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This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances, and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants
section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
"Academic experiences here are both inside and outside the classroom; I was able to practice what I learned. The best parts of the courses were the small classes and the contact with the teachers. All the teachers know you by name, and it’s a very personal experience."
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Study Centers Abroad
UC faculty and staff administer UCEAP programs in Spain. Every program in Spain has a corresponding UCEAP office that is staffed to assist program participants with academic, logistical, and personal concerns. The UC Faculty Director, who is responsible for all UCEAP Spain programs, will maintain an office at the Madrid Study Center.
Inma Carmona, Program Coordinator
Centro de Estudios de la Universidad de California
UCO IDIOMAS (Edificio Servicios Múltiples) 5a planta
Avd/Menéndez Pidal s/n
14004 Córdoba, SPAIN
UCEAP Spain Study Center Director
Prof. Stephen Small
Centro de Estudios de la Universidad de California
Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociología
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Despacho Nº 1601
28223 Madrid, Spain
Phone: (+34) 91-352-2402
The language and culture program in Córdoba is a semester program for students who have at least one year of university-level Spanish, who are looking to improve their language skills, and who are interested in learning more about one of the most interesting regions of Spain. Formal language instruction is available to those who wish to complete their second year of Spanish or to go further. In addition, you learn language through the study of Spanish history, and can add coursework in literature, art, culture or international relations. Past students have been able to satisfy the second-year Spanish language requirement and breadth requirements of their home UC campus, and a new culture course this year broadens those options.
Although one or more elective classes may be available in English, one of the advantages of the Córdoba program is the reputation of the faculty for being able to teach in a Spanish that is accessible to all levels of language learners. The faculty are also very enthusiastic to share their knowledge of the province of Andalusia, including the historical connections with North Africa. The included cultural exchange excursion to Morocco complements your classroom studies allowing you the opportunity to see and experience first-hand the North African influences to Andalusian culture. More information about the trip can be found in the Daily Life Abroad section below.
All students are from the University of California, so language classes focus on the acquisition of functional communication skills as well as the study of Spanish culture and society. The program coordinator can arrange for you to participate in intercambios (conversation exchanges) with Spanish students who are studying English, which offer an excellent opportunity to meet peers outside of your host family. Another way to accelerate your language and social skills is by volunteering in one of the many health and service organizations in Córdoba.
The UCEAP office is located in a building on the Campus Menéndez Pidal. Most classes are located in the same building, but depending on the size of the group, classes may be held at the Facultad de Ciencias de la Educación, which is also located on the Campus Menéndez Pidal.
The academic culture of the Córdoba program may appear more relaxed than that of UC. Courses have fewer assignments and, in order to accomplish your intellectual goals for the program, you’ll need to take some initiative. UCOIDIOMAS, a unit of the University of Córdoba, has worked with UC to design a special program of second-year Spanish language acquisition that coordinates course materials with the area’s history and culture. If you are further along in your Spanish skills, this will be your opportunity to really excel and delve more deeply into the history and culture. The UCO faculty are dedicated to the program and willing to work with you outside of class when you need extra assistance.
One of the program faculty, Prof. Antonio Ceballos, also serves as academic liaison to UC students, which means he is available to advise on a range of academic questions and provide assistance to you when different teaching styles or educational culture appear confusing or difficult. For over ten years, all UCO instructors have worked to meet the needs of UC students and ensure a positive learning environment.
After arrival, you will take a language placement test so that you can be grouped with others of the same ability for the principal language class. Instruction takes place five days a week, Monday through Friday. On four of those days, at least four hours per day are devoted to classroom instruction: two hours in a language course and an hour in each of the other courses.
The fifth day (usually Friday) is devoted to language labs, film screenings, cultural visits, and excursions outside Córdoba. These assignments are integrated into the course curricula, scheduled to coincide with topics discussed in class, and count toward the final grade. Attendance in Friday activities and excursions is mandatory and makes up part of your final grade.
