IES Abroad Madrid - Language & Area Studies
96% Rating
(54 Reviews)

IES Abroad Madrid - Language & Area Studies

Our program is designed for students who want to experience the vitality of Spain and the large urban university environment of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), one of the country’s most distinguished universities.

Our Center is located on the UCM campus, and this program strives to immerse you in the culture of the Madrileños through its academic options, extracurricular activities with university students, and housing choices. Several field trips take you beyond the city limits to sites of historic and contemporary interest.

Locations
Europe » Spain » Madrid
Europe » Spain
Program Type
Provider
Subject Areas
Art History
Finance
International Business
Theater, Drama and Dance
Women's Studies
Degree Level
Bachelors
Timeframe
Academic Year
Fall
Spring
Accommodation
Apartment
Host Family
Language
English
Steps
Online Application
Official Transcripts
Age Requirement
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/madrid

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Academics
    75%
  • Support
    95%
  • Fun
    95%
  • Housing
    94%
  • Safety
    96%

Program Reviews (54)

Default avatar
Victoria
Female
20 years old
Madrid, Spain
The Catholic University of America

The Experience of a Lifetime

10/10

I had the opportunity to fully immerse myself in a culture different from my own. Participating in a full immersion program helped me to step outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself to try new things and continue strengthening my Spanish speaking. Living in Spain's capital, Madrid, I never ran out of things to do. My favorite part of living in Madrid was running from my homestay to see the magnificent sunset at Parque del Oeste and run by the Palacio Real. There are so many great food options, and for dessert, I definitely recommend San Gines for the best churros con chocolate. Overall, my experience studying abroad in Europe was better than I could ever imagine. I had the opportunity to travel to many different countries and experience even more cultures. I loved my experience and highly recommend that everyone studies abroad.

How can this program be improved?

This program can be improved by having professors coordinate more on when they are assigning papers, presentations and exams instead of assigning them for all five classes at the same time.

Default avatar
Amanda
Female
21 years old
Holland
Hope College

Discovering a new home

10/10

Madrid is a diverse city that has a way of making you feel at home. It's easy to navigate and has all of the resources of a big capital city without feeling overwhelming. IES ensures a positive, fulfilling experience by providing opportunities to interact with local students, live with a host family or Spanish compañero, and take courses that will improve your understanding of the city and culture. I had courses about the History of Madrid and an art course taught in the Prado museum. Be sure to take advantage of all of the IES sponsored trips, too; the guides are incredible. Come prepared to make friends for a lifetime and discover a newfound independence.

How can this program be improved?

Choosing classes at the local university can be a bit complicated and overwhelming. Some additional information and guidance about the process prior to departure could be helpful for students as they work with home universities.

Default avatar
Elizabeth
Female
22 years old
Gettysburg, PA
Gettysburg College

Global Expansion

10/10

Living in Madrid for four months really opened up my eyes to the way in which the United States influences the rest of the world, as well as how Americans are perceived by others. It made me more understanding of cultural differences, and I came back to the U.S. feeling much more informed. It was a great way to take what I have been studying in Spanish classes for so many years out into the real world, and I was able to further develop my conversational speaking abilities to be more like a "native."

Dan
Male

The best 4 months of my life

10/10

Studying in Madrid through IES was the best 4 months of my life. I was able to enjoy the awesomeness of the hospitality, academics, and culture of Madrid through the assistance of IES. The semester was sprinkled with explorative group trips that really allowed me to become close with my peers, and learn about the lesser known parts of the country. The academics were intensive enough to allow me to improve and practice my Spanish; however, they were not unnecessarily rigorous. IES really established a system where I felt that I was able to fully immerse myself to the Madrid lifestyle as much as I wanted. I met my current best friends, I meandered around Europe, and I fell in love with all things Spanish. I am hit with a wave of nostalgia every day that I am not able to sip on a cafe con leche paired with the ever so consistently delicious tortilla española. IES Madrid does it right.

Default avatar
Sydni
Female
20 years old
Ann Arbor, MIchigan
University of Michigan

IES Abroad Madrid Language & Area Studies - Academic Year

8/10

While enrolled in this program I enjoyed my abroad experience a lot. I enjoyed this program specifically because it allowed me to get a feel for what it feels like to truly live in Spain because the program supervision was not overbearing, but there were enough activities that allowed me to feel a great sense of community. My only critique for the program was that students were rarely allowed to live outside of IES housing, which (in my opinion) did not provide the best option for cultural immersion. Overall, this is a great program for students to have low-academic rigor in order to fully enjoy their abroad experience.

How can this program be improved?

