Connecting Worlds Abroad

About Us

Connecting Worlds Abroad began in 2015 with the goal of providing an affordable study abroad option for every college student. We believe that all students should have the opportunity to study abroad before they graduate. To meet this goal, we work with our collaborating universities to ensure that the programs we offer are tailored to students’ different needs.

About Connecting Worlds

COWA is housed in two different centers of the University of Seville. One is the Campus Universitario EUSA, which offers degrees in journalism, audiovisual communication, publicity and public relations, and tourism, as well as professional development courses and other certificate programs. The other is the International Center of the University of Seville, which houses international students, staff and guests of the university.

These locations provides active university campuses with the accommodations essential to a successful academic program, while permitting interaction with Spanish and other international students.

Our Mission

Our mission is to give all of our students a unique and fulfilling study abroad experience. We want our students to leave Seville feeling more confident and comfortable with the Spanish language.

At COWA, we believe the best way to learn a language is to be fully immersed in it. Our programs are designed to expose students to the Spanish language and culture as much as possible, through our housing, classes and cultural excursions.

Our Values

Every student can learn the Spanish language.

Learning occurs both in and outside of the classroom.

Studying abroad is a fundamental step towards becoming a world citizen.

Get to know us


Carlos Valencia


Carlos Valencia is a native of Oviedo but spent 20 years of his professional life in the United States. There, he received his doctorate in 19th-century Spanish literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before teaching at Wake Forest University and the University of Richmond. He then moved back to Seville, serving as director of the UNC in Seville study abroad program for 6 years and now as director of COWA. Among Carlos’s professional interests are the application of new technology to Spanish language instruction and the incorporation of volunteer work into curriculums as a sociolinguistic and cultural learning tool.


Rocío Rodríguez

Housing Coordinator

A native of Carmona (Seville), Ms. Rodriguez studied Law at the University of Seville before branching off into the Hospitality Industry. She has spent the last 10 years managing a small boutique hotel in Carmona, and has been part of the COWA team since its beginning in 2015.


Lauren Groffsky

On-site Coordinator

Lauren Groffsky graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2017 with a double major in Hispanic Literatures & Cultures and Latin American Studies. She knew she wanted to move abroad after graduation, and through the UNC Department of Romance Languages, had the opportunity to do so. She was the inaugural recipient of the Larry D. King Post Graduate Fellowship, which allowed her to move to Seville and work for the UNC in Seville study abroad program. After spending one year in Seville, she fell in love with the city and decided to stay. She spent her second year teaching English at a local high school, and is now back in the study abroad field working for COWA.


Irene Ramos Arbolí

Professor and Student Life Coordinator

Irene Ramos Arbolí was born in Seville and prior to joining COWA in 2017, she spent seven years teaching Spanish at the college level in the United States. She earned two master’s degrees, from Ohio University in Spanish language and literature and from North Carolina State University in Hispanic linguistics. Her last two years in the US were spent at the Ohio State University, where she balanced her work as a Spanish lecturer with her graduate classes. Starting in 2019 as Student Life Coordinator, her primary duties include assisting students as they adapt to their new life in Seville, in and outside the classroom.


Antonio Barneto

Internship and Volunteer Coordinator

Antonio Barneto, a native Sevillian, earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Seville in Business Administration and holds a M.A. in International Relations from Pablo de Olavide University and the International University of Andalusia, as well as a M.A. in Marketing and International Relations from the Confederation of Entrepreneurs in Andalusia. He completed his studies in business at both Hanze University, Groningen, Holland and in Mercer University, Georgia, United States.


Eric W. Davis

Professor of Art History and Tour Guide

Eric Davis was born in Laramie, Wyoming and raised in Lawrence, Kansas. He has a BFA in Fine Arts from the University of Kansas and a Master’s degree in Art from the University of Seville (la Facultad de Bellas Artes de Sevilla). He is currently doing his doctorate in that same Seville University. He has worked as an artist painting in Seville since 1992 and has taught Art and art History to international students in several university programs in Seville. He has also worked as a tour guide in Spain and in Africa for the past five years.

Check out our programs