Registration & Requirements
The UCEAP Program Coordinator assists with official enrollment in the UCO courses and is also available to answer questions regarding your MyEAP registration.
You are required to take a full-time course of study while abroad. All students take four classes in order to meet the 24 UC quarter unit requirement.
Two courses are required for all students:
- Spanish language during the first 7 week block. You will be placed by instructors on-site; each course is worth 6 UC lower-division quarter units):
- History 150, Spanish Culture & Civilization (6 UC upper-division quarter units)
During the second 7 week block, you have the following options:
- Students in Spanish 40A may continue with Spanish language (Spanish 40B) or take Spanish literature (Spanish 160, worth 6 UC upper-division quarter units)
- Students in Spanish 50 may continue on to Spanish 160
You choose your final elective(s) from the following areas:
- International Relations (6 UC upper-division quarter units)
- Spanish Art History (6 UC lower-division quarter units)
An additional elective will be offered beginning spring quarter 2014:
- Cultural Crossroads: Andalusia Then and Now (6 UC upper-division quarter units)
You are expected to study for your courses as well as participate in informal language learning outside of the classroom. Both UCEAP and UCOIDIOMAS consider attendance at all classes mandatory.
- You are allowed a total of two absences during the program.
- Each absence beyond the limit will result in a deduction of 3 percent from your raw total.
- An absence occurring on a day a quiz or exam is scheduled or an assignment is due will result in a zero for that quiz/exam or assignment.
- No make-ups will be permitted.
Internships & Community Service
Although independent research and internships for academic credit are not offered on this program, volunteer opportunities at several local NGOs are available. The Program Coordinator at the Córdoba office can provide you with a list of current openings. Volunteering locally is an excellent way for you to integrate into the community while abroad. If you are interested, discuss these options with the Study Center.
See the Extracurricular Activities section of this guide for more information.
Your final grades are based on exams, attendance, and participation.
The Spanish final exam includes both oral and written components. For detailed information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
Extending UCEAP Participation
UCEAP offers rich opportunities for combining different programs and extending your time abroad. Participation in back-to-back programs or extensions to a spring program require an exceptional level of organization and maturity. You must be able to plan in advance and prepare for the second program while completing the first.
It is possible to extend from the Córdoba fall program to:
- Carlos III spring Hispanic Studies program
- University of Granada spring
- 2.85 GPA at time of departure to Córdoba. You cannot use the Córdoba program to improve your GPA in order to extend participation to the spring; the deadline for extension is November 1, before Córdoba grades are available.
- Grade of B or better in Córdoba fall (extension will be revoked if you do not receive a B or better).
- Endorsement by Spain Study Center Director. Coursework, grades, and performance during the first month in Córdoba may impact the Director’s decision.
Plan Ahead to Extend
If you do not receive a year-long visa, you will have to return to the U.S. between semesters to apply for a new visa.
Whether you plan to extend to Carlos III in Madrid or the University of Granada, you will have to travel to the respective city at least twice to process visa paperwork before you know the outcome of your Request for Final Approval to Extend. You must cover the transport and accommodation costs of these mandatory trips.
Time Between Programs
Fall classes at the University of Córdoba end in mid-December. The Carlos III and Granada spring programs do not begin until late January and February. It is important that you plan for this gap in time between the end of the fall program and the beginning of the spring program. Some participants decide to return to the U.S. during this period (you may have to in order to apply for a new student visa).If you remain in Spain between programs, you will be responsible for all costs associated with daily living, travel, insurance, housing, etc. until the start of the spring program.
You are expected to have background knowledge of Spain prior to arrival. Get acquainted with your new host city, country, and culture before you leave California. Travel guides and travel-related websites, such as Lonely Planet
or Time Out
, are excellent resources. Bring a travel guidebook; they are more expensive and harder to find in Spain.
Read about the Spanish lifestyle so you will have some idea what to expect. Keep up with current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals that have to do with Spain. Take a look at El País
to see what is featured in Spain’s most widely distributed newspaper (in Spanish). The Terra Internet portal
also offers daily updates and can provide insight on Spain’s media and popular culture.
