Approx. Time Difference
Add 9 hours
- Pre-ILP + Fall
- Pre-ILP + 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, health and safety, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants
section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.
“Granada is a beautiful city. It has the hustle and bustle of a big city but on a smaller scale and it definitely has exceptional nightlife. Starting a night out with Granada’s famous free tapas is a sure sign of a night to be spent laughing with new friends. The culture here is more than evident. The history represented by the majestic Alhambra palace and the small, winding streets of the Albaicín is obvious, and while losing yourself in these alleys you are bound to stumble upon a group of friendly Spaniards playing guitar, singing and perhaps even dancing flamenco.”
~ Allison Meins, UCSB
While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Local UCEAP Support
Campus EAP Office
The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.
UCEAP Systemwide Office
The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Staff advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).
Phone: (805) 893-4268 or (805) 893-4138
Phone: 805) 893-4268 or (805) 893-4138
Phone: (805) 893-2712
Student Finance Accountant
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762
Bookmark your Participants
program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Pre-Departure Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
Connect with us! Join our Facebook network via the UCEAP Spain
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 Barcelona Study Center.
University of Granada
Inmaculada Manrique, Sr. Coordinator
Centro Estudio de la Universidad de California
Colegio Mayor Isabel la Católica
Universidad de Granada
c/Réctor López Argueta, 8
18001 Granada, Spain
Phone: (+34) 958-20-38-94
UCEAP Faculty Director
Prof. Max Parra
Facultad de Filología
Universitat de Barcelona
Gran Vía de les Corts Catalanes, 585
08007 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: (+34) 680-336-938
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
Córdoba city code ................. 957
Approximate Time Difference
Add 9 hours
Pre-Intensive Language Program in Cádiz
The month-long program in Cádiz is open to all students selected for fall and year immersion programs in Spain. It is specifically designed to prepare UC students for the academic programs in Barcelona, Granada, and Madrid.
The cost of pre-ILP excursions is included in your UCEAP fees.
If you are preparing for an immersion program in Spain, you have the opportunity to attend UCEAP’s pre-intensive language program (pre-ILP) in the seaside city of Cádiz. Running from mid-July to mid-August, the pre-ILP is designed to sharpen the language skills that are essential for success in Spanish university classes. The program is appropriate for students with the minimum 5 quarters/3 semesters of Spanish as well as more advanced speakers.
The pre-ILP offers a rich and multifaceted introduction to society and culture in contemporary Spain. It provides an opportunity for you to improve your language skills in speaking, writing, and aural comprehension; to review elements of grammar; and to understand the Spanish language as it is spoken in Spain. For those with advanced knowledge of Spanish, the program will emphasize written composition; for others, the primary focus will be conversational facility and aural comprehension.
- Orientation activities take place the first few days of the program and include general program information, a walking tour of Cádiz, a Spanish placement test, and a welcome banquet with the Cádiz staff.
- The academic program runs five days a week (Monday through Friday). Four days a week students attend classes between 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., with two hours of language instruction (grammar, conversation, and writing), a half-hour break, and two hours of Spanish civilization with an emphasis on the region of Andalucía. There will also be some required work outside of the regular classroom.
- Fridays are usually devoted to mandatory excursions and cultural activities within the city and the neighboring areas of Andalucía. Wait until after you receive the full program schedule during orientation before making personal travel plans.
- Students earn a maximum of 6.5 UC quarter units.
- All classes are taught by faculty members at the University of Cádiz.
After the Cádiz program, you will have a break of a week or so before beginning the ILP in your respective host cities. You are responsible for your own housing and travel arrangements during this period, and for arriving at the ILP site at the date and time specified in your program Pre-Departure Checklist
. Since the break falls during high tourist season, make plans for travel and accommodations well before the end of the pre-ILP.
Intensive Language Program
The cost of ILP excursions is included in your UCEAP fees.
Some aspects of the ILP are tailored to your site, including information on the history and culture of the city and host university. The ILP for the Barcelona programs also includes an introduction to Catalán.
