LASS Contacts

Adam Joseph Shellhorse
Program Director
440 Anderson Hall

Patricia Moore-Martinez
LASS Program Coordinator & Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, Majors 
426 Anderson Hall

Program Overview

The Latin American Studies Semester (LASS) has been offered every spring semester since 1973. This unique language immersion program is designed to provide an intensive experience in the study of the Spanish language in combination with an interdisciplinary study of life and contemporary issues in Latin America. The prerequisite for participation in LASS is one semester of university-level Spanish or the equivalent (students with more advanced levels of course background are encouraged to participate in the program). LASS integrates several courses, totaling 17-semester hours credit, and must be taken as a package. All courses are taught in Spanish from the first day of class on Temple’s main campus. An integral part of the LASS program is a three-week trip to Quito, Ecuador in March, during which students are placed in local homes where the only language of communication is Spanish. While in Ecuador, students attend courses at the Andean Center for Latin American Studies. Native Spanish-speaking professors teach all courses in Ecuador. All participants in the program may expect to achieve marked improvement in Spanish fluency in only one semester.


LASS courses combine the learning of the Spanish language with the study of the diverse cultures of Latin America. The program is an integration of several courses, totaling 17-semester hours credit, and must be taken as a package. Owing to both the credit-hour load and the semester’s objective: immersion in Spanish and Latin American Studies, no other courses may be taken. Students register for the following courses:

  • Spanish 2098: Intensive Practice/Four Skills – 9 credits.
  • Sociology 2163: Area Studies: Latin American Development – 3 credits.
  • Spanish 3204: Latin America Through Film – 3 credits.
  • Latin American Studies 2220: LASS Seminar – 2 credits.

Morning sessions, held from 9:00 to 12:00 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, offer Spanish language instruction and conversation practice at intermediate and advanced levels guided by native or near native speakers. Morning sessions, held from 9:30 to 10:50 and from 11:00 to 12:20 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, focus on Latin American culture, history, and economic development. A LASS Seminar held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 to 3:10 highlights a series of topics in Latin American and Latino studies and includes films and presentations by guest speakers.

About Quito, Ecuador

High in the Andean mountain range, you’ll find the capital city of Quito. Quito combines modern infrastructure with centuries of history and culture, making it an ideal study abroad destination.

The metro area fills the space between lush mountains (and a couple of volcanoes), creating a gorgeous setting for living and exploring. Quito provides many options for learning and entertainment, and students are encouraged to explore their interests – and develop new ones. This is a wonderful place for music, architecture, hiking, food, dancing, and sports.

Andean Center for Latin American Studies

The Andean Center for Latin American Studies (ACLAS) is students’ home campus. For over 25 years, ACLAS has hosted U.S. university study abroad programs and supported students through intensive Spanish-language learning, homestay family experiences and travel throughout Ecuador.


Living with host families in Quito allows students a truly immersive experience. These local families host one LASS student each for maximum cultural and language engagement. Students routinely rate the homestay experience as their favorite part of studying abroad.

All housing offers glimpses of everyday life, with easy access to ACLAS and to city amenities. Homestays include three meals a day (except excursion days) and laundry. Every family has been carefully selected by ACLAS staff in order to ensure a comfortable, enjoyable living situation.


The 17-semester hours credit program includes an additional fee of $1,000. Please note this fee is subject to change. The fee is incorporated into the tuition for one of the LASS courses and is paid as part of the student spring registration.  The fee covers the following: housing, meals, courses and trips in Ecuador. Students are responsible for separately purchasing their airline tickets and make their own arrangements.


LASS Orientation – Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018 at 4pm 422 Anderson Hall

Travel Dates for Spring 2019:

Departure – Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Return – Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Eligibility and Application Process

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • have successfully completed 1001 or the equivalent (a minimum of one semester of university-level Spanish), although preference will be given to students that have completed 1002.
  • possess a minimum 2.8 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale from all colleges/universities attended, although preference will be given to GPAs above 3.0.
  • be enrolled as a full-time matriculated student at the time of application.
  • not be on academic and/or disciplinary probation or warning.
  • Students will be selected mainly on the basis of their intellectual resolve and emotional maturity. Successful candidates are usually notified within three weeks of receiving a completed application.

A passport is required for traveling to Ecuador. If you do not already have a valid passport, you should apply for one immediately. All students will be asked to provide their passport information the first week of December.  No visa is necessary for US citizens.

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