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USAC Madrid Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Summer, Academic Year


Madrid, Spain




2.5 GPA and in good academic standing

Application Due:

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

Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

Academic Program

Gran Via in Madrid

This program offers a high-quality educational experience in three diverse academic areas: Spanish language, Art, and Spanish/European Studies. These programs are not exclusive of one another; students may chose courses from any area. All students are expected to take Spanish language coursework, although no prior language study is required to participate. A 3 sh internship may also be available. The program is administered by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), of which the University of Iowa is a member.

The list of current courses can be found here: USAC Course Offerings

University of Iowa resident credit is granted for this program.

Program Dates

Parque del Buen Retiro

Students can study on this program for a semester, academic year, or summer session. Two month-long sessions are offered each summer and students can attend one or both. Check the USAC webpage for exact program dates USAC Madrid Calendars.

Sessions run approximately:

Fall: Early September to mid-December

Spring: Mid-January to mid-May

Session I: Late May to late June

Session II: Early July to early August

Cultural Activities and Excursions

Field Trips

Students are also encouraged to participate in the included program field studies listed below. These excursions generally take place on Fridays. Dates and locations may change at the discretion of the Resident Director. Common destinations include the following: Segovia and La Granja de San Ildefonso, Las Hoces del Duratón, Toledo, Salamanca, El Escorial and Manzanares Castle or the Valley of the Fallen.

More information about Field Studies can be found here: Madrid Field Studies

Embedded, Credit-Bearing Internships

USAC internships are rich resources for academic and professional development particularly in a study abroad setting. USAC internships are considered courses and count as part a student's credit load. They can be time-consuming, but are very worthwhile. Students are placed in a Spanish-speaking environment, with high exposure to culture and language, and must be able to communicate at the Track IV level (ie have completed Intermediate Spanish II). Interns earn credits but no financial compensation. The schedule and the number of work hours will be determined by the schedule of USAC courses.

USAC will attempt to place students in a field related to the student’s interest, although placement depends on availability and qualifications. Previous placements have included: an art gallery, a primary school, a business incubator, a local high school, non-profit organizations, and extracurricular activities/tutoring for disadvantaged youth. If interested in a particular field that is not mentioned above, it is of utmost importance that to contact the USAC office at least three months in advance so that the internship coordinator can attempt to find something suitable. Placement is not guaranteed by USAC, rather it will be determined by the student's application and supporting materials and an interview with the internship sponsor on site. For most positions, students will be required to attend orientation training sessions at the beginning of the internship.

Eligibility—enrollment in the Madrid program, a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and junior standing at the time of the internship. Students must submit their resume in English and Spanish and the application forms at least eight weeks in advance, and include a short essay in Spanish describing what they hope to achieve as an intern. A refundable fee of 100 EUR is charged and returned upon successful completion of the internship.

If interested, students will apply after they have been accepted into the program; consult the Internship Opportunities and Application document on USAC Student Gateway for more information. Requirements are: enrollment in the Madrid program; minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale; and junior standing at the time of internship. A refundable fee of 100 EUR is charged and returned upon successful completion of the internship.

Volunteer Opportunities

The USAC staff helps students find volunteer opportunities in the local community. It's a great way to get involved, practice Spanish skills, and give back.

Examples of Volunteer Opportunities in Madrid: Several students have volunteered for, a non-profit organization created by American ex-pat Dale Sindell. provides a forum for Spanish-speaking families who are affected by hearing loss. With more than 10,000 visits per month, the website has become a virtual community of Spanish-speaking families, speech-language pathologists, educators and professionals. Recent volunteers have joined the ranks of an increasing number of students who collaborate with t-oigo each semester and tutor a child, in English, who suffers from hearing loss.

Local Bilingual School: USAC students have also volunteered at a local bilingual primary school. This provides an excellent chance to see how the Spanish educational system works and practice their Spanish.

For More Information

Aubree Compton, Senior Advisor
The University of Iowa
Office for Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242-1802

Phone: 319-335-0353


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.


Madrid is a city of great cultural and political importance. It is one of the liveliest capital cities in Europe and boasts some of the finest art museums in the world. Its location in central Spain makes it a good starting point for any trip to other Spanish cities such as Cordova, Seville, Barcelona, or Valencia or to neighboring countries like France or Portugal. There are many buses and trains that connect Madrid with these destinations and beyond. Morocco is also within easy reach, located just across the Strait of Gibraltar. The capital is a melting pot for all regions of Spain, and, more recently, for other cultures, yet it has maintained its own well-defined character. The city offers a wide variety of entertainment for people of all ages and cultural interests, as well as a wide variety of sports. Madrid has a modern infrastructure, but has successfully preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighborhoods and streets. The result is in a cohesive blend of old and new: cobblestone streets and monumental architecture, parks, and plazas, alongside modern architecture and public art. Hence, the city is home to both ancient buildings and modern skyscrapers designed by world-renowned architects. In the same fashion, you may eat in a new gourmet restaurant or a century-old café. The local public transportation system, mainly composed of buses and a subway, makes any part of the large city easily accessible. You are encouraged to embrace and become a part of Madrid’s culture and meet local people. Without a doubt, spending the summer, semester, or year in Madrid will be the experience of a lifetime.

