Spain: Madrid - Spanish Language, Art, and Spanish & European Studies

Video and Photos

Paris, France
Santorini, Greece
Athens, Greece
This was taken in Madrid.

About

Study abroad at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain with USAC! Students interested in pursuing studies in Spanish language or Spanish and European studies will have ample course options to do so. Students will have the exciting opportunity to practice their developing language skills with local Spaniards in one of the great capital cities of the world. Explore the city through field trips and free time, visiting museums, viewing magnificent architecture, eating amazing food, and attending cultural events with friendly locals.

Highlights
  • Enjoy the benefits of living in one of Europe’s most vibrant (and comparatively affordable) capital cities: visit Madrid´s world-famous museums (must-sees for Art History students), experience its fabulous nightlife, explore its unique neighborhoods
  • Join field trips to see the famous windmills of La Mancha, the stunning medieval cities of Toledo and Segovia, the imposing monastery of El Escorial
  • Immerse yourself in Spanish culture: visit newly refurbished food markets and sample its delicious cuisine, join the language partner exchange program at the university, or volunteer at a local school
  • Take advantage of Madrid´s “Río”—an area where you can play sports or go for a walk

New Program: Comparative Studies: Uruguay and Cuba Summer Session

Study abroad Summer 2020 for eight weeks, beginning in Montevideo, Uruguay and continuing to La Habana, Cuba, for a comparative Latin studies program ideal for any student and of particular interest to health, gender and Spanish language students.

Scholarships

USAC Scholarships
USAC Scholarships and Financial Aid

USAC awards over $2 million in scholarships and discounts each year to assist students with their study abroad expenses.

Value
$500 - $1,000

Questions & Answers

Hi, great question! We would answer your question with a yes! To learn more about the experience you will have on this program, we recommend contacting the program provider directly, which you can do here: https://usac.edu/usac/contact-us.

Reviews

97%
based on 18 reviews
  • Academics 8.8
  • Support 8.9
  • Fun 8.8
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 15 of 18
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sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience

I had an incredibly educational, immersive, mind broadening and meaningful experience studying abroad this past spring semester and feel fortunate to have had the experience. I developed skills in traveling, self sufficiency and communicating with people from other cultures amongst many other things. The classes offered through USAC were interesting and well organized and they complimented my experience very well. The living arrangements weren't the best but they served their purpose effectively and the location of our apartment was great. As a Spanish major, being fully immersed in a country where the native language spoken is the Spanish was extremely beneficial for my writing, reading and conversing abilities and my overall linguistic skill improved greatly. Madrid was an extremely cool and fun city to live in and there was never a shortage of things to do or see. The friends that I made within my program were wonderful, like-minded people who I hope will be life long friends. Over all the experience was a life changing four months that I will reflect on and cherish for the rest of my life.

What would you improve about this program?
The living arrangements weren't the greatest and you don't get to know where you are living or with whom until the day before the program begins. Housing standards do differ between the US and Spain so thats something to be aware of. I personally feel that the one absent allowed per class rule is unrealistic and unfair.
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Morgan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

USAC Madrid Fall 2018

Overall I really enjoyed this program. The price point was the first thing that attracted me to this program. It was comparable to tuition back home and it was not as pricey as some of the others I was interested in. The support staff there was wonderful. I never had an issue with them, and whenever I had a problem they were there for me. I loved them so much that when I returned to Madrid for vacation, I made sure to stop by and say hello. It really showed they care for their students when I was able to walk in and they recognized me right away! I got to catch up with them, and even met them for drinks to talk about what we were all up to now. The city of Madrid will always have a special place in my heart, and it was mainly because of the people in my program. Whether it was the staff or participants, they made my experience memorable.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Meet locals and embrace Spanish culture at every chance you get. I only started to do this towards the end of my program. In the beginning, I tended to stick with my friends in the program. But towards the end I ventured out and met some locals and they ended up being the best part of my time in Madrid.
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Cristina
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Madrid USAC

