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USAC Alicante Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Academic Year


Alicante, Spain




2.5 GPA and in good academic standing

Application Due:

9/24 for Spring and Winter, 2/28 for Fall/Academic Year, 3/4 for Summer

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

This summer, winter, semester or academic year program offers intensive language study - up to two years of university language requirements may be met in one semester. Additional courses are taught in English or Spanish. The programs are administered by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), of which the University of Iowa is a member, and enroll approximately 100 students from many U.S. colleges and universities. UI students earn resident credit for this program.

Academic Program

The USAC programs offer courses at every level of Spanish language study. Intensive Spanish language programs for students at the beginning or intermediate level are designed for rapid improvement in Spanish language skills. Students at the advanced level select from a variety of language and literature courses. All courses are taught exclusively for program participants in Spanish by Spanish faculty, with the exception of one or two courses offered each semester (usually in English), by a visiting U.S. faculty member from one of the USAC consortium institutions.

In the summer, this program offers intensive 4, 5 or 9 week sessions which offer Spanish language and conversation courses. Language classes are available to students of all levels of Spanish fluency. As the classes are intensive, one semester of coursework is completed in one month of classes. Students earn UI resident credit for this program. Some courses satisfy requirements for the Spanish major and minor, while others can be used to fulfill General Education Requirements. Students take between 3 and 6 semester hours in session I and between 3 and 5 semester hours in session II.

A 3-week winter session is also available at this program site. Students take 3-4 credits during this session. Some courses satisfy requirements for the Spanish major and minor, while others can be used to fulfill General Education Requirements.

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; several courses may satisfy requirements for the Spanish major or minor. To see an updated list of course offerings for this program, go here.

Program Dates

Spring 2015 session: 1/11-5/15

Summer 2015 session(s): Session I: 5/24-6/29, Session II:7/1-7/30

Fall 2015: 9/1-12-17

Winter 2015-16: 12/26-1/15

For More Information

More information about this program is available on the USAC Alicante webpage. Program catalogs are also available at the Study Abroad office on campus. 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.

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

Participants have two housing options: a Spanish homestay or shared apartments with other USAC students and/or international students. Both options are located downtown, within walking distance of the beach and main commercial center. Both homestays and apartments are located in apartment buildings and are close to each other. Supermarkets, shops, entertainment, and public transportation will be within walking distance from student's homes. The city also has excellent public transportation services such as bus, train and tram.


Homestay placements are a great opportunity for students to immerse themselves into the daily life of a Spanish family. Homestays included three meals per day and provide an unmatched opportunity to speak Spanish and learn Spanish customs. However, this option is not advisable for students who have an independent lifestyle or strict eating habits.


Students also have the option to live in shared apartments with other USAC or international students and also with Spaniards. This option is advisable if participants have an independent lifestyle or if they prefer to cook their own meals.


USAC students with a high level of Spanish are eligible to be placed in a non-paid internship in Alicante. Students are placed in a Spanish-speaking environment with high exposure to culture and language. Example placements include: hotels, museums, movie studios, tourist office, travel agencies, teaching at local schools, infant/preschool, accounting, libraries, marketing, NGOs, international development, assistance for physically and mentally disabled, tutoring for disadvantaged youth, gyms and other local businesses. Please note that placement is not guaranteed by USAC, rather it will be determined by the student's application, supporting materials and an interview with the internship sponsor on site.

Internship eligibility requirements: advanced Spanish level (Track IV), 3.0 GPA and junior standing at time of internship. The fee to arrange an internship is 200 EUR.

Teaching Opportunities

USAC offers some paid tutoring opportunities for participants. There are two types of tutoring jobs available:

- Private lessons with kids or adults. These lessons will mostly consist of speaking in English with children (2-9 years old) while playing with them; doing homework with kids (10-16) or simply English conversation with adults.

- Local schools. USAC has made an agreement with a network of private and public schools so that participants can work as conversation teachers of assistants to English teachers in primary or secondary schools.

As a teaching assistant participants will help local teachers to solicit conversation and vive presentations to the English classes on topics which the teacher will suggest, such as American holidays or school sorts. As a conversation teacher, participants will prepare their own presentations on topics based on student interest. All tutoring opportunities offered by USAC are paid (payments will vary depending on the school, family and schedules).

Immersion Activities and Field Trips

Students are encouraged to participate in local sports programs. USAC participants will have full access to all sports facilities on campus, including an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, soccer field, track, handball, climbing wall, weight room, and much more. The campus has a very active community of international students that contributes to the diversity of the campus and to the possible extracurricular opportunities for USAC participants.

