USAC Spain: Madrid
98% Rating
(11 Reviews)

USAC Spain: Madrid

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
Locations
Europe » Spain » Madrid
Europe » Spain
Program Type
Provider
Subject Areas
Cultural Studies
European Studies
Timeframe
Academic Year
Fall
Spring
Summer
Accommodation
Apartment
Host Family
Language
English
Steps
Online Application
Visa Requirement

Program Reviews

  • Academics
    85%
  • Support
    86%
  • Fun
    84%
  • Housing
    96%
  • Safety
    96%

Program Reviews (11)

Default avatar
Lennon
Male
24 years old
Sparks, Nevada
University of Nevada Reno

Madrid!

9/10

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.

How can this program be improved?

I wish there was a bigger selection of courses.

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Carolyn
Female
24 years old
Chicago, IL
Loyola University Chicago

Increíble

9/10

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!

Default avatar
kotan123
Female
24 years old
United States
Miami University

Madrid Experience with USAC

10/10

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
Female
24 years old
Chicago, IL
Loyola University Chicago

Madrid is Home

10/10

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.

How can this program be improved?

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
Female
24 years old
United States
California Polytechnic State University- San Luis Obispo

My Time Abroad

10/10

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.

How can this program be improved?

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.

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Jaclyn
Female
24 years old
Chicago, Illinois
Loyola University Chicago

Studying abroad in Madrid made me want to move there

10/10

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.

How can this program be improved?

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
Female
24 years old
Reno, NV
University of Nevada Reno

USAC Review

10/10

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.

How can this program be improved?

Make it more affordable or offer more scholarshipd.

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ILoveMadrid
Female
24 years old
San Luis Obispo, California
California Polytechnic State University- San Luis Obispo

USAC Madrid provided the best 3.5 months of my life

10/10

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!

Default avatar
qkh3
Female
24 years old
El Segundo, California
California State University- Northridge

Only a Plane Ride Away

10/10

There is no way to even scratch the surface of the last five months of my life. I remember when I first made the decision to study abroad in Madrid, Spain and how excited, nervous, curious, and most of all anxious I was to start my adventure! Briefly following my decision, I remember pondering whether to research the school I would be attending, the neighborhood I would be residing in, and the group people I was going to share this life-changing experience with. Stepping off that place, I realized no amount of research could prepare me for what I was about to experience.
Living and studying abroad in Spain surpassed any expectations I had of this adventure; it was full of all kinds of travels and all kinds of wonderful people! Without realization, Spain taught me things I only dreamt of learning and experiencing. First and foremost, I learned to push my limits when I learned Spanish! I also learned to try new foods, live on my own, travel care free, learned I actually miss my family a little, and eventually I even learned how to say goodbye, the hardest one of all.

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zvolkert
Male
24 years old
Reno, NV
University of Nevada

A Cosmopolitan Way to Experience Spain

10/10

While some would discredit the architecture as less compelling as Barcelona or Sevilla, Madrid is in every way possible a sister city of the greatest in world - a New York, Paris, or London done Spanish style. Whether you love all-night, multiple-day parties in the fabulous club scene (Goa Fabrik boasts 24-hour, 5-room parties in their expansive pavilion complete with a gazebo and swan lake), casual tapas and beer or wine with friends for any price range or culinary taste, or simply strolling through the inexhaustible parks filled with ancient Egyptian tombs, Crystal Palaces, and rose gardens, you can always find an activity to match your tastes. Friends of Spanish, Italian, German, British, or any other possible ethnicity abound for you to find. The Prado and Reina Sofia are free several times a week, and they contain not only works by Spanish masters Dali, Goya, Braque, Picasso, and Velazquez but constantly rotating special collections of interactive modern art from every era and classics from Monet to Turner. Even if the art scene is not your taste, simply cross barrios to find fantastic local shows ranging from punk to traditional Spanish music. Nearly every performer, band, and DJ imaginable tours through Madrid. As long as you learn to watch your wallet for pickpockets, the city is quite safe as well. You can never expect to hear gunshots as you would in a city of its size anywhere else.

As far as the USAC program itself, the school was 45-minute ride from the center and quite small. However, dealing with the chaos of Madrid day-in and day-out make it a safe haven in many ways. The staff is friendly and helpful, but if you are at all enterprising, I would not encourage taking their student housing options. A quick turn through idealista.es can bring you less expensive options in the center of the city with Spanish roommates than the housing they accommodate. The professors ranged from mediocre to excellent, but even the worst of them had a lot to teach.

When speaking with people about to begin their study abroad with USAC Madrid, my advice is simple - travel light, live free, and, above all, savor every moment - you will find yourself at home in the end craving something as simple as plate of croquettes and beer as thought it was the greatest moment of your life.

Default avatar
freefalling
Female
24 years old
Reno, Nevada
Other

Madrid is THE place to be!

10/10

Studying abroad in Madrid was the experience of a lifetime. The city is huge, diverse, and beaming with possibilities and opportunities. With its huge parks, expansive museums, wild night life, comic stores, concerts, art exhibits, soccer stadiums, shopping, and traditional and imported food from all over the world, no matter what it is that you are looking for, it is in Madrid. The program is made up of a huge array of people from all over the world, all there for different reasons, and all connecting with one another. Madrid is the capital of Spain and as such an absolute travel hub, enabling you to travel far and wide throughout Spain or across Europe with ease. The program directors are the nicest people you will ever meet, and the Spanish professors the most talented. You will learn so much about Spanish, yourself, and the amazing culture that you are sure to embody in Spain.

About The Provider

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USAC is a non-profit consortium of U.S. universities that collaborates to offer affordable, academic and authentic study abroad programs. There are abundant opportunities to immerse in the culture, history, and academics of other countries providing an unforgettable experience. Each program is designed to help you

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