Instituto Franklin-UAH

Instituto Franklin-UAH


Instituto Franklin- Universidad de Alcalá is the only University Institute for Research on North America in Spain. Founded in 1987, Instituto Franklin-UAH provides postgraduate research, scholarships and grants, dissemination of publications, scientific events, and education related investigation on American Studies and Bilingual Education. We are located in Colegio de Trinitarios, built in the XVII century, in the center of the historic city of Alcalá de Henares, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Instituto Franklin-UAH provides the following in Academics: Ph.D. in American Studies, MA in American Studies, Teach & Learn in Spain program, BA in International Studies, and Undergraduate Study Abroad programs.

Instituto Franklin-UAH's undergraduate programs have over 30 years of experience working with international students and universities.


Calle Trinidad 1
Edificio Trinitarios
28801 Alcalá de Henares Madrid


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Yes, I recommend this program

I studied abroad in the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares during the Spring 2019 semester. I completed the program in under 90 days so that I did not have to apply for a Spanish visa, which was very convenient. Those three months were the best of my life. The UAH program is run by passionate, hardworking, and always-available professionals who are there to explain how life in Spain works for all the newcomers and what to expect from UAH. The program sets students up with local housing, requires that local families provide meals for students, and ensures that the weekly schedule allows time for students to travel on the weekends. These things make life easier for students; they do not have to worry about cooking, finding housing, or shirking studies to travel and experience Spain. An introduction to Spain class is required for all students, which teaches students about Spain's culture, history, politics, current issues, and anything else imaginable. This class makes life in Spain easier; students have a better and more complete understanding of the place that they call home for three months. Added to this, the Universidad itself is simply gorgeous and is a place of historical importance. Alcalá was the perfect location to see life and geography of central Spain, travel quickly to Madrid, and travel from Madrid to other places in Spain or Europe during weekends in order to see more of the world. It is difficult to describe, but life in those three months is more different than any other time of life that I have experienced; students quickly and steadfastly bond because they are all foreigners in Spain and want to have some kind of support group and friend group while there, students can travel to wherever their budget allows during the three- or four-day weekends and see places they normally would never see, students can get an intimate look at how families in Spain live and eat, and essentially, students can make a completely new life for themselves starting from day 1 and live to the utmost while still working towards their college degrees. Making the scary choice to study abroad was the best thing I have ever done, and I fell so in love with Alcalá, the UAH, Madrid, and Spain as a whole while I was there. A huge thank you goes out to UCM and UAH coordinators who made this program possible for me and for many others; you have changed our lives in a very real way and given us so many new experiences. (In addition, everyone at the UAH who directs students when they need medical attention, have any issue with their housing, or just have questions about Spain deserve all the thanks. Everyone was so wonderful!)

For those looking to possibly enroll in this program: I would recommend that students are fairly mature and independent before making the choice to study abroad for three months and also that they have a medium level of competency in Spanish, since they will be staying with Spanish families that do not know English and also traveling to other parts of Spain, maybe independently. Some students that I was with did not have any knowledge of Spanish and struggled to converse with their host families, but by the end of the trip, they were fairly competent in everyday phrases, which was amazing. Those issues can be avoided by simply learning the essentials before heading to Spain. I largely decided to study abroad because I study Spanish in university and knew that living among the language would increase my fluency. I was caught off guard, however, by just how quickly one learns a language being surrounded by it, and how drastically my confidence and ability with Spanish increased. I loved being able to use Spanish so much more frequently, learning new vocabulary by seeing it on signs or hearing people speak, and watching local news. Being fairly independent is important because, of course, students will be an ocean and, seemingly, a world away from their families, friends, and home cultures. The ability to adapt and be open to new people, new ways of life, and new experiences is essential and will enrich students' lives so much. Also, if you quickly make friends with other students in your program, you have buddies to travel with (and share lodging costs with) every weekend! If you are looking to enroll in this program and have a passion for Spain or Spanish language, this is a perfect program for you. I hope you fall in love with it like I and all the students with me did! I cannot explain how much of an effect this study abroad experience has had on all of us (we still stay in touch and reunite when we can) and will continue to have on us. Our memories of this experience are so, so amazing. A million thanks to everyone involved.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would change about this program is the housing. I was assigned to a household where there was a single mother and a daughter, and the mother was so busy with her work and social life that she barely spent time cooking for us or cleaning. She really only talked to us to figure out how many meals we would need the next day and if we would be home. There was not a lot of food or a great quality of food, which was disappointing but ultimately survivable. My assigned roommate and I lived with any issues in housing because we really enjoyed living together and did not want to be assigned to houses alone! I don't want to stress this issue too much because 1) it was our choice to not move houses and 2) this is not any sort of horror story. I just wanted to let you know that some housing assignments are not spending the right amount of time or effort with their study abroad students, and if there was a way for students to do a survey or something about their housing after being there for a few weeks to make sure everything is okay, that would be appreciated!
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Yes, I recommend this program

