Architecture in Southern Europe and Morocco

Image of Seville
Location: Spain and Portugal
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

In 2024, this program will be going to Spain and Portugal only. 

This study abroad program to the Southern Edge of Europe will provide an opportunity for students from all backgrounds to experience the Moorish and Arabic Architecture that has influenced the world from Europe and South America to India and China. The evolution of these cities thought time teach us the effect of culture, materiality and natural resources on how people connect, communicate and live. We will investigate the influence of cultural and materials trade on the built environment of the two counties and their commonalities and differences. 

Participants will visit culturally rich historic sites in Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, Granada, Cordoba, Seville in Spain and Lisbon,Sintra and Porto in Portugal.  

2024 Dates

Depart U.S.: Sunday, June 9, 2024

Arrive in Barcelona: Monday, June 10, 2024

Depart Madrid for U.S.: Tuesday, July 2, 2024

This faculty-lead study abroad program will begin in Barcelona. Students will then travel to Porto and Lisbon in Portugal and then travel to Spain to visit Seville, Cordoba, Granada and Toledo and Madrid.


Barcelona (4 days): Students will visit the Three Houses of Gaudí, Casa Batlló, Casa Mila, Casa Vicens as well as the La Sagrada Familia, the largest unfinished Catholic Church in the world designed by Gaudí.

Porto (3 days): Porto is a coastal city in northwest Portugal which showcases stunning architecture from various architectural styles (baroque, neoclassical and modernist).  Its artistic heritage was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1996.

Lisbon (4 days): The visit to the capital of Portugal, Lisbon will include, walking tours of vistas, colorful architecture and the study of multiculturalism and globalism on the city. Participants will visit Jeronimos Monastery and St. George’ Castle as well as the historical areas of Belem and Alfama in Lisbon. 

Sintra (Daytrip): During this daytrip, participants will visit three beautiful castles and palaces. 

Seville (4 days): Participants will visit the Alcázar of Sevilla, a Royal Palace of Mudéjar architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Additionally, participants will visit the Seville Cathedral which is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and see the tomb of Christopher Columbus. Students can also see the Giralda Bell Tower of the Seville Cathedral which was originally the minaret of the mosque but became the church tower later. A half-scale replica of this same bell tower was built in the Kansas City Country Club Plaza. 

Cordoba (Daytrip): Participants will visit the Great Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba. The mosque was the center of Western Islam in the 10th century and converted to a cathedral in the 13th century as part of the Reconquista.

Granada (3 days): The highlight of Spain is La Alhambra, the palace and fortress of the Moorish monarchs of Granada.

Toledo (Daytrip): While in Toledo, participants will visit the Mosque of Christ of the Light, Synagogue Santa Maria La Blanca and the Gothic Cathedral of Toledo. Toledo was a once a place where Christians, Jews and Muslims converged and has brilliant architecture which reflects its past.

Madrid (4 days): Participants will visit the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Spanish royal family and study historical and modern architecture in Madrid. Additionally, students will visit the Prado Museum, the main Spanish national art museum. 



5 Year Master of Architecture Students who entered KU before AY 2022-2023 will enroll in:

•    Arch 690 Study Abroad (5 Credits)

•    Arch 692  Documentation (3 Credits) 

5 Year Master of Architecture Students who entered KU in or after AY 2022-2023 will enroll in:

•    Arch 690 Study Abroad (6 Credits)

2 or 3 Year Master of Architecture Students will enroll in:

•    Arch 690 Study Abroad (6 Credits)

Interior Architecture Students will enroll in:

•    IA 690 Study Abroad for Interior Architecture (5 credits)

Architectural Engineering Students will enroll in:

•    Arch 690 Study Abroad (5 Credits)

Participants will stay in centrally located hotels in Lisbon and Porto in Portugal and Barcelona, Seville, Granada and Madrid in Spain. 

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

The program is open to all Architecture and Interior Architecture Students with Study Abroad requirements. 

Interior Architecture Students who have completed Arch 109  

KU Masters of Architecture Students (3 year or 5 year program) who have completed ARCH 209 or ARCH 502.

The following additional students are eligible on a space-available basis:

KU Architectural Studies Students who have completed third year

KU Architectural Engineering students who have completed ARCH 200

KU Design students who have completed third year and have drawing experience

Priority will be given to KU Interior Architecture and KU Architecture Students.

Nilou Vakil, is an Associate Professor and past Director of Interior Architecture Program at KU School of Architecture and Design. She has taught advanced architectural design studios at the University of Kansas since 2013. She is a licensed architect and principal of the award winning architecture firm inSitu Design. She is an affiliate faculty of the Middle Eastern Studies at KU and has previously led many architectural trips including, Middle Eastern Architectural Study Abroad (Dubai, Abu-Dhabi- Sharjah), Denver and Chicago trips during her tenure at KU.