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IES Abroad Madrid - Language Area Studies Semester/Year

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Unforgettable Madrid

Above all else, Madrid was truly a cultural blow. When I first arrived I was no stranger to museums, concerts and other types of cultural events—ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved these type of activities—but none of this compares to the magnitude and quality of what I discovered in Spain. Besides spending hours inside every museum I could possibly get into, I loved to walk around the city because I felt I was constantly surrounded by history. The more I was exposed to culture, the more I wanted to learn about it; by getting to know Madrid through its art and history I truly feel I got to know more about Spain. IES did a marvelous job of encouraging and guiding me through these discoveries; the Staff is incredibly helpful and friendly and they put a lot of effort in organizing trips and activities that allow students to fully immerse themselves into Spanish culture. Whenever we visited any sites outside Madrid we had knowledgeable and engaging guides that showed us all the neat parts of each city. These trips were always very well organized, and although the Staff members made sure to keep us safe, they were also flexible when we wanted to explore the city by ourselves. I also love that IES offers so many different classes about Spanish history and art—whenever we made one of these trips I couldn’t help feeling like I was actually experiencing what I had learned in class.

Madrid is beautiful in so many different ways that it is difficult to decide what part of my study abroad experience is the one I loved most, but I can say that the cultural exposure I received there is something that I will never forget and that will stay with me forever. If what you want is an incredible and fun opportunity to truly get to know Spanish culture, Madrid is definitely for you!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Exploring Madrid

After this past semester abroad, I can say with confidence that studying abroad is something I recommend everyone does. I was able to improve my Spanish, learn about a new culture, and get to know new people from Spain as well as from other universities in the United States.

One of my favorite things about my program was the ability to live with a host family. This was something I was extremely nervous about going into my program, but ended up being one of my best experiences in Spain. Living with a Spanish family helped me grow confident in my Spanish-speaking abilities and really taught me a lot about the Spanish people. My host mother treated my roommate and I like her own children and I really felt like I had a support system in Madrid.

Through the IES program I was able to learn about the history and magic of Madrid. The program offered many opportunities to be active in the community, visit the most famous sites and interact with the Spanish people. The staff in Madrid were incredibly warm and welcoming and were there to help me in every step of my journey.

I really enjoyed my experience abroad and loved learning new things and finding new ways to experience Madrid.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Best four months of my life

The study abroad experience is so hard to summarize, but IES Abroad definitely helped me to have the time of my life! From the moment we arrived in the airport the program directors were there to help us transition. The first week of the program was an intensive orientation, where we met everyone else in the program, toured the city and museums, and had initial Spanish classes.
After I adjusted to living in the city and classes started, time flew by! I lived with a Senora and another girl from my program. Our conversations over meals dramatically improved my Spanish and it was nice to have a local to ask advice about travel, restaurants, etc. I highly recommend taking the art history class in the Prado Museum, it was my favorite course by far and I will always remember what I learned about Spanish artists.
There are no IES classes on Fridays so three day weekends allow plenty of time to travel. I suggest finding a balance between traveling and staying in Madrid, because there is so much to explore and discover in Madrid. All the museums, shopping, parks, and restaurants fill the city with life and energy and culture that I miss every single day. Study abroad is an incredible experience, I cannot recommend it enough!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A True Madrileña!

Studying abroad in Madrid was the greatest experience of my life. Although that may sound pretty cliché, it is completely true. The opportunities I had to become fully immersed in the culture while I was abroad were truly incredible. I will never forget my time abroad!

My host family welcomed me with open arms. Of course I was a little nervous to meet them and live with them for four months, but they were the most loving family I ever met. We had family dinners every night and my Spanish improved tremendously! I lived with a mother, father, and two children who were 7 and 10. I love little kids so this made me feel even more comfortable because they made me laugh all the time! They would even help me with my Spanish and I would help them with their English.

The city of Madrid is just absolutely beautiful. It’s clean, the people are nice, and there is so much culture on every street. My walk to class would consist of passing by tons of restaurants, markets, and even parks. I went on excursions with the program to different parts of Spain, took a class in the Prado museum, spent my weekends in Retiro Park, and even went to a Real Madrid soccer game! These were only some of the amazing opportunities I had while I was in Spain.

Although I was in a different country for four months, I really felt at home in the city of Madrid. The staff were very nice and approachable, my host family made me feel so welcome, and I met so many new people that I am still great friends with today!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Go Study Abroad! Just Do It!

