History & Timeline
Barbara and Gerald Guidera first envisioned CC-CS on a road trip that they made as a young couple.
The story goes:
More than fifty years ago, the idea of The Center for Cross-Cultural Study was born of an adventure that lead to a discovery.
The adventure was our first visit to an unknown country – Mexico – with our first baby in a 1951 Ford.
After surviving the lesser adventures of your typical road trip car break-down, and quickly running out of cash, we ended up by chance in a little town, where we could rent a tiny house with a garden where lilies grew about eight feet tall, and just sit still for a while.
Then began the discovery.
First was language: we both had taken second-year Spanish in college, but we found that the people of Mexico did not speak our textbook Spanish.
So we had to listen and learn from them, outside the typical classroom. (They were glad to speak to us–but at full speed!)
Happily, they were very patient with our frequent “no entiendo”s and our many questions. We too had to learn how to be patient and to see things the way our neighbors did.
That was the key to discovery and eventually, to a shared lifetime of cross-cultural study.
Gradually we came to discover in our new neighbors a very high degree of honor and generosity that we did not as often find at home.
We came to see their obvious differences from our culture, not as defects or curiosities, but as mainstays of a basically different, yet balanced value system.
This kind of knowledge is the key to better relations between people, whether one-to-one, in business negotiations, or in making peace between nations in this intensely small world.
In fifty years, CC-CS has grown from this simple story to an esteemed program that serves hundreds of students each year in Spain, Argentina, Cuba and Puerto Rico.
During a summer living in a small town in Mexico, Founders Gerald and Barbara Guidera discovered that the ordinary Mexican people around them had fundamentally different values, and that much was to be learned from them – and admired. This was the beginning of what was to become the goal of cross-cultural study.
The Guideras establish The Center for Cross-Cultural Study in Suffern, N.Y. and the first study abroad trip is made with a group of students to Malaga, Spain.
Pursuing knowledge in another nexus of Hispanic culture, the Guideras lived and worked for seven years in southern Spain, until Gerald Guidera completed his degree of Doctor en Filosofía y Letras at Universidad de Sevilla.
In cooperation with Union College, the Guideras establish the first Spanish Studies semester program in Seville, Spain. Our Center is located on the Plaza San Francisco across from City Hall of Seville (created in 1529). The fundamental curriculum of Spanish Studies Spanish language and culture courses is developed.
Spanish Studies formally establishes a Board of Advisors, a council of academics from distinguished institutions of higher learning, as a resource for guiding and insuring the academic quality and integrity of Spanish Studies programming.
The Center moves into a beautiful historic mansion in the heart of Seville’s social and commercial district 18 Calle Harinas, where it is still located today.
Spanish Studies Abroad begins offering two program tracks for students: Intensive Intermediate Program and Upper Division Program.
Attracted by our long-standing university programs, Elderhostel begins using Spanish Studies Abroad to organize educational cultural travel programs in southern Spain with Spanish Studies.
Spanish Studies Abroad, in cooperation with Willamette University, works with Universidad de La Habana to offer programs in Havana, Cuba, offering semester, summer and winter programs.
Spanish Studies Abroad launches the Writing Across the Curriculum Program. All Spanish Studies courses incorporate a shared goal of developing students’ critical thinking, reading, and writing skills.
U.S. Government policies enacted to force the suspension of academic programs in Havana, Cuba.
Spanish Studies Abroad adds the 1-credit Cultural Realities course to the curriculum in Seville, Spain, to further encourage cultural integration.
All Spanish Studies Programs incorporate an Intensive Language and Culture Period and a Cross-Cultural Course to encourage maximum integration into the host culture.
Spanish Studies Abroad cooperates with Universidad Blas Pascal to offer semester and short term programs in Córdoba, Argentina. Through the new program, Spanish Studies develops the Guided Direct Enrollment Model and the Intensive Language and Culture Period.
In cooperation with Universidad de Alicante, Spanish Studies offers Guided Direct Enrollment program in Alicante, Spain. Students benefit from the Intensive Language and Culture Period, as well as a 3-credit Social Realities course, which incorporates the Perspectivas Project developed in the Cuba program
Spanish Studies Abroad begins working in cooperation with Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, one of the oldest and most respected universities in the Americas, in the historical, social, and commercial center of Córdoba, Argentina.
Spanish Studies Abroad begins working with Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain. UPF was founded in 1990. Courses can be taken in English, Spanish or Catalan.
Back in the Caribbean! Spanish Studies Abroad begins working with University del Sagrado Corazón (USC) in Puerto Rico. In April, after 10 years, Spanish Studies Abroad acquires their license to return to Cuba.