IES Abroad Salamanca - Advanced Spanish Immersion
92% Rating
(26 Reviews)

IES Abroad Salamanca - Advanced Spanish Immersion

The program allows you to be involed in the academic and social life of the Universidad de Salamanca (USAL), the oldest university in Spain and one of the most prestigious in Europe. Learn alongside your Spanish peers by enrolling at USAL or the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca (UPSA). Regardless of your major, you may combine your interests in linguistic and cultural proficiency with your academic pursuits.

Locations
Europe » Spain » Salamanca
Europe » Spain
Program Type
Provider
Subject Areas
Degree Level
High School Diploma
Bachelors
Timeframe
Academic Year
Fall
Spring
Accommodation
Host Family
Language
Spanish
Steps
Online Application
Official Transcripts
Language Requirement
GPA Requirement
Health Requirement
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Contact IES Abroad or see website for details: www.IESabroad.org/salamanca
Other Locations
Salamanca

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Academics
    79%
  • Support
    84%
  • Fun
    90%
  • Housing
    94%
  • Safety
    97%

Program Reviews (26)

Default avatar
Peter
Male
22 years old
United States
Pomona College

I love Salamanca!

8/10

IES Abroad Salamanca runs a good program. All of the staff members know their stuff and will be there to help you with all the practical details of life abroad. At the same time, the staff are personable and put a lot of effort into getting to know you as an individual. I particularly appreciated the efforts of the staff when my computer and wallet got stolen (Salamanca isn’t dangerous, I was just being stupid); due to the timely help I received from the staff at the IES center, I was eventually able to recover all of my lost items. The academic programs provided by IES are fairly easy but generally interesting, but you can also enroll at USAL (the public university) or UPSA (the private university), which is a big plus for those looking for maximal cultural and linguistic immersion. Salamanca is also a great city to study in. The size is perfect, the Castilian Spanish is easily comprehensible, and there is a big student population which keeps things lively. The only downside might be the winter weather, which is quite cold.

How can this program be improved?

The process of course registration is kind of painful. Other than that, the program is pretty flawless.

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William
Male
21 years old
Claremont, CA
Pomona College

Sueños de Salamanca

9/10

Salamanca was a fantastic experience, and I can’t wait to go back and visit again. I am really grateful to the IES program for giving me a strong basis for exploring Spain and Spanish culture. The homestay was one of the best experiences-living with a local family, being immersed in the culture almost 24/7 helped me adjust quickly and start experiencing Spanish culture less as a tourist and more as a temporary resident.
I do have a couple regrets though. In taking classes at the University of Salamanca, I met a lot of Spanish friends, and got to know them and Spanish people my age better, but I wish I had spent more time with them. I think that one of the best ways for me to improve my Spanish is to spend it surrounded by native speakers, and my friends were always enthusiastic to spend time with a foreigner. Of course, I did enjoy my classes at the IES center, but there I wasn’t as immersed in Spanish culture as I wanted-my classmates were fellow Americans, and the classes were presented in an American style. Although we did have Spanish teachers, and the American style was to help us adjust, I would have preferred taking more classes at the Spanish university.

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Kelli
Female
20 years old
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg College

Studying in Salamanca

10/10

I have absolutely no complaints about this program. The city itself is a truly magical place to be, it's the perfect mix of a college and residential town with stunning architecture. There are tons of places to eat, museums to visit, and seats to people watch. As far as academics I recommend taking classes at the University of Salamanca in addition to IES courses. This is a better way to get a feel for the true Spanish student culture. I lived with a host family and spent a lot of time with them during meals and free time. I still keep in touch with them, as well as foreign friends I have made almost every day!

How can this program be improved?

The only suggestion I have is to extend the Sevilla/ Granada trip.

