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Complutense Univ. of Madrid

- Pre-ILP + Fall
- Pre-ILP + Year
- Fall
- Year

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.
"I'm currently doing an internship at the Institute of Language and Development in Madrid. So far it was been a great way to learn about future career opportunities in the applied linguistics field. It's hands-on and there are professionals there to answer any question. I would definitely recommend it to any student. And it's also an awesome way to interact with real people outside the university."
~Lauren Phillips, UC Berkeley
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Your UCEAP Network

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.

Complutense University
Paula Ortega Gómez, Coordinator
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

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

Phone Number Codes

U.S. international code............011   (dial this to call from the U.S.)
Spain country code..................34
Madrid city code......................91
Barcelona city code ................93
Granada city code ..................958
Cádiz city code ..................... 956

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Academic Information
Program Overview

The Complutense University of Madrid

Complutense Program Description

The UCEAP academic program at the Complutense consists of a combination of regular university courses and UCEAP-designed core courses (presented in a way that assumes a less extensive background in the subject matter than a Spanish student would have). Although you may pursue course work in almost any field at the Complutense, most UCEAP students have concentrated in the areas of political and social science, economics, psychology, anthropology, art history, and Spanish-language literature. Science courses are also available.
You are required to take a minimum of 18 UC quarter units per semester. You may take no more than two core courses per term. The core courses offered at the Complutense for 2012–13 are:
  • SPAN 113, Advanced Grammar and Composition
  • POL S 104, Nationalisms in Spain and Europe
  • ECON 126, Global Economics
Tutorial support may be provided for regular university courses depending on the difficulties you experience and on enrollment.

Complutense Fall Semester Students

You can take advantage of the same opportunities as those offered to yearlong students; however, make sure not to register in year-long courses. Check with the Study Center staff if you have any questions.
Fall students are required to stay until the end of the program in February. This means you will miss winter quarter on your home UC campus. You may not request early exam dates; early departures from Spain are not allowed.
Be sure to speak with the Study Center staff early if you want to extend your stay through the end of the spring semester.
Academic Culture


Course Information
Volunteer Activities and Community Service
The Madrid UCEAP Study Center coordinates internship opportunities in a variety of fields. Interested students must preregister during the program’s orientation in Spain in order to participate in an internship, usually during the second semester. You must have completed coursework in a subject area related to the internship placement. Interns are evaluated by the internship supervisor and are required to maintain a journal and complete a research paper in order to receive academic credit. More detailed information about procedures and content will be available when you get to Madrid.
Interested students may search for suitable internship or volunteer opportunities through the Punto de Información al Voluntariado at the Complutense and related online resources for locating information about local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and their activities. Volunteers may or may not receive academic credit for their service project, depending on arrangements made with the Study Center. In the past, students have involved themselves in the fields of education, the environment, animal rights, and sustainable development.
Extending UCEAP Participation

Madrid Complutense Fall Immersion

As with most rewarding experiences, extension to the year program in Madrid requires an exceptional level of organization and maturity. You must be able to plan in advance and prepare for the extension while completing the fall semester in Madrid.
If you think you might want to extend your studies to the year program at the Complutense University of Madrid, you must complete the Departmental and College Preliminary Approval to Extend (DPA) form before departure for Spain and indicate that you want to extend. This form is available both online and at your Campus EAP Office.
Once in Spain, you must submit a completed Request for Final Approval to Extend (RFA) form to your Study Center Director before November 1. Once the RFA is approved by the Study Center Director, the Study Center will submit it to the UCEAP Systemwide Office for final review and approval.
If you fail to submit an approved DPA before departure, you may still have the option to extend to the year program in Madrid. You will need to submit a Petition to Extend to your Study Center by November 1. Once approved, the Study Center Director will forward the petition to the UCEAP Systemwide Office and your campus for review and approval. This is a lengthy process that may take weeks to complete, and there is no guarantee you will meet the extension deadline. If you have any intention of extending, plan to submit an approved DPA before departure.
UCEAP must approve all extensions. Extensions are not guaranteed and requests are only considered when there is space in the program. The extension request must be supported by the Study Center Director, your UC campus department head, and your dean or provost.
Once your extension is approved, UCEAP will notify your UC campus registrar and Financial Aid Office. For information about the steps you need to take with regard to finances, see the Extension of Participation chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
If you are admitted for a full year program, you will be expected to complete the academic year in Spain. A request to shorten the stay will be treated as withdrawal from UCEAP with possible financial penalties.
Cultural Awareness
Social Conduct
Intolerance and Harassment
Improve Your Language Skills
Students with any doubts about their language abilities, especially aural comprehension and reading skills, should give serious consideration to participating in the pre-ILP in Cádiz.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
As is common in most of Europe, July and August are national vacation periods in Spain. By the time you get to Spain in August, most Spaniards are on vacation, many stores are closed, and services are curtailed, including public transportation.
In addition, Study Center staff arrange various activities for your arrival and throughout your term. Among the events are:
  • A guided tour of Madrid
  • A trip to Andalucia
  • Thanksgiving dinner 