Studying abroad in Madrid, Spain... where do I begin?! I had the time of my life while studying abroad, and I would not trade that experience for the world! Almost everyday I wish that I could go back to Madrid and spend time with all of the friends I made.

I chose to stay with a host family, and I can easily say that without them, my experience would have been so different! They were truly my family, and I felt so welcome and loved by them. I am a very family-oriented person, and I truly loved that about my host family. I was able to have traditional/typical Spanish meals every night with them, and it was so much fun that they had kids because it was like a pressure relief when talking to them. They didn't care if I messed up a verb tense or stumbled over my words, so it actually turned out to really help and improve my Spanish because I was never worried or felt embarrassed when speaking with them. I made a lot of close friends by attending a local gym just a few minutes from my host family's house. I am still in contact with them after being in the states for almost 2 moths now!

Not only did I make many lasting relationships with the people who live there, the staff at the IES Abroad Center were wonderful. They were so caring and very well in touch with each individual student. They helped us with any problems that we had, and they were very attentive towards us. I really enjoyed the classes that I took, for they were challenging and I learned a lot about the particular subjects, but every class went beyond the structure of the classroom and its material. They would link the subject to the culture, the people, the city, the history, etc. This was an aspect that I greatly enjoyed in terms of the classes and lectures.

We did a lot of side trips and excursions within Spain such as León, Asturias and Segovia to name a few. I only did one personal side trip to Granada in the south of Spain, but many other people took the opportunity to travel to other countries since they were already in Europe at such close range to such diversity. Even locally there were many things to see and experience within the busy city of Madrid. From the night life scene to the parks and museums, one is always entertained and experiencing new sights and smells simply by strolling through the cobblestone streets with a friend.

However, the only negative thing I would have to say is that 3 1/2 months was definitely not long enough, and I wish I would have known how quickly that time would fly! So the take-home, piece of advice I have for anyone out there is that the longer you can be abroad, the better because time in another culture with local people is priceless.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

IES Madrid-- the best semester you will ever have in college!

As a student majoring in Spanish and International Relations, studying in Madrid was a like a capstone to my undergraduate studies. In Madrid, everything that I had spent semesters studying at my home university came to life as I spent my free time traveling around Europe; it was nothing short of magical.

Studying abroad is both an exciting and anxiety-inducing experience, and I found that the staff at IES were always extremely accommodating with me at every point of my study abroad experience, from assisting me in the preparation of pre-departure documentation to supporting me in whatever situation arose while in Spain. What really set IES apart from other study abroad programs for me was how personal the experience was-- every administrator knew my name when I arrived and were constantly checking in to see how I was adapting. When you are living in a new country, these little gestures can make a world of a difference.

Academically, IES was very good at engaging students in Spanish culture. During my semester I had the opportunity to take classes at various art museums around Madrid, at local universities, take the DELE language certification exam and even participate in a part time internship for academic credit. Since most courses are taught at the IES Abroad Center, students have the support of a community of other US college students studying in Madrid, but are also encouraged to seek out friendships with Spanish students outside the IES community by living in Spanish dorms, taking a course at a local university and participating in language intercambios.

The program does a really good job of ensuring students experience all the wonderful things that Spanish culture has to offer by providing cooking and flamenco lessons, weekend excursions, and inviting students to dinners and performances around Madrid. Students have the option of living in a traditional homestay, an apartment with other US students or dorms with Spanish students. The choice is up to you, but can greatly influence your level of cultural and language immersion with dorms being the most social option and an apartment being much less immersive.

What makes IES so great is that every student is given the opportunity to make their study abroad experience fulfill both their unique needs and personal goals. Highly recommended for anyone considering studying in Spain!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Living like a true Spaniard

IES Abroad Madrid is that program to receive that "once-in-a-lifetime-study-abroad-experience"! Once I arrived in the city the program staff warmly welcomed me into my new home for the next 3 and a half months. It was apparent that they had done their homework because they all knew us by first name, where we were from and who was our host mom during our semester. Their organization and friendliness helped ease the transition and made me and other students adjust to this new lifestyle. IES Madrid also provided students with great opportunities to assimilate to Spanish culture, through intercambios (student exchanges), historic tours, and cooking classes. Madrid is one great European city where students can truly experience the Spanish lifestyle of siestas, tapas and amazing soccer!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Class in the Prado, Approachable Staff, and Great Location!