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Grant
Male
21 years old
California
Pomona College

An Unforgettable, Authentic Semester

9/10

Wow... thanks to IES Abroad I had an absolutely amazing semester in Salamanca, Spain. Upon returning from abroad, many classmates who had gone to other places with other programs mentioned the difficulty of truly feeling like they were experiencing their host country's real culture. In contrast, IES Abroad did a great job of helping me experience an authentic semester in Salamanca through their mentoring programs with local university students, amazing host families, as well as opportunities to explore the culture in Salamanca as well as Spain at large. I would recommend this program to anyone who really wants to feel immersed in a different culture and learn to appreciate it. While it sounds cliche, I have a much more global perspective upon returning from Spain and appreciate the subtle differences of each culture even more. Neither the US culture nor the Spanish culture is better... they are simply different, each with their own pros and cons. To this day, I continue to talk with both American and Spanish friends I made while abroad, WhatsApp my host mom, read El País, and listen to Reggaeton. I made so many unforgettable memories while abroad, and can't wait to visit Salamanca once again.

How can this program be improved?

Originally, I wanted to take a class at the University of Salamanca for my biology major. However, upon arrival I learned that the program did not have extremely strong relationships with the STEM departments at USAL, so it was more difficult to take these classes. Ultimately, I ended up dropping my paleontology class after a couple weeks as we could not keep up and the professors were not accustomed to ERASMUS/US students. Therefore, I think if IES could enhance these relationships and make it easier to study STEM-related classes, this program would be perfect.

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Brandon
Male
22 years old
Seattle, WA
Elmhurst College

Adventures with Brandon in Salamanca, Spain

10/10

Making the decision to study with IES abroad in Salamanca, Spain during my spring semester of 2016 was one of the greatest decisions of my life. Having studied abroad with a different institution in Madrid during the fall semester of 2015, I was well prepared to start the second semester of my abroad experience in a totally different city that carried with it a very historically unique college-town vibe. Being just one of two incumbents familiar to the study abroad experience, I enjoyed my role in being able to assist other students with their endeavors alongside the incredible teaching and administrative staff of IES abroad Salamanca.

Granted I knew what to expect in regards to studying abroad and its learning process, Salamanca itself was a city that I had visited just once before and was not all that familiar with. The administrative staff and group of Spanish student mentors at the local university assisted myself along with the other study abroad students in every step of the way, from picking us up at the airport, to walking us through orientation to hosting our fare-well departure ceremony at the programs end. At times I did feel as if my freedom was cut short to meet this program’s expectations, however, these mandated obligations such as frequent meetings with IES abroad teachers and administration regardless of need did nothing but bring out the best in me over the course of this program.

Though I did not get as many opportunities to travel Europe as I had the semester prior, there is nothing I would have changed about my overall experience with IES Abroad. In electing to directly enroll in the University of Salamanca and to live in the dormitories with Spanish natives, I was assured to have the most authentic, culturally immersed experience possible over the course of this 16-week program.

The most difficult part of this experience was not the beginning, but rather the end. Finals were difficult and adaptation can be rocky, but saying goodbye to some of the best friends I had ever made and leaving the peers who enabled me to achieve what
I had achieved was the most difficult of all. Nonetheless, on the plane ride home in reflection of everything that I had accomplished it was evident that this experience was without a doubt beyond worthwhile.

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Anne
Female
22 years old
Kirkwood, Missouri
College of Wooster

The Plaza at Sunset

10/10

My favorite place in Salamanca is Plaza Mayor. It's the main gathering place where you can go to cafes, see public demonstrations, meet up with friends under the big clock, and just admire the stunning architecture. My first full day in Spain, I was walking around with (new) friends and we happened to be in the plaza just when it got dark enough for the lights to turn on. The moment the lights turned on, there was a collective gasp through out the square.

I had the privilege of happening to be in the plaza when the lights turned on about four more times throughout the semester, and each time I couldn't help but gasp at the beauty and very clear reminder to stop and be in awe of where I was. Salamanca was more beautiful than I could have imagined, and I'm beyond glad I spent a semester there.