Immediately following orientation, the intensive language program (ILP) begins for academic year and fall semester students. Barcelona spring semester students will participate in a shorter ILP. It is during the ILP period that you become familiar with the classes that will be offered at your host university in the coming term. You meet with program coordinators and the Study Center Director to select an appropriate course of study.
This program is mandatory and designed to prepare you for coursework at the host university.
- Classes run every day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., depending on the Study Center).
- The programs emphasize grammar and composition; oral communication; and Spanish history, literature, and culture.
- Mandatory excursions are also part of the ILP. These can last anywhere from three hours to a full day; half-day excursions are usually in the evenings during the week, and some excursions are planned for Fridays when there are no classes.
- The units for the ILP may be reduced to 3.0 UC quarter units (equivalent to 2.0 UC semester units).
The University of Granada
The academic program at UGR consists of regular university courses in a wide variety of disciplines. With extremely rare exceptions, courses are offered in Spanish. Past UCEAP students at UGR have flourished in such disciplines as anthropology, art history, geography, history, political science, Arabic language, psychology, and Spanish-language literature. UGR also has very strong programs in the physical, chemical, and biological sciences and mathematics that are worth exploring by students who are majoring in the sciences.
UGR Online Registration
You must complete an online admission form prior to departure.
If during the registration process or at any point during your program in Granada you are asked for the contact information of your "home university", do not list your UC advisor's information. You will instead list the contact information for the UCEAP Coordinator in Granada, Inmaculada Manrique (see the Your UCEAP Network section of this guide for specific contact information for Inmaculada). Your transcripts will need to be sent to UCEAP, not to your UC campus.
The Granada Study Center offers two optional Master Tutorials during the fall semester to provide you with the listening and writing skills that are essential for success in UGR courses. Information regarding the courses will be provided during orientation.
- All students are required to take a minimum of 18 UC quarter units (equivalent to 12 UC semester units) each term.
Special tutorial sessions for courses with large enrollments of UCEAP students may also be arranged by the Study Center. With the approval of the Spain Faculty Director, it is also possible for you to pursue programs of independent study under the supervision of a UGR professor.
Give careful thought to how your academic interests mesh with the host university you have chosen and do not hesitate to get advice from the Study Center staff once you arrive. Even the most serious UCEAP students have received below-average grades in Spain when they have chosen their courses without knowledge of the Spanish university system.
Spanish universities traditionally follow a career system, which means that Spanish students begin their studies with their major already selected and take courses that are pre-assigned within one facultad for their entire university career. Spanish students are therefore highly specialized in their fields, because they have been taking courses in their majors in a particular sequence for many years.
In many respects, Spanish undergraduate degrees, or grados, are very similar to the American bachelor's degree: students progressively advance through a degree plan (plan de estudios) over four years, starting with foundational courses (formación básica), required courses (obligatorias), electives (optativas), and a final project (trabajo de fin de grado).
While not always exact, UC students should be aware that many courses designated as básica, particularly those offered for first year (curso 1, or primer curso) students, are considered lower division. Unless you are specifically trying to meet lower division GE requirements, try to avoid enrolling in first year courses whenever possible.
You are not bound by the same requirements as Spanish students and you may take classes in any facultad. As you plan your academic choices, remember to explore the courses that a variety of facultades offer. For example, an anthropology course may be located in the Facultad de Historia if such a course is a requirement for the history degree since each facultad provides all the courses that students need to fulfill their requirements.
The Study Center helps you to navigate this maze by providing information on class availability, schedules, locations, etc. Even so, you should expect to do a lot of investigation on your own to find out what is available; you are responsible for knowing which classes you took from which facultad.
Class Format & Expectations
While some professors tend to be more open to interaction, many courses in Spain are lectures with little or no class discussion. Given this lecture format, note-taking skills are important. However, you are also required to do more preparatory work on your own outside of class than is the custom at UC. Figure out what to study and do not depend on assignments from professors.
Although Spanish professors may not usually take formal attendance, repeated unexcused absences from class will be noticed. In many cases, exams concentrate heavily on material presented in class. Failure to regularly attend class can result in a lowered or failing grade!
