IES Madrid: Engineering, Architecture & Science

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About

This program is designed for engineering, architecture, and science students who want to take courses taught in English or Spanish at two prestigious universities – Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Universidad de San Pablo CEU. A range of engineering courses, from aerospace to telematics, allow opportunities for specialized study. And, general architecture courses, including introduction to architecture, drafting, and design courses offer students unique insights to their field. Science courses provide students the chance to study pharmaceutical science as well as food sciences, with courses in biology and chemistry, too. Students can mix disciplines or focus on single field for more concentrated studies.

Questions & Answers

Yes—all my classes were taught in English except my intermediate level Spanish class. I went through IES and it was a wonderful trip provider. IES was there for me throughout my entire time abroad from everything to receiving packages sent from home to comforting participants through homesickness. I studied engineering at Carlos III and all of those classes were taught in English. Enjoy Madrid!!

Reviews

97%
based on 16 reviews
  • Academics 8.6
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 15 of 16
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Wil
10/10

Unparalleled Immersion Coupled with Top-Notch Program Staff

I couldn't have chosen a better program to pursue my studies abroad.

Center: The IES Madrid Center staff, particularly Angel, Yolanda, and Elvira, made my experience. Imagine going to a country where nobody speaks your language and where everyone you know is thousands of miles away! Angel immediately put us at ease and made us feel safe and at home. They take such good care of your health and safety; have no fear! At the same time, they coordinate extensive Spanish language learning and immersion opportunities, allowing anyone to come to Madrid and be at least a conversational speaker by the end.

City: A modern European city, with an exceptional walkability and subway system, where you can learn the second most spoken language in the United States. The diversity of Madrid is exceptional! You can talk to citizens of China, Germany, Syria, and Canada in the same hour. Locationally, the airport enables inexpensive travel seamlessly to the rest of Europe.

Academics: Universidad Carlos III is one of the top Engineering schools in the world. It is challenging, and going through IES means that you'll have a ton of support to help you succeed. IES arranges tutoring sessions for each of your classes, and they're thrilled to give you more if you ask for them! The courses at the center are even better. My intensive Spanish course brought a 100-level Spanish student to fluency, and my Religious History class used the city as a classroom, involving intense study of primary sources at museums and churches throughout the city.

How can this program be improved?
I would suggest that students take as many courses at IES center as possible. Students are afforded limitless opportunity to become integrated into Madrid. My IES coursework simply afforded me more opportunities to interact with my professors, rather than large lecture classes.
Yes, I recommend this program
Noah
9/10

IES Abroad is a Must Do!

If you want to study abroad you should absolutely consider Madrid and IES. Madrid has amazing food, culture, and nightlife and there was never a dull day. Also, you can travel to anywhere in Europe for less than $250 (~200euros) which I took full advantage of and was able to visit 13 countries and 25 cities. I would highly recommend studying in Madrid.

IES was also extremely helpful and made my experience that much better. They are always available if you get sick or lost or even just want a recommendation for a good place to eat. Also they have required tutoring classes that count for 25% of your grade and the entire grade is attendance, so it is a huge boost to your abroad grades which was a very nice boost for my GPA.

How can this program be improved?
There were some required field trips that were absolutely amazing and I would have liked there to be more of them!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Lindsey
10/10

An Amazing Semester Abroad in Madrid!

My semester abroad in Madrid with IES Abroad was an incredible experience! I lived with an amazing host family who was so welcoming and cooked delicious food. They taught me a lot about Spanish culture and helped me improve my Spanish. The IES Madrid staff was very friendly and supportive. If you ever needed anything, they were always willing to help. I took materials science, machine mechanics, Spanish Art and Architecture, which are the classes I needed for my major and minor. The engineering classes were tough, but it was worthwhile to experience a different educational system. The IES classes I took were some of my favorite classes because the professors I had were so passionate about their teaching that made me enjoyed learning about the material. They also had relevant and engaging class trips and activities. IES also offered many fun trips and cultural activities, like cooking classes and flamenco shows. Madrid was such a vibrant city full of life, and I'm so grateful I was able to call it my home for my semester abroad.

How can this program be improved?
I wish IES didn't separate the Engineering students from the Language and Area students. There were some trips/activities that combined both programs towards the end of the semester, but it would have been better if there was more mixing from the beginning. I also wish there was better communication between IES and the local university UC3M.
Yes, I recommend this program
Nicole
10/10

An Adventure of a Lifetime!