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Korrinne
Female
22 years old
Bethlehem
Muhlenberg College

Semester in Salamanca

10/10

Studying in Salamanca was one of the best decisions I ever made! I loved being immersed in a completely new culture and language for 4 months. IES Abroad did an awesome job of helping me to be immersed in Spanish through a homestay option, classes in all Spanish, awesome language professors, and opportunities to engage deeper with the culture. Additionally, the IES Abroad staff in Salamanca are so helpful and friendly. I will miss seeing their faces everyday! I highly recommend this program.

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Kim
Female
23 years old
Wilmette
Amherst College

Stepping out of my Comfort Zone

10/10

I wanted to step out of my comfort zone with studying abroad. For me, that meant choosing a program that would fully immerse me in the Spanish culture and force me to use my Spanish as much as possible. I feel extremely lucky to have chosen to study at IES Abroad Salamanca because it provided me with the opportunities to do both. In my literature class, I got to go on field trips through the city to learn the meaning behind the Renaissance and Baroque architecture. This hands-on learning made me appreciate the beauty of the city while remaining actively engaged in my studies. Having the opportunity to study at the local university along with taking IES classes allowed me to challenge myself by taking courses with local Spanish students and at the same time, take courses with other study abroad students to make me feel more comfortable. The IES staff and mentors are amazingly helpful with any questions and are extremely welcoming. I recommend this program for anyone who really wants a full immersion into Spanish life. I will certainly be returning to Salamanca again!

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Darby
Female
22 years old
Rochester, NY
University of Rochester

Salamanca Fall 2015

10/10

My semester abroad was four of the most rewarding months of my life- I made new friends, improved my Spanish and became a more cultured and open-minded person. While abroad, I took classes both through my program and at a local university (Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca). As part of a full immersion program, I can attest to the fact that there is no better way to learn a language than to be put into situations where you have to use it. The amount of confidence that I have when speaking has increased so much from my time in Spain. Our program offered a great support system and any questions or concerns we had were dealt with immediately. I'm so glad I decided to go outside my comfort zone and study abroad- I wouldn't trade my experience for anything!

How can this program be improved?

I wish we were given more info about how to travel to and from Salamanca, given that Salamanca is a smaller city, traveling, if you weren't using the right services could be hectic.

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Molly
Female
23 years old
San Antonio,TX
Trinity University

Vida en Salamanca

8/10

The old town of Salamanca looks like something out a fairy tale, which makes for an amazing backdrop for immersing yourself in the Spanish language and culture (because you will be forced to speak Spanish and take siesta).

While my time here wasn't perfect (and if anyone tells you that their study abroad experience is perfect they are lying) I would not trade it for anything, I loved the people I met, my host parents who made me feel at home, and all of the opportunities I was able to take advantage of (from travelling in and outside of Spain, to exploring Salamanca).

How can this program be improved?

The IES classes were fairly easy (workload wise), but of that workload a large portion was concentrated in the last week and a half of classes which was stressful. It also would have been nice to have a program calendar available to students sooner so that we can begin to plan our travel.

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Rebecca
Female
23 years old
Amherst, MA
Amherst College

Salamanca Fall 2015

10/10

If you really want to improve your Spanish, come to Salamanca. I came to this city not having taken a Spanish class in the year before I arrived and was extremely nervous about my four months abroad! The wonderful thing about Salamanca is that the locals here WILL speak Spanish to you- we tried using English our first week and quickly discovered that we would be culturally immersed, whether we liked it or not! Fortunately, my entire experience in Salamanca was absolutely incredible and unlike any other. I lived in a homestay and got along really well with my host parents (not to mention that my host mom was an amazing cook!). The classes offered by IES were surprisingly rigorous, but really forced you to learn and think in Spanish. The lengua class in particular deviated from a "standard" grammar class, and it was really cool seeing both my level and my classmates' levels of Spanish grow throughout the semester. I took 2 classes through the university as well and got to experience an entirely different academic culture with Spaniards and other international students.

Aside from academics, Salamanca is a fun, fun place to be in. There's always something going on, and Thursday and Saturday nights are full of students going out. There are lots of opportunities to meet other students from all parts of the world. USAL has student groups and clubs for all sorts of activities- I played volleyball while I was abroad and had the greatest time ever!