Most professors supply a syllabus at the beginning of the course. In some cases these are available online in the guía for each facultad. The syllabus may include a bibliography and reading list that can be extremely long. You probably do not need to read every book on the list, but you do need to find out which ones are essential and how they relate to each other. You may be expected to know the arguments of important books in the field, since a principle objective of many courses is to master what has already been written on any given topic.
Spanish students may appear to be less competitive than American students because they know how and at what point in the year or semester the professor will be expecting them to apply themselves and be productive. Do not assume that you can wait until the end of the year to study for a final exam that constitutes your entire grade.
In Spain the GPA is not as important as it is in the U.S., and the Spanish grading system differs greatly from the American grading system. Grades for Spanish students are rarely curved, so the performance of a fellow student does not affect another student’s grade. Grades are assigned according to how much of the course material you have mastered, not how much effort you feel you may have put into the class.
At all locations you may request to participate in tutorías (tutorials) associated with individual university courses. These tutorías may be arranged and paid for by the Study Center to provide additional assistance to those who do not feel comfortable with the course material. When the tutorías are made as a special arrangement for UCEAP students only, the Study Center may require a minimum number of students before offering one. A professor or a graduate student leads students in discussions of lectures or reading materials and may assign additional written work associated with the course. The tutorías should not be regarded lightly, as the tutor’s comments are taken into consideration when the professor assigns the final grade. Once begun, you must continue participation in the tutorial. You do not receive separate academic credit (units) for work completed during the tutoría.
Most Spanish facultades have their own libraries and you may acquire borrowing privileges at most of them. You will not be given access to the library stacks. Instead, you request that a book be brought out for you by the library staff. In addition, you can check out only a limited number of books for a short period of time. However, course readers and course notes are readily available, and students commonly photocopy books, despite strict copyright laws. Still, expect to purchase books and, as is often the case at home, do not expect to get much for them if you resell them at the end of the year.
Return library books on time. Failure to do so may cause serious consequences, such as exclusion from using library resources and penalty fees.
Do not approach professors to request early exams. Early departures are not allowed.
Be sure to keep all course information you receive to show your UC departmental advisor when you return.
Information on courses that have been taken in the past by UCEAP students in Spain is available through the MyEAP Course Catalog
In addition, you can obtain further information about the types of available courses directly from the host university website. Each of these websites organizes course information differently, sometimes by facultad and sometimes by department. In almost all cases, however, a plan de estudios will be a list of course titles required for Spanish students to complete their degrees.
- asignatura: course
- curso: year
- formación básica: foundational/basic course
- guía docente: course description or syllabus
- obligatoria: required course
- optativa: elective
- plan de estudio: degree plan
- programa: course description or syllabus
- trabajo de fin de grado: final project
The Study Center staff will provide additional information about professors and courses but you will ultimately be responsible for your course selection and preparing in advance:
- Familiarize yourself with your own academic requirements before departure. The Study Center Director will not be familiar with the requirements of every major at every UC campus.
- Meet with your home campus departmental advisor before leaving California and determine the subject areas and types of courses (e.g., area studies, language, GE requirements, specific material, etc.) that will best fit your UC academic program, and search for that type in the host university website.
- Take the e-mail address of your major department advisor to facilitate consultation on coursework for the major.
- Take the Director’s and coordinator’s advice seriously in order to preserve your GPA and make progress toward your degree. The Study Center has extensive knowledge of how UC students have fared in various facultades or departments at each university.
Fall Semester-Only Students
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 from your instructors or the Study Center; 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.
Bilingual (Spanish & English taught) Courses in Education
The degree in Primary Education Teacher Training (Grado en Educación Primaria
) emphasizes both English and Spanish coursework in education. Information regarding the "bilingual" option can be found on the group web page
. Students with majors or minors in education are encouraged to review the course offerings and schedules posted online, and consult with the Study Center with any questions.
Plan on taking a normal UC load of four courses per term. Your host university may require online registration prior to arrival in Spain. If required, information and instructions will be found in the Program Overview
section of this guide and will also be included in you Pre-Departure Checklist
. In addition to registering with the host university, you must fill out your MyEAP Registration Study List each term that you are abroad in order to ensure that you receive UC credit for all courses that you officially enroll in. You will receive additional information regarding course selection and the registration process for both your host university and MyEAP during the on-site orientation.
