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Not your typical study abroad experience

Casa de la Solidaridad

The genius of the Casa program lies in the way our students are changed for the rest of their lives by relationships with people who suffer most. Truly, that is what the martyrs understood and lived. On every one of my visits to El Salvador, I’ve been deeply touched.



I think Casa represents the most innovated and effective initiative that the Society of Jesus has at its disposal to “educate the whole person of solidarity for the real world."


Casa de la Solidaridad has many characteristics that were important in the lives of the
UCA martyrs.  



The curriculum of the Casa de la Solidaridad program is designed with most undergraduate majors in mind, and will enable you to meet your academic requirements with academic credit granted through Santa Clara University or your home institution.  Students should always consult with their home institution academic advisors and study abroad staff to verify which courses will count at your home institution.

Not able to stay a whole semester? Explore our innovative 10 unit Summer Public Health program.

Course Offerings - 

Not all courses are offered each semester.  Email Co-Director Kevin Yonkers-Talz at for updated information.

Professor Course Syllabus Quarter Units
Manuel Fernando Velasco  INTL 130: Salvadoran Literature (82k PDF) 5
Knut Walter INTL 131: The Sociology of Development in El Salvador (81k PDF) 5
Gene Palumbo  INTL 132: Perspectives on El Salvador's Civil War (121k PDF)At SCU, this course satisfies the Culture and Ideas 3 core requirement, a Public Health elective and a Humanities elective. 5
Kevin Yonkers-Talz INTL 139: Praxis Seminar (80k PDF) - At SCU, this course satisfies the experiential learning for social justice (ELSJ) core, the Public Health 100-hour Internship requirement, the Child Studies Cultural Competence and Humility course or the Child Studies Cultural Immersion course and the Psychology practicum course (PSYC 198). 5
Cruz Portal Advanced Spanish Conversation or Intermediate Spanish - At SCU, this course satisfies either the Advanced Conversation or Intermediate Spanish requirement. 5
Peggy O'Neill, SC, EdD RELS 120: Latin American Theology (151k PDF)At SCU, this course satisfies the Religion, Theology and Culture 2 requirement.  5
Pedro Martin POLI 136A: Political Structures and Processes in El Salvador and Central America - At SCU, this course satisfies the Upper-Division Comparative Politics requirement.  5
Virginia Rodriguez PHSC 170: Health Care and Public Health in El Salvador (130k PDF) 5
Trena Yonkers-Talz  PSYC (PSYC 113) - Psychology of Stress and Trauma - Syllabus forthcoming - At SCU, this course satisfies an upper division Publich Health elective and a Psychology elective. 5
Kevin Yonkers-Talz  PHSC 171 - Community-Based Participatory Research - Syllabus forthcoming - At SCU, this course satisfies an upper division Public Health elective, the Internship in Child Studies and an independent study in Psychology (PSYC 199). 

Your Semester Schedule

Spanish Course (Required) 5 units
Praxis Course (Required)  5 units
3 Casa Elective Courses 15 units
Total Quarter Units 25 units

Program Dates

Semester Schools
Spring Semester - January 10,2018 – May 9, 2018
Fall Semester – August 15, 2018 – December 12, 2018

New Winter Quarter Option

Starting in winter 2018, we are offering a winter quarter option specifically for students at Quarter schools.  This will run parallel to the Spring Semester above.   Winter quarter dates are from January 10, 2018 – March 25, 2018. 

Excursions & Program Cost

In addition to classes, praxis and community living, Casa offers students a variety of unique opportunities to get to know El Salvador.

Included in the program fee are:


Program Cost

Tuition: $16,411
Room & Board: $4,307
TOTAL - $20,718

*The price of quarter, semester, and summer study abroad programs is set by the SCU Board of Trustees in March/April of each year. Study abroad fees for 2018-2019 will be set in April 2018. To review current program costs, please click 

Note: Casa de la Solidaridad is a level B program at SCU.

Additional estimated expenses:

Weekend Meals: $200

Books & Supplies: $100

Tourist Visa (upon entering El Salvador) - $10

Personal Expenses: $500

Airfare: $800

Living Expenses: $500

Notes: The program cost covers full tuition for 15 semester/25 quarter units, housing in a shared room at the Casa, meals during the week, and also includes many excursions and field trips, cultural activities, extended orientation and re-entry programs, as well as coverage on Santa Clara's travel insurance policy. This does not include travel to El Salvador, books, and other incidentals listed in the "additional estimated expenses." If you are not a Santa Clara student, please be aware that the actual cost of the program and credit accepted is determined by your home institution. Please check with the appropriate officials on your campus for the cost of the program and academic credit policies.

Financial Aid: If you are a Santa Clara student then all of your financial aid is usable. If you attend the program in the fall semester, you can apply one quarter of your SCU aid package.  If you are not a Santa Clara student, however, there is unfortunately no additional "Casa Financial Aid" from Santa Clara offered to students from other home campuses outside of the Dean Brackley scholarship, which you may be eligible to apply for. You should check with your home campus to see if your existing financial aid will transfer to the Casa de la Solidaridad program. We are happy to complete any paperwork (often called "consortium agreements") that will assist you in this process. After checking with your home school, inquiries can be directed to the Santa Clara University Study Abroad Office.