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Jessica
Female
22 years old
Claremont, California
Claremont McKenna College

IES Salamanca

9/10

The IES Salamanca program provided me with experiences of a lifetime. The staff is supportive and understanding, and added so much to my semester abroad.

In terms of classes, the required language intensive courses are well-planned and helped me both improve my grammar and increase my confidence with the language. Upon arrival, you are required to take a language placement test, and will be put into one of three levels. Each of the classes is catered towards the level you are placed in, and the small class size is ideal for touching up on grammar concepts.

Although a homestay is not required, I highly recommend it if given the opportunity. It is a chance to fully integrate with locals, eat traditional foods, and come back everyday to a loving family. My homestay experience surpassed by expectations.

Overall, I highly recommend spending the semester in Salamanca. The college town atmosphere is extremely welcoming, the architecture is beautiful, and the city is full of history. You won’t regret it!

How can this program be improved?

More information on classes prior to the start of the semester.

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Lauren
Female
23 years old
Wooster, OH
Other

Salamanca: An Authentic Spanish Experience

10/10

The IES Salamanca program is an impressively organized and supportive institution that is truly dedicated to giving students a well-rounded and unforgettable abroad experience. I had heard outstanding reviews about the program before I even went, and now, after my own experience, I can confidently say that the Salamanca program is really that of high quality. This program really excels at giving students a dynamic experience that encourages academic excellence as well as cultural immersion.

The IES professors are fantastic! The classes are both engaging and challenging. In particular, the language classes are truly outstanding. From my language classes, I gained a whole new level of confidence in my ability to speak and understand the language. In addition to traditional grammar lessons, we learned colloquial terms & phrases, cultural etiquette, and gestures. The language classes are very well-rounded courses that are designed to help students academically and culturally understand the language.

I had a very good homestay experience. It was great to live with a host mother and to experience the rich culture through that perspective. Upon arriving in Salamanca, I was under the impression that my host mother would treat me just like part of the family and that she would have as much interest in my culture as I had in hers. Unfortunately, this was not the case as my host mother has hosted 5 students a year for the past 10 years and is very accustomed to having American students stay with her. Although my host mother was truly a fantastic woman, I very much felt like I was just renting a room from her. This was not a bad experience at all, it was just different from what I was anticipating.

Overall, I was very impressed with the Salamanca program. Such a strong program in a beautiful and historic city! I wouldn’t have wanted to study anywhere else.

How can this program be improved?

I think the homestay experience could be improved by requiring the host families to independently engage their students in cultural activities.

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Loren
Female
Shoreham, New York

Amazing experience

10/10

My time in Salamanca, Spain wouldn't have been the same without my host family. IES placed me with an amazing host family that really made me feel at home. They took me out around town, brought me out to tapas bars that the locals love, brought me to family events to truly be emerged in the culture, and always were there to help me in any way I needed. They made Salamanca a second home for me.

How can this program be improved?

More interaction with locals and local facilities and less written work and reading.

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Ben
Male
Boston, MA
Ithaca College

Experiencia fenomenal

10/10

As a Spanish major and language enthusiast, it only made sense that I would study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, and after the recommendation from a professor and a little more research, I settled on Salamanca because of its history (it has the oldest university in Spain, dating back to the early 13th Century), its size (not a big city), and its connection to the Spanish language (it advertises itself as “La Ciudad de Español”). This was a fantastic decision.

I lived in homestay with a host mother and host brother. My host mother teaches Spanish to foreigners for a living. This wasn’t the case with everyone’s host families, but I couldn’t be more grateful that it was the case with mine. If I ever didn’t understand something, she was eager to help me understand the concept and would explain and explain in an effort to eliminate the need for a dictionary.

The classes were definitely challenging. Of all of them, the required language class is the most invaluable. The professors are some of the best I’ve had, and their approach to teaching is totally different from any traditional “grammar class” I’ve had in the U.S. Two great opportunities were the internship, which let me work in English classes at a local school, and the university classes, which not only taught me the material in the class, but also gave me the chance to say, “I did well in classes designed for native speakers,” which is a huge confidence booster.

