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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
9/24 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, 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)

2016-17 Program Dates

Fall: 8/22-12/16

Spring 2017: TBA

For More Information

More information about this program is available on the CIEE Alicante Language in Context 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.

Learn More About Alicante

Lonely Planet: Intro to Alicante

WikiTravel Guide to Alicante

Virtual Tourist: Alicante Travel Guide

Guide to Costa Blanca

Universidad de Alicante

The University of Alicante is one of Spain's newest universities, offering its 30,000 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. Students are encouraged to participate in a conversational exchange with regularly-enrolled Spanish university students.

Living Logistics

Housing and all meals are included in the program fee. Participants have two housing options: a Spanish homestay or an off-campus residence hall with other international students.


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.

Residence Halls

Students seeking an independent environment should consider living in an off-campus residence all with international and some Spanish students. The off-campus residencias are located near the Universidad de Alicante campus in San Vicente, approximately 40 minutes by bus from downtown Alicante. All meals are provided in the residence hall. All rooms are single en-suite rooms with a telephone, TV cable, internet access and air conditioning. Students share a kitchenette with a small fridge and microwave.


Participants are encouraged to bring their laptops. All students will have access to free wireless Internet at the CIEE Study Centre, at the Universidad de Alicante campus, homestays, and residence halls.

Cultural Immersion

Social Activities

Program participants will have access to a wide variety of weekly activities organized by both CIEE and the Universidad de Alicante International Club. These activities are a great way to meet local Spanish students while learning about the local culture. Such activities include: guided tours to local points of interest, intramural sports, nature and hiking, cooking and dance, theatre and cinema.

Students also have the opportunity to participate in a Conversation Exchange program with Spanish students, which helps provide American students with an opportunity to put their knowledge of the Spanish language to use in a social setting.

Volunteer Opportunities

Those who wish to volunteer during their time in Spain will find several opportunities for volunteer work with local children, senior citizens and the disabled. The Student Services department will provide more information about this possibility during the CIEE on-site orientation in Alicante.


Students will have the opportunity to visit several different Spanish cities and landmarks within the Alicante and Valencia regions to gain a wider perspective on Spanish culture. One weekend, overnight and two day trips are included in the program fee. Previous weekend trips have included visits to Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Granada. An optional trip to participate on the Camino de Santiago pilgramage route is organized each semester for an additional fee (to be paid on site).




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.

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 1 for fall and academic year programs and September 24 for the spring semester program.


To see the estimated total cost sheet for Spring 2016, 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 three separate pre-departure orientations:

The first orientation is for University of Iowa students attending this and other CIEE Spain 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 autumn/spring.

Finally, CIEE will hold an online pre-departure orientation specifically for students participating in the Alicante Language in Context program prior to departure. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and interact with their future peers and the resident director in an online setting.

On-Site Orientation in Spain

Upon arrival in Alicante, students will attend a mandatory, 3 day 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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