I did enjoy the opportunities that were available to me such as my involvement as a blog writer for two posts for my program, as well as the local I met through USAC’s group activity of bowling. She was super nice in not only helping as my tutor for my academic classes but she reached out to me to explore the city together getting a bite to eat, spontaneously catching an outside art exhibit on our way to going to a museum. There are such a range of artistic and cultural activities to do here from all the museums, the El Rastro Market, the different plazas, restaurants, el cine, the jazz clubs, parks, and the bowling center inside the metro! Even though my Service Learning Course requires a lot of outside hours from class time and a higher grasp of the language it was a nice way to give back and learn how the city responds in their initiatives of social justice and I made a new friend from Argentina. So my program’s go to bar to eat for really cheap and have a big glass of sangria was El Tigre for only 5 euros. It also always seemed like they had rebajas: sales going on in their stores so anyone interested in European Fashion can get some good finds especially in Sol. I really think my Spanish improved from where I started with but definitely should have followed what my entrance exam said to do track 2 Spanish instead of 3 I reallly struggled with my grades until midway I decided to transition to 2. But favorite part overall was learning about myself of taking initiative in learning about a new city being away from home becoming a bit more independent, courageous, and curious about the world around me.

What would you improve about this program?
Just making sure that each Home Stay Family has the patience to teach at any level of Spanish, and to be aware that not all students will be traveling to other places during the weekend because of their respective budget and because of their desire to really learn and engage in their program’s city.
Read my full story
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Cynthia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cynthia Sandoval

My experience in Madrid, Spain was truly amazing. I miss it still and it’s been almost 3 years. I miss the culture, the metros and my host family. I really got close to them and they not only helped me navigate the huge city but they also helped with school work and treated me like one of their own. I loved traveling the county because everything was so close! It was all so beautiful I have countless memories with new and old friends. While I loved not driving and taking the metro, I didn’t feel safe all the time—mostly because of thieves (pickpocketing). But my host family and teachers did teach us a few tips and tricks to prevent that from happening. Going to Madrid was not only a fun experience in my life but a much needed one. Growing up in a small town I thought this was it, I’m comfortable here that’s it. I didn’t believe I can live on my own let alone in another country. But I did it. Not alone though. I had help from the USAC program that walked me through step by step and I had an amazing teacher in Madrid that made it all worth it. I’m a native Spanish speaker but my classes in Madrid are the hardest A’s I’ve ever worked for. He really made us learn the material and apply it to every day life and not just learn it for the test. I miss my life in Madrid, but I love my memories. I’d love to make more if I got the chance to go overseas again.

What would you improve about this program?
All the staff was very accommodating. I loved my program.
Default avatar
Brooke
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Staff

All of the staff were so welcoming, polite and just fun to get to know! I loved all my advisors and they made me so comfortable with being away from home. Whenever I had an issue I would visit them and it would be solved immediately. The optional trips that they planned for the program were enjoyable and interesting, and I'm glad I went along for them! As cliché as it sounds, the friends and the memories that I made abroad were unforgettable and the ability to learn about another culture and country by living amongst the people was priceless. I will cherish the time I spent in the beautiful and multicultural city of Madrid and I look forward to visiting again, I am lucky enough to have had the ease of transitioning with USAC and would recommend it to anyone studying abroad.

What would you improve about this program?
More flexibility and more interesting classes.
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Julianne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Home away from home

This was my first time flying out of the United States and travelling to Europe. I took four semesters of Spanish in college and wanted to embrace what I have learned and practice my Spanish abroad, so without a doubt, I choose to study in Madrid. I was blessed to meet so many outgoing and travel-bug friends from across the US and natives in Madrid. I became friends with my intercambio, became best friends with someone who lives across the country as me, and experienced things I never thought I would be able to do. I would definitely recommend the USAC Madrid program for the summer because along with interesting courses, the program sets up really fun field trips in surrounding towns near Madrid.

What would you improve about this program?
I would say it was difficult at first before I flew to Spain because I had no idea who I was living with and where I would be living. Also, I did not know my schedule, so I think communication through the actual program could be improved.
Lindsey
Lindsey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

BEST DECISION IN COLLEGE

I had always wanted to study abroad and I am so glade I added a 6th year to get my minor in Spanish. The teachers at USAC reignited my passion for school and learning and showed me that it was fun. Staying 2 semesters in Madrid allowed me to get familiar with the people and the city. I worked after school as a nanny to 3 children to help then practice their English. I met tons of friends through out the city and since Madrid is a hub for flights, got to experience all of Europe for a fraction of the cost! I truly feel that had I not studied abroad it would have been the regret of a life time. Since then, I am more empowered to travel alone to new places and can easily navigate through any city's metro. Everyone should study abroad!

What would you improve about this program?
There is nothing that I would change about this program. All of the faculty are amazing and the level of service that you are given here is outstanding!
Read my full story
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Lennon
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Madrid!