Our program went on a number of trips, and I got to travel on my own. I chose to stay in Spain, so I had the chance to experience a number of cities and the process of planning transportation, lodging, and activities while managing to not go home broke. The abundance of cultural activities and ways to experience the culture in Salamanca ensured that there was always something to do.

The only thing I wish I had known prior to choosing Salamanca is that it’s an immersion program. That means the staff speaks predominantly in Spanish (though some of them do speak English) and all the courses offered are conducted in Spanish. This would’ve been a selling point for me had I known it, but it’s still good to know.

And to top off the experience, its Plaza Mayor is one of the most beautiful in Spain (Google it if you don’t believe me—it’s practically a fact).

As Cervantes said, "Salamanca, que enhechiza la voluntad de volver a ella a todos los que de la apacibilidad de su vivienda han gustado." Salamanca became like another home to me, and I’ve already started looking at ways to get back there.

How can this program be improved?

When it came to registering for classes, I feel like the process should have started earlier (that is, before we arrived).

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Alex
Male
24 years old
West Lafayette, Indiana
Kenyon College

Four Balanced Months Abroad

10/10

The keyword for IES Abroad’s program in Salamanca is ‘balance.’ The setting itself is about as balanced as can be, uniting a classic Spanish university town with ancient architecture and a modern, bustling city like any other in Western Europe. Given that my home school is a small school of about 1,600 students, Salamanca was perfect for me because it was big enough to be exciting, but not so large as to be overwhelming. Because of the constant influx of American and other European students into the population, Salamanca manages to possess something of the international flavor that you might find in larger Spanish cities like Madrid, Barcelona, or San Sebastián, while imparting a more intimate and welcoming cast to one’s experience. There is no shortage of cultural programming in Salamanca, which consists mostly of literary discussions or readings and theatrical productions. I was able to see a very good performance of Verdi’s opera 'Nabucco' in town for only thirty euro; a production of a similar caliber probably would cost in the hundreds of dollars in the U.S.

The nature of the program itself is also very finely tuned, as it effectively balances structure with freedom. The weeklong orientation program at the start of the semester is exhaustive (and often exhausting). However, as the semester progresses, it becomes clear that the program allows you to budget your time and plan your activities as you see fit. Nevertheless, the IES Abroad staff is always available should you need guidance with some aspect of life abroad, and the Center puts you in touch with cultural activities throughout the program, most of which are free. At least in my case, I felt that the level of counseling on classes that I received on picking classes was appropriate, although I did hear of some of my classmates having difficulties with university courses which are not frequently attended by foreign students. In particular, I cannot say enough about the mentoring program which connects local university students to IES Abroad participants—this was a major help in navigating the social scene in Salamanca.

In sum, I highly recommend IES Abroad Salamanca, with glowing reports for both the program and the city.

How can this program be improved?

In one of the local university classes I took, the professor was confused by my presence for a couple of weeks while my information was transmitted by IES to the university and processed. I think that, in the future, it would be advantageous to warn students of the confusion that may arise when they don't immediately appear on a class roster.

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Julie
Female
24 years old
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Gettysburg College