Activities and excursions during the ILP are included in your UCEAP fees. During the orientation session, you will meet your monitores, Complutense students who will help you acclimate to Madrid and also assist you in finding permanent housing during the course of the ILP.

Travel Planning
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.
Travel Documents
Packing Tips
Return Travel
Financial Information
Understanding Your Finances
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Handling Money Abroad

Madrid Finances

Plan to have access to at least $1,000 (in a combination of travelers checks and cash) for various initial expenses, including housing deposits and the first month’s lodging. Although ILP housing and meal costs are included in the UCEAP fees, bear in mind that you will begin looking for permanent year-long housing while the ILP is in progress. Many colegios mayores, boarding houses, and apartments in these cities require payment of up to two months’ rent in advance; you will need to have this money accessible when making housing arrangements. 
Communications Abroad
Internet Access
At the Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociología (UCEAP’s host at the Complutense), there is a computer lab to which UC students have free access. Computers loaded with Windows and Office software and a smaller number with Internet and e-mail access are available; sign-ups for all computers are necessary. The Complutense is rapidly responding to the recent increase in demand for computers and Internet access, but facilities are often crowded. Many students also use the Internet cafés available throughout Madrid. Internet cafés have various options and rates; UCEAP students recommend shopping around for the best deals.
Mail & Shipments
Madrid: During the ILP in Madrid, address mail to the Madrid Study Center.
Centro de Estudios de la Universidad de California
Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociología
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Despacho Nº 1601
28223 Madrid, Spain

Mail During the Year

Mail should be sent directly to your private housing after the ILP.
Housing & Meals
Pre-ILP and ILP Housing & Meals

ILP Housing

During your program’s ILP in Madrid, your housing is prearranged in a local colegio mayor (roughly equivalent to a dormitory). Photos, maps, and information about the colegio are available on the website, listed below: 
The website may include online room reservation services; you do not need to use these as your room will be reserved for you by UCEAP.
ILP housing is prearranged and is a program requirement. Room and board for your ILP colegio mayor or private homes are included in your UCEAP fees. If you move out of your ILP housing early and into your own housing, you will not be issued a refund.
You will probably share a room with another UCEAP student. Dorm rooms are reserved for UCEAP students only. Overnight guests are not permitted in the dorms or private homes (family or friends may not stay with you). Dependents and spouses may arrive at the end of the ILP. They cannot be accommodated in the ILP housing.
You may not arrive early to the colegio mayor. If you arrive early to your host city you must arrange your own accommodations. You must move out of the colegio mayor on the date indicated on your program calendar.
Living standards in Europe are different from those in the U.S. and rooms in a colegio mayor tend to be smaller and older than U.S. dorm rooms. All rooms are fully furnished. Although there may be a wash basin in each room, students usually share common showers and toilet facilities. Rooms are cleaned twice a week.
Bed linens are provided, but you must bring your own towels and toiletries. Coin-operated washing machines are available for students staying in the residencias.

Meals During the ILP

During the ILP, any meals provided at the colegio mayor are included in UCEAP fees. Meals during the Madrid ILP are provided seven days a week. Breakfast, which is not considered a “meal” in Spain, usually consists of a roll or bread and coffee—many students find it an adjustment to attend morning classes without a more substantial start.
Post-ILP Housing & Meals

