El Camino Shell: John Green

2019 May Term Abroad: Walking the El Camino de Santiago, Spain

Credits: 3
June 19-July 29, 2019
Estimated Cost:
Applications are now closed.

Application and deposit due February 1, 2019
Scholarships: Hampden-Sydney students are eligible to apply for the H-SC Garlick and Blogging awards.  Please see the Abroad Scholarships page for application links; applications are due January 1.

Dr. W. John Green
Dr. Jana DeJong


We will be walking a portion--380 miles--of Spain's famous Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James) from the city of Logroño to the city of Santiago de Compostela, believed to be the final resting place of St. James the Apostle. Early to bed and early to rise, we'll walk from village to village, retracing the steps of millions of pilgrims before us, going back to the 10th century. Prior to the establishment of the pilgrimage to visit the relics and bones of Santiago, this route was used as a means to follow the Milky Way to the "end of the earth" (Finisterre), one of the westernmost points of the Iberian Peninsula.  

Shouldering our possessions in a backpack, we'll cover a variety of terrain including long stretches of plateau, hills, valleys, and mountains while trekking over rocky trails, gravel lanes, dirt paths, village and city streets, and paved footpaths. Students have the option of staying at inexpensive municipal or religious hostels, family-owned pensiones, or hotels. They can choose to eat meals as filling as the "menú del peregrino" in restaurants or purchase their own ingredients to cook for communal dining in the hostels. Although our daily destinations are already decided, there is no one way to be a pilgrim on this journey.  

The purpose of this program is for students to join a community of pilgrims from all over the globe. The Camino remains a highly religious and spiritual experience for many, and students will have the opportunity to meet the deeply devout as they make their way to Santiago de Compostela to visit and revere the remains of Saint James. Other pilgrims participate in the journey for the cultural experience of seeing and studying the enormous amount of religious art and architecture. And then there are those who walk the path for purely personal and secular reasons, to enjoy the vigor of the walk and the spectacular landscape along the way. This is an opportunity to learn about their stories, as students engage in conversation with fellow pilgrims.  

The ability to speak and understand Spanish is a decided advantage in communicating with Spaniards and most Latin Americans on the Camino, though not a requirement, as fellow pilgrims (northern, southern, and eastern Europeans, South Koreans, Brazilians, etc.) will speak a variety of languages, but most have some command of English.  

INDS385: Walking the Camino de Santiago (3 credit hours).
Instructor: Dr. W. John Green
This course is interdisciplinary and will cover the history and culture of Spain, the history of the Camino, art and architecture, and, finally, the practice of travel as personal transformation and growth. Students will keep a journal of their personal experiences and interactions with fellow pilgrims and write a final paper. This course is taught in English.  

June 19        Personal flight to Madrid
June 20        Arrive in Madrid
June 21        Depart Madrid, day one of pilgrimage
July 25-28    Santiago de Compostela
July 29         Return to Madrid & personal flight to U.S.
August 7      Final Papers Due

Students will stay in hotels or hostels in shared rooms.  Rooms will be arranged and covered in Madrid, Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, and Santiago de Compostela.  In other locations, students will arrange their own rooms.   Breakfast is often included with rooms and a few group meals are covered by the program.  Students will be responsible for most lunches and dinners.

Flights are not included in the program cost.  Students who are not also on the Alcala de Henares program will need to arrange their own flights to and from Spain and are required to join the group on June 20 in Madrid.

Students will need a valid passport to leave the U.S.; the passport must also be valid for at least six months after the student's return flight date.  Students who do not already have a passport or need to renew theirs are advised most strongly to apply for one as soon as they are accepted to the program as it can take approximately eight weeks to receive it.  For more information, please review the State Department's webiste: http://travel.state.gov

U.S. citizens do not need a visa for stays of 90 days or less:

Students are advised to schedule an appointment with their primary care physician or health provider several weeks before departure to obtain any recommended and/or required vaccines or immunizations.  Students are responsible for ensuring that all routine travel and immunizations are up-to-date. Please review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website for information on recommended and require immunizations for travelers: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list

Please see the information on our May Term Abroad page.

Estimated cost (not including airfare) is currently $3450.  and will cover the housing in Madrid, Pamplona, Burgos, Leon, and Santiago de Compostela and 4 group meals. Cost does not include airfare, most housing and meals, or personal expenditures. Final cost will be determined once the number of participants has been finalized. 

Questions? For additional information, including daily destinations along the Camino, and course readings, please contact Dr. W. John Green wjohngreen@latinamericannewsdigest.com or Dr. Jana M. DeJong, jdejong@hsc.edu.