This program can improve the housing to decrease the ratio of students : compañeros in the apartments so that the students get a better feel for what it feels like to live in the town with Spanish students their age.

Default avatar
Savannah
Female
21 years old
United States
Bradley University

AMAZING Trip! 10/10 recommend!

10/10

IES Abroad Madrid was AMAZING! I learned so much while I was in Madrid and wouldn't trade that experience for anything. Because Madrid is so centralized, I was able to travel to a plethora of cities within Spain and experience other countries outside of Spain as well. There is a wide variety of classes offered and lots of activities to participate in with the university. Plus, my homestay experience was incredible - I still talk to my host mom a couple of times each month!

Default avatar
Juliette
Female
22 years old
United States
Pennsylvania State University

Glory Days

10/10

This program was the best 4 months of my life. The staff at IES was incredibly helpful and hands on in every capacity. From academics, to travel and safety, they had amazing resources and advice that was genuinely helpful. The courses were relatively easy (language barrier was tough at times) but the professors are helpful and want you to do well. Madrid is an incredible city that is filled with beautiful parks, wonderful museums and amazing food. You will never be bored while you are here. I made some of my best friends through this program and was able to travel to and explore more than 20 different cities throughout Europe on my own and with IES.

Default avatar
Morgan
Female
25 years old
United States
Bowdoin College

Supportive, fun and all around great experience

10/10

IES Madrid is a great program that I highly recommend! It is in an incredible location and I loved being in Madrid and getting to know the city. My host mom was incredible and the staff really wants each student to feel comfortable. My classes were challenging and ranged from analyzing Spanish film to going to the Prado museum twice a week to study paintings. I thoroughly enjoyed this program and all of the different academic options as well as the program trips. The staff is incredibly kind and patient and I made some great friends!

How can this program be improved?

I would make the option to take classes at the Spanish University a bit more clear and accessible! I ended up not taking one ( and took other great classes) but I felt it was a bit challenging to find one that fit my schedule at the larger Spanish University.

Default avatar
Sean
Male
Greencastle, IN
DePauw University

Diverse options in an amazing city

9/10

IES Madrid is a great program with many different options to personalize your experience. Academically, students are able to challenge themselves as much as they like with the option of enrolling in UCM. UCM courses are a great way to become immersed and learn in a foreign setting.
Also, it is great that there are other opportunities to become involved: including an internship program and being an English Teaching Assistant in a local secondary school. I enjoyed learning about the Spanish education system and helping adolescence learn English through the teaching assistant program.
Overall, this is a great program with a lot of options. Also, Angel and Yolanda do a great job supporting all of the students.

How can this program be improved?

I would recommend sending the course list earlier to have more time to discuss the options with your home university.

Default avatar
Amanda
Female
21 years old
Bloomington, IL
Illinois Wesleyan University

The Best Decision of My Life

9/10

On this date one year ago, I made the best decision of my life: to study abroad in Madrid, Spain. I was filled with anticipation and excitement... I had seen friends' pictures and heard that studying abroad is "an experience of a lifetime" but still didn't know exactly what that meant.
Through IES Abroad, I was pushed to expand my horizons both in the classroom and out. I improved my Spanish, of course, but more importantly I learned about myself. Everyone, from the program directors and the professors, to my host family, and the friends I met along the way greeted me with kindness and made me feel loved. While I was in Madrid, no matter how bad of a day I had had, it was impossible not to smile. In fact, just reflecting on my experience makes me smile.
One year ago I had no idea that I would fall head over heels for the country, the culture, and the people of Madrid. One year ago today I could have never told you that I would feel just as much like I was leaving home when I was departing from the USA as I did on my return flight from Madrid. I am so thankful for all the opportunities I was given through IES Abroad and urge you to apply... who knows, maybe one year from today, you'll feel the same way I do!

How can this program be improved?

Other programs that my friends chose had more time built in to travel outside of Spain. That would be my only suggestion, although not having class on Friday's was a definite perk so traveling was not as hard as some people made it out to be.

Marisa
Female
22 years old
Winnetka, Illinois

Study Abroad in Madrid

8/10

There are three elements that contributed the most to my study abroad experience; the academics, housing, and cultural experience.

Academics: I was really impressed with the classes at IES. They offered a diverse selection and the topics were very interesting. I found the professors engaging and they clearly understood the needs of the students. It was slightly more work than I was expecting but worthwhile in the long run. I wasn't very happy with my UCM class in the end. It was more of a challenge than I anticipated and I didn't have the time or discipline to seek out the resources available. I was hoping it would be a good place to meet local Spanish students but because of the way the classes are structured in Spain it wasn't possible.