I had the adventure of a lifetime studying in Madrid with IES Abroad. I lived in an apartment with other engineers and a local Spanish student, took classes in materials science and manufacturing systems as well as Spanish Art and Architecture, and enjoyed passing time wandering Madrid and its many parks, shops, restaurants, and plazas. While I traveled to many other countries during my time abroad, Madrid will always hold a special place in my heart thanks to IES Abroad. The staff was helpful and always available to help me feel comfortable and to help Madrid become my new home. My peers and I enjoyed participating in a cooking class, watching a spectacular live flamenco show, taking day trips to nearby cities, and meeting students from all over the United States, Spain, and the world. I am glad I was given the opportunity to take advantage of all that Madrid had to offer, and I encourage others to do the same with IES Madrid!

Yes, I recommend this program
Gina
10/10

A true Madrileña experience

The staff from IES Abroad made this experience a one to remember! There were plenty of activities for us to be a part of and helped us emerge into the culture easily. My host family was amazing and provided me with delicious meals and pack me lunch whenever I left to travel for the weekend. Classes were great because IES provides you with tutors and other resources. Madrid is a safe city for the most part and has a lot to offer! You never get bored and the people are beyond amazing! All in all it was one of my best semesters in college and I would definitely do it again!

How can this program be improved?
Possibly just integrating the engineering and language students
Yes, I recommend this program
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Reid
10/10

The Best Five Months of My Life

I highly recommend IES Abroad Madrid. I had the best time of my life. The staff was super supportive and friendly. I was in the colegio mayor (dorms) and it was a great fit because I got to be immersed with over 95% of the dorm being Spanish, but I still had the freedom to live on my own. IES put on events and trips to meet the rest of my program and some of the friends I've made will be my friends for life. I already have plans to visit them all of the country. Madrid is a great place to study abroad as well. It's super easy to get around within the city, Spain and the rest of Europe. Madrid has the best metro system I've ever seen and an airport with cheap flights all over. It's not too touristy but there's still so many fun things to do. Without a doubt it feels like home. I cannot recommend this program enough! 10/10.

How can this program be improved?
More immersion events. More flexibility with living arrangements.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Abdulwahab
10/10

Why engineering students should go to Madrid

Flamenco, paella, temperate sun, and a striking sense of fashion; these are a few things that I had anticipated to see when I embarked on my flight from Kuwait City to Madrid. I was equipped with my previous (and ongoing) study abroad experience in the United States, and I was ready to set off on yet another journey in the beautiful country that gave birth to Goya and Velazquez (Spain; in case you haven’t guessed it yet). I was armed with a set of helpful instructions from IES Abroad, which aided me in detail from landing in Madrid Barajas Airport till I got to the hotel. That night, I met the students with whom I would spend the most amazing times, as well as the instructors who would make this experience as enriching and as fruitful as possible. We set off to get tapas (Spanish hors d’oeuvres) with drinks; the first visit of many to come. Later, I had met with the host family that IES had paired me with.
My family consists of Carmen and Àngel. with their daughter Maria. Carmen and Àngel are both retired teachers, while Maria works as a nurse in the local hospital. We lived in Embajadores, a borough of Madrid which is right off Centro (downtown). I spent my first two weeks just exploring Madrid as a part of orientation, with my family and with IES. From visits to the Prado museum to the long strolls through the Royal Gardens, it was truly dreamlike. Toward the end of those two weeks, I was introduced to the University in which I would resume taking my engineering degree requirements; Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (The University of Carlos III of Madrid; or UC3M).
The engineering campus is situated in Leganes, a small city right outside of the City of Madrid, but still within the autonomous community (i.e. “governorate”) of Madrid. It took a daily 20- to 30-minute train ride from Centro to Leganes, but it really flew by every morning considering the beautiful scenic routes that the trains took. My classes had around 30-40 students on average, and the professors were really good. Everyone was bilingual, and the courses were offered in English and Spanish, on demand. Additionally, IES had appointed us with mandatory tutoring, which accounts for 25% of the grade of each course. This really helped adjust the students to the Spanish educational system, especially at the beginning. The Spanish system is a little different from the American one, but it’s not too wildly hard to adjust to. The grades are given on a 1-10 scale. There is hardly any homework, just a lot of lab work and engineering projects. Thus, the midterms hold quite a heavy weight, and so does the final (60%). However, the magical portion of the Spanish system is that you can virtually do nothing throughout the semester, and just take the final to account for your entire grade (a huge risk, but it’s an option for those who previously know the material, and have finished the practical aspects). In Spain, it is not so much about the value of the grade itself, but rather whether or not you passed or failed the class. So you can imagine that the rigor and amount of work expected in Spain tends to be more difficult, when a C is perceived to hold the same weight as an A; roughly speaking.
In addition to my three UC3M courses, I took an intermediate Spanish class at IES, whose campus was situated in Moncloa, in the heart of the City of Madrid. My Spanish instructor, Profesora Buesa, was more than just an instructor. She, as all IES staff, served as a general resource for all the questions and issues that were raised during our time abroad. IES staff were incredibly approachable and helpful, but they did more than just educate us. Every weekend, we had a cultural activity. These activities ranged from meeting up with Spanish peers, going to Flamenco shows (and classes), traveling to other places in Spain (there were so many trips that I lost count), to cooking classes. We truly experienced the beauty and diversity of Spanish culture, and we met some of the most amazing people with whom we made long-lasting friendships.
Overall, I would say that my time in Spain was definitely life-changing (and everyone who studied abroad will tell you same thing, and we’re not exaggerating). Spain is a place that I will be visiting repeatedly throughout my life. My hosts, friends I made, and instructors are people that I will keep in touch with. And to be quite honest, no one does it like IES. The guidance and the supervision are things I’ve lacked when I’ve studied in other countries (and I can say I’ve been to a few). A lot of it was redundant, but it was necessary. With regards to Spain: No es una “adios”, es una “hasta luego.” (It’s not a “goodbye”, it’s a “see you later.”)