Remember that it is your responsibility to review your MyEAP Study List throughout your time abroad. This means prior to submitting it to UCEAP staff for final review, as well as periodically during the semester. This is particularly important if you register for courses that were not previously cataloged in the MyEAP system, or if you submit a General Petition requesting changes later in the term. If you have questions about your MyEAP registration, contact the Study Center staff or Systemwide Academic Staff.
All students are required to take a full-time course of study while abroad.
- You must enroll in one language course.
- You are permitted to use the variable unit option to select between 3.0 and 6.0 quarter units (equivalent to 2.0 to 4.0 semester units) of UC credit for the language course.
- Units taken during the pre-ILP and ILP do not count toward the semester minimum unit requirement.
- ILP courses may only be taken for a letter grade.
- You are required to enroll in at least four courses each term.
- This will be equivalent to approximately 20 UC quarter units (equivalent to 13.3 UC semester units) of UC credit.
- You may not take more than two core courses per term.
- You may select only one course for pass/no pass credit.
- The seminar+internship course offered by the Study Center during the fall semester may be taken as one of your required four courses.
- An internship for academic credit may only be added in addition to the regular minimum course load of four courses.
- Note: If you opt to take two core courses and also want to add an internship, expect to take another two regular courses at the university for a total minimum load of five courses.
- Requests for an exception to any program requirement must be submitted to the Spain Faculty Director via General Petition before the MyEAP Study List deadline and prior to the add/drop date at the University of Granada.
- Final approval will only be granted by the UCEAP Academic Dean.
Note: Most UGR courses are worth 6 ECTS, equivalent to 5.0 quarter units (3.3 semester units) of UC credit.
Exams are usually essays and may include subjects that were only touched on minimally in lectures, and for which you must do independent research and preparation. Exams may be open notebook or open book, in which case you will be expected to read several books and be able to quote from them.
Be advised that university students are often give a choice between two evaluation models. The evaluación única model bases the entire course grade on one comprehensive essay exam at the end of the term. The evaluación continua model, on the other hand, permits students to be evaluated using two or three course elements, such as a term paper, a mid-term, and a final exam.
- UCEAP strongly suggests that students select evaluación continua!
Participants often do better overall when submitting assignments and receiving regular feedback from instructors.
Although the Spanish system often allows for multiple final exam sittings (convocatorias), UC Academic Senate policies specifically prohibit re-taking final exams.
- If you are unable to take a final exam, please contact the SCD well in advance of the scheduled exam date to see if an Incomplete grade is possible in your particular case. These will only be granted in exceptional circumstances!
- Incomplete (I) grades are only pending notations; unless the final assignment is submitted by the deadline specified in the Contract for "I" form, the grade will convert to an F, NP, or U, whichever is applicable.
Contesting Grades at UGR
Within the first two weeks following the exams and after grades have been posted, professors at the University of Granada set aside a time to meet with students who wish to contest grades or discuss any concerns about course evaluations. The dates and times are announced during class or posted with the final grades.
If you have questions about your grades for the term, take advantage of this period to confer with your professors. UGR professors will not take questions regarding grades at any other time, and most will not respond to messages sent by email; students will need to be present to take advantage of the review period!
See the Study Center staff for more information if you have any questions about contesting grades during the two-week period following the end of the term.
Grades for this program are typically available in mid-March for the fall semester, and mid-August for the spring semester.
For general information about grades, see the Academic Information
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
The Granada UCEAP Study Center may be able to coordinate internship opportunities for academic credit. Detailed information will be provided during the onsite program orientation and students interested in adding an academic internship to their regular courseload should promptly follow-up with staff.
Due to Granada Study Center's network with various primary and secondary schools and educational centers, together with the availability of courses relating to bilingual education at the University of Granada, a seminar for cultural integration and internship implementation in bilingual schools was developed specifically for students interested in practical experience in the field.
may be counted as one of your four required courses. The seminar meets for two-hour sessions weekly, and 150 hours must be devoted to internship work/activities over the course of the semester.