Housing: I highly recommend the homestay option. If you are serious about learning the language there is no better way than living with someone. Its a really well organized and thorough system so you will be happy with the experience. The other options require more independence and effort on your part if you want to really immerse yourself in Spanish culture, but they are still great options. I lived in the dorm rooms for a short period of time at the end of the trip and it was a great experience.

Cultural Experience: After my study abroad experience I can officially say that Madrid is one of my favorite cities in the world. There is so much culture there. The nightlife is by far the highlight. And I'm not even referring to the clubbing experience. The restaurants, bars and plazas come alive at night and being a part of that was my favorite aspect of studying abroad. Madrid is also an extremely convenient city if you're looking to travel a lot while studying abroad. There are many easy ways to get to the airport and the flights are relatively cheap.

I cannot say enough good things about this program. It made my semester abroad the great experience that it was!

How can this program be improved?

More resources and ways to interact with local Spanish people.

Default avatar
Adriana
Female
22 years old
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Grinnell College

Unforgettable Madrid

10/10

Madrid is beautiful in so many different ways that it is difficult to decide what part of my study abroad experience is the one I loved most, but what I can say for sure is that the cultural exposure I received there is something that I will never forget and that will stay with me forever. When I first arrived I was no stranger to museums, concerts and other types of cultural events—ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved these type of activities—but none of this compares to the magnitude and quality of what I discovered in Spain. Besides spending hours inside every museum I could possibly get into, I loved to walk around the city because I felt I was constantly surrounded by history. The more I was exposed to culture, the more I wanted to learn about Spain. IES did a marvelous job of encouraging and guiding me through these discoveries; the Staff is incredibly helpful and friendly and they put a lot of effort in organizing trips and activities that allow students to fully immerse themselves into Spanish culture. Whenever we visited any sites outside Madrid we had knowledgeable and engaging guides that showed us all the neat parts of each city. These trips were always very well organized, and although the Staff members made sure to keep us safe, they were also flexible when we wanted to explore the city by ourselves. I also love that IES offers so many different classes about Spanish history and art—whenever we made one of these trips I couldn’t help feeling like I was actually experiencing what I had learned in class. I especially liked my Spanish literature courses; I took Civil War Literature and Performing Arts (after 1975) and García Lorca and his time. Before going to Madrid I knew very little about peninsular literature, but these two classes were really eye-opening for me because they allowed me to better understand a critical period in Spanish history. Indeed, if what you want is an incredible and fun opportunity to travel and get a unique glimpse of Spain through its culture, IES Madrid is definitely for you!

Default avatar
Mary
Female
23 years old
Petoskey, MI
University of Michigan

A semester full of culture, fun, and learning

10/10

My semester in Madrid with IESAbroad was truly amazing. IES worked to organize field trips, cooking classes and flamenco classes, as well as set students up with language exchange buddies, all of which were amazing learning opportunities. My professors were all interesting and highly qualified, making my classes challenging yet enjoyable. I particularly loved my class at the Prado Museum, in which my professor was a curator at the museum. He was full of knowledge about the art, and eager to share his love of art with us! I also loved that we got to take a class at the local university, Universidad de Complutense. It made my experience much more immersive culturally, and I would recommend taking at least one local class to anyone who has a high enough level of Spanish. Another great aspect of the program was the administrative staff, who went out of their way to make the experience great for the students. One staff member walked me to site where I was volunteering so that she could help me find it and get started there. Overall, a great experience! I'm jealous of everyone who still has this experience ahead of them!

How can this program be improved?

If more people could stay in the dorms, I think they would have better experiences, because it is a great way to get to know Spanish students.

Default avatar
Kimberly
Female
22 years old
New York
Ithaca College

My Time in Madrid

10/10

My four months in Spain were filled with great experiences that are so hard to summarize in just a paragraph. The moment I arrived to the airport everything was so quiet (it was 6am), I was scared, but yet excited to see what was behind the airport doors. Once I picked up all my luggage and walked out, I was greeted by the program directors who explained what I had to do next. The first week of the program consisted of an intense orientation, where I was able to get to know everyone else in the program, meet professors, tour Madrid and visits their awesome museums. I lived with a Senora, her son, and my best friend from my home school. I have to say, I believe living with a Senora made me feel more like a spaniard. During lunchtime I was able to conversant with my Senora and learn more about Madrid and their culture. For classes I recommend taking the theater course IES offers. I never thought I would enjoy it, but it was my favorite class throughout the semester. IES does not have classes on Friday which gives you time travel to different countries! Traveling is super cheap in Europe and I recommend taking advantage of it! However, be sure to keep a balance between exploring Europe and exploring Madrid. Enjoy every second you have in Madrid and remember to take a lot of pictures!

