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

Studying abroad can seem extremely daunting at first glance. I had so many questions and concerns leading up to the trip. However, I am so happy that I picked this program. The location is absolutely beautiful. There is so much to see just within walking distance! I had the best host mom who made my house mate and I feel right at home. The faculty were incredibly supportive and kind! The classes I took were so engaging and fun. I left with way more confidence in speaking the language as well. I could not believe with how much more Spanish I picked up in just a month!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do everything! Speak to as many people as you can and do as many things as you can. Everything you do will enrich your experience. You will remember this experience for the rest of your life and you don't want to look back and regret anything!
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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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Alumni Interviews

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

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.

Antonio Fernández

Job Title
Tutor of graduate students
I've been working at Instituto Franklin-UAH since 2020. First as a language teacher, then as tutor of graduate students. I did my Master's at Bowling Green State University and finished my Bacherlor Degree in English Language at University of Alcala.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My first trip to Italy was in my mid-twenties. I went with a group of friends to visit the most remarkable cities such as Rome, Florence and Venice among others. Strolling through their streets, I happened on the most beautiful buildings I ever saw. The beauty of ancient buildings traced back to Romans’ time, the art of Renaissance and charming of its people trapped my soul. Before going there, I was playing with the idea of studying art history but went I was back home I started studying art in a more professional way. I registered in the UNED.
Thanks to that experience, I am teaching the art courses at Instituto Franklin-UAH and I enjoy visiting museums and institutions with my students. I wish we could go to Italy sometime in the future. I would love to explain how Italian art has been the main source for Spanish art. Visiting cities like Pompey and Rome are crucial to understand the Roman’s arquitecture in Spain. Visiting Venice will be unforgettable trip not only for the beauty of its canals, but to understand the Greco’s technique in his paintings.
I would say that my first trip to Italy change my professional life in a way not only I started learning a different topic but I became an art teacher that I really enjoy very much.

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

Before working for Instituto Franklin-UAH, I had different jobs. A few of them were focused on teaching English a second language in private institutions. Others did not have much to do with my studies but I had to work to pay the mortgage of my house. Instituto Franklin-UAH gave me the chance to teach, at first, Spanish as a second language for American students. I was very happy and since then I have been working for the same institution. Along these years, I dealt with many different assignments. Not only regarding the field of teaching, but also I have the chance to participate in a conference about the Historic Links between Spain and USA in New York. I currently keep studying and working in the field that I really like and that is what makes me feel very happy at my job.

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

Many students felt they are different once they are back home. Staying in a different country for a period is one of the most exciting experience they had. They are much open to the world and understand the differences of people.

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

We offer several programs. However, the one I like most is Study Abroad because of the diversity of subjects offered in this program. Students can subjects related to different areas. Language, Literature, Culture, Art, Business among others. Having the chance to study different areas one can obtain a solid preparation not only for the workforce buy also as a person. One student who studies medicine can take courses in art or other fields to broad their understanding in those areas. Having different options to study will prepare our students not only in their professional field, but also, in their personal life.

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

Instituto Franklin-UAH is an institution that not only has programs for graduate students. There is a master program; the Teach and Learn Program where students have the option to study and work at schools as assistance teachers. There is also a phd program, the graduate programs for north American students mainly. In addition, there is an investigation section on north American studies and a line of publication. Among those departments, the Instituto Franklin-UAH gives the Camino Real award to those Spaniards who have built bridges between Spain and USA. All those field of studies and sections make The Institutio Franklin-UAH an unique institution in Spain.

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

Quality of the product the company sells, in our case, teaching. Having good professionals and interesting subjects, which help students succeed in their professional life are very important factors for a company to be successful. In addition, our students are to feel safe in a new environment. Living with families that have been working with American students for a lot of time are necessary to succeed in an international program like ours.

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