Living and Growing in Salamanca

9/10

From the moment I first stepped foot on Spanish soil, I swore to never be afraid to try new experiences, and to not let any opportunity escape my grasp. And by studying abroad through the IES Salamanca Program, I found such an amazing array of opportunities to get involved not only by taking stimulating courses on the Franco Regime, medieval literature, and a linguistics course at the local university, but also to become a part of the community through intercambios with native Spanish students and volunteerism at the local cultural center for immigrants to Salamanca as a volunteer English Instructor. In my home stay, I lived with my host mother, another American student, and our Yorkshire Terrier, Jaco. This became one of the most memorable components of my time abroad, and I can definitely say that through IES, I found my second family as a part of the experience. I still text my host mom every day, and hope to return to Salamanca to see her as well as all of the IES Abroad staff! Everyone at the center was so helpful and encouraging throughout my time there. While at first it was challenging to become adjusted to a completely new language and culture, I was pleased to find assistance and guidance throughout the entire semester, especially when I expressed interest in pursuing a volunteer opportunity within the community. We also took a lot of different trips around Spain and beyond -- during the Spring semester we were able to travel to Segovia, Toro, Zamora, Madrid, and Portugal. Not only a really fun time, these trips were a great way to form close bonds with students from across the United States in the absence of our native language and culture. I made some life-long friendships with several amazing people I met through my program, and I will never forget some of those long bus rides and the many memories we all share together. Overall, the entire semester was filled with so many different ways to become immersed in the Spanish way of life, and I can say without hesitation that my time abroad through IES became a life-changing experience, one that has shaped who I am now and who I dream to become.

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Salamantina
Female
24 years old
New York, NY
Johns Hopkins University

IES Abroad Salamanca- AN IMMERSION PROGRAM (seriously, no one in my program including me knew this)!

7/10

1) Housing: If you choose to live in the dorm, you will have quick access to the faculties for Ciencias Sociales and Derecho: it is a five minute walk from your room to half of the department classes (it's a 15 minute walk to the IES center, where the mandatory IES Lengua class takes place). Also, you will have your lunch paid for on a once-per-day meal swipe (a worth of 6 euros) at one of three dining halls. The food is good, but absolutely forget eating there is you have food restrictions (like being gluten-free or vegetarian/vegan). Also, if you like healthy food like fruits and veggies, be prepared to eat lots of potatoes, plain iceberg lettuce, canned vegetables (or vegetables cooked with mystery meat) and other non-healthy food that they will claim is healthy! The dessert of any given day is your choice of a piece of fresh fruit or yogurt. As a dorm resident, you will have to pay for your breakfast, dinner and snacks. There is a small supermarket (El Dia) about 5 minutes away, and a larger all-purpose one (Marcadona) about 15 minutes away. There is also a small gym, study rooms on every floor, inexpensive wash/dry (4 euros per load), and a gaming room (billiards, tv, ext). If you are in a home stay: know that your food schedule is completely decided by your host family. The food is not always varied, but they are able to accommodate food allergies/restrictions. There is even a family that is great with providing food for those with Celiac-- the moral of the story is don't pick your housing based on food restrictions! As a student staying in a home stay, you also will have more of the money you saved/brought to spend on what you want (instead of what you need) because your host family will provide three meals a day and snacks. Be ware that host families can be a little overbearing and/or may not want you in their space-- they do not always consider you part of their families. Some students who lived in home stays were not allowed to be anywhere in the house except their rooms and the dining room (and especially not allowed in the family room where the tv was).

2) Internet: You need a connecter for the ethernet. Some laptops ave it built in, others you will need to buy a convertor for the thunderbolt (for Mac, not sure about PCs). The dorms do not have wifi in the rooms, but fast and reliable internet on the ethernet. You can also set it up so your computer emits wifi (just look it up) so you have it on your phone in your room. In the home stays it is hit-or-miss: some houses are great, others have spotty internet.

3) Walking: be prepared to walk everywhere. Two weeks after your arrival here in Salamanca, you will think a 20 minute walk is short. On average, I walked 6 miles a day in Salamanca without even trying. From the dorm to the IES building, it's about a 15 minute direct-route, downhill walk (nearby there is a dining hall). It is about 5 minutes to the Ciencias Sociales/Derecho faculties, about a 5 minute walk to the nearest dining hall, about 20 minutes to the Plaza Mayor, about 15 minutes to calle Van Dyck (a well-known, tapa bar street), and about 25 minutes to the Cathedral (and the plaza that has the Filologia/Language faculty). If you live in a home stay, it can be hit-or-miss. I suggest that you put location as one of your top priorities for housing because it will make your life much, much easier! No home stay was more than 25 minutes away from the IES center (which is about 5-6 minutes away from the Plaza Mayor).