Default avatar
Sydney
Female
22 years old
Chicago, IL
University of Michigan

Experiencing Madrid

9/10

After this past semester abroad, I can say with confidence that studying abroad is something I recommend everyone does. I was able to improve my Spanish, learn about a new culture, and get to know new people from Spain as well as from other universities in the United States.

One of my favorite things about my program was the ability to live with a host family. This was something I was extremely nervous about going into my program, but ended up being one of my best experiences in Spain. Living with a Spanish family helped me grow confident in my Spanish-speaking abilities and really taught me a lot about the Spanish people.

Through the IES program I was able to learn about the history and magic of Madrid. The program offered many opportunities to be active in the community, visit the most famous sites and interact with the Spanish people. Some of my favorite memories from my trip were the IES lead trips to Granada, as well as the tour of the Prado Museum, where I got to view many of the famous Spanish paintings I had learned about previously.

I loved my time abroad and learned that in order to get the most out of my time in Spain I needed to take advantage of all the cool and interesting opportunities my program offered.

Default avatar
Gina
Female
22 years old
Twinsburg
College of Wooster

Best four months of my life

10/10

IES Abroad helped make my study abroad experience the time of my life! From the moment we arrived in the airport the program directors were there to help us transition. The first week of the program was an intensive orientation, where we met everyone else in the program, toured the city and museums, and had initial Spanish classes.
After I adjusted to living in the city and classes started, time flew by! I lived with a Senora and another girl from my program. Our conversations over meals dramatically improved my Spanish and it was nice to have a local to ask advice about travel, restaurants, etc. I highly recommend taking the art history class in the Prado Museum, it was my favorite course by far and I will always remember what I learned about Spanish artists. Overall the classes were much easier than I was used to, but I didn’t want to spend all my time studying so it was a welcome change.
There are no IES classes on Fridays so three day weekends allow plenty of time to travel. I suggest finding a balance between traveling and staying in Madrid, because there is so much to explore and discover in Madrid. All the museums, shopping, parks, and restaurants fill the city with life and energy and culture that I miss every single day. Study abroad is an incredible experience, I cannot recommend it enough!

Default avatar
Nate
Male
22 years old
Buffalo
Other

Parks and Culture

9/10

I really enjoyed my time in Madrid! I personally enjoy spending time outside. Because of this, I spent a lot of time in the parks around the city. This was by far my favorite part of the experience, walking around the city to explore the parks and relax! Sometimes I would spend 3 or 4 days a week at various parks doing homework, walking and just enjoying the environment! Madrid also has so many museums, plazas and culture to take part in and enjoy!

I lived in a home stay for my semester abroad. I was with a single mother and her two daughters during this time. I was very satisfied with the interaction between the family members and also the meals that were prepared for me with dessert and everything.

The one area that maybe could have used a little improvement was the administration system at the school. The IES program partnered with a local university and used some of the extra space at this university for classes. But since the school and IES weren't one in the same entity, there sometimes was miscommunication between the two that led to certain issues. Things such as a lack of access to rooms that students were expected to have access to and lack of support for the IES program teachers because they weren't technically professors of the school. I felt the instructors often did the best they could with what they had but were limited by this situation.

Overall, given the opportunity, I would love to do this over again if I could and would recommend it for those looking to improve their Spanish and experience the culture first hand as well.

How can this program be improved?

The administration of the program should work to be more interconnected with the administration of the local university.

Default avatar
Selin
Female
22 years old
Muncy, PA
Pennsylvania State University

Marvelous Madrid

10/10

Studying abroad in Madrid was the greatest experience of my life. Although that may sound pretty cliché, it is completely true. The opportunities I had to become fully immersed in the culture while I was abroad were truly incredible. I will never forget my time abroad!

My host family welcomed me with open arms. Of course I was a little nervous to meet them and live with them for four months, but they were the most loving family I ever met. We had family dinners every night and my Spanish improved tremendously! I got to live with a mother, a father, and two kids who were 7 and 10 years old. They were absolutely adorable and I loved playing with them! They always made me smile and asked me how my day was. I felt really connected to them and the entire family.

The city of Madrid is just absolutely beautiful. It’s clean, the people are nice, and there is so much culture on every street. My walk to class would consist of passing by tons of restaurants, markets, and even parks. I went on excursions with the program to different parts of Spain, took a class in the Prado museum, spent my weekends in Retiro Park, and even went to a Real Madrid soccer game! These were only some of the amazing opportunities I had while I was in Spain.

