Approx. Time Difference
March–Add 9 hours
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.
“More than just traveling, UCEAP offers the opportunity to live and study in the host country on their terms while still making real progress toward a UC degree. I changed my major from biology to Spanish literature because of my experiences in Mexico and Spain. I went far away to learn about other cultures and nations and people, and I learned more about my own country, my own culture, and above all, myself. Once I finally did change my major, I received higher grades than I ever had. This I owe to my understanding of what was important to me, something I would never possess to the same extent that I do now were it not for UCEAP.”
~ Lenore De Asis, UC Irvine
Click a heading below to see section content.
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.
Carlos III Office
Rocío Navas, Sr. Admin Coordinator
Centro de Estudios de la Universidad de California
Edificio López Aranguren, Despacho 15.1.55
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
Calle Madrid, 126
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
You will enroll directly in the Carlos III University of Madrid and take classes with international and/or host country students at one of Spain's most innovative universities. You will live in Madrid and the local Study Center Staff will assist you with your academic life.
You enroll in regular Carlos III courses, have the option to also take mini-cursos conducted by public figures from all walks of life, and can also supplement the immersion curriculum with one Hispanic Studies course.
Participants in the spring immersion will primarily take courses with local Spanish students. Past students report that classes are engaging and offer interesting insights into contemporary Spain (although students of different language levels have different experiences as far as the intensity of instruction).
If you opt to enroll in an Hispanic Studies course, you will be in class with other UCEAP and international students. Mini-cursos are attended by local Spanish students as well as other UCEAP and international students.
Carlos III University of Madrid is a young and modern university with its broadest offerings in social sciences and engineering. Humanities courses are available as well, but are not as extensive as at UC.
The easiest way to look for courses is by looking through the Carlos III degree (grado) pages.
- Titulaciones de Grado
- Click through the course of study that interests you to get to a page with a “Programa” link that lists current courses, broken down by year.
- Courses with bilingual options (offered in English and Spanish) are noted on those pages.
- Courses in the sciences and engineering are also available and can be found by following the different Ingeniería links: "Grado en Ingeniería [type]..." then the "Programa" link in the center of the following page.
- Humanities courses are available in two formats.
- Full length, semester-long courses can be found through the titulaciones page linked above (follow the link to "Grado en Humanidades").
- Shorter, mini-curso offerings can be found through the Cursos de Humanidades page.
You can also opt to supplement your selection of regular courses and mini-cursos
with one additional Hispanic Studies
course if you so choose.
Most regular grado courses are worth 6 ECTS or 5 UC quarter units (approximately 3.3 UC semester units). Mini-cursos are worth anywhere from 1 and 3 UC quarter units (equivalent to 0.7 and 2.0 UC semester units). Hispanic Studies courses are worth 4.5 UC quarter units (equivalent to 3.0 UC semester units.)
The Carlos III online registration typically takes place in late December, but prior to your arrival in Spain, so it is important to prepare by searching for courses early on and making tentative lists as soon as possible. More information regarding online registration and additional tips on how to search for courses will come directly from the Study Center Coordinator prior to the start of the program.
You will register twice: once for UCEAP and once for your host university. In addition to enrolling in host university classes, you must fill out your MyEAP Study List each term. The Study Center staff will assist with both of these procedures and answer any questions you may have.
It is important that you adhere to the established deadlines for adding and dropping courses at your host university and for submitting your MyEAP registration. Be sure to review your MyEAP Study List carefully; the course information listed—subject area, title, and units—is what will appear on your UC transcript.
Be aware that some courses have conflicting schedules and you may need to consider alternative classes that might fit your needs. The humanities mini-cursos are much easier to schedule around since they are more likely to require intense activity for short periods of time rather than a semester-long commitment.
UCEAP requires you enroll in a fulltime course of study on this program: 21-24 quarter units (equivalent to 14 to 16 semester units) of UC credit. Depending on the unit value of the courses you select, this can be achieved by registering in a minimum of four or five courses. Be advised that you are restricted to taking only one Hispanic Studies course.
- Class attendance is mandatory. Poor attendance and lack of participation will have a negative impact on your final grade.
- You may not approach professors to request early exams.
- Early departures are not allowed.
Grades obtained by CIII instructors are not the final UC grades. Grading scales used or published by CIII are not automatically applied when reported UCEAP grades.
Spring grades are usually available in late June or early July.
Because grades will not be available for spring graduation deadlines, graduating seniors should plan for a summer or fall graduation and should not declare candidacy for the spring term.
You will receive an automatic e-mail notification when your grades are transmitted to the UC Registrar, at which time you will be able to view your grades through your MyEAP account. You will need to wait a while longer for grades to be posted to your official UC transcript by the Office of the Registrar.
For detailed information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
Extending UCEAP Participation
Although extension options are not built into this program, it may be possible for you to participate in two different UCEAP programs consecutively.