Everyday in Madrid is completely different, and I loved the city. I had a blast playing the “let’s get off at a random metro stop and walk around” game, and discovered a city completely ALIVE both day and night. Everyone I met was super helpful with improving my Spanish, and there are quite a number of fun museums and attractions to visit. It’s also easy to get from Madrid to anywhere else in Spain and, quite frankly, the rest of Europe if that’s your thing.

IES staff are sincere people. I think they do a great job of ensuring your living situation is comfortable, and I always felt I could approach them. They personalized my experience and provided me with a homestay right in the center of Madrid, which I absolutely adored. My host mother was the best!

I also really have to commend IES on their excursions. During my time we visited Bilbao, San Sebastián, Asturias, Toledo, Segovia, and a few local places around Madrid. I thought the trips were well organized and gave us the perfect amount of free time to ourselves.

I had fantastic professors in IES, including a A+ grammar teacher and an employee of the Prado Museum of Art. Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, I would check-in at the Prado and we would walk around the museum analyzing paintings and artist styles while the paintings were right in front of us! What a unique experience.

Overall, I have no regrets about my decision to study abroad with IES. Kudos to them!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Study Abroad in Madrid

When I chose to study abroad, I knew I needed to find a program that would suit all of my needs to have a fulfilling experience. I am a Spanish and Biology double major which for me meant I needed to join a program where the classes were held in Spanish. I also love having close relationships with friends and family so I wanted to live with a host family because what better way to learn about a culture then living under a Spanish family’s roof. Academically, I needed a couple classes abroad to transfer back to Wofford College as specific credits. Therefore, when choosing the right program for me it took a lot of time and patience. I found IES Abroad Madrid-Language Area Studies; this program fit every tiny criterion I had. So without further thought I started the application process. From being accepted to applying for a student visa, my IES Abroad counselor, John Colhouer was extremely helpful in answering my most confusing to most simple questions I had. From the start I felt the IES Abroad staff was fully supportive and invested in me. As a jetted off to Madrid in the start of January, I was welcomed by Spanish students and assisted to the hotel where orientation began. The IES Madrid Abroad staff was very helpful from the beginning. They had a true interest in each student and wanted to make sure each student succeeded. While abroad I lived with a host mother; she has three sons who had already left the house but we saw them frequently. I made sure to go on all the trips IES offered because on the trips I met more study abroad students in the program I hadn’t spoken to before and on each trip we had very good tour guides who knew the histories and past times of the regions. I also got involved in a one-on-one program set up by IES Abroad Madrid. I would meet up with a Spanish student once a week and we would speak 30min. in Spanish and 30min. in English. Throughout the semester Tamara and I became good friends and would hang out more frequently. IES Abroad Madrid-Language Area Studies is a focus on the culture and language of the region. Therefore, all of my classes were taught in Spanish by Spanish professors. At first it was challenging but as my language improved throughout the semester I noticed a change in the way I could take notes and complete assignments. I started only thinking about class in Spanish instead of trying to translate constantly. IES Abroad Madrid was the perfect program for me. I loved how many different activities were held for us and the opportunities were amazing. I recommend IES Abroad Madrid-Language Area Studies as a perfect abroad experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Thoughts and advice

Studying abroad is a difficult experience to transmit through a review. I don't feel I could ever give a complete picture of my time in Madrid through words but I can at least give advice about the IES program.

Definitely a program I would recommend to others. The IES directors/advisors are extremely helpful, accessible, and concerned with the well being of students. There were many included trips that students could go on to other cities in Spain...and they were amazing! There were a lot of mixed reviews on academics. Personally, I am a science major and was only taking general education requirements abroad. All of my classes were arts, history, and language and this made it difficult to always feel a real purpose/investment in class because they were all studies outside of my future career interest. However I did feel the material of almost all of them was always interesting and I was just happy to be practicing Spanish! (all classes are in Spanish. Some felt the classes were too easy but I was happy with the amount of work - enough to feel productive, but not so much that it inhibited experiencing Madrid and Europe.

Because all of the classes are in Spanish and I did a home stay my Spanish improved immensely. IES gives you many opportunities to become better at Spanish you just have to take them! I recommend home stay because I had such a positive experience. I know not everyone loved their family, but I loved my host mom and it allowed me to gain a better understanding of Spanish culture than any class ever could. I would recommend a home stay to everyone. Get out of your comfort zone and experience something completely different.