An especially valuable resource for Spain is the Spanish government website
, which provides video clips as well as plenty of other visuals and text as context for its suggested travel routes.
Before looking closely at any particular culture, one must generally understand what culture is and how it works. What people do and say in a particular culture—whether it be yours or that of your host country—is not arbitrary and spontaneous, but is consistent with what people in that culture value and believe. Cultural adjustment can be a trying experience but it is also challenging and enlightening, the kind of experience you would expect to have while studying abroad.
In addition, while tourist season will be in full swing when you arrive for fall programs, most Spanish university students have not yet returned from summer vacation, and the atmosphere around the university may be very quiet and even seem deserted. Many stores may still be closed and university services curtailed for the summer, including public transportation. This may add to the feeling that things seem lonely and difficult; you should keep in mind that things will improve once the regular academic year begins.
Intolerance & Street Harassment
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
You must attend two required orientations that are administered through the UCEAP Study Center and designed to help you acclimate to Spain and become familiar with the Study Center and Córdoba.
The Study Center staff will also review all practical components of the program, including the program calendar, academics, housing, student services, computer access, Spanish culture, health, safety and emergencies, money and banking, phones, mail, and public transportation.
The Córdoba program orientation takes place over two days. The first required session will take place the morning after you arrive in the hotel lounge where you will receive a map of the city, a card with a list of important phone numbers, and a student manual. The orientation will last about an hour and a half. Your host family will pick you up immediately following the session. The next day you will attend an academic orientation, which also lasts about an hour and a half and covers specific course information and MyEAP registration.
Travel to Your Host Country
You are responsible for reserving and purchasing your tickets (even if you are on full financial aid). Your Financial Aid Office is not responsible for purchasing tickets. You are strongly urged to purchase a changeable airline ticket. Standby tickets are not appropriate for EAP.
In order to apply for the 180-day visa, you need a return ticket. If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Study Center staff can refer you to a local travel agency for information on return travel. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
If you are studying in Córdoba in the spring, you may wish to book an airline ticket after the program end date. The May feria is a popular event that takes place at the end of the month; you can find more information online or ask your Program Coordinator.
Understanding Your Finances
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Most of the UC students attending the Córdoba program take a laptop abroad. A laptop is helpful but not required. Some Córdoba professors will accept handwritten papers. Laptops are not allowed in class. Most students use their laptops in areas with free WiFi, such as university buildings. There is a wireless network available in all of the University of Córdoba buildings. When you arrive, you will receive a password to access the wireless network. You can also go to Internet cafés to access the Internet and write and print papers.
There are seven computers near the UCEAP office equipped with Internet access that you can use free of charge, which are usually available from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. . You must be considerate of your fellow students and avoid using the computers for long periods of time. Plan to use a Web-based e-mail account (Yahoo!, Hotmail, Gmail, etc.).
You can print school-related documents in the UCEAP office. There is a specific printer set for UCEAP students near the UCEAP office which you can use to print plane, bus, or train tickets.
Homestays are located throughout Córdoba. Most students will live within walking distance of the Study Center; some will need to take a local bus.
You will be provided with a single room. Generally only one UCEAP student is housed with each family, although if program enrollment is high, two UCEAP students (but never more than two) may be lodged with a single family. You can indicate in the housing questionnaire whether or not you mind living with another UCEAP student.
Central heating is not as common in southern Spain (Andalucía) as it is in the rest of Spain. However, air-conditioning is more common in the south than in the rest of the country.
Packing & Laundry
Your homestay will be fully furnished; you do not need to pack towels or bedding, but you will need to provide your own toiletries (soap, deodorant, shampoo, etc.).
Your clothes will be washed once a week; one load of whites and one load of dark clothes. Due to the high cost of electricity in Spain, homestays may not have dryers. Sheets are changed every seven to ten days. Bathrooms and bedrooms are cleaned on a regular basis.
