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Health Care in Spain: A Cross-cultural Exploration of Illness and Wellness


Tarragona, Spain

Program Description

In this course health students will explore the health care system of Tarragona, Catalunya, Spain, through a partnership with the Faculty of Nursing at Universitat Rovira I Virgili. Through an international lens, students will learn about the Spanish nursing profession and related health fields, as well as the unique history, language, and culture of this Catalonian region of Spain. 

Students will explore the ways that Spanish health professionals address health needs in both acute and community care settings in the context of the national health system, and will compare and contrast this with their knowledge of the U.S. health system approach.

This immersion experience includes a home stay with a Spanish family and Spanish language study. 

Location Description

The Mediterranean coastal city of Tarragona, capital city of the Catalonian province of Tarragona, is home to about 135,000 people. Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city, is an hour north, and Valencia is to the south. Tarragona is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its rich ancient Roman history.  It is also a thriving industrial port city and part of the sparkling Costa Dorada. Tarragona is the capital of an entire region full of culture, beauty, history, and learning opportunities. 


Erika Metzler Sawin | | Nursing

Christine Argenbright | | Nursing


All meals will be provided as part of the program, covered through either host family or an allotted stipend.

Additional Items to Consider

Universitat Rovira i Virgili (URV)  is a member of the International Network of Universities (INU), of which JMU is currently a part, and has state-of-the-art facilities for teaching and learning. It is a university that is open to being a global partner, and Spanish nursing faculty members have visited JMU seeking partnerships and learning opportunities. The Tarragona region has interesting and diverse clinical sites for students that, in conjunction with URV, will facilitate their learning.  

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.5

High-school Spanish preferred.

Ideal candidates are from either Nursing or other Per-Professional Health programs.

All undergraduate levels considered for this program.

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short Essay 
  • Faculty Letter of Recommendation
  • Resume
  • Interview with Program Director
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

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Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


NSG 490: Special Studies in Nursing: Health Care in Spain- A Cross-Cultural Exploration of Illness and Wellness (4 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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