4) Communication while in Salamanca: you are required to have a phone where you can be reached while in Salamanca with IES. Some students used their US phone and cell number. Others bought the Spanish SIM card (usually from a store named Orange) and added euros to it as necessary. Still others had two phones: their home one and a cheap (about 40 euro) flip-phone with a Spanish SIM card. Do what is best for you, but know that it is IES policy to have a working phone with you at all times!

5) Registering for classes: GOOD LUCK. The IES staff here are the least organized people. They also don't seem to care to help you, yet have all these obligatory/mandatory titles on everything. It was BS.

Overall, I loved my time, made great friends and got to travel plenty while still getting to know Salamanca but if I could do it all over again, I would do Madrid if I was studying in Spain.

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salamancaadventures
Female
24 years old
Greencastle, IN
DePauw University

Melting pot of cultures

9/10

My favorite memory includes Spanish, French, Italian and American students cooking traditional dishes to celebrate "la noche vieja universitaria"! Salamanca will give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the beautiful cultures of the world we live in while perfecting the castellano language and learning about Spain's captivating past and present.

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Emma
Female
24 years old
St. Paul, MN
Macalester College

Loaded with history, lacking academics (Salamanca, Spain)

8/10

Typical Day:
8:15 am: wake up, eat breakfast (cereal)
8:45: Walk to class (10-15 minutes)
9-11: Class at the Universidad de Salamanca
12:45-1:45pm: Required grammar class with IES
2-3: Lunch @ home, prepared by host mom.
4-6: Spanish Cinema class with IES
7-8: Art History class at Universidad de Salamanca
9-9:30- Dinner, cooked by host mom
10 onward- relax/homework

Though my schedule changed from day to day, this is pretty typical during Monday through Thursday. Highlights for my time included the most wonderful host mom, a great roommate, fun classes with IES, fieldtrips with IES, and the ability to travel during the 3 day weekends most students had (if they didn't schedule Friday classes at the University).

Difficulties included: being very, VERY frustrated with the lack of work with my university classes and the fact that Spanish students rarely participated in class and instead spent the times on their phones or talking with each other. It was difficult to have about 70-80% of my final grade based on the final because we never had any homework (reading/writing) during the semester and no midterm to see how you were comprehending the material. I often had to look to outside sources to understand my classes better. Some students chose to take more classes with IES, whereas I only took the grammar class and one other. You have to decide whether you want a more challenging semester with credits that will transfer to your major/minor at your home university or whether you want to try direct and roll and understand the culture better.

My social life in Salamanca was great--the city is beautiful and there is TONS to do during the day (museums, shops, parks, cafes, etc) as well as at night (bars, clubs etc.) Be prepared to be forced to be social. It was difficult for me at first but I eventually got used to it. Spanish students are sometimes uninterested in foreigners because there are so many, but I was good friends with the two Spanish student assistants who worked for IES and I made some other European friends in my university classes.

All in all, loved my experience in Salamanca even though I was supremely disappointed by the level of local academics.

How can this program be improved?

The program should work harder to accommodate the schedule to fit the universities. main issue: the grammar class went from 12:45-1:45 which created a problem because there were a lot of 11-1 or 1-3 classes at the local universities. This created a conflict when we signed up for classes because it eliminated a lot. I also would have liked to have had a little warning for the lack of work I did for my university classes, though that may just have been my luck with the classes I happened to choose or the university professors I happened to have. (Greatly enjoyed both my IES classes.)

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Jake
Male
24 years old
Rockville, Maryland
Gettysburg College

My time abroad

9/10

What at first I thought was extremely cumbersome eventually became one of my favorite things. I am talking about my daily 25 minute walk to and from classes. At the beginning of the program I would hate it but by the programs end I became to love and enjoy strolling the streets flooded with people and excitement.