Due to the specialized nature of the program, you may not have a spouse or dependents accompany you to Spain.
You must first get your host’s approval to bring a guest home, even if the guest is another UCEAP student. Overnight guests are not allowed in homestays.
Arrival & Departure
It is not possible to arrive early to a homestay, nor is it possible to extend your housing arrangement. If you arrive early or plan to remain in Spain after the program, you must arrange your own accommodations.
If you are in the Córdoba spring program, you may wish to find your own housing after the end of the program in order to stay for the May feria. Be sure to locate your housing well in advance, since springtime is high season in Córdoba and the town is full of tourists.
Prior to departure, you will complete a housing questionnaire that will be used by housing staff to help place you in a homestay suitable to your needs. It is crucial you take the questionnaire seriously and answer all the questions thoughtfully. Past students recommend you be specific and honest about your needs and accept that perhaps not all of them may be met.
Requests to change housing assignments: If you have a problem with your housing, immediately meet with the Study Center staff and discuss the situation.
All homestay charges are included in the UCEAP fees. Review the UCEAP Student Budget for exact room and meal costs. You will be charged only for the dates of the program; rates are prorated and are not based on a full month’s charge. You do not receive discounts or reimbursements for dates you are traveling.
Room and board fees are subject to change.
Meals in Arranged Homestays
Your homestay arrangement includes three typical Spanish meals per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). The cost for your meals is included in the UCEAP fees. Expect only what is customary in Spanish homes. This means breakfast (el desayuno), lunch (la comida) at 2 or 3 p.m., and dinner (la cena) usually around 9 or 10 p.m. Breakfast is rather light, usually consisting of a roll and strong coffee (a continental breakfast). It is typically not considered a “meal.” In contrast, lunch tends to be a substantial meal and is seen as the main meal of the day. The evening meal, as with breakfast, is lighter and is served late in the evening. Meals are served in accordance with the Spanish family schedule, although occasionally breakfast may be served a little earlier for you if you have classes early in the morning. Do not expect kitchen privileges; your host will buy and prepare the food.
On Fridays when there is a field trip, notify your host (well in advance) and they will prepare you a sack lunch for the day. If you go away for the weekend, your host will not provide you with food. Be sure to always let your host know if you are going to be late for a meal, if you are going to miss a meal, or if you are going to spend the evening out or the weekend away.
Menus will be prepared according to the criteria of each host. It is in your best interest to become familiar with Spanish food and customs. Typical traditional Spanish dishes will be introduced frequently at meal times. UCEAP has asked the host families to be somewhat flexible in accommodating their meals to the tastes of American students, and they are aware that there may be initial difficulties in adapting to the Spanish diet. In the event that you, for whatever reason, follow a special diet (vegetarianism, religious practice, or a medical condition such as diabetes, etc.), the family will try to prepare dishes that conform to those dietary requirements.
You are strongly encouraged to participate in the intercambios arranged by the Study Center. If you are in Córdoba for the fall semester, you will be put in touch with Spanish students who are studying English after you arrive. If you are in Córdoba for the spring semester, you will be put in touch with Spanish students via e-mail before arrival. The intercambios give both you and the Spanish students the chance to begin practicing language skills and building friendships. The intercambios will also give you the opportunity to ask Córdoba students about Spanish culture and everyday life for university students, either before you arrive or as you are settling into your new life in Spain.
In addition, the Study Center arranges a number of other social and cultural activities during the semester, such as group excursions, hiking, and an end-of-term dinner party.
Another type of intercambio is organized from time to time. If you are interested in participating, you can join Spaniards in their English classes. The teacher will prepare different interactive activities. You will be encouraged to exchange e-mails and cell phone numbers after the activity and meet the Spaniards outside the classroom.
The Study Center has found various volunteer opportunities in the community for UCEAP students. The following list is an example of past opportunities. If you are interested in volunteering, ask the Program Coordinator what is currently available and choose the best option for your schedule and interests.