How can this program be improved?
Better familiarity with academics on the end of IES, and better communication between IES and the universities.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Neil
9/10

Studied Electrical and Computer Engineering in Spring 2016

Don't be discouraged to pursue studying abroad in Madrid if you are an engineering major. I was able to take equivalent courses for my Electrical and Computer Engineering degree, and balanced the course load with travelling just fine. In fact, I was able to schedule my courses so that I had a free Friday, allowing me a 3 day weekend to sight-see.

IES provided students with a weekly tutoring session with professors of their courses, similar to "Office Hours" but held alongside other IES Abroad students in your class. These were not only very helpful, but also attendance counted toward your grade(about 20-25%). The toughest part about courses at Universidad Carlos III was the lab sessions. To quell the difficulty, I made sure to use the tutoring sessions to go over any problems in the lab sessions. Official homework was not assigned, but these tutorial sessions provided a space to clarify any issues during the lecture.

Others have written about the many tours and excursions during the program and I highly encourage students to go on these, even the optional ones. At best, they are a fantastic way to learn about new cities(Toledo, Segovia, etc) thanks to guided tours and at worst, they can be a fun way to meet other IES students and get free food! I always learned something interesting from these excursions, and wish I went on more during my time in Madrid.

How can this program be improved?
I would have liked if the Language Studies program and the Engineering Program had more opportunities to mix. IES tended to separate these students during excursions, but I would have loved to meet some of the people in the other program!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Hayley
10/10

Magic of Madrid

As an engineering student, I loaded up on credits early on to make the opportunity of life abroad a reality. Like most engineers the options were limited, and as soon as Madrid was on the table I snatched it up and have yet to look back. Before the program, I had traveled to one other country and had a college career filled with engineering classes and void of all those fun jogging/wine making/art classes that my friends in other majors had sprinkled into their schedules over the years. IES stripped the engineering majors from the classic science/math only stereotype and allowed all of us to immerse in a vivacious, colorful culture. My schedule throughout my time abroad in Madrid afforded me the opportunity to experience Art History in the Prado and Spanish Culture and Language from the tongue of a native speaker. IES further arranged weekend trips throughout the Spanish countryside to places ranging from Segovia to Plasencia to Toledo. Whether planning a full list of activities or coaching us through scheduling and tutorials, IES was the premium trip provider in every respect. I left Spain after traveling to 12 countries, eating way to much paella, and basking in the sun endlessly in Parque Retiro, and yet still I have a deep hunger to go back--I simply cannot get enough. Just as IES made the transition to Spain seamless, the team's professionalism, positivity, and support remained seamless throughout my entire four and a half month stay.