An internship arranged outside of the seminar option may only be added in addition to the regular required course load listed above; no exceptions
. Students must keep a record of their work days and times and have that regularly verified (signed off) by the internship supervisor. Internship supervisors will be required to submit a completed UCEAP Internship Evaluation form directly to the Study Center at the end of the term.
All students should review the steps and accompanying internship instructions and documents available online
- UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad (see: academic policies)
- Internship Information for Students (PDF)
- Internship Information for Supervisors (PDF)
- Special Study Internship Form (PDF)
Additional instructions will be provided by the Study Center.
Interested students may search for suitable volunteer opportunities through CICODE, the University of Granada office which coordinates and promotes volunteer activities for UGR students. Although volunteer work does not have to be completed for academic credit, all students should inform the Study Center Coordinator of any project(s) you may be undertaking during the term.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Granada Fall and Pre-ILP+Fall
As with most rewarding experiences, extension to the year program in Granada 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 Granada.
abroad, 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 do not submit an approved DPA before departure, you may still have the option to extend. 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. The extension request must be supported by the Study Center Director, and your UC campus administrators.
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 your extension is approved, you will be expected to complete the extension term. A request to shorten the stay will be treated as withdrawal from UCEAP with possible financial penalties.
While tourist season will be in full swing during ILP, 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 and Harassment
Students have reported encountering behaviors that would be labeled as sexist, racist, or discriminatory in the U.S.
UC students of African-American, Asian-Pacific Islander, Latin, and Middle Eastern backgrounds in particular may frequently find themselves the objects of stares and comments, ranging from relatively innocent to occasionally hostile.
Graffiti including anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic, and generally anti-immigrant comments are not unusual.
Female students have indicated that they are stared at, approached, and harassed by men more openly and more frequently in Spain than at home. These behaviors are characterized as annoying, frustrating, and initially shocking, but generally no more than that. Some have commented that there is no “political correctness” in Spain.
To have a rewarding and safe experience, talk to past participants and inform yourself about cultural, legal, and social issues affecting gender roles, relationships, and dating before departure.
It is important that you do not allow cultural differences to prevent you from completing your program in Spain. If you encounter offensive behavior, try physically moving away from the offender, as responding may simply escalate the situation. Seek help from program staff and fellow students, especially if an offensive encounter becomes out of control or causes you increased anxiety and anger. Female returnees indicate that harassment can occur no matter what the circumstances; however, they recommend adapting your dress, comments, and actions to blend more closely to local norms. Talking to Spanish women and observing them in their daily activities can help to accomplish this.
In most cases these incidents represent a cultural difference that causes annoyance and frustration for UC students, rather than a source of physical danger. Inform yourself about social and political issues in Spain, think about and discuss these issues before departure, practice personal tolerance, and be mature and realistic in your expectations.
Improve Your Language Skills
UCEAP Spain alumni have found that language preparation was essential to their success in Spanish university courses, and that weak language skills severely affected their grades.
Prior to departure, spend at least one hour a day working to improve your Spanish. Depending on your language level, some or all of the following may be helpful:
- Take an additional course in Spanish.
- Seek out native Spanish speakers for regular conversation; many ESL teachers can arrange conversation exchanges in English and Spanish.
- Watch Spanish language television regularly to improve your comprehension; write brief summaries of what you have heard on television and have a native speaker correct the grammar for you.
- Go to Spanish movies.
- Download free Spanish language podcasts.
- If available, use the second-language option on your television or DVD player. That way, popular movies can be heard in Spanish with English subtitles.
- Read Spanish newspapers, such as El País, as often as possible. Visit El Periódico for an opportunity to begin reading in Catalán, as it is available online in both Castilian and Catalán.
- Read magazines, cover to cover, using an all-Spanish dictionary. This may be difficult at first and may require a certain amount of discipline, but it will help your overall comprehension and increase your active vocabulary.
- Read at least one book in Spanish in your major or a related field.
- Keep a journal of Spanish words, phrases, expressions, whole sentences, and structures that you would like to add to your repertoire.