Activities: Working with children, ages 5-10
• Psychological support
• Provide support in workshops (playground games, crafts, etc.) for the development of social skills
• Adaptive Riding (horseback riding therapy)
Activities: Working with hospitalized children through games, crafts, activities, and other workshops
Activities: Working with children at risk of social exclusion
• Tutoring and assisting with homework on weekday afternoons
• English language tutoring
• Leisure activities (games, crafts, etc.)
• Teaching children to read
• Teaching basic computing skills
• Other activities as proposed by the volunteer
Activities: Offering support to adults who are learning basic computer skills
Activities: Teaching English to immigrant adults
Activities: Providing support during an adult education course in basic computer skills
NGO: El Refugio de Kelly
(working with abandoned dogs)
Activities: Helping the staff with the daily operation of the shelter
Another popular activity is to go on walking tours in the countryside around Córdoba. These walks are organized on Sundays and a guide, usually a biologist, accompanies the group to provide interesting explanations on plants, animals, etc. A bus will take you to the starting point and pick you up at the end. The price is approximately €15.
Córdoba is an excellent place to learn about Spanish folklore, learn to play the Spanish guitar, or to take flamenco classes, which are relatively inexpensive.
Gyms, fitness centers, and other sport and leisure facilities are also available.
For more information about Córdoba and Andalusia, visit:
You can also obtain a monthly guide to events and activities at the Córdoba train station.
One of the most dynamic organizations in the area is Erasmus Student Network (ESN), an apolitical and nonprofit student association that is present all over Europe (32 countries and 280 delegations). It was founded in 1990 by exchange students and it is based on the “students helping students” principle. ESN works to improve the stay of not only European Erasmus students but Americans as well and help them with their integration into Spain and Spanish society. With the ESN card you have access to many advantages: special discounts on all trips, parties, journeys, and other ESN events.
Students with Disabilities
Doctors’ visits cost approximately €60 for a general doctor and €100 for a specialist, and tests are extra. Keep some cash and credit cards on hand for emergencies; however, not all doctors will accept credit cards for payments. Doctors and hospitals abroad will not bill U.S. insurance companies for medical expenses; be prepared to pay for services up front and file a claim for reimbursement of eligible expenses with the UCEAP insurance company. Save all bills and receipts and keep copies of all documentation sent to the claims adjustor.
In Córdoba you can go to a local heath clinic (Health Clinic Sanitas, Avenida Conde Vallellano, 8) for any medical issues. You do not need an appointment and may be seen by a doctor relatively quickly. If there is a need for a specialist, the doctor will give you a referral. For medical emergencies, you can go to Hospital Reina Sofia or Hospital Cruz Roja. No appointment is necessary.
In Cordoba, Learn areas of the city to avoid:
- Avoid the Jewish Quarter, the river banks, and parks late at night and during siesta time.
- Never walk alone at any time in these areas (regardless of whether you are male or female).
Avoid heavy drinking. Alcohol can make you less vigilant, less in control, and less aware of your environment. If you drink, know your limit and drink responsibly. Drinks served in bars are often stronger than those in the U.S.
Be alert to the possible use of “date rape” and other drugs including “GHB” and liquid ecstasy. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times to make sure they are not spiked; female students, in particular, must be watchful. Past UCEAP students have been drugged.
There have been a number of very serious accidents (some with fatal results) due to falls from balconies. A number of these incidents have been caused by being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
UCEAP Contingency Planning
Forest fires occur frequently in Spain during the summer months, especially in southern areas of the country.
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Federal and State law and University policy, does not
discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, religion,
sex, gender identity, pregnancy,* disability, age, medical
condition (cancer-related), ancestry, marital status,
citizenship, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era
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prohibits sexual harassment. This nondiscrimination policy
covers admission, access, and treatment in University programs
and activities. Inquiries regarding the University’s
student-related nondiscrimination policies may be directed to
the campus Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action
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conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.