How can this program be improved?
More housing options closer to the city center.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Matt
9/10

Work Hard, Party Harder

Madrid is a city that never sleeps. The bars and clubs don't get busy until after midnight, and the cool people show up at 2 am. I absolutely loved studying electrical engineering alongside Spanish students during the day and partying with those same students all night.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Eliza
9/10

Better than I Could Have Imagined

For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to study abroad. I love exploring new cultures and traveling to new places. I had been dreaming of every possible scenario of what my experience would be like before I left. Studying abroad with IES in Madrid was even better than I could have imagined. When I arrived, I was immediately welcomed by the IES staff at the airport. And this was just the beginning. Throughout the semester, I felt like the staff was always there to guide and help us while still giving us the free range to explore and grow in a new country.

Yes, I recommend this program
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shurouq
10/10

La vida loca

For six memorable months, I lived in a small central town in Madrid called Embajadores. Although my Spanish was limited to “hola” and “cómo estás” before I arrived, I managed to get around pretty well! My host mom was phenomenal - IES does make sure that families are very welcoming and they check on you throughout the semester. She knew some English but she made the effort to teach me Spanish by speaking very slowly and talking to me about the different aspects of the Spanish culture over our daily sobremesa. Long story short, I highly I recommend living with a host family to improve your Spanish and get a glimpse of the typical family life there. When I first arrived to Spain I traveled to other European countries frequently on the weekends since domestic flights in the euro zone are cheap, but as my departure date drew closer, I realized how much I enjoyed the local trips that IES has organized and decided to explore Madrid more closely which turned out to be a great decision! IES organizes many trips throughout the semester but most of the trips happen during orientation. Traveling around within Madrid was really easy with the unlimited transportation card that IES helps you get during orientation - you have to apply online before you arrive though so I highly recommend doing that. I think letting myself get lost with my friends and learning how to use a real map rather than GPS always ended with an interesting story! Overall, I’m really grateful for the opportunity to expand my cultural awareness and widen my horizons. The incredible experiences I had and the long-lasting relationships I made will always be a reminder of how incredible it is to open your mind and heart to a new culture and embrace the little things, like the slower pace of life, the impeccable fashion style, the great tapas and sangrias, and of course, the being casually late rule!

How can this program be improved?
Start survival Spanish earlier and find a better way to help students get their phones during orientation. It was very hectic when we did it this year and many didn't get a chance to get a phone because we went to stores right before they were closing!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Abner
10/10

IES Abroad Madrid- Engineering

The program was overall amazing. The staff was extremely helpful and the city was beautiful. The people of the city were always willing to help with anything and there were always plenty of things to do. I must mention that I did not have a language barrier but through observations those who were not native speakers were doing just fine.

How can this program be improved?
I would make the program longer.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Sami
10/10

An absolutely unforgettable semester!

Choosing to do a semester abroad with IES was the best decision I have made in college. Being an engineer, finding a study abroad program you like can be really challenging, but I LOVED this program and am so happy I chose it! Not only did it give me the opportunity to dust off my Spanish, but as an engineering student, I got to take classes with Spanish students at a real Spanish university. This really made all the difference between a program with just a satellite university with all American students and professors and the IES Engineering program. I had the opportunity to meet so many Spaniards my age who shared with me their culture and lifestyle (and also gave me really great tips on what to do and see in Madrid and the rest of the country). The IES staff were so supportive all throughout the semester, making a point to check in at least every month and make sure we were adjusting well to the new experiences. Also, I loved having the opportunity to live in a home-stay for five months with a Spanish family. This was one of my favorite parts of living in Spain for 5 months because it truly immersed me in the Spanish culture, forced me out of my comfort zone, and greatly improved my Spanish language capabilities. Thank you IES for an absolutely unforgettable semester!

How can this program be improved?
There are very few things I would change about the IES program. I do wish I had been placed with a roommate as requested, but I understand organizing housing for so many students is really complicated. Even without a roommate, I still found it very easy to make friends and meet up with the other study abroad students (and even some Spanish students) living in my neighborhood. I also wish there had been more opportunities to take the Flamenco and cooking classes, as both were offered within a short time frame while my parents were in town.I believe the language students had more opportunities to take these classes, so I wish it had been the same for the engineers. Really other than that, it's a fantastic program and wouldn't want to change a thing!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Xitlalic
10/10

Fall 2014

I absolutely loved my time in Madrid, I was always busy and usually it was with something fun. The museums were great, the food delicious and the nightlife fantastic. I would do it again in a heartbeat!

How can this program be improved?
I would have liked to be much closer to my engineering school where I took two classes, a one hour commute each way was not ideal
Yes, I recommend this program

About IES Abroad

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...