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

The Rey Juan Carlos University is a young, public university with about 30,000 students distributed among four campuses. USAC classes are held at the campus located in the Vicálvaro neighborhood and are easily accessible via the subway. The campus combines old and modern buildings and has a new, modern library, along with a gym, computer lab, and two student cafeterias. Green areas and an active student body make it an ideal place for the USAC student to find the interaction necessary for successful learning of the Spanish language and culture.

Living Accommodations

Apartment facade


Homestay placements are a great opportunity for students to immerse themselves into the daily life of a local family. Homestays include three meals per day and provide an unmatched opportunity to speak Spanish and learn Spanish customs. Participants do not need prior language experience in order to live in a Spanish homestay.


Students also have the option to live in shared apartments with other USAC students or local university students. Apartments are fully equipped except for sheets and towels, which students should bring with them or purchase upon arrival.

The city has an excellent system of public transportation and all housing is within commuting distance of classes. Inexpensive student dining halls on campus are available for lunch.

More information about housing can be found on USAC's webpage:Living Accommodations for Madrid

Housing Fees

During the semester, students pay monthly rent and the housing fee is not included in the course fee. Students will need to have a plan and budget in place to withdraw the amount needed for rent monthly. For summer programs, apartment housing is included in the course fee- homestay has a surcharge.


This program is open to all UI students who are in both good academic and also disciplinary standing. Applicants must also meet the minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5. Participants must remain in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university until departure. If the applicant is not in good standing at the end of the semester, student acceptance will be revoked and the student will be responsible for the associated withdrawal fees.

Program Cost Sheet

Madrid at night

Fall 2017 Cost SheetPDF
Summer I 2016 Cost SheetPDF
Summer II 2016 Cost SheetPDF
Summer I & II 2017 Cost SheetPDF

These documents outline the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. It includes fees charged on students’ U-Bill, as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

The cost sheet includes the Study Abroad Administrative Fee and Mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance. Please see the respective websites for further details. If the fee is inclusive of UI tuition, it is calculated by Current Tuition. Please contact Aubree Compton with questions regarding this cost sheet – call 319-335-0353 to schedule an appointment.

Upfront, out of pocket expenses

Some costs are incurred prior to departure and will be due before financial aid/scholarships disperse. Here are the expected upfront costs for USAC:

  • USAC Application Fee $100
  • Iowa Application Fee $50
  • Spanish Visa (semester only) approximately $160
  • Refundable Housing Deposit $300
  • Airline Ticket $1,000-$1,400

Optional additional fees paid to USAC

These fees are all optional and not included in the course fee for the program. The cost should be paid directly to USAC through the Gateway account, failure to pay will result in USAC withholding transcripts.

  • Optional Tours
  • Course Fees

Financial Aid and Scholarships

balcony in Madrid

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.


Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities, and Non-UI External Awards.


Federal Pell Grant recipients are eligible to apply for the Gilman Scholarship

Withdrawal Policy

After applying for a Study Abroad Program, notice of withdrawal must be made in writing to the student's USAC Program Advisor and Aubree Compton at the University of Iowa. The date on which the letter or e-mail message is received is the date by which student withdrawal costs will be calculated. If for any reason the participant withdraws after the early admission period, after confirming, or before or during the course of the program, the amount/percentage shown in the following chart represents what the student will be required to pay.

Program Deposit: The USAC application deposit is waived for UI students. If the participant withdraws from the program after the early application period closes, the University of Iowa will charge the student's U-Bill for these fees ($300 minimum).

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 Study Abroad Advisor Aubree Compton for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when withdrawing 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 the airline for further details.

How to Apply

Steps to Completing Student Application for Study Abroad Participation

• Before filling out any applications, please schedule an appointment to meet with Aubree Compton, Study Abroad Advisor for Madrid, Spain by calling 319-335-0353. The student's application WILL NOT be approved until this step has been completed.

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

• Submit the $100 non-refundable application fee to USAC

• Do not submit a transcript, this will be done on the student's behalf

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

• As part of the Iowa Online Application for Study Abroad applicants will need to upload a copy of their passport picture page and a list of courses to take while abroad.

NOTICE: For the Summer Term, this program has Summer I, Summer II, and Summer I & II options. In the UI online application under “Offering” applicants 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 preferred dates abroad. If assistance is needed, please consult Aubree Compton, Advisor.

Post Acceptance

Acceptance into the applicant's chosen study abroad program is made by USAC directly via an email to the applicant, which will refer to additional documents posted to a USAC Gateway account that will be created for the participant.


US passport holders should follow the batch process instructions provided by USAC (semester only), otherwise participants must apply for their student visa independently. The consulate for all UI students is the Chicago consulate (it's based the location of one's home university, not state of origin). Students applying for their visa independently should utilize this visa guide: Student Visa Instructions for Spain

Group Flight

Students may either book the group flight through USAC (see Gateway for more details) or can book a flight independently. Participants are responsible for being at the orientation site on time, as USAC fines individuals who are late.


In order to prepare for study abroad, all participants are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by USAC on-site.. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

All study abroad participants are required to complete the International Programs online “Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation” course distributed through ICON prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals and much more. All participants will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to the student once enrolled. Any question regarding this component can be directed to:

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by Aubree Compton and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Aubree will provide the date and time for this mandatory in-person session during the application process.