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CIEE Alicante Language & Culture Summer Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:



Alicante, Spain




2.75 GPA, 4 semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent) for advanced Spanish language coursework.

Application Due:


Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

Designed for students with varying levels of Spanish, this summer program in Alicante, Spain helps develop students’ Spanish language skills and increase participants’ knowledge of Spanish archeology, gastronomy, art, cinema, economics, and language. Housing in Spanish-speaking homes as well as supplementary visits and excursions, content courses in Spanish, and direct enrollment at the University of Alicante help to promote program objectives of linguistic development and cultural immersion. This program is administered by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) on behalf of an academic consortium of which the University of Iowa is a member. UI participants on the program join a group of students from other U.S. colleges and universities.

Academic Program

The summer program in Alicante provides an opportunity for short-term, intensive study of the Spanish language. The program is open to qualified undergraduates with an interest in Spanish language and contemporary Spain. Language classes are taught entirely in Spanish and are offered at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. Students are given a placement exam in Alicante prior to the start of classes to determine appropriate placement for the language course. Students can take one, two or three, four week sessions (one 3 s.h. class per session).

Spanish language courses focus on grammar, reading, composition, and conversation. The language classes are small, maximizing student-to-professor interaction with attention to individual issues in language acquisition and skills.

Content courses are taught in English and Spanish. In general, students who place into the beginning level of Spanish take their content course in Spanish or English. Those who have completed four or more semesters of Spanish usually place into advanced Spanish. Advanced students must take their content course in Spanish.

UI students earn resident credit which may be applied toward the following General Education Areas: Foreign Language, Historical Perspectives, International & Global Issues, Literary, Visual & Performing Arts and/or Values, Society & Diversity. Credit earned on this program may satisfy requirements for the International Business Certificate; some courses may satisfy requirements for the Spanish major or minor. To see an updated list of course offerings for this program, go here . (Click on the grey 'All Courses' bar to view classes)

2016 Program Dates

Session 1 (4 weeks): 5/23-6/20

Session 2 (3 weeks): 6/20-7/18

Session 3 (4 weeks): 7/17-8/13

For More Information

More information about this program is available on the CIEE Alicante Summer Language & Culture webpage. If you are interested in learning more about how this program fits in your academic plan, please make an appointment with Study Abroad Advisor Aubree Compton.


Situated on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, Spain is a strikingly beautiful and diverse country. The country has the second largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the largest number of World Heritage cities. Spain’s distinct regions means there is has something for everyone, from lush forests to towering mountains, stunning beaches to vibrant cities, Mediterranean islands and African enclaves. Widely known for excellent food and art, friendly locals, relaxed lifestyle, Flamenco culture, bullfights, fantastic beaches, and lots of sunshine, Spain has been one of the cultural centers of Europe for thousands of years and remains one of the most popular destinations in the world for study and travel.


The city of Alicante, capital of the Costa Blanca, is situated on the Mediterranean Sea in the Southeastern corner of Spain. With a population approaching 350,000, Alicante is a thriving Spanish city and an inviting place for students to begin their exploration of Spain. In recent times, Alicante has experienced a development boom and rapid population growth. Students will see modern architecture and Internet cafés alongside historic buildings, and shopping malls next to centuries-old open-air markets. Although fast becoming a cosmopolitan and multicultural city, Alicante retains a distinct Spanish flavor.


Like many other regions in Spain, Alicante is historically and culturally bilingual. Valenciano (similar to Catalan, is the second language of the Alicante province. However, Spanish (or castellano) is the primary language of most Alicante residence and one is unlikely to encounter Valenciano in everyday life. Approximately 10% of the city's population speaks both Spanish and Valenciano, the latter mostly at home. It has little presence at the Universidad de Alicante or in public settings. Note that all homestay families are Spanish speakers, as are CIEE staff and Universidad de Alicante faculty.

