The Hamilton College Madrid program is really among the best offered by U.S. academic institutions. It combines rigorous language training with cultural immersion and encourages travel. The program requires participants to sign a contract that obligates them to speak exclusively in Spanish and I was surprised with participants' enthusiasm to participate. This, combined with courses instructed in Spanish,ensured that students improved language skills. I frequently use Spanish in my job now, and wouldn't have the same abilities if it weren't for this program. The cultural immersion was unmatched. My homestay was fantastic--they had been hosting foreign students for over a decade and really made me part of the family. In addition to all of this, the program requires students to participate in monthly travel tours that ensure students see most of the country before finishing up their year or semester. These first-rate trips involved wonderful hotels and lavish meals at some of the best places in Spain and beyond: Barcelona, Sevilla, and Lisbon were just a few. None of this would be possible if it weren't for the supportive staff in Madrid and Clinton, NY that make the program what it is. They were always there for guidance and support throughout my year.