IES Abroad Madrid – Language & Area Studies

Video and Photos

Brie at Parque Retiro
Brie at Parque Retiro
Palacio de Cristal en el Parque del Retiro
Palacio de Cristal en el Parque del Retiro
All was well in Park Güell.
All was well in Park Güell.
Parque del Retiro
Parque del Retiro
Arch of Moncloa
Arch of Moncloa
Chillin' with Don Quijote

About

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.

Scholarships

IES Abroad Scholarships
IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

As far as we're concerned, financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why we offer more than $5 million in scholarships and aid.

Value
$500 - $5,000

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 62 reviews
  • Academics 7.5
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 9.4
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 16 - 30 of 62
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Morgan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Supportive, fun and all around great experience

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Sean
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Diverse options in an amazing city

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I would recommend sending the course list earlier to have more time to discuss the options with your home university.
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Amanda
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Decision of My Life

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Study Abroad in Madrid

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!

What would you improve about this program?
More resources and ways to interact with local Spanish people.
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Adriana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable Madrid

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!

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Mary
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A semester full of culture, fun, and learning

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Kimberly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Time in Madrid

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!

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Sydney
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experiencing Madrid

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.

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Gina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best four months of my life

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!

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Nate
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Parks and Culture

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.

What would you improve about this program?
The administration of the program should work to be more interconnected with the administration of the local university.
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Selin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Marvelous Madrid

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Meagan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Meredith
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Time in Madrid

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Bridget
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful Madrid

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Shada
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Go Study Abroad! Do It!

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I wouldn't change a thing about the program, except to extend my stay in the program!