Living Logistics


Housing and all meals are included in the program fee. Students live in Spanish-speaking homes where all meals are provided. Each home houses one student. Homestays are highly recommended because of the high level of language and cultural immersion that contributes to the student's overall learning experience. In the homestay, students are considered to be part of the family and have the same rights and responsibilities as other family members. Homestays are located through the Alicante downtown area with a maximum 30 minute commute to the study center via public transportation. Students should expect to use public transportation 2-4 times per day while in Alicante.


Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops. All students will have access to free wireless Internet at the CIEE Study Centre and homestays.

Cultural Immersion


The academic program is supplemented with excursions, guided tours, and cultural activities. These activities include city tours to emblematic sites such as Santa Bárbara Castle and MARQ (Archaeological Museum), or a historical tour of the Old Quarter of the city. In addition, there is one overnight trip per session. Each trip will complement the student’s Alicante experience allowing exploration of other areas of significant historic and cultural importance. During Session I students will travel to Valencia, located on the Mediterranean coast approximately 110 miles north of Alicante. Students will participate in a city tour of the historic center, where they'll visit the Cathedral. In addition, participants will visit the City of Arts and Sciences. During Session II students travel to the city of Granada where they will visit the most emblematic monuments, such as the Alhambra, Cathedral, or Royal Chapel.

Intercultural Comparative Experience

Travel with friends to a new city to explore history, art, architecture, culture, and social challenges. Part of every short-term program, our three-day Intercultural Comparative Experiences are an ideal way to highlight cultural differences and sharpen critical thinking skills. Expand your global perspective. Choose to spend your intercultural weekend in one of these European cities (included in program cost):

Barcelona, Spain

Berlin, Germany

London, England

Paris, France




A 2.75 cumulative GPA is required. For CIEE content courses taught in Spanish, 4 semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent is required.

Next Steps and Application

Students interested in participating in this program must meet with Spain study abroad advisor Aubree Compton prior to application to discuss their program selection and receive information about supplemental materials that are required for an application. Appointments can be set up in person at 1111 UCC or over the phone at 319-335-0353.

After receiving permission from your study abroad advisor to apply to this program, click here to begin your application.

Final admissions decisions are made by CIEE in Portland. Well-qualified candidates endorsed by Study Abroad are seldom rejected.

Application Deadline

The application deadline set for University of Iowa students is March 4 for the summer program.


For the summer 2016 cost sheet (Session A) click herePDF

Withdrawal Policy

After applying for a Study Abroad Program, notice of withdrawal must be made in writing to the University of Iowa Study Abroad Office and your CIEE Program Advisor. The date on which the letter or e-mail message is received is the date by which your costs will be calculated. If for any reason you withdraw after the confirmation deadline and before or during the course of the program, the amount/percentage shown in the following chart represents what you will be required to pay.

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
After Application Administrative fee: $0
Course Fee: $300
After Cancellation Deposit Deadline (varies by program) Administrative fee: $400
Course fee: As determined by the program contract with CIEE
After Program Start Date Administrative fee: 100%
Course fee: As determined by the program contract with CIEE

Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

Pre-Departure Orientations in Iowa

Students participating in CIEE study abroad programs will have two separate pre-departure orientations:

The first orientation is for University of Iowa students attending this and other CIEE Spain summer programs. During this orientation, students receive information on registering for their program on ISIS, payment and billing, course approvals and other practical matters. Students also have the opportunity to ask questions about academics, Spanish culture and other general topics from someone who has lived, studied and worked in Spain.

The second required orientation is the general study abroad orientation for all University of Iowa students going abroad (called 'TIPS'). This orientation covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as Health and Safety, Communication, Money, Goals and much more. This event is usually held on a Saturday afternoon in late spring.

On-Site Orientation in Spain

Upon arrival in Alicante, students will attend a mandatory orientation. During this session, participants will be introduced to the country, culture and academic program, and are provided with practical information about living in Alicante. This orientation serves to inform students of issues relevant to their experience and help them make a gradual transition to Spanish life. The orientation includes both structured cultural activities and independent sightseeing. Ongoing support is provided on an individual and group basis throughout the duration of the program.

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