Housing after the ILP

You must find and arrange for your own housing for the year beyond the ILP. It is not possible to extend ILP housing in the colegio mayor to the academic year, as it is restricted to Spanish students. However, there are many types of housing options from which you can choose. Students usually rent an apartment, live in a private home, or live in a boarding house (pensión or hostal), or live in a university residence hall or colegio mayor.
During orientation you will learn more about how to find housing for the remainder of your term. You can generally expect to look in newspapers, check fliers posted around campus, and talk to other students. Study Center staff will discuss housing options and provide assistance, such as guidelines for interpreting leases, pointing out better (and worse) areas of town, etc. However, finding and arranging housing is ultimately up to you. It can be stressful, although returning students generally describe it as a unique and ultimately positive experience that fully immersed them in the host city.
If you can’t find housing by the end of the ILP, you can temporarily live in a pensión or hostal while locating permanent housing (students also frequently stay in one or the other while traveling).
Housing costs vary according to what type you choose. For an estimate of room and board costs, look at the UCEAP Student Budget in the Participants section of the UCEAP website. Specific housing information at each UCEAP host university is provided in this chapter.
After the ILP you will pay rent directly to your landlord—not to UCEAP. You are personally responsible for all housing and meal costs following the ILP.

Types of Housing 



Each apartment is unique and will vary in size, condition, and location. Keep in mind that living standards in Europe are different from those in the U.S. and apartments tend to be smaller and older.
Apartments are usually rented furnished (including some kitchenware). Prices vary greatly depending on the area. You will be required to pay a deposit and/ or first and last month’s rent in advance. Make sure to request a receipt stating the conditions for return of the deposit, or you will likely lose it. If you rent through an agency, be prepared to pay a non-refundable agency fee equivalent to one month’s rent.
Apartments are less restrictive than other living situations and offer more privacy. If you plan to bring a dependent or spouse with you, this may be a good housing option. However, many start-up issues must be attended to, and living independently or with other American roommates can impair integration into the Spanish community. It is important that you seek out Spanish roommates in order to achieve a truly educational and culturally rewarding (if initially more demanding) experience.

Residence Halls

Colegios mayores (residence halls) generally are run by religious orders and are subsidized by the Spanish government. Rules and regulations, especially in women’s halls, have been strict in previous years, but certain rules are easing, and the curfew has been extended until 2 a.m. or, in some halls, lifted entirely. In Madrid, residence halls that are under the regulation of the Complutense University are not as strict. These residence halls are not run by religious orders and some are coed. However, it can be difficult to secure a room.
The halls provide numerous activities and the opportunity to live with Spaniards of similar ages and interests. They also provide an excellent opportunity to speak Spanish. They may, however, be expensive compared to private rentals. The social and residential atmosphere in the colegio mayor during the year, when Spanish students are also in residence, is somewhat different than a U.S. dormitory. A colegio mayor is more like an English college house; each has its own rules and traditions, and offers a variety of academic and social activities such as lectures, musical performances, sports clubs, etc. Residents are expected to take an active part in the colegio life.

Private Homes

The primary purposes for being with a host family are to interact socially and culturally, to acquire knowledge about Spanish daily living, and to 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 using their help to learn Spanish.
Living in a private home usually means sharing a room with another student (either Spanish or some other nationality) or possibly having a single room in the home of a Spanish couple or señora. Although you will be living in their home, the “family” may not treat you like a member of the household. This is a business relationship and is a common arrangement for Spanish university students or young professionals.

Homes and Rooms

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 have no closets). You may encounter certain inconveniences: lack of central heating, air-conditioning, and laundry facilities; restrictions on the use of hot water and electricity; charges for the use of the telephone, etc.
If you are living in a family environment, adhere to the customs established in the house for all members of the household. Be considerate as to your arrival times at night and in the early morning hours. Be aware of noise level and avoid rowdy behavior when others might be sleeping. You will have to ask permission to bring any guests home. Overnight guests are usually not permitted. Remember that many Spaniards smoke, even in the house.
Although meals sometimes are offered with the cost of the room, consider arranging for the room only or partial meals, since you will be in school during the main meal.

Boarding Houses

Boarding house options include living in a residencia, pensión, or hostal.
A residencia usually provides room and board to about a dozen or more men or women. A residencia might be one or two floors of a particular building with a number of bedrooms, and a common eating and living area. The residencia is rarely coed. The person running the residencia typically prepares the food and sets residencia guidelines. The people living in the residencia tend to stay for extended periods of time, from a few months to a few years, and the boarders usually integrate with one another more than they would if in a pensión or hostal.
A pensión or hostal would be similar although typically smaller and perhaps without the dining and common living area. Both usually consist of individual rooms in a building. In some pensiones, you may stay indefinitely, but hostales usually require guests to move after a limited time period. Most pensiones will not reserve rooms ahead of time; if they do, they frequently require a large, often non-refundable deposit. In a hostal, students do not reserve rooms in advance, but space may be reserved on a day-to-day basis after checking in. A family often operates a pensión or hostal as its primary business. Pensiones and hostales offer service and convenience that are rated by officially regulated categories on a one- to five-star system. Hostales are not the same as hosteles (as in “youth hostel”).