My experience was unique in that I became almost fluent in Spanish during my stay. I minored in Spanish during undergrad, but I was completely unaware of my capabilities until I was immersed in the language in Spain. Staying in a host home had its pros and cons, but I took the opportunity to speak as much Spanish as I could with my host family (who did not speak any English), and I was very surprised at how much I learned at OU and was able to apply abroad! We traveled and saw beautiful cities and parts of Spain that I did not know existed. Ibiza was my favorite; a group of us traveled there on our long weekend. The food in Spain is different but delicious, and fútbol is a huge part of the culture I thoroughly enjoyed. Being in Madrid during the Champions league final was exhilarating!

What would you improve about this program?
I loved staying in the host home and being immersed in the Spanish language while getting to know my Spanish family. However, the 40 minute walk to and from class was a little far (we sometimes had to make the trek six times a day if we wanted to go home in between classes and activities). My roommate and I ended up buying a 20-trip bus pass around Alcalá, which helped, but being closer to the university would have been useful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I would recommend this program if you're wanting to experience all of what Spain has to offer. Friendly people, amazing food, major history. Alcala is close to urban Madrid (quick train ride away) and still a Spanish-speaking, authentic town with the full experience you're looking for. In this program you'll get to learn about the Spanish culture in many facets--mine involved working with a refugee camp, documenting the movement stopping violence against women, and studying the history and present day effects of the slave trade from Africa to Europe (traveled to Portugal & Morocco). Madrid is also the best location to travel to other major cities and countries as it is in central Spain. The staff at Universidad de Alcala is the friendliest!

What would you improve about this program?
Communication via email about what orientation would look like. It was smoothly run and amazing, but it added to the nerves of the new place not knowing what to expect day one. Maybe an organized event with all programs to get to mingle with other students in different programs at Universidad de Alcala.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I really enjoyed this MA program and would recommend it to anyone interested in teaching. The staff was very helpful with visa paperwork and responding to questions/concerns from the very beginning. I liked the variety of classes we studied for the MA in Bilingual and Multicultural Education and had some very memorable professors. Advising and support is provided throughout the program, and the staff does its best to help students adjust to their teaching practicum and works with students and schools to find the best possible solutions. I’m now working in the US in the ESL field at the university level and am so grateful to the continuing support I’ve received from the UAH-IF administration. This MA is special because it gives you the opportunity to work, study, and live abroad in an incredible place!

What was your funniest moment?
The phonetics part of our linguistics class! We had some hilarious moments playing games.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Truly has been a wonderfull experience. I will others about it and might come to experience the same I did. I will do it again and again if I had to do it again. I felt in love with Alcala, specially the university and the city of Madrid. Great school, great food, great people. I love Madrid, almost everything about. I am going to leave Madrid on sunday for England with tears in my eyes, but I will come back soon. I wish next time I come to Spain to travel more. I did a lot of travel but that was not enough. I have been almost all over. From Sevilla to Barcelona, from Barcelona to Madrid, from Madrid to Toledo last from friday with school. I have been to Valladolid, to many museum and touristics sites. I have enjoyed every bit of it. Bye..

What would you improve about this program?
My Spanish skills and as well as communication skills.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Joe Meringolo

Joe works as an admissions counselor for an international education company based in Maryland, USA after almost five school years of living abroad in Italy, England, Spain and Peru.

Why did you choose this program?

I wanted to legitimize my level of Spanish after two years of living in northern Spain. I didn't have any Spanish major or minor, and no education background from my undergrad. I had taken intermediate-level classes through a private Spanish academy. When I went home after two years in Spain before the Masters, I had a hard time explaining my level of Spanish and legitimizing my time abroad. I looked at other Masters in the US and I didn't want to go in debt 20,000+ dollars.

The Masters helped me show that I knew the Spanish language and culture.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

They organized the healthcare, payment, and paperwork for the visa. I organized housing, my phone plan, my bank account, meals, and transportation.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

When you're looking for a place, you should text or call the people on the apartment pages. Emails will fall through the cracks.

The professors at Instituto Franklin are amazing with great lectures and projects. If you communicate any conflicts or issues with them ahead of time, they'll be more likely to give you some flexibility if you need it. Iulia, Carlos and the Instituto Franklin team are amazing and they'll help you if you ask them.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average day/week varies on the location of your house and your teaching practicum school. Find your housing based more on that and less on the location of the university because your classes are only in the afternoons/evenings on Fridays.