General Advice:
-Don't feel really pressured to travel. Some people went to a different country every weekend, others spent the majority of their time in Madrid. Do what you want! /Can afford! Either way you made it to Europe.
-You would rather under-pack than over-pack.
-If you do a home stay bring slippers. They are worn inside the house.
-Don't bring your phone to the club. They were often stolen out of zippered pockets in zippered bags.
-You'll improve your Spanish as much as you want to. If you really want to improve you can (home stay, intercambios, trying to not speak English), and if you don't care as much that's cool too!
-go to the Cercedilla mountains outside of Madrid - most memorable experience of my entire study abroad
-go to Porto, Portugal! And Tubingen, Germany. And Granada and Toledo.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Semester in Spain!

I definitely recommend studying abroad to anyone who has the chance - my semester in Madrid was the best time of my life. IES Madrid is an amazing program, providing so many opportunities to meet new people (both American and Spanish!), immerse yourself in the culture (with weekend and day trips to other cities and activities to get to know Madrid better!), and improve your Spanish (living with a host family, taking classes in Spanish, and interacting with the wonderful professors and staff!)

Such an incredible experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A Life-Changing Semester

My experience abroad was extremely worthwhile. Not only did I greatly improve my Spanish speaking abilities, make new American and foreign friends, and explore all over Spain and Europe, but I also grew a lot as a person. Mainly, I experienced a new level of independence traveling in foreign countries by myself, and gained a fresh perspective on the US and also found a love for Spanish art!

I lived with a wonderful host mom and another American student. This experience, I think, is the best way to get immersed in the Spanish culture. She spoke to my roommate and I exclusively in Spanish and helped our language capabilities immensely. I learned a lot about Spain and the culture through our conversations, and got to know a network of other Spaniards through meeting her neighbors and extended family. My roommate and I each had our own bedrooms and had a separate bathroom, and the apartment was always extremely clean. I was in a safe neighborhood, very close to a lot of restaurants and shops and walking distance to school.

I will admit, I was a little nervous about having my food needs met in Spain as a vegetarian. However, my host mom was very accommodating to my food restrictions and still made me traditional Spanish dishes, just often substituting meat or fish with eggs or beans. She also let us use her kitchen to make dinners at night, and often let us eat leftovers from lunch for dinner.

As for the classes,they are fairly easy in comparison to the coursework I am accustomed to at my home university. That being said, the professors are knowledgeable in their subjects and very understanding about speaking clearly (and repeating things) in Spanish and about accommodating students. The art classes in particular are fantastic, as they take place in the Prado and Reina Sofia museums and you learn about the art as you look at it!

One thing that really stood out to me about this particular program is that the staff at IES Madrid is incredible. They are all extremely friendly and eager to get to know each student as a person- they had all of our names memorized day 1! They work very hard to get everyone matched into classes they want. I was on the waitlist for 4 out of the 5 classes I ended up taking- they got me into every class I wanted. They also put a lot of effort into extracurricular activities and program-lead trips to places that a typical abroad student might not know to visit. Overall, I cannot recommend IES Abroad Madrid- Language and Area Studies program enough.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A life changing semester

The biggest strength of this program the opportunities for immersion it provides. Through IES, I lived with an older Spanish couple that didn't speak English, and interned with a non-profit educational group where I tutored high school students. Through these I was forced day in and day out to speak Spanish, and I left the country feeling very confident in everyday conversation. IES also offers the opportunity to take classes at UCM (the local university) with Spanish students, something I unfortunately was unable to do.

The social scene in Madrid makes it impossible to be bored. Clubs stay packed on weekends until 6am. Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid soccer tickets can be purchased relatively cheap (as long as you're ok with nosebleed seats). Students get in most museums for free, and beautiful parks are all over the city. Just about every distinct dish found around Spain can be found in Madrid because of its central location.

There are no IES classes on Friday's, so it is very easy to travel on your own or with friends over the weekends. In addition, IES offers a bunch of program sponsored trips that are well worth it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    5

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing Experience

Studying Abroad in Madrid through IES provided me with a multi-dimensional understanding of the city and country. The staff was so supportive in making sure that students had a plethora of options to do whatever interested them. For example, I was given a guitar so that I could continue practicing at my homestay. The field trips through the program were incredibly informative and gave us a deeper understanding of the history in Spain. My homestay family truly feels like my second family, and I miss them dearly.