Madrid is an amazing city. There's so much to do and it has an incredible nightlife. It's in close proximity to a number of little towns like Toledo and Segovia which are great day trips. It's also super cheap to fly out of.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish there was a bigger selection of courses.
Default avatar
Carolyn
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Increíble

Studying abroad in Madrid was the best decision of my college career. I'm studying Spanish at Loyola University Chicago, and my Spanish experience rounded out my education in the best way. I felt truly immersed in such a beautiful culture; I think the biggest gift was my Spanish host family. Amelia, my host mom, felt like family by the end of my semester. It would recommend the program to anybody!

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kotan123
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Madrid Experience with USAC

I had the most amazing time in Madrid! USAC has relatively responsible and caring staff members and programs for community engagement. When we arrived, they organized an orientations for students to become familiar with the city and our school. USAC really enforce us to get out our comfort zone and make friends of locals.

I really appreciated their effort to help us get involved in the Spain culture and the community. We had opportunities to pair up with Spanish students, called intercambios. I had the most amazing intercambio, and very quickly we became best friends! She introduced to me all her friends who grew up together, and with her connections we all became great friends, which tremendously helped me practice Spanish and learn their culture. Moreover, USAC provides student many volunteer and internship opportunities. One of my most unforgettable experiences in Madrid is my volunteer experience, where helped me go through some of my difficult time in Madrid and found my lifelong friends and supports.

My only concern with the program was the host family. I chose to live with a host family in order to learn Spanish quickly and experience the local family life. However, I had difficulties with my host family. I didn't feel comfortable in the place and neither had many interaction with the hostmom, who is the single mother. Meals provided in the house, which I paid for, were not well prepared at all. Overall, I didn't think the amount of money I paid for my host family every month worth for its value.

Any experience can't be perfect in all aspect. It is inevitable that you are going to face some kind of challenges, but I definitely encourage to get out of the country make new friends, learn a new language, and explore! Trust me it is going to be the most valuable memory in your life!

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Brittany
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Madrid is Home

I had a once in a lifetime, amazing experience in Madrid! I have loved traveling since a young girl and to go on this journey on my own was refreshing and inspiring. I went on this trip not knowing anyone and met the most incredible unique people. Study abroad does something to you that you could never ever learn by sitting behind a desk at school. And Madrid was the right place for me to do it. My host family was so sweet and kind and I lived in the best apartment. The night life was so fun, the people welcoming! It's a beautiful city full of tradition, history, and delicious delicious food. I love how Madrid loves to socialize and eat out all the time, it was one of my favorite things to do. Overall, I highly recommend going to Madrid! And if not Madrid, go abroad in general! It changes you.

What would you improve about this program?
I would say that I regret not trying harder to speak Spanish all the time. I definitely abused my host family's ability to speak English and a large majority of the Spanish know how to speak English and will be happy to practice with you. Also the attendance policy was ridiculous. You have to attend basically every class and if you miss more than two then you're grade is lowered. The attendance policy at my college and most colleges in the US is way more relaxed and it just really sucked that while studying abroad when you want to travel and see everything, they implemented that attendance policy.
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Cheyenne
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Time Abroad

Studying abroad was the best 10 months of my life. I learned so much about myself, about the person who I strive to be, about others, about travel and about the world. I miss Madrid nearly every day. I can so easily recall the smells coming from the "pastelería" that I passed every day on my way to school. I remember how impacted I was by the sight of elderly women walking arm-in-arm around the neighborhood. It struck me as so unique to a culture: lifetime friends are hard to come by, yet the Spanish seem to prioritize their friendships. It taught me that family and friends truly are the source of all support and happiness. Although my time abroad was predominately incredible, there were some difficulties that I had to deal with. I struggled emotionally with some personal things going on during a few months while I was in Spain, and it was quite a struggle to get help. I approached the administration of my program expecting a list of psychologists who would help me, but they merely referred me to the program's physician. Desperate to feel better, I scheduled an appointment with the doctor. Assuming that I would receive help within a few days, it came as a complete shock when the physician made me jump through hoops to set up an appointment with a therapist (contacting my insurance, scanning and faxing documents, getting signatures and approvals, etc.). By the time I was nearly finished with the clerical work, I had already felt better without receiving help from by program or my doctor. Other than that experience, studying abroad was truly a dream. It helped me to discover that I need to actively experience life, rather than to just let life happen to me. I understand now that my time is limited and every moment really does count. Per this realization and the relationship I formed with a boy who I tutored, I now know that I aspire to be a child and adolescent therapist. The boy and I became very close throughout the 10 months that I tutored him in English, and eventually he began to open up to me about problems he was experiencing at school. For these reasons I am excited to begin my work with children and their psychological needs. I also know now that I want to volunteer for study abroad programs in order to increase knowledge of and desire to study abroad. I can only hope that other students have the opportunity to feel the passion for life and travel that I now feel thanks to studying abroad. All in all, USAC and Madrid shaped my incredible life in Spain and I could not be happier that I chose to spend 10 months creating a better sense of self, as well as a greater understanding for what the world has to offer.