Travel obviously varies on the location of your practicum school compared to where you live. The university now allows students who are currently teaching from the Ministry of Education program to stay at their schools if they desire while they do the Masters program.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I didn't know where I was going to live and it was really stressful finding a place to live. I had to look really hard and be patient to find a place.

What do you want professionally after this program is done?

I knew that it would legitimize my level of Spanish and it would guarantee me more options later on in either international education or teaching. I've negotiated higher pay in two separate job interviews because I had this Masters.

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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Laura Rey Carretero

Job Title
Responsable de Congresos y Actividades (Head of Conventions and Activities)

What is your favorite travel memory?

Al ser responsable de las actividades que hacen los estudiantes de Study Abroad Program in Spain, he de decir que en España hay todo tipo de destinos interesantes, divertidos e inclusivos para una inmersión total en el programa.

Viajes como el de Andalucía (el cual se visitan tres ciudades magníficas como Granada, Córdoba y Sevilla) hacen que veas la majestuosidad de España y el legado histórico que contiene. Por otro lado, yendo al norte de España, ir a Galicia y ver la calidad y cantidad de naturaleza que tenemos es muy gratificante para los estudiantes.

(As head of the student activities during the Study Abroad Program in Spain, I must say that, in Spain, there are many kinds of interesting, fun and inclusive destinations for a total immersion in the program.

Trips like that of Andalusia (in which we visit three magnificent cities like Granada, Cordoba and Seville) make you see the majesty of Spain and the historical legacy it contains. On the other hand, going to the north of Spain, to Galicia and seeing the quality and quantity of nature that we have is very rewarding for the students).

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Trabajar en Instituto Franklin-UAH me ha hecho tener una visión más global de mi trabajo, me da oportunidades de poder compartir muchos conocimientos a nivel nacional e internacional, intercambiar culturas (cosa que siempre he querido hacer) y ser capaz de desarrollarme como persona, utilizar la creatividad y la improvisación de manera positiva que afecta también en mi vida personal.

(Working at Instituto Franklin-UAH has made me have a more global vision of my work, it gives me opportunities to share a lot of knowledge at national and international level, exchange cultures (which I have always wanted to do) and be able to develop as a person, use creativity and improvisation in a positive way that also affects my personal life).

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Lo mejor de encontrarse con estudiantes que han estado años anteriores es la relación que mantienen entre ellos en Estados Unidos. Por otro lado, en el staff del Instituto Franklin-UAH es muy común que profesores y alumnos mantengan una buena relación a distancia mediante las redes sociales institucionales, lo cual nos facilita conocer cómo va su vida.

(The best thing about meeting students who have been in previous years is the relationship they keep in the United States. On the other hand, it is very common among the Franklin-UAH Institute staff for teachers and students to maintain a good distance relationship through institutional social networks, which makes it easier for us to know how their life is going).

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Creo que el mejor programa sería el programa de Study Abroad, ya que da la oportunidad a estudiantes jóvenes a conocer otro país como España con su cultura, gastronomía, gente... A parte, le da una oportunidad única al estudiante de aprender literatura, idioma, tradiciones, cultura y civilización, medios españoles, etc., de un país tan rico como España.

(I think the best program would be the Study Abroad program, since it gives young students the opportunity to get to know another country like Spain with its culture, gastronomy, people... Besides, it offers the student a unique opportunity to learn Spanish literature, language, traditions, culture and civilization, media, etc., of a country as rich as Spain).

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Sobre todo nos hace únicos el equipo que tenemos. Contamos desde personas que llevan 20 años trabajando en esta empresa que ofrece su máxima experiencia como gente joven de alrededor de 25 años que le da una vitalidad y una novedad increíble al programa. Todo esto hace que el estudiante se sienta amparado, protegido y entendido en todo momento.

(Our team is what makes us overall unique. We have people who have been working in this company for 20 years that offer their maximum experience, and young people around 25 who bring an incredible vitality and novelty to the program. All of this makes the student feel safe, protected and understood at all times).

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Los factores más importantes son la empatía y la asertividad. Esto hace que el trabajar en equipo sea muy beneficioso no sólo para los trabajadores si no también para los estudiantes que vienen al programa. Saber comprender las situaciones de cada persona y actuar o improvisar acorde con cada momento es crucial para tener un buen programa.

(The most important factors are empathy and assertiveness. This makes teamwork very beneficial not only for our workers but also for students who come to the program. Knowing how to understand each person's situations and act or improvise according to each moment is crucial for a program to be good).

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