Semester in Madrid through City College of San Francisco

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City College of San Francisco's Semester in Madrid program is an exciting opportunity for students of all ages to spend a semester in Spain, learning the beautiful language, studying the country's fascinating history, world-class art, and one-of-a-kind architecture, all while earning transferable college credit. When you study abroad with CCSF, you get a world-class study abroad experience at a community college price. CCSF welcomes all students, whether currently attending CCSF or not, to spend a semester studying abroad with us.

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  • Academics 7.3
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 9.3
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Yes, I recommend this program

My semester abroad in Madrid was the time of my life!!

Madrid is a magical city and I still talk about it to this day. Aside from going to all of the museums, staying out at bars until 4AM, making great friends from around the world and eating great food, I traveled throughout Spain every weekend and was amazed by the culture and beauty of the country!! Flights are easy and affordable throughout Spain so it was easy to go during the weekends when I didn't have classes. Spain has so much to offer and I grew and matured so much from the experience.

What would you improve about this program?
Better communication with housing families.....breakfast and lunch were supposed to be provided daily and our breakfast was always very very light and I ended up having to spend money on breakfast and lunch every day so that got pricy.

Also, perhaps fitting all classes in 3 days so students had more days to travel and explore.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Study Abroad-The Best Experience

Studying Abroad in Madrid was one of the beSt decisions of my life!! Studying abroad gave me a whole new perspective on life and the other cultures around me. The housing, school, food, and social life of Madrid are all amazing. My favorite parts were being able to walk everywhere so I could see something new everyday, and trying new and exciting foods. Studying abroad is worth the money and time. I recommend it to everyone, especially programs for Madrid, Spain!!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Don't Hesitate!

This trip will be a memory for a lifetime. Definitely one of the most worthwhile experiences during my time as an undergraduate. Every college student should make study abroad a priority and what better place to do so than Madrid - a lively welcoming city with endless restaurants, parks, bars, and places of historical interest to explore. I hope to return to Spain someday but in the meantime I get to smile remembering how much fun I had with my study abroad peers during our time there. Not only is this trip exciting and enjoyment filled but on top of this looks great on resumes and applications. Spanish is an excellent language to study because it is beautiful and spoken world wide but also because it is highly marketable in the U.S. So do something for your personal and professional development all in one go. You won't regret it. I know I didn't ;)

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Yes, I recommend this program

Had a great experience with SF City College's ACCENT Program in Madrid Spring 2012!

I had been recommended this program by my sister, who did an ACCENT program in Florence probably 12 years ago. She had an amazing time and met a really diverse, interesting group of people, so I followed in her footsteps and signed up for the Madrid program. Even before it began, Jill Heffron was really communicative with me via phone & email in the process of planning/enrolling, and eased any nerves I may have had about enrolling into an external study abroad program (I attended USF, and they didn't have a Madrid program that met what I was looking for). The semester before, I attended a USF program in Oxford, England, and didn't have a great experience, due to the people in my program, the lack of immersion I felt in the city, and the classes. Therefore, I was hoping for a better experience in Madrid, and knew it would certainly be much different.

Fortunately, I had a really great & memorable experience-- I was housed in an amazing modern & clean apartment in the Embajadores neighborhood near Madrid's city center, Sol. I saw other participants' living situations and all the apartments were very different and impressive. From the start, my roommates were easygoing people who came from different school backgrounds.

My classes were a mix of Spanish classes at Universidad Complutense and other Spanish culture courses at a building (conducted in English) which held classes for our program & other study abroad programs. I took a test to be placed into the correct level of Spanish classes, and I thought it was the right amount of challenge for me. The teachers were great at Complutense too-- engaging and had big personalities. What I loved the most was the chance to take classes with other international students outside of my program. I was in classes with people from Brazil, China, and Morocco, among others. I enjoyed having another way to socialize and find my own way outside of the program. Additionally, the experience of being at a Spanish university was great! So fun to see how Spaniards socialize, and I still think about the tortilla de patatas bocadillos that I'd order from vending machines at lunch.