If you would like to participate in two programs, you must submit an application for each program by the campus deadline. You will go through the regular UCEAP selection process for each program. You must meet all selection criteria for both programs and your UC campus must select you to participate. The Campus EAP Office may have other requirements as well. If you are considering this option, schedule an appointment with the Campus EAP Office to discuss the process.
Improve Your Language Skills
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Generally, late arrivals are not acceptable; however, certain cases can warrant an exception. Late arrivals must obtain advanced approval from the UCEAP Systemwide Office. If you expect to arrive late, contact the Systemwide Office well in advance of the Official Start Date.
You must attend a required orientation that is administered through the UCEAP Study Center. The required UCEAP orientation will take place at the hotel the day you arrive and will last approximately three hours.
During orientation, you will participate in lectures and activities designed to help you acclimate to Spain and become familiar with the Study Center and madrid. The Study Center staff will 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. You will also receive guides, maps, and other orientation materials.
Your host family will pick you up the next day and take you to the place where you will be living during the program. The first week of the program consists of an orientation at Carlos III. During this week, you will meet with your professors and receive information from various services on campus, including sports and cultural activity information from Espacio Estudiantes and the Erasmus Student Network.
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.
Visa for stays under 180 days
You will apply for a visa that is valid for 180 days. Details on requirements and the visa application process will be provided in your Predeparture Checklist.
Understanding Your Finances
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
All students are placed in a UCEAP-arranged homestays for the first month. After the first month, you may find your own housing in Madrid or make arrangements to stay with your host family for the remainder of the semester. The Study Center can assist by providing a list of Spanish websites, newspapers, or private agencies/coordinators that offer housing services. This will be discussed in detail during the on-site orientation.
Homestay accommodations provide the opportunity to live with Spanish families, observe firsthand how the Spanish live, and be more fully immersed in the language and culture of Spain. Living in a homestay requires respect and sensitivity to others. You must live in the program-arranged housing for the first month, even if you have family in Spain.
You will meet your host family once you arrive in Spain. You will not receive any homestay information prior to departure. The housing questionnaire you complete before departure will assist the housing coordinator in placing you with an appropriate host.
Homes and rooms in Spain tend to be smaller than is typically the case in California. Storage space tends to be limited, and amenities may be different from what you are accustomed to in the U.S. (for example, many rooms do not have closets or heaters). You will be provided with a single room equipped with a bed, dresser, and table or desk, plus a lamp for studying. Be mindful of how common areas are used (e.g., it is probably inappropriate to study in the living room if someone wants to watch TV).
Every homestay situation is different, and Spanish households come in as many varieties as U.S. households. The term “homestay” does not necessarily indicate a nuclear family that will treat you as a member of the family; hosts may be single or married, young or old, and may or may not have children living at home. All homestays consist of a host or hosts who rent out an extra room or rooms to international students in order to earn additional income. They may include you in family events or may treat you as more of a paying guest.
Be open, observant, and aware. The homestay is intended to be a mutually convenient social arrangement, a cultural experience, and a financial agreement between you and your host family. At the same time, the home is intended to be more than just a place to stay; it is a family setting, and it is imperative for you to take into account local customs as the family comes to know you personally.
Ideally, you will become part of the family, but to do so requires time, patience, sensitivity, negotiation, and understanding. Dialogue and consideration are usually the best vehicles for good results.
The primary purposes for being with a host family are to interact socially and culturally, acquire knowledge about Spanish daily living, and improve language proficiency in Spanish. It is expected that everyone, including other guests in the home, will speak Spanish at all times. If a host family requests that you speak in English, it may be beneficial to work out a reciprocal arrangement whereby you occasionally speak in English, while remaining committed to learning Spanish.
Carlos III University is located in Getafe, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Madrid (about 10 kilometers from the city center). You have the option to live in either Madrid or Getafe. Getafe has all the necessary medical facilities, shopping and recreational outlets, and provides easy access in the evenings and on the weekends to the center of Madrid for cultural and social activities. If you live in Madrid, there is a commuter train that runs between Atocha station and Carlos III University. However, you must consider the time that it will take to get to Atocha station from your homestay, which will likely be in a different area of Madrid, and the waiting periods. In many cases, commuting from Madrid to Getafe could take more than one hour each way.
Regardless of where your homestay is located, you will need to do some commuting. If you live in Getafe, you will commute to campus and to Madrid at night and on weekends; if you live in Madrid, you will commute to school at Carlos III each weekday. You can expect anywhere from a 30- to 45-minute commute to get to class. Commuting is a regular part of the life of a madrileño.
You may request a single or a double room; every effort will be made to meet your request, but it is not guaranteed. You will also indicate if you prefer to live in Madrid or Getafe. Generally only one UCEAP student is housed with each family, although if program enrollment is high, a maximum of two UCEAP students may be lodged with a single family.
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. If you arrive to the program prior to the official program start date, you must arrange your own accommodations for the nights prior to the program start date.