As a Spanish Education major, my Spanish improved so much with my time in Spain. Talking with locals, ordering at a restaurant, bargaining a price for a purse, and talking with my host family: these are just a few of the things I would do to improve my Spanish. Learning Spanish in a classroom is great, but getting the opportunity to fully delve into the culture and be with true native Spanish speakers is the best teaching tool of all.

How can this program be improved?

I would recommend that the professors of the classes become more aware and trained to teach students who are not native Spanish speakers and who are in a different environment. At times it was hard to take in the new culture and experiences on top of the homework I would have and work I would be asked to do.

Default avatar
Meagan
Female
23 years old
Bellingham, Washington
Scripps College

Unforgettable

10/10

I had an experience I will never forget in Madrid thanks to IES. They were very organized and helped me throughout my entire pre departure process. I did not apply for a visa through IES, and when I ran into problems the staff was very helpful in solving the problem.

Once I arrived, it did not take me long to feel at home. I had the most wonderful host family, and the staff helped us acclimate. The weekend excursions, and extracurriculars that I participated in were especially fun and marked my experience. I would recommend getting involved in all the activities that IES offers such as cooking classes, dance lessons, and exchange groups where you meet with Spanish students.

As for the classes, I enjoyed some of them and some were fairly bland. I did expect this being abroad, and overall did not feel like I was wasting my time despite the course load because it helped me improve my Spanish. I would recommend taking the Art History class at the Prado it was an unforgettable experience.

My living situation was perfect, the food was delicious, and the people on the program were amazing. My only complaint would be the Spanish connections to the community. I felt that it was not the easiest to connect with Spaniards organically, you had to search for opportunities such as going to intercambio bars to truly feel connected. Overall it was a semester I will never forget and I would highly recommend this program to anyone considering it!

How can this program be improved?

I would institute a more strict agreement of speaking in Spanish at the center. It is hard to change a culture once an English speaking culture has started. While we would speak in Spanish in our classes, outside class we would lapse into English a great deal.

Default avatar
Meredith
Female
22 years old
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Macalester College

My Time in Madrid

10/10

This was an incredible program that offered multiple opportunities to get involved!!! It was because of my time in Madrid I have become the person I am today.
Being abroad can help you become a more confident and knowledgeable person, but a key aspect of this is having a supportive program that keeps you safe while giving you enough room to grow. The staff at IES Abroad succeeded in doing this. It also helped foster positive relationships between everyone (locals and other Americans) while keeping it all-Spanish, which is key in developing confidence in speaking another language.
IES Abroad –Madrid was an incredible program, and I would be happy to recommend it to anyone.

How can this program be improved?

I wish that they would have provided a host family rather than a Seniora. My host mom was lovely, but I feel that when I applied to live with a host family, I was expecting a family rather than just one person.

Default avatar
Bridget
Female
22 years old
Washington, DC
The Catholic University of America

Wonderful Madrid

9/10

I had a fabulous experience studying abroad in Madrid with IES. I greatly improved my ability to speak Spanish through not only the courses that I took, but the other opportunities that the program offered such as being a teaching assistant and going on excursions with local students. In addition to this, I had an excellent home stay where I got to experience local cuisine as well as really get a feel for what life is like for someone living in Madrid. I felt that I was given ample opportunities to explore not only Madrid, but also parts of Spain with IES.

How can this program be improved?

I took a class at the local Spanish university, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, and I just wish that there had been a better orientation for this, and I wish the matriculation process had been smoother.

Default avatar
Shada
Female
22 years old
Ann Arbor, Michigan
University of Michigan

Go Study Abroad! Do It!

10/10

I fell head over heels IN LOVE with Madrid, Spain! The culture, the people, the city, the food, the language, everything! I wouldn't trade my experience for anything. It was more than I could have ever asked for!

The program specifically was phenomenal. The classes were intriguing and challenging while also making the information very real and relatable to us. We were able to take a class at the local university called La Universidad Complutense Madrid (UCM). There we were in a class completely with local Spanish students, so it was a lot of fun to talk and meet new people while also learning about a subject.

As far as my living situation, I stayed in a homestay with a family and I absolutely loved it! The family was so loving, and the kids were just adorable! Not to mention, my host mom could make some mean fish! She is such a cook!

The program took us on many side trips within Spain such as Bilbao, Asturias, and Toledo which gave us the opportunity to experience the various cultures of the different regions within Spain. Even within Madrid, there was so much to experience there. The city was always moving and going! You would wake up in the morning and go to class, and then have a comida and a siesta around 2:30pm. From there you could visit parks like Retiro, walk down some beautiful streets or visit a museum. The night would roll in and you could eat dinner in a restaurant with friends and continue the night as you enjoyed the fun atmosphere of Madrid's nightlife. Eventually, you would go home and wake up the next morning so that you could do it all over again.

