Instituto Franklin-UAH

Instituto Franklin-UAH


Instituto Franklin-UAH's programs have over 30 years of experience working with international students and universities. We are a department within the Universidad de Alcala that specializes in providing programs that cater to over 500 international students per year.

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, courses in International Studies, and Undergraduate Study Abroad programs.

90-day Fall 2020 Undergraduate Program! No student visa required!

Undergraduate students can study in Spain for less than 90 days and earn 12 credits! Only for 6,980 euros- everything included except for personal expenses and flights.

No student visa required for North American students. Please consult with your Spanish Embassy. **This offer does not apply to the Teach & Learn in Spain Graduate Program**

Calle Trinidad 1
Edificio Trinitarios
28801 Alcalá de Henares Madrid


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Yes, I recommend this program

I loved being able to study abroad in Spain. The city is the perfect place which is close enough to Madrid to enjoy the city but also has plenty to do just a short walk away in the plaza. I had great support while studying abroad from the staff to my host family. The culture of schools in Spain is very different from the US and they have great programs for teaching bilingualism successfully. I was able to bring back many new ideas to my work in the US. It is a great experience for anyone who is open to learning about a new culture.

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Yes, I recommend this program

The Instituto was phenomenal with my semester abroad. All classes were taught in Spanish, and I lived with a host family. These two aspects were wonderful for my cultural immersion and growth in Spanish. I am truly appreciative of the staff who I have grown close with over the semester. They were always helpful, attentive, and supportive of me. One unique part about this program are the excursion, which I wish I had taken more advantage of. They went to Toledo, Segovia, La Valle de los Caidos, and more. With this program I not only made friends from around Spain, but also around the US. I also grown close to the professors and staff and got to know them outside of the classroom, like at futbol games and cooking classes. Without a doubt, living with a host family was one of my biggest stresses, but I have grown so close to them over the semester, and my understanding of the Spanish culture, language, and literature was truly enriched. Yes, having classes all in Spanish was a challenge, but that helped me so much with presenting, writing, and speaking in Spanish. All of these aspects helped me achieve my semester goals abroad, and it's an experience I will never forget.

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Yes, I recommend this program

My study abroad this Spring was more than I thought it could be. I felt challenged, welcome, and supported. The university planned great trips that held incredible value to me, and the staff seemed to understand all of my concerns whenever I had questions. The small class size made me feel like I was a part of a team during my block classes, and the teachers were as excited to work with me as I was with them. I especially appreciated the format and scheduling of the semester - exploring Spain was so convenient! And my host family, wow. Anytime I left their home I felt like I was missing out on a fantastic opportunity to interact with the most authentic form of day-to-day Spanish culture. My plan is to come back and complete the Master's program, because I loved this place and this experience so much. Thank you Alcalá de Henares!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I was most worried about the logistics of traveling around the country, and not getting lost. The months before I left for the program I felt increasingly anxious about the unknown, and I worried about being so far from home. What I found out was that I already had all the skills I needed to be successful in seeing all that I wanted. All that was required was a little confidence, patience, and adaptability. Though I'd studied the language, it wasn't always easy to translate. So I'd find a different stranger to ask, or I'd walk up to a policeman. Most everyone was friendly and eager to help, and I enjoyed some memorable moments that way! My best stories are about accidents, or the unexpected. Challenging yes, but who knew I had it in me all along? After this experience, I feel like I could travel anywhere. I'd highly recommend taking this sort of leap to anyone!
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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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Alumni Interviews

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

Razi Hillery

Razi is a second-year student at Butler University. She studies Political Science and International Studies. In her free time, she enjoys reading, going on walks, and public speaking.

Why did you choose this program?

Since I was young, I've always wanted to go to Spain, and being near or in a large city was important to me. The University of Alcalá partners with my school, and with this program, I was able to go with other students and a Butler professor, which made me a lot more comfortable about being abroad.

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

The University of Alcalá's staff assisted in housing, transportation from the airport, excursions, and of course classes and credits for my home institution. If I didn't participate in this program with my school, I would have had to organize my own flight and transportation to the airport to leave.

I organized my own personal expenses, such as public transportation and a phone plan.

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

Take advantage of every opportunity. This program had several free excursions that they went on throughout the semester. There were some I went to, and others that I did not. Later on, I wish I had taken advantage of the opportunity to go on excursions with this program because I gain more insight on monuments, churches, and landmarks in comparison to going alone or with friends.

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

Classes are from Monday to Thursday, and they start at 9:30 am and end by 2 pm. The class schedule was probably one of my favorite parts of this program. With all of my classes, I went to school by 10:30 am, and I left by 2 pm. I was at 12 credit hours.

There's the opportunity for job shadowing, volunteering, and even internships, which I took advantage of while abroad.

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

My biggest fear was living with a host family.

I was a little worried about my safety, acceptance, and living situation. I was worried that my living style would be too different than theirs, but none of those the case at all. I overcame it by not forcing a relationship with them, but and talking to them as friends.

This quickly built a great relationship with my host family, and while I still understand other student's fears of the unexpected regarding host families, talking with them and making an effort to not feel like a stranger is what makes the difference.

The education system of Spain (and what I was told, Europe) is very different in comparison to the United States. There are not many assignments and very few tests. The few tests (midterm, final, final essay, etc.) count for the majority of the student's grade.

This was difficult getting used to, knowing that a single test could hurt or help your grade significantly, but it allowed me to experience a different kind of successful educational system. With my program, there weren't many student organizations to join or school sports, but the university tried to supplement that with football games and different activities throughout the semester.

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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