I really would recommend IES Madrid because the strong staff really are the backbone of the program. The program allowed me to feel a sense of security and provided me with the confidence to travel through Europe independently.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

¡Que Divertido!

IES Abroad does a great job helping students feel comfortable in the city of their choosing while also ensuring that each student has the opportunity to be independent and discover their own life in the city. I went to Madrid on the IES Language and Area Studies program in the fall of 2014. It is an excellent program with an extremely professional staff who really care about the students on the program and want each student to have the best possible experience. From the time a student is admitted to the program the IES staff communicates with the student about what to expect in Madrid, and then upon arrival, all students are greeted at the airport by IES staff. Additionally, for those students living with a host family they are also at the airport. While I was initially very nervous about living with a host family, it turned out to be one of my best decisions abroad as I really became immersed in the culture and my Spanish was drastically improved because I lived with a host family. The classes run by IES are excellent. They are all taught by professors from the Universidad Compultense de Madrid, the best college in Madrid. There is a large emphasis on getting students out to explore Madrid; therefore, each class takes two field trips. My favorite class was definitely El Greco, Velázquez and Goya in the Prado Museum. It was taught by a curator from the world famous Prado Museum and each class meeting took place in the Prado. It was so cool to have class in such a well-renowned museum and it made the class very enjoyable. There are no classes on Friday which gives students the opportunity to travel both in Spain and throughout Europe. Additionally, each weekend IES offers a field trip or an activity both to local sites such as the Botanical Garden or the Royal Palace in Madrid and to smaller nearby towns such as Toledo or Segovia. Another benefit of the IES program is the size of the group. My semester there were 50 students. I felt that this was the perfect number because I really got to know everyone, but it never felt too small. Overall, I would highly recommend the IES Abroad Madrid Language and Area Studies for a motivated student looking to study abroad in a cosmopolitan city in a Spanish speaking country.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Madrid

I'm extremely happy to have chosen IES Abroad. The staff was so helpful from the minute I expressed interest to the program and throughout my entire experience in Madrid. I loved my home-stay living situation and was fortunate enough to only live 20 minutes away from the campus. I have made friends from all over the States and friends from Madrid as well. IES provided many opportunities to travel while balancing course work. The program directors knew everyone's names and host parents and where we lived as well. The weekend trips were well organized and from this I feel like I got to know my way around Madrid very well. I highly recommend IES for anyone looking for a study abroad program.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Best Decision I Ever Made

I would highly recommend studying abroad, especially with IES and in Madrid. The staff is unbelievably supportive and helpful and they truly make IES Madrid feel like a family. My host family was amazing and living with Spaniards had a huge influence in my immersion.

My days usually consisted of class from 9 until the afternoon and then in the afternoon I participated in various activities such as tutoring, teaching assistant and an exchange group. I highly recommend participating in these programs. On weekends, I would explore Madrid with friends or occasionally travel.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A Semester to Remember

I spent Fall Semester 2014 in Madrid, Spain with the IES Abroad Language and Area Studies Program. It was an amazing experience that I would not trade for the world. It changed my view of the world and changed me as a person. I went in hoping to learn Spanish, make new friends, and find a home away from home and I was able to achieve all these things and so much more through the IES Madrid Program.
I was very nervous in the days leading up to my trip and when I was on the way to Madrid, but as soon as I got to Madrid and met the wonderful staff and my host family I never looked back. I never had a reason to miss my family at home or the US because I was constantly doing something new and interesting with all the people in my program. Every weekend there was an activity planned for the students, the classes were interesting, and the city was amazing. Every street has something different, new, and filled with history to explore.
Going abroad is an exciting and scary decision to make, but for anyone wondering if they should go and what program they should choose I would definitely tell you to go on a program through IES Abroad.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • The Campus

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

My Abroad Experience with IES Madrid

I had a fantastic time with IES Madrid! The staff was incredibly helpful and caring and were so eager to address my questions and concerns. All my classes had engaging teachers, and I had a great experience with the internship that I was connected with. I had a wonderful homestay with a lovely host mom who cooked unbelievable food. Overall, I felt very safe and comfortable in my environment, which allowed me to immerse myself deeply in the local culture. I loved my program, and I would go back in a heartbeat.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    8