If someone offered e another chance to go back, I would take that opportunity in a heart beat, for I believe that I left a large part of my heart back in Spain.

How can this program be improved?

I wouldn't change a thing about the program, except to extend my stay in the program!

Default avatar
Clara
Female
22 years old
Michigan

The best semester you will ever have in college!

10/10

As a student majoring in Spanish and International Relations, studying in Madrid was a like a capstone to my undergraduate studies. In Madrid, everything that I had spent semesters studying at my home university came to life as I spent my free time traveling around Europe; it was nothing short of magical.

Studying abroad is both an exciting and anxiety-inducing experience, and I found that the staff at IES were always extremely accommodating with me at every point of my study abroad experience, from assisting me in the preparation of pre-departure documentation to supporting me in whatever situation arose while in Spain. What really set IES apart from other study abroad programs for me was how personal the experience was-- every administrator knew my name when I arrived and were constantly checking in to see how I was adapting. When you are living in a new country, these little gestures can make a world of a difference.

Academically, IES was very good at engaging students in Spanish culture. During my semester I had the opportunity to take classes at various art museums around Madrid, at local universities, take the DELE language certification exam and even participate in a part time internship for academic credit. Since most courses are taught at the IES Abroad Center, students have the support of a community of other US college students studying in Madrid, but are also encouraged to seek out friendships with Spanish students outside the IES community by living in Spanish dorms, taking a course at a local university and participating in language intercambios.

The program does a really good job of ensuring students experience all the wonderful things that Spanish culture has to offer by providing cooking and flamenco lessons, weekend excursions, and inviting students to dinners and performances around Madrid. Students have the option of living in a traditional homestay, an apartment with other US students or dorms with Spanish students. The choice is up to you, but can greatly influence your level of cultural and language immersion with dorms being the most social option and an apartment being much less immersive.

What makes IES so great is that every student is given the opportunity to make their study abroad experience fulfill both their unique needs and personal goals. Highly recommended for anyone considering studying in Spain!

How can this program be improved?

The one thing that I would have liked to change about my experience with IES is the homestay meal policy. Students who choose to live in a homestay versus a dorm or apartment must elect to either cook all their own meals or eat breakfast and one additional meal with the family. Sometimes this policy made me feel awkward in the home as I was unable to sit down and eat dinner with my family in the evenings if I had eaten lunch that day. My friends who had the same living arrangement shared my feelings. I have never heard of another program that has this policy and think that it is something that should be reconsidered for the future. In retrospect, had I known about this policy I probably would have chosen the dorms instead of a homestay.

Default avatar
Haley
Female
22 years old
San Diego, California
Other

Living life like a true Spaniard

10/10

I always knew I wanted to study abroad in Madrid, and I have to say it was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. IES Abroad truly made my time in Spain such an enjoyable one, that I would tell everyone to go abroad through this program. The day I arrived, the IES faculty warmly greeted me, and to my surprise they all knew my name and some background information from where I came from. The faculty truly made an effort to help all students through the tough transition of arriving in a foreign country. IES provided historic tours, intercambios (student exchanges), cooking classes, and great excursions to help assimilate into Spanish culture. With the help of IES Abroad, I felt comfortable enough to explore the city of Madrid on the metro/other forms of public transportation; I embraced the famous siesta, tried some great tapas and even attended a few Real Madrid games! Additionally, IES Abroad Madrid made sure every student felt comfortable and safe and always made their offices open to answer any questions or concerns. It was apparent that a lot of work went into making this the best study abroad experience for all students. If I could do it all over again, I would definitely do it again with IES Abroad!

How can this program be improved?

When I arrived on the first day, I was extremely overwhelmed and exhausted. Unfortunately, there was a entire schedule of meetings with a ton of information about housing, classes, homestays, etc. I wish orientation would have been longer because many of the students got extremely stressed out with all the changes at once. So what could be improved is that the students stay at the hotel for at least an extra night so that it is an easier transition process for students coming abroad.

Default avatar
Adam
Male
22 years old
Houston, TX
Rice University

Take Me Back!

10/10

Writing about my experience makes me want to return to Madrid. Everyday in Madrid is different than the next, and I loved the city. I had a blast playing the “let’s get off at a random metro stop and walk around” game, and discovered a city completely ALIVE both day and night. Everyone I met was super helpful with improving my Spanish, and there are quite a number of fun museums and attractions to visit. It’s also easy to get from Madrid to anywhere else in Spain and, quite frankly, the rest of Europe if that’s your thing.

I must commend IES on their excursions. During my time we visited Bilbao, San Sebastián, Asturias, Toledo, Segovia, and a few local places around Madrid. I thought the trips were well organized and gave us the perfect amount of free time to ourselves.

