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CIEE Alicante Language in Context Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring


Alicante, Spain




0 to 2 semesters of college Spanish (or equivalent), GPA 2.75, must have valid passport at the time of application.

Application Due:

3/1 for Fall
9/15 for Spring

Program Cost

Click the Application tab.

The goal of this program is to provide students with 0-2 semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent) with a solid foundation in the Spanish language. The program allows participants to improve language skills while pursuing studies focusing on Spain and Europe through topics such as history, art history, political science, and international business. This goal is achieved through intensive language coursework; area studies courses in English, a conversation exchange program, excursions, and homestays for participants. 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 Language in Context Program is designed for students who are beginning their study of the Spanish language or have completed one or two semesters of university level Spanish, and also wish to complete a full semester of academic work by combining language study with English language electives.

Established in 1985, the Language in Context program in Alicante encourages students to develop the four language acquisition skills: listening, reading, speaking, and writing. Students take an intensive language course during their first three weeks on-site; placement is based upon a diagnostic language exam given before classes start. Orientation to cultural, social, and academic issues complements language study during the intensive session. Results of the intensive course determine the student’s language level for semester language classes

For the remainder of the program, all students are required to enroll in two Spanish language courses and two area studies courses in English. The language courses are divided into several groups of no more than twelve students to accommodate different levels of language proficiency. Tutorials may be required for students who need more individualized attention. Students may substitute one or two regular university business classes in English for the area studies courses.

UI students earn resident credit which may be applied toward the following General Education Areas: Foreign Language, Foreign Civilization & Culture, Humanities and Historical Perspectives. Credit earned on this program may satisfy requirements for the International Business Certificate; some courses may satisfy requirements for the Spanish major or minor.

Program Dates

This program's calendar follows the typical U.S. academic calendar closely (early September to mid-December and mid-January to late May).

For More Information

Please come to the Study Abroad Resource Room for a CIEE program catalog that contains much more detailed information than available on our webpage.

University of Alicante

The University of Alicante is one of Spain's newest universities, offering its more than 35,000 students the benefits of a modern campus complete with Mediterranean style buildings. Program participants have full access to its facilities and its artistic and cultural events, such as sports, film screenings and lecture series. All program students participate in a conversational exchange with regularly-enrolled Spanish university students.


With a population rapidly approaching 350,000, Alicante is a thriving Spanish city. Located on the Mediterranean coast, Alicante provides a warm and inviting place to begin your exploration of Spain or to continue a previous journey you may have made. Alicante’s skyline is dominated by the brooding Moorish castle of Santa Barbara, an ever-present reminder of the city’s ancient roots. Below the castle hill are the narrow, winding streets of Barrio Santa Cruz, the “old town”. Along the harbor, a departure point for North Africa and Mallorca, runs the palm-fringed Esplanada de España. In recent years, Alicante has mirrored the growth of Spain, becoming a more cosmopolitan and multicultural city. Despite recent modernization and the rapid expansion of the tourist industry, Alicante retains a distinct Spanish flavor.

Living Arrangements

Students live in Spanish-speaking homes or off-campus university residences. For students in homestays, all meals are taken in the home. Homestays are the optimal housing arrangement because of their practicality and contribution to the program's objectives of language and cultural immersion. Only one program participant is housed in each home. All meals are also included in the residence hall housing option. The residence halls are in San Vicente, close to the University of Alicante, however, this means that students need to take public transportation to get to the downtown/beach areas of Alicante.

Local Transportation

Housing is located in the Alicante metropolitan area with access to public transportation. Students living in with homestays take public transportation to the University.


For students with 0 to 2 semesters of college Spanish (or equivalent). A minimum grade point average of 2.75 is required. Students can only participate in the Language in Context program for only one semester, but may continue their studies for a second semester in another program. Students must have a valid passport at the time of application.

Application Deadline

The online application for the spring session of this program will be available from 8/1 to 9/20. Any supplemental materials are due to the study abroad office one week later.

The application deadline for fall and academic year programs is February 21st.

How to Apply

Before starting an application for this program, students should must meet with their study abroad advisor 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.

Click here to apply.

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


The program fee for spring programs is available by September 15. The program fee for fall and academic year students is available on February 15. This program fee includes an optional on-site airport greet, tuition, housing and all meals in homestays or a monthly meal stipend in University residencias, orientation, cultural activities, local excursions, travel insurance, and the UI administrative fee. The program fee does not include transportation to Spain, personal expenses, books and supplies, visa expenses, and local transportation.

Orientation Information

All participants attend a pre-departure orientation specific to the program as well as a general study abroad orientation. CIEE also conducts online orientations for their students.

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