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Carmen
Female
24 years old
Seattle, Washington
Washington State University

Study in Salamanca Success

9/10

I am very glad I chose IES Abroad for my study abroad experience this past spring. The staff was all very knowledgeable and helpful, and I ended up assimilating into the culture very well through their help. My host mother was wonderful, and cooked wonderful meals all semester. I chose to take both program classes and university classes, and I'm really glad I chose to do it that way. I wasn't overwhelmed with taking classes with Spanish students, but I was able to still experience the Spanish university system. Salamanca is a wonderful city that's not too big and not too small, so it was relatively easy to become familiar with the city itself, which was great. The history surrounding Salamanca is almost unreal, with famous people living there such as Christopher Columbus, Cervantes, Miguel Unamuno, and other very famous Spaniards. Another wonderful thing is that the food was absolutely delicious. Salamanca is known to have some of the best and cheapest food in the country, so I was able to try a bunch of different kinds of Spanish foods, which is one of my favorite parts. Now that I'm back in the US, I can't stop thinking about the next time I will be able to go back.

How can this program be improved?

The flaws regarding tis program are very minimal. If I had to change one thing, it would probably be administrative knowledge. Although the staff was always willing to help, sometimes there were miscommunications in regards to what certain students needed or wanted to communicate. Registering for university classes was a tiny bit frustrating because I feel there was a tiny bit of a disconnect between what the students found important and what the advisors found important. It all worked out, though and was a very minimal dilemma. I would more consider it to be something frustrating, if anything.

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acurioustraveler
Female
24 years old
Brunswick, ME
Bowdoin College

A solid program

7/10

I lived in a home stay in a fantastic location in the historic area of the city. My courses were interesting and I was able to study at the local university as well as within the program. Independent travel was definitely a highlight of my experience, and course registration was surprisingly onerous. Overall I thought this was a good experience.

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Matthew
Male
24 years old
United States
Muhlenberg College

Challenge yourself in a new culture

8/10

If you're looking to immerse yourself fully in a different culture, then Salamanca is the place for you. Very minimal English is spoken amongst the locals, comprised mostly of university students. This gives you the greatest opportunity to learn a second-language!
Additionally, everything is within walking distance, so you don't have to worry about public transportation in the town. If you're looking for a challenge, sign up for a home stay and test your language skills with a family.

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Allison
Female
24 years old
Rochester, New York
Gettysburg College

Semester in Salamanca

10/10

The program staff was extremely supportive and always willing to answer any questions that I had about anything from courses to customs for my host family to travel arrangements. My host family has been hosting American students for almost twenty years, so they knew how to make me feel very welcomed, including sharing delicious meals with me three times a day.

I would definitely recommend this program to anyone who wants to experience a culture first-hand. It was an incredible opportunity to learn!

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Emily
Female
32 years old
Washington, DC
Museum Studies

Salamanca - an ideal Study Abroad city

10/10

I would recommend Salamanca 100 times over to any student looking to study abroad in Spain. A smaller, manageable, and less expensive alternative to living in Madrid, this city has a real Castellano feel. The academic program, run by IES and staffed by university professors, was as challenging as it should have been and no more, giving us time to explore the city and the rest of Spain on the weekends. IES also allowed us to take classes at the University (a great experience, but don't expect to make long-lasting friends with Spanish students - they couldn't care less about you).

Most of us lived with wonderful families who had longstanding relationships with IES, and some lived in student housing and did make local friends. My madre took great care of my roommate and me, made the best paella and tortilla I've tasted to this day, and didn't hesitate to correct our Spanish to help us improve. Our IES group went on a few trips to Segovia, Sevilla, Granada, and a bull fight.

Salamanca is full of treasures - the Plaza Mayor and its cafes selling leche helada, tapas on Cafe Van Dyck, the delicious cookies sold by the nuns at Convento de las Duenas, late night churros con chocolate, and the hundreds of bars (gringo and local) along Calle de la Gran Via. I highly recommend going during the school year, when the city is packed to its gills with Spanish students. We arrived in the last two weeks of Summer, and the town completely transformed when the official semester began.

About The Provider

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IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student should have the opportunity to

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