IES staff are sincere people. I think they do a great job of ensuring your living situation is comfortable, and I always felt I could approach them. They personalized my experience and provided me with a homestay right in the center of Madrid, which I absolutely adored. My host mother was the best!

I had fantastic professors in IES, including a A+ grammar teacher and an employee of the Prado Museum of Art. Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, I would check-in at the Prado and we would walk around the museum analyzing paintings and artist styles while the paintings were right in front of us! What a unique experience.

I loved my time in Madrid, and am grateful to IES for their support and excitement about my growth.

Default avatar
Janey
Female
Charlotte, NC
Wofford College

Studay Abroad in Madrid with IES!

10/10

When I found IES Abroad Madrid-Language Area Studies; this program fit every tiny criterion I had. So without further thought I started the application process. From being accepted to applying for a student visa, my IES Abroad counselor, John Colhouer was extremely helpful in answering my most confusing to most simple questions I had. From the start I felt the IES Abroad staff was fully supportive and invested in me. As a jetted off to Madrid in the start of January, I was welcomed by Spanish students and assisted to the hotel where orientation began. The IES Madrid Abroad staff was very helpful from the beginning. They had a true interest in each student and wanted to make sure each student succeeded. While abroad I lived with a host mother; she has three sons who had already left the house but we saw them frequently. I made sure to go on all the trips IES offered because on the trips I met more study abroad students in the program I hadn’t spoken to before and on each trip we had very good tour guides who knew the histories and past times of the regions. I also got involved in a one-on-one program set up by IES Abroad Madrid. I would meet up with a Spanish student once a week and we would speak 30min. in Spanish and 30min. in English. Throughout the semester Tamara and I became good friends and would hang out more frequently. IES Abroad Madrid-Language Area Studies is a focus on the culture and language of the region. Therefore, all of my classes were taught in Spanish by Spanish professors. At first it was challenging but as my language improved throughout the semester I noticed a change in the way I could take notes and complete assignments. I started only thinking about class in Spanish instead of trying to translate constantly. IES Abroad Madrid was the perfect program for me. I loved how many different activities were held for us and the opportunities were amazing. I recommend IES Abroad Madrid-Language Area Studies as a perfect abroad experience!

How can this program be improved?

I found this program to be an excellent fit but if I could change one thing, I would make the orientation more specific and the layout of the trips and programs offer were explained more thoroughly.

Default avatar
Sofia
Female
24 years old
San Antonio, Texas
Complutense University of Madrid

La Vida Madrileña

9/10

I would highly recommend this program to someone interested in studying abroad with the goal of immersing yourself in Spanish language and culture. The classes (which includes any homework and projects, exams, etc.) are all in Spanish, and you have a couple of choices for living options which is sometimes hard to find in other programs. I chose to live in the dorm with other local Spanish students, rather than a homestay or an apartment with other American students, and it was the best decision for me. I learned things from my Spanish and international peers that only a local would know about Madrid, and I got to practice my Spanish.

My highlights for this term abroad were:
-Participating in the cultural activities that the program offered once a month. This included everything from a cooking class, to Flamenco lessons, all at no extra cost.
-Being forced to really use my Spanish by the local staff and professors. It's very easy to avoid speaking Spanish and I can sometimes get away with speaking English during some classes at my home university, however, here you are required to speak Spanish and it was a challenge that improved my language ability.
- Madrid is just a great place to be. Nothing compares to the nightlife in the Spain's capital. The food, the culture, the "cafe con leche", is all just a wonderful thing to experience in this great metropolitan city.
- Another item that drew me to studying with IES was the opportunity to take classes at the local university. This was an eye-opening and unforgettable experience because it was both exciting and intimidating to learn that not all classrooms and universities function as those do in the States.

How can this program be improved?

I wish I had known more about my living option, specifically what the food would be like. I didn't think cafeteria food could be universally underwhelming and just not good, but even in Madrid this was the case for the dorm food. This was a hug letdown because you pay extra to live in the dorm, and technically all of your meals are included, but the food is not good and it's very limiting. Most of the time I ate out to avoid the cafeteria food, and of course it wasn't all bad, but disappointing and frustrating overall.

Default avatar
Maggie
Female
24 years old
Staten Island, NY
Wagner College

Thoughts and advice

10/10

Studying abroad is a difficult experience to transmit through a review. I don't feel I could ever give a complete picture of my time in Madrid through words but I can at least give advice about the IES program.