The truth

So the day would always come when I would have to formally relate my experience in Spain with IES, where I would have to put into words the significance of this adventure. Unfortunately, this is not that moment, as a written review is not befitting of the experience. I cannot say that it was a life-changing one—four months simply wasn't enough time. I cannot say that it was the most fun that I have ever had. I can, and will say, without reservation, that my semester abroad was the most important experience of my short life. Others may have fortunately had the opportunity to undertake a similar adventure, either domestically, or internationally. I on the other hand, never. So the immensity of the situation cannot be understated, and IES was on hand to make sure that I got the most I could out of it. What I will always appreciate is just how much the staff was willing to help me take advantage of the opportunities Spain had to offer. And that often meant letting us explore on our own, and not be terribly forceful and hands on in their approach to programming. It all really helped me foster an invaluable sense of independence. I need to go back.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

BEST EXPERIENCE

I've had the best experience ever. I have been to a program abroad in Paris as well and even though I loved it a lot, it doesn't compare with my experience in Madrid. From day one tip the end. I miss it. I miss the faculty, the administration, the students, just everything about it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • The Campus

    10

  • Academics

    10

Greatest semester!

I took a class about Spain's political institutes as was able to see Franco's castle.

Madrid is a great location because it is such a vibrant city and it is easy to travel from Madrid since it's so central.

I lived with a host family in a five bedroom apartment. I also had one other house mate from the program but we had our own bedrooms. There were five of us in the house and two bathrooms so that was nice.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Best Semester Ever!

Paella is a delicious dish that my host mom would fix for us. It has seafood, rice, vegetables, etc. and was delicious. It kind of reminds me of jambalaya.

Living Situation:
I filled out my housing form early so I was able to live in an optimal situation and with a wonderful family. I was within walking distance of the institute and could easily catch a bus to go to the university. It was amazing!

Program Administration:
The Madrid staff was the best! I don't think you'd be able to get a better combination of people anywhere.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    7

Study abroad in Madrid

There are three elements that contributed the most to my study abroad experience; the academics, housing, and cultural experience.

Academics: I was really impressed with the classes at IES. They offered a diverse selection and the topics were very interesting. I found the professors engaging and they clearly understood the needs of the students. It was slightly more work than I was expecting but worthwhile in the long run. I wasn't very happy with my UCM class in the end. It was more of a challenge than I anticipated and I didn't have the time or discipline to seek out the resources available. I was hoping it would be a good place to meet local Spanish students but because of the way the classes are structured in Spain it wasn't possible.

Housing: I highly recommend the homestay option. If you are serious about learning the language there is no better way than living with someone. Its a really well organized and thorough system so you will be happy with the experience. The other options require more independence and effort on your part if you want to really immerse yourself in Spanish culture, but they are still great options. I lived in the dorm rooms for a short period of time at the end of the trip and it was a great experience.

Cultural Experience: After my study abroad experience I can officially say that Madrid is one of my favorite cities in the world. There is so much culture there. The nightlife is by far the highlight. And I'm not even referring to the clubbing experience. The restaurants, bars and plazas come alive at night and being a part of that was my favorite aspect of studying abroad. Madrid is also an extremely convenient city if you're looking to travel a lot while studying abroad. There are many easy ways to get to the airport and the flights are relatively cheap.

I cannot say enough good things about this program. It made my semester abroad the great experience that it was!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

An unforgettable semester full of learning and cultural experiences

My semester in Madrid with IESAbroad was truly amazing. IES worked to organize field trips, cooking classes and flamenco classes, as well as set students up with language exchange buddies, all of which were amazing learning opportunities. My professors were all interesting and highly qualified, making my classes challenging yet enjoyable. I particularly loved my class at the Prado Museum, in which my professor was a curator at the museum. He was full of knowledge about the art, and eager to share his love of art with us! I also loved that we got to take a class at the local university, Universidad de Complutense. It made my experience much more immersive culturally, and I would recommend taking at least one local class to anyone who has a high enough level of Spanish. Another great aspect of the program was the administrative staff, who went out of their way to make the experience great for the students. One staff member walked me to site where I was volunteering so that she could help me find it and get started there. Overall, a great experience! I'm jealous of everyone who still has this experience ahead of them!