Meals After the ILP

The cost and set-up will vary depending on where you decide to live. You are responsible for all meal costs. If you decide to live in an accommodation that includes the cost of meals, you must pay for the meals even if you miss them.
Some of the best and least expensive food is offered through a colegio mayor or residencia. You must purchase meal plans in advance for this service, but you do not need to be residents of these establishments to take part in their meal plans.
University restaurant cafeterias are designed specifically for students and the food is cheap, filling, and nutritious. Spanish students eat the basic fare of an appetizer, main dish, dessert, and a drink for approximately €5,50. Vegetarians may substitute the main dish with a salad, bread, or another vegetable. Sandwiches or baguettes are between €1,50 and €4, and other options include coffee with milk, €0,85; croissant, €1,50; Coca-Cola, €1,10; combined dish, €3,50.
In Madrid, university restaurants offer meals for about €5 to €10, and you may be able to buy a 10-meal coupon to save some money. University restaurants are open from early October to mid-June and closed during all official holidays.
In areas of town near university campuses there are often shops and bars that serve cheap bocadillos, sometimes for as little as €2.
Madrid Housing
Long commutes are common in Madrid, with some students or professionals commuting as much as 45 minutes to an hour each way. Since Madrid is such a highly populated city, it is difficult to find housing, and many UCEAP students move few times during the year. During orientation, Study Center staff will discuss housing arrangements in Madrid; however, the majority of work necessary to find housing in Madrid is up to you. Room and board costs vary according to accommodations chosen. Last year, rental costs ranged from approximately €400 to €450 per month for a room in a shared apartment, depending on location and amenities. Plan to spend some time researching the city and familiarizing yourself with the various neighborhoods as it will facilitate your search.  
Spanish Fare
Daily Life Abroad
Local Transportation
Extracurricular Activities


Complutense’s sports facilities are abundant and well equipped, and offer team sports and fitness classes. Many UCEAP students actively participate in university sports teams. Students must purchase a membership card and pay an annual fee to access facilities and classes.
The city of Madrid offers countless social and cultural activities of every description. To the U.S. student, the Complutense University of Madrid may seem like a commuter campus. There is no centrally located university building such as a student union, but individual facultades (colleges and schools) have their own cafés, bars, and social events, and this is where students normally congregate. In addition to numerous social activities, past UCEAP participants have done volunteer work in hospitals; taught English in different institutes and schools; and gathered interviews for a radio program on a student network, among other activities. The university’s Actividades Culturales service offers many activities including weekly film screenings, theater performances, and other activities.
Students with Disabilities
Travel Sign-out Form
Travel within Spain
UCEAP Insurance
Staying Healthy
Local Medical Facilities
As a UCEAP participant you are automatically covered by UCEAP insurance anywhere in the world (not only while in Madrid) 14 days before the official start of the program 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

  1. 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).
  2. 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); Europe Assistance phone:  1-202- 828-5896 (collect calls outside the U.S.)
  3. 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:

    C/Conde de Aranda 1, 1º izquierda Madrid 28001

    Metro: Serrano (line 4); Retiro (Line 2)
Physical Health
Cádiz students: There is no university health center, but students may visit a local clinic: Clinica La Salud, C/ Feduchy s/n.
Madrid students: The Study Center recommends two main health centers in Madrid—Unidad Médica and Hospiquality—where doctors and nurses speak both Spanish and English. In Madrid, there are several hospitals with emergency room services. There is no university health center.
Prescription Medications
Mental Health
Health Risks
Staying Safe
Minimize Risk
Crime & Prevention
Civil Unrest

Demonstrations & Protests

Traffic & Transportation Safety
UCEAP Contingency Planning
Fire Safety
Forest Fires
Forest fires occur frequently in Spain during the summer months, especially in southern areas of the country.
In An Emergency
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 office.

* Pregnancy includes pregnancy, childbirth, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.