Field Trips

Students are encouraged to participate in the included program field trips. Dates and exact locations are at the discretion of the Resident Director and vary from session to session and semester to semester. Common destinations include:

Fall Semester


Visit the town of Altea, known for its beautiful old quarter built upon a hill. The city is a maze of narrow streets and of whitewashed, Moorish inspired architecture, overlooking a palm-lined seafront.


The coastal city of Calpe is famous for its Peñon de Ifach, a massive limestone outcrop over 300 m high, as well as the beach.

Cabo San Antonio and Jávea

Take a morning trek up to the Cabo of San Antonio, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. In the afternoon visit the city of Jávea.

Elche and Tabarca

In the beautiful city of Elche, explore the Palm Grove—El Palmeral—an orchard of over 200,000 palms, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2000, and other historical sights. Then take a ferry to the fortified island of Tabarca, a small island with a big history that is part of the city of Alicante.


Join in to explore the capital of the last Moorish kingdom in Spain with the Alhambra palace, beautiful grounds, and gardens.

Guadalest: Fuentes de Algar and Benidorm

In the morning, visit the sixteenth-century Moorish fortified town of Guadalest, perched on the side of a cliff. Have lunch by the fountains of Algar, and in the afternoon and evening visit the tourist hot spot of Benidorm.


Visit the coastal city of Valencia, the third largest city in Spain. Set on the coast with picturesque museums and parks, it is a city rich in history and culture. It features the architecturally stunning City of Arts and Sciences museum complex and in 2007 hosted the America’s Cup.




Minimum eligibility requirements include good academic standing and a minimum 2.5 GPA.

Next Steps and Application

Steps to Completing Your Application

• Before you fill out any applications, please schedule an appointment to meet with Spain Study Abroad Advisor Aubree Compton by calling 319-335-0353. Your application WILL NOT be approved until you've completed this step.

• Fill out the Iowa Online Application for Study Abroad, you will be charged a $50 non-refundable application fee.

• Fill out the USAC Online Application for Alicante. Be sure to submit a personal statement as part of your application or email it to

**** Reminder: Do not submit the $300 application fee or transcripts to USAC!

• Return your completed UI USAC study abroad cover sheet with your preferred courses and a copy of your passport to the front desk in Study Abroad as soon as possible.

NOTICE: For the Summer Term, this program has Summer I, Summer II, and Summer I & II options. In the UI online application under “Offering” you will be asked to choose between “Codes” A, B, or AB.

Code A=Summer I

Code B=Summer II

Code AB=Summer I & II

Please be careful to choose the correct session that corresponds to the dates you wish to be abroad. If you need help with this, please consult your study abroad advisor.

Application Deadline

The application deadline set for University of Iowa students is February 24 for fall and academic year programs, October 1 for the winter session, September 24 for the spring semester program and March 4 for summer sessions.


To see the estimated total cost sheet for Spring 2015, Click herePDF

The cost sheet for the Winter 2014-15 session is now available. Click herePDF

New! For the summer 2015 cost sheet (session A) click herePDF

Application Deadline

The application deadline for fall and academic year programs is February 24th. Spring program applications are due on September 24. For summer March 4th.

Withdrawal Policy

After applying for a Study Abroad Program, notice of withdrawal must be made in writing to your USAC Program Advisor and the University of Iowa Study Abroad 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 USAC
After Program Start Date Administrative fee: 100%
Course fee: As determined by the program contract with USAC

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. The USAC policy regarding withdrawals and refunds can be found here: USAC Money Matters. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

Once Accepted into the USAC Alicante program:

Students will receive an acceptance email directly from USAC confirming their admission into the study abroad program. This email contains information about logging on to each student's individual USAC Gateway account. Please be sure to check this account regularly, as important documents about pre-departure, visa assistance, housing and much more are posted for participants on a weekly basis.

Pre-Departure Orientations in Iowa

University of Iowa students participating in USAC study abroad programs will have two separate pre-departure orientations on campus:

The first orientation is for University of Iowa students attending this and other USAC 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.

On-Site Orientation in Spain

Upon arrival in Alicante, students will attend a mandatory orientation provided by USAC. 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.

Optional Madrid Tour

Students have the option of participating in an optional Madrid Tour prior to the beginning of the semester in Alicante. Students on the tour will stay at a centrally located hotel and spend four days discovering the history and art of Madrid. Students will take bus trips to the medieval city of Toledo, Valley of the Fallen, and the town of Segovia, famous for its Roman aqueduct and castle. Students will also visit several sites within the city of Madrid.

***Please note that the optional Madrid tour has an additional fee. Students participating in the Madrid tour will be transported to Alicante at the conclusion of the tour by USAC staff. Students who do not participate in the Madrid tour will be responsible for their arranging their arrival to the program city.

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