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 for the first month of the program. 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. Do not move out of a homestay or apartment without consulting UCEAP staff. You may not make housing changes or arrangements on your own. If you move out without consulting UCEAP staff prior to the end of the first month, you will be in violation of UCEAP policy and risk being dismissed from the program.
All homestay charges for the first month are included in the UCEAP fees. Review the UCEAP Student Budget for exact room and meal costs. You will be charged only for the first month. You do not receive discounts or reimbursements for dates you are traveling. After the first month, you may find your own housing in Madrid or make arrangements to stay with your host family for the remainder of the semester.
Room and board fees are subject to change.
Meals in Arranged Homestays
Participating in extracurricular cultural and social activities while on UCEAP is an excellent way to meet people, improve your language skills, and integrate more fully into the community.
Join sports, musical, theater, or arts groups; volunteer at local organizations; attend lectures and receptions held in academic and community circles; and get the most out of your time abroad.
Students with Disabilities
Students attending Carlos III University should not make plans to travel until they have arrived and received the program schedule at orientation.
In addition to arranging your own travel, Carlos III University also plans various viajes culturales throughout Spain. These 2 day excursions explore the roots, traditions, and cultures of various Spanish cities, in both the north and south. This is a great opportunity to meet students from across the facultades and campus community, and to explore the Spanish landscape. Past trips include: Sevilla, Salamanca, Valencia, and Bilbao. For more information on these opportunities, visit the Carlos III Espacio Estudiantes site.
Attitudes and tolerance toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons vary from country to country, just as they vary among U.S. cities and states. Most LGBT travelers encounter no problems while overseas, but it helps to be prepared and research your destination before you go.
A cultural melting pot, Madrid is an open and welcoming city. Chueca neighbourhood is the heart of the gay scene and a great example of integration. For information about LGBT men and women living in Spain, visit, http://madrid.angloinfo.com/information/family/lgbt/
For further information on LGBT travel, please read the U.S. Department of State Information for LGBT Travelers.
As a UCEAP participant you are automatically covered by UCEAP insurance anywhere in the world (not only while in Madrid) 14 days before the offiicial start, and up to 31 days after the official end of the program.
Europ Assistance/USA (UC's assistance providers) has made direct billing arrangements with a local medical service, HOSPIQUALITY in Madrid, which is provided through the Hospital Universitario de Madrid
If you go to Hospital Universitario de Madrid, you do not have to call ahead or pay for your visit up front and then file an insurance claim. Europ Assistance/USA (EA/USA) will place a guarantee of payment after Hospiquality calls them. EA/USA will cover the cost directly. UCEAP students at Hospiquality are considered priority clients. IMPORTANT: If you require emergency medical care, go to Hospiquality-Hospital Universitario de Madrid directly.
Hospital Universitario de Madrid (HOSPIQUALITY)
Plaza Conde del Valle Suchil 16.
Metro: San Bernardo o Quevedo (Lineas 2 y 4)
For a regular consulation, make an appointment with Hospiquality, Hospital Universitario de Madrid
Phone: 629 824 020 (24/7).
Identify yourself as a University of California-Education Abroad Program student.
Hospiquality, a private hospital group, provides the following services:
- 24/7 emergency care
- Outpatient visits by specialists (all specializations)
- Radiology (diagnostic imaging), laboratory services, hospitalization, specialized health care services
- On site interpreter every day (also weekend), from 09:00 a.m. to 09:00 p.m.
- 24/7 ambulance service with English-speaking staff.
You can choose to go to Unidad Medica Angloamericana but you must call Europ Assistance/USA (see below for contact information) well before going so they can place a guarantee of payment on your behalf. Otherwise, you will have to pay up front.
Unidad Medica Angloamericana.
- Make an appointment with Unidad Medica; Phones: 91 435 1823; 91 5755134; 649 870068. Identify yourself as a University of California-Education Abroad program student (Policy number: ADDN 04834823).
- Place an international collect call to Europ Assistance/USA to let them know when you have your appointment so they can place a guarantee of payment. Call through AT&T 900 99 00 11 for a collect-call (in English); Europ Assistance phone: 1-202- 828-5896 (collect calls outside the U.S.)
- Go to Unidad Medica on the day of your appointment. Monday through Friday they have uninterrupted hours from 9:00h until 20:00h and on Saturdays from 10:00h to 13:00h. All staff, doctors, nurses and administration speak English.
More info: http://www.unidadmedica.com/
C/Conde de Aranda 1, 1º izquierda Madrid 28001
Metro: Serrano (line 4); Retiro (Line 2)
The UCEAP Insurance Plan
covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor.
Demonstrations & Protests
Traffic & Transportation Safety
UCEAP Contingency Planning
Forest fires occur frequently in Spain during the summer months, especially in southern areas of the country.
The University of California, in accordance with applicable
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
veteran or special disabled veteran. The University also
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
* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical
conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.