Dean Brackley, S.J. Scholarship Fund

Dean Brackley, SJ was a beloved Jesuit who helped co-found SCU’s Casa de la Solidaridad in 1999. Father Brackley lived a faith that did justice and desired to support college students from the United States as they encounter the reality of life in El Salvador. In Father Brackley’s memory, these scholarships give college students with limited financial resources the opportunity to study at SCU’s Casa de la Solidaridad semester program in El Salvador. We recognize that, in many instances, additional funding is necessary to make the study abroad experience both affordable and realistic. These supplemental scholarships were created as a humble attempt to help students with the financial commitments required for this international experience. The purpose of this scholarship is to award those require additional financial assistance and who have achieved academic excellence, demonstrated community involvement, and desire to grow in faith that does justice.

Details of Scholarship:

The scholarships will be awarded based on financial need and range between $1,000 - $1,500. The application process is competitive and completion of an application is not a guarantee of a scholarship award. The disbursements can only be applied toward total program fees. Cash disbursements cannot be made under any circumstances.

Deadlines for Scholarship

Term Scholarship Application Deadline Notification Timeline
Fall March 1st Mid-March
Spring October 1st Mid-October

Application Requirements

Applicants must complete the Financial Aid Information form with a Financial Aid Officer and prepare an essay that addresses the following questions:
• What struggles have you faced in order to study abroad?
• Why is it worth it to you to study on the Casa program?
• How will you share what you learned on the Casa program back at your home institution?

• Meets all Casa eligibility requirements (undergraduate with 2.75 GPA or better)
• Accepted to fall or spring SCU Casa de la Solidaridad Program
• Recipient of need-based financial aid from public, private, or institutional source

Selection Criteria

Eligible applications received by the deadline will be reviewed based on alignment with the scholarship goals and financial need as documented on the Financial Aid Information Form.

If you are a student in need and would like to apply for a scholarship, please be sure to fill in the scholarship sections in the program application.  If you have any questions, please contact:

Casa de la Solidaridad Withdrawal information is located here.

Information on tuition insurance is available through the Bursar's office.

Praxis-Based Pedagogy

For over 18 years, this unique praxis-based educational program rooted in the Ignatian tradition has transformed students’ lives by integrating rigorous academic scholarship and reflection and direct engagement with Salvadorans living in poverty.  As a part of the curriculum, students enter a marginal Salvadoran community (we refer to them as praxis sites) two full days a week for the entire semester.  Casa students enter these communities humbly as learners our Salvadoran partners are the educators.  Over the course of the semester, students get the opportunity to experience the reality of life in a marginal Salvadoran community.  Explore our many praxis sites.

Summer Program

The summer program focuses on health care and public health in El Salvador and provides students with a unique opportunity to integrate direct immersion with people living in poor communities (praxis sites) and academic study. This intensive program will focus on what the health problems are in El Salvador, why the country has these health issues, and how they are being handled from both a medical response to disease and public health programs, which try to reduce the frequency of disease before people need medical care.

Students participate in two academic courses: PHSC 170 - Health Care and Public Health in El Salvador- 5 units and either SPAN 102H: Advanced Spanish I (106k PDF) or Spanish 21H - Spanish for the Health Professions (Intermediate) - 5 units. These courses are designed to intentionally integrate students’ experience in their praxis site with the academic discipline.

Summer Program Cost

Tuition: $4,270
Program Fees Quarter: $1,200
Total: $5,470

Summer Additional Estimated Expenses

Airfare: $800
Textbooks: $100
Personal Expenses: $100
Weekend Meals: $50
Tourist Visa: $10
Internet: $20 

Safety and Security in El Salvador

The safety and security of our students is our top priority.

  • We follow the best practices related to health and safety in keeping with the Forum on Education Abroad's Standards of Good Practice and the Association of International Educators (NAFSA).

  • We have excellent sources of information regarding national security issues, including relationships with many organizations like the Jesuits at University of Central America and the Salvadoran Government.

  • We have strong relationships with our Salvadoran partners in the local communities at our Praxis sites.

Most recently, an independent security assessment team went down to El Salvador to conduct a thorough analysis of the safety and security situation.  Based on this assessment, Dennis Jacobs, the Provost of Santa Clara University, informed SCU's community on November 29, 2016, that beginning in Fall 2017, the Casa program would be restarted.

Read more about our Safety and Security practices.

Romero Program

Casa students have the privilege of living in community with peer Salvadoran scholarship students (becarios) who are studying at the Jesuit-run Central American University (UCA).  The Romero Program, which is operated through Casa de la Solidaridad, supports 12 Salvadoran scholarship students who come from poor communities in their pursuit for higher education. 

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