What would you improve about this program?
I think the student-faculty relationships could be a bit better. As mentioned in my previous statement, I did not feel entirely taken care of emotionally, which is something that, while in a country other than your own, is a major factor in feelings of security and happiness. I also feel that the program needs to be more open-minded about their policies. For example, it is no secret that the majority of students who study abroad do not go abroad to study. We go abroad to travel, to see the what the world has to offer, and to broaden our idea of what humanity is truly like. However, USAC's attendance policy is maintained in such a way that if more than one class was missed per semester, our grade went down significantly. Now, I completely understand that school is a priority, but I feel that attendance policy should be the same that it is in American universities: come to class as much or as little as you'd like, but if you're grade is negatively affected do not complain. Under this policy, many students, if not all, come to class as assigned. Although, the classes that interfere with our traveling (mainly Friday classes) would be an exception. In other words, I feel that the program needs to trusts its students more. I feel that I missed traveling opportunities because I had to attend a class that neither interests me, nor applies to my home university credits. This situation was infuriating for me, especially considering that every other program I had heard of did not have an attendance policy.
Default avatar
Jaclyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying abroad in Madrid made me want to move there

I knew going into my study abroad experience I wanted to get the most out of it. I knew I wanted to travel a ton and speak spanish. But now I want to move back and live there. My life was changed because I studied abroad.

What would you improve about this program?
I would try and improve the classes, i.e. the course structures. Students are there to learn but mostly to experience everything the country and the continent has to offer outside the classroom. Studying for hard exams was not always at the top of our lists and that may have hurt us in the end (grade wise). Also, the school campus we were on in Madrid wasn't very friendly because it was on a local college campus.
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Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

USAC Review

USAC is an absolute amazing program. They were so helpful from start to finish, here in Reno and abroad while I was in Spain. I could not have asked them to do a better job. They offer a great variety of places and are dedicated to making you experience abroad unforgettable.

What would you improve about this program?
Make it more affordable or offer more scholarshipd.
Default avatar
ILoveMadrid
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

USAC Madrid provided the best 3.5 months of my life

My time spent studying abroad through USAC was hands-down the most amazing experience I could have ever asked for. Madrid is such a vibrant city full of culture, history, art, shopping, great food, and an incredible night life. After spending almost 4 months in this city I still felt like there was so much I could still do that I hadn't done yet. There is never a dull moment; whether you want to visit some of the world's most renowned museums, eat at the oldest restaurant in the world (according to the Guinness book of records), enjoy tapas and sangria in a historic plaza, watch a classic bull fight, cheer on one of La Liga's best soccer teams, dance the night away in a seven-story nightclub, or enjoy a picnic and paddleboat ride in an absolutely gorgeous park. These are only a handful of the possibilities in Madrid- I could seriously go on for hours.

USAC was the perfect program to go through to maximize my experience abroad. Everyone I had talked to throughout the process was beyond friendly, incredibly helpful, and truly cared about my experience and well-being. The teachers were incredible! My classes weren't exactly difficult, but I was able to learn so much from instructors who had a passion for teaching. The USAC staff in Madrid were readily available for any questions or concerns I had, and were some of the nicest people I've ever met.

As far as housing goes- I could not have asked for a more perfect situation! I lived with another USAC student with a host family (a mother and her 21-year-old son.) Right from the start our mom made us feel at home. We really felt like we had become part of the family, and saying goodbye to them felt just as painful as when I said goodbye to my own family before leaving for Spain. The only complaint was our distance to school and the city center, but the public transportation in Madrid is fantastic and was never actually a problem.

As I stated before, I could talk about studying abroad for much longer than anyone would ever want to listen- and I would never have a bad thing to say. If you are considering studying abroad at all- DO IT. If you aren't considering studying abroad- still DO IT. I recommend the USAC Madrid program with every ounce of my being, and I hope that more people can have the same experience I did!