la literatura hispánica contemporánea a través de varios textos representativos. El objetivo no es que el alumno acumule conocimientos de un modo enciclopédico, sino que adquiera un panorama general sobre la literatura hispánica contemporánea y, sobre todo, que alcance el sentido profundo de los textos que se trabajen en clase, cuya selección se ha realizado atendiendo a todos los géneros literarios.


Photo of Margo Chavez-Charles

Margo Chávez-Charles, Co-Director

Margo is an instructor in the Honors College. She has worked with the Conexiones Spain Program since its inception in 1995, serving either as Program Director or Spanish Language Instructor. She has also worked with the Conexiones Mexico and Nicaragua programs. She encourages learning the language while having fun exploring the culture.

Photo of Myrriah Gomez

Myrriah Gómez, Assistant Professor

Dr. Myrriah Gómez, prior to joining the Honors College, was an Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Mexico – Gallup. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from New Mexico Highlands University and a Master’s degree from the University of New Mexico. She earned her Ph.D. in English with an emphasis in Latina/o Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2014.

ALBURQUERQUE (Not the "Burque-New Mexico")

Alburquerque, located in the Extremaduran province of Badajoz, is in a region similar to that of our own Albuquerque, New Mexico. Alburquerque is one of the sister cities of Albuquerque  where the Conexiones program is based. Like much of Extremadura, Alburquerque joined in the exploration and settlement of the Americas. 

student group in front of road sign abq spain road sign

Conquistadors from the region were present in Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia, and most notably, Florida.  Students can look forward to a guided tour of this magnificent medieval city culminating in a siege of the hilltop castle.

Castle Albuquerque


Guadalupe is a village founded on faith.  Here in this valley a sheepherder named Gil Cordero discovered a statue of the Virgin Mary which had been hidden for hundreds of years. His miraculous finding eventually led to the foundation of the monastery and town which now lies nestled in the mountains of Altamira.

Castle Albuquerque

Columbus made the first pilgrimage with native Americans to the shrine of Guadalupe where they were baptised after his first voyage to the Americas. Students will have the opportunity to view the vast artistic collection held at Guadalupe including works by Zurbaran, El Greco and a cross reputedly carved by Michaelangelo. Students will also enjoy a tour of the monastery culminating in a procession to the Virgin herself.


Mérida was founded in 25 B.C. as Augusta Emerita and was the capital of the Roman Province called Lusitania.The city today pays homage to its Roman heritage in the National Museum of Roman Art which houses some of the best Roman ruins outside of Italy.

merida roman amphitheater

A day of exploration of the Roman town including the theater, aqueduct, bridge and catacombs will allow the individual to imagine Roman life thousands of years ago. 


Trujillo, situated in the center of Extremadura between Castilla and Andalucia, was the Conexiones program's  original base of study, before transferring to Cáceres. Its many advantages include extraordinary architecture and history including its connection to the American Southwest. Situated on a granite hill overlooking the surrounding plains with views of the distant mountains, Trujillo is famous for its palaces and 10th century Moorish castle. The city has one of the finest plazas in all of Spain and is known as "The Cradle of the Conquistadores". The cultural atmosphere and historical resources of Trujillo provided a rich environment to students in their Conexiones experience.

trujillo cafe at night

Trujillo has been a living laboratory, museum and center for the study of language and Spanish culture for almost a decade. Trujillo is a small city with roughly 12,000 inhabitants many of whom open their homes and hearts to American students.  The Time, Space and Culture tours are integral to the Conexiones ideal of active synthesis of culture study and fieldwork. The tours consist of a student-guided visit to the sites of Trujillo based upon the historical growth of Trujillo's culture and environs.