The classes conducted in English were a bit challenging to succeed in, I thought, since the tests on the material didn't always match up to what we had learned, and a lot of weight was put into the final essays and test. Of course, I'm sure the professors and course formats have changed over time. I took an art course (taught by a Spaniard, as well) and a Spanish history course, both of which were amazing for the chance to visit El Prado.

As for the socializing and the trips, I really enjoyed the age range of the program participants. Everyone seemed to be at different stages of life, yet we became very close and I continued to meet up with friends from the program in San Francisco after it ended. Just recently, a photo from a trip during the program I had posted to Facebook resurfaced as someone had commented, reminiscing on how fun it was. I think in a lot of ways I didn't know what to expect, but my overall experience exceeded my expectations and today I think fondly of those 3 months.

Throughout the program, I felt safe and supported by the ACCENT staff if there was ever an issue. They planned optional weekend trips, a few of which I attended and had a great time. For me, the best part was the new friendships I made and the side trips we planned and made on our own (memorably: Lisbon, Portugal; Grenada, Spain; Germany; Barcelona, Spain).

Spain is amazing! :) I recommend 150%.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Totally worth it!

I decided to study abroad in Madrid on a whim; I was nearing the end of my community college career and was looking for something fun to do so I signed up through CCSF. I was so happy that I took the plunge and completed the program. Not only did I have a wonderful time exploring the beautiful city of Madrid, I was also able to travel around the rest of Spain and even into parts of Europe, with ease. The program staff are incredibly helpful and accommodating and make themselves available for any reason. I also learned a TON through the program. Though there is ample free time, the professors and students at Universidad Complutense take education seriously and push you to acquire the knowledge. It was so cool... Just thinking about it brings back so many memories.. Ahh take me back!!

P.S. The Metro system in Madrid is top notch and truthfully one of the things I wish we had in America.

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Yes, I recommend this program


My semester in Madrid is something that I still reminisce about 6 years later. It was probably the boldest thing I'd ever done at that point, and although it was very expensive, it was worth it in terms of experiencing another culture and learning Spanish, both of which will stay with you for a lifetime. If you're turned off by the price tag but have a nagging wanderlust for Madrid/Spain that can't be ignored, I would take a leap of faith and try to find a way to make it work. You won't regret it later (well, until your loans are paid off anyways ;) )

I don't think there's a right or wrong reason to go study abroad. I was more into partying and exploring than I was about studying, and I think that's totally fine. You will feel very free so do what you need to do, and just try to find your balance. I was still able to pick up a lot of Spanish through courses and these skills transfer over to Latin American Spanish too. The only things I would change if I were to do it again would be to not hang out with Americans 24/7 and to see more parts of the city than home/school/major sights.

Madrid is a gorgeous city, and a great first-European-city-visited if this is your first time in Europe. The metro system puts every system here to shame, and the famous nightlife lives up to its reputation. The culture is somewhat familiar but also has stark differences. If you love SF for its food, art, music, parks, neighborhoods, scenery, etc., you will love Madrid for the same reasons. Most of the negative experiences I experienced had to do with being Asian in Spain but there was never anything violent or overly hostile. If you are non-European looking, be warned that Spain is far less cosmopolitan and tolerant than the Bay Area.. in the grand picture though, I think this was a good thing for me to experience. You will also have to watch out for your stuff constantly. Madrid is a great place to travel to other places for cheap (I took a 30 euro flight to Morocco!), and there are enough places to visit within Spain to last three months although you'll probably want to go to other countries too. To my surprise, I hated Barcelona (or rather, Barcelonians) but fell in love with Andalucía.

If any two of these apply to you: you want to experience living on your own, you want to learn Spanish, you want to travel Europe, you want to experience living in another culture -- I think it warrants the price tag. I took out a loan and saw every penny I made for over a year after go back towards the loan. This part is definitely not fun, but ultimately I feel like it was worth it. If you have money lying around to spend on phones, clothes, etc., spend it on this instead!

What would you improve about this program?
I was very happy with the program - the support, classes, and trips. You are given a lot of people to contact, and the program is in a central location. The classes are a good mix of conversational Spanish, Spanish grammar, and Spanish history/art. Although I didn't go on the official trips because I prefer traveling in small groups, I definitely stole their ideas and made my own trips there.