Definitely a program I would recommend to others. The IES directors/advisors are extremely helpful, accessible, and concerned with the well being of students. There were many included trips that students could go on to other cities in Spain...and they were amazing! There were a lot of mixed reviews on academics. Personally, I am a science major and was only taking general education requirements abroad. All of my classes were arts, history, and language and this made it difficult to always feel a real purpose/investment in class because they were all studies outside of my future career interest. However I did feel the material of almost all of them was always interesting and I was just happy to be practicing Spanish! (all classes are in Spanish. Some felt the classes were too easy but I was happy with the amount of work - enough to feel productive, but not so much that it inhibited experiencing Madrid and Europe.

Because all of the classes are in Spanish and I did a home stay my Spanish improved immensely. IES gives you many opportunities to become better at Spanish you just have to take them! I recommend home stay because I had such a positive experience. I know not everyone loved their family, but I loved my host mom and it allowed me to gain a better understanding of Spanish culture than any class ever could. I would recommend a home stay to everyone. Get out of your comfort zone and experience something completely different.

General Advice:
-Don't feel really pressured to travel. Some people went to a different country every weekend, others spent the majority of their time in Madrid. Do what you want! /Can afford! Either way you made it to Europe.
-You would rather under-pack than over-pack.
-If you do a home stay bring slippers. They are worn inside the house.
-Don't bring your phone to the club. They were often stolen out of zippered pockets in zippered bags.
-You'll improve your Spanish as much as you want to. If you really want to improve you can (home stay, intercambios, trying to not speak English), and if you don't care as much that's cool too!
-go to the Cercedilla mountains outside of Madrid - most memorable experience of my entire study abroad
-go to Porto, Portugal! And Tubingen, Germany. And Granada and Toledo.

How can this program be improved?

I wish there were more opportunities for meeting Spanish students and bonding within the IES group. It would be nice to have more activities where students could interact and get to know each other.

Default avatar
Sarah
Female
24 years old
Crofton, Maryland
Villanova University

Semester in Spain!

10/10

I definitely recommend studying abroad to anyone who has the chance - my semester in Madrid was the best time of my life. IES Madrid is an amazing program, providing so many opportunities to meet new people (both American and Spanish!), immerse yourself in the culture (with weekend and day trips to other cities and activities to get to know Madrid better!), and improve your Spanish (living with a host family, taking classes in Spanish, and interacting with the wonderful professors and staff!)
Such an incredible experience!

Default avatar
Caitlin
Female
24 years old
Boston, MA
Bowdoin College

A Life-Changing Semester

10/10

My experience abroad was extremely worthwhile. Not only did I greatly improve my Spanish speaking abilities, make new American and foreign friends, and explore all over Spain and Europe, but I also grew a lot as a person. Mainly, I experienced a new level of independence traveling in foreign countries by myself, and gained a fresh perspective on the US and also found a love for Spanish art!

I lived with a wonderful host mom and another American student. This experience, I think, is the best way to get immersed in the Spanish culture. She spoke to my roommate and I exclusively in Spanish and helped our language capabilities immensely. I learned a lot about Spain and the culture through our conversations, and got to know a network of other Spaniards through meeting her neighbors and extended family. My roommate and I each had our own bedrooms and had a separate bathroom, and the apartment was always extremely clean. I was in a safe neighborhood, very close to a lot of restaurants and shops and walking distance to school.

I will admit, I was a little nervous about having my food needs met in Spain as a vegetarian. However, my host mom was very accommodating to my food restrictions and still made me traditional Spanish dishes, just often substituting meat or fish with eggs or beans. She also let us use her kitchen to make dinners at night, and often let us eat leftovers from lunch for dinner.

As for the classes,they are fairly easy in comparison to the coursework I am accustomed to at my home university. That being said, the professors are knowledgeable in their subjects and very understanding about speaking clearly (and repeating things) in Spanish and about accommodating students. The art classes in particular are fantastic, as they take place in the Prado and Reina Sofia museums and you learn about the art as you look at it!

One thing that really stood out to me about this particular program is that the staff at IES Madrid is incredible. They are all extremely friendly and eager to get to know each student as a person- they had all of our names memorized day 1! They work very hard to get everyone matched into classes they want. I was on the waitlist for 4 out of the 5 classes I ended up taking- they got me into every class I wanted. They also put a lot of effort into extracurricular activities and program-lead trips to places that a typical abroad student might not know to visit. Overall, I cannot recommend IES Abroad Madrid- Language and Area Studies program enough.

How can this program be improved?

If I could change one thing, I would have to say that I wish more Spanish was spoken among the other American students on my program. This program is not as rigorous as say, the Middlebury abroad programs in relation to learning the language. I wish more emphasis was put on speaking solely in Spanish.

About The Provider

Thumbnail

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

Read more...