Loyola University Chicago

Study Abroad

Casa de la Solidaridad, Santa Clara University

San Salvador, El Salvador


Program Details

Social Justice Issues, Spirituality and Spanish Language

Casa de la Solidaridad is an academic initiative between the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), the University of Central America (UCA) in El Salvador, and Santa Clara University. Each semester, an outstanding group of students live together in a learning community near the University of Central America. You do not have to be Catholic or Christian to participate in the Casa de la Solidaridad, but you must be open to reflection on the spiritual and religious dimensions of life. This experience offers you many opportunities for personal and shared reflection, spiritual development, and collaborative academic learning. And you'll have the chance to talk with and learn from policy makers and business leaders, academic and religious leaders, human rights activists and community organizers, members of women's organizations and union workers, and the poor and the marginalized of El Salvador.

Program website—www.scu.edu/casa

University Affiliation

University of Central America

Casa students live together in a learning community near the University of Central America. Classes are taught by some of the best professors at the University--experts in their fields and on topics related to Central America.


Two years of college level Spanish.

Minimum GPA—2.75 (Casa and Loyola)

Program Dates

  • Fall semester: mid-August through mid-December
  • Spring semester: early January through early/mid-May
  • Summer: mid June-mid July

Submit an application before the Application Deadline.

San Salvador, El Salvador and the Casa Program

San Salvador (pop. 1 million) is the capital of El Salvador. San Salvador was founded in the 16th century, and was the capital of the Central American Federation. The city has suffered from several earthquakes over the years, the most recent in 2001. El Salvador's name still evokes images of the brutal civil war fought throughout the country. The war, however, is over, and the most turbulent aspect of El Salvador today is just the country's volcanic landscape. The Casa program draws inspiration from the Jesuits and women who were murdered at the University of Central America on November 16,1989, and from all the people of El Salvador who suffered during the civil war, especially those who were killed in their struggle for solidarity and social justice.

El Salvador is not geared to independent travelers unlike its neighboring countries. What is does offer to visitors is a whole new experience of watching a country strive to redefine itself. Organizations from the US, Europe and Australia are helping to rebuild El Salvador through programs focused on education, agricultural reform, reforestation, human rights and health care. Due to its dramatic recent history, its current stability, and its rich human resources, Salvadoran society is an ideal place for you to experience issues that confront residents of developing countries, who comprise the vast majority of the world's citizens today. (Portions taken from http://www.lonelyplanet.com/el-salvador, 10/17/03)

Curriculum Type

Semester Program:

The curriculum of Casa de la Solidaridad is designed for most undergraduate majors, enabling you to meet your graduation requirements. The academic curriculum incorporates traditional classroom activities, participatory research, and interaction with the local community. Students have the opportunity to receive a total of 15 semester credits for the term.

The courses offered include:

  • Advanced Spanish I
  • Advanced Spanish Conversation
  • Economic Development
  • El Salvador's Civil War
  • Latin American Theology
  • Politics of El Salvador
  • Praxis/Field Placement
  • Salvadoran Literature
  • Sociology of Public Communication

For course descriptions visit this web page.

Summer Program

The summer curriculum at the Casa is designed for students interested in pursuing careers in the Health Profession. Students will integrate learning with experiential community-based learning in marginal Salvadoran communities. Each student will have a praxis site (field placement) where they will work in either a hospital or clinic.

All students will take two courses:

    One Spanish Class—Either Spanish Conversation and Composition, Advanced Spanish or Advanced Spanish Conversation
  • Field Placement/Praxis


A key component of the Casa is community living. All students live together in a home within walking distance of the UCA. You will be invited to help create your community experience by talking about and agreeing on a variety of community norms such as simple living, community and spirituality nights, speaking Spanish within the Casa, and much more. This type of living is an opportunity to enter fully with other students into the richness of community life.

The building where students live used to be a religious residence, and is designed to be very conducive to group living. The Casa contains eight shared bedrooms, two bathrooms, a community garden area for reflection and gatherings, a central dining room, as well as a library and living room. In addition to the Casa students, a Community Facilitator lives on-site full time. As part of the community living experience, three UCA scholarship students ("becarios") live at the Casa. The becarios provide students the opportunity to develop relationships, improve Spanish skills, and serve as a link between Casa students and the students at the UCA who are on special scholarships ("becas") through the Romero Pastoral Center.

Program Cost

2015-2016 Academic Year: $19,407 ($15,100 for tuition, $4,307 for room and board). Click here to see additional estimated expenses.

This includes full tuition, housing in a shared room at the Casa, all meals during the week, and also includes many excursions and field trips, cultural activities, extended orientation, and re-entry programs.

This does not include travel to El Salvador, textbooks, weekend meals, and personal expenses.

OIP Fee—$100

Financial Aid Transfer—Federal Grants and Loans and Alternative loans, Loyola Grants and Scholarships