Fall, Spring, Summer, Academic Year
San Sebastián, Spain
2.5 GPA and in good academic standing
9/24 for Spring, 2/24 for Fall/Academic Year, 3/4 for Summer
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This program offers a high-quality educational experience in four diverse academic areas: Spanish language, Basque, psychology and 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.
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 San Sebastián 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
Students are encouraged to participate in the included program field trips, in addition to the field trips built into some of the courses. Dates and exact locations are at the discretion of the Resident Director and they vary from session and session and semester to semester. Common destinations include the following: Bilbao, Burgos, French Basque Country, Province Bizkaia, Province of Guipuzcoa, France-Iparralde and Santillana del Mar.
More information about Field Trips can be found here: San Sebastián Field Trips
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 of the student's credit load. They can be time-consuming, but are very worthwhile. Students are placed in an environment with high exposure to culture and language. Students working in a non-English speaking environment must be able to communicate at an advanced language level. Interns earn credits but no financial compensation. The schedule and the number of work hours will be determined by the schedule of USAC courses.
Popular internships include teaching English in local schools, working with Surfriders Foundation or BasqueHeritage.com. 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.
Eligibility— enrollment in the San Sebastián program; minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale; and junior standing at time of internship. A refundable fee of $100 is charged and returned upon successful completion of the internship.
Qualified students participating in this program will have the opportunity to get full immersion into the local school environment and have firsthand exposure to the local community. Even if the participant aren’t interested in teaching as a career, this is an excellent opportunity to add experience to one's resume, to give back to local children, and to earn a little money while living in San Sebastián. Teaching assignments will depend on availability and scheduling restraints and range from 3 to 10 hours a week. Students will assist English teachers in class, helping them out, creating real-life situations for students to practice, and motivating local kids to practice their speaking skills.
Aubree Compton, Senior Advisor
The University of Iowa
Office for Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242-1802
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.
Donostia in Basque) is nestled twelve miles from the French border at the foot of the deep green Pyrenees Mountains in the province of Gipuzkoa. It faces a gorgeous crescent-shaped bay bordered by beaches and a port. An ancient city largely destroyed in the nineteenth century, most of San Sebastián is quite modern, while the narrow streets of the Old Quarter preserve the flavor of days gone by. San Sebastián’s spectacular natural setting and its culinary delights have made it a mecca for tourists looking for a beautiful vacation spot paired with wonderful food. You’ll find more Michelin-starred restaurants in San Sebastián than in any other city in Spain, but you don’t have to have a three-star meal in order to eat well. You can also enjoy the excellent and colorful pintxos (tapas) in many of the bars in the old quarter. San Sebastián also enjoys a perfect location for traveling to other countries in Europe or for exploring Spain and the Basque Country. The city itself is easy to get around—many USAC students ride bikes or walk to classes—and has several beaches to enjoy.
Castilian Spanish and Basque are both official languages in San Sebastián and the rest of the Basque Country. Basque (or Euskara) is regularly used in all aspects of life, but is never imposed on non-Basque speakers. Taxi drivers, shopkeepers, service representatives, professors, and homestay families all speak clear Spanish whenever a Spanish speaker is present. Spanish is widely used at the university, and you are advised on which classes are taught in Spanish. While it is not necessary to speak Basque to survive in San Sebastián, you will find that learning a few words can be an enjoyable experience and open doors to making friends.
The USAC programs in Bilbao and San Sebastian are hosted by the University of the Basque Country, although the professors as well as the courses are directly affiliated with the program. Some University facilities are available to program participants. La Universidad del País Vasco (UPV) is a decentralized Spanish university with a student enrollment of approximately 40,000 students distributed over three campuses in Lejona, Vitoria-Gasteiz, and San Sebastián. Consortium offices for this program, classes and dining facilities are housed on the San Sebastián campuses. With support from the municipal government and the European Community, the USAC programs have been recognized as centers for the teaching of Spanish language to foreigners. Students from a number of European countries who are preparing to study in Spanish Universities also participate in the program.
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 and Basque 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 San Sebastián
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.
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.
Some costs are incurred prior to departure and will be due before financial aid/scholarships disperse. Here are the expected upfront costs for 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.
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.
Federal Pell Grant recipients are eligible to apply for the Gilman Scholarship http://www.iie.org/programs/gilman-scholarship-program
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.
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.
• 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.
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
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.
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: email@example.com.
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.