- Give your Spanish comprehension a workout; the harder you work at home, the easier your time abroad will be. Feedback on performance in all areas is important.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Official UCEAP Start Date
You must be in Spain by the Official Start Date. The specific meeting time and location are provided on the Arrival Instructions that are included in your Pre-Departure Checklist
. If you fail to appear on the Official Start Date, you are subject to dismissal from the program (Student Agreement, Section 10).
Take a copy of the Arrival Instructions to Spain.
If you arrive before the Official UCEAP Start Date, you are responsible for your own lodging until the program start date. You may not move into prearranged housing until the Official UCEAP Start Date, nor may you store items at the Study Center. If you arrive early, you are still expected to meet the group at the designated time and place as indicated on the Arrival Instructions.
You are required to attend all orientation sessions.
Whether you arrive from the Pre-ILP in Cádiz or from California, all immersion programs in Spain begin with a required orientation in your host city. During one or more sessions of the orientation you will receive:
- Introductions to your UC Faculty Director and UCEAP staff.
- An overview of the program.
- Print materials containing program calendars and information about facultades, ILP schedules, housing, expected behavior, and health and safety.
- General tourist information about your city regarding transportation (including maps), banking, and other logistical concerns.
In addition to the half-day orientation session, Study Center staff arrange various activities for your arrival and throughout your term. Among the events are:
A tour of the Albayzin and Sacromonte
Visits to the Alhambra, cathedral, and Alcaiceria market
A flamenco workshop
Excursions during the orientation and ILP are included in your UCEAP fees and are meant to introduce you to the culture and historical sites of Granada. During orientation you will also meet your monitores, University of Granada students who will help you acclimate to Granada throughout the course of the ILP and also assist you in finding permanent housing.
Travel to Your Host Country
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip tickets, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. UCEAP discourages purchasing one way tickets, as your Program Budget is based on a changeable round trip student fare, which is generally less expensive. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase tickets that allow changes to the return date. If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
Financial Aid Students
Your financial aid package is calculated using your specific UCEAP Program Budget. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student ticket to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.
You can find information about passports, entry requirements or visas, and other required documents in your Pre-Departure Checklist
Undocumented Students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Students
Consult with an immigration attorney free of charge on your campus to determine if study abroad is right for you.
If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz, contact the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center at https://law.ucdavis.edu/uc-undocumented/
Morocco Tourist Visa: Non-U.S. Citizens
This program includes an excursion to Morocco. Non-U.S. Citizens may be required to apply for a Morocco Tourist Visa upon arrival in Cordoba. Please check the Morocco Consulate's website to see if a Morocco Tourist Visa is required for your country of citizenship.
When traveling, always carry your passport with visa, ticket, prescription medications, and money on your person. Never put these items or other valuables in checked luggage.
Check with your airline regarding the latest baggage allowance and other restrictions. Pack lightly. You will have to carry your own luggage, so make sure you can handle it. Long-distance buses, trains, and taxis in Spain limit luggage to one piece per passenger. If you have excess luggage you must research and find your own storage space. Your Study Center will not store luggage.
Clearly identify each item of luggage on the inside and outside with your name, home address, and Study Center address abroad. Never leave luggage unattended. Read about the Personal Property Benefit included in the UCEAP Insurance Plan and assess if the coverage is adequate. You may decide to protect your belongings with additional insurance.
Items to bring with you:
- Laptop computer with wireless card and Ethernet cable (for anywhere WiFi isn't available)
- Chargers for your electronics, with adapter and converter for European electrical outlets and voltage
- Copies of all of your visa application documents (if applicable)
- Printout of online registration (if applicable)
- Spanish dictionary
- USB drive
- Prescription medication ( at least enough to last for the first few months of your stay; see the Health chapter of this guide for more information)
- Good pair of walking shoes
- Slippers (Spaniards do not usually go barefoot at home)
- Rain jacket/umbrella
- Day pack/ backpack (to carry books around the city or to use for a weekend away)
- Travel smoke detector
- Bath towel
- Gifts for foreign hosts and new friends (T-shirts with city, state, or campus logos; California postcards)
Most items available in the U.S. will also be available in Spain.
Spain’s inland climate is continental, meaning summers tend to be hot, winters tend to be cold, and the temperature between day and night differs significantly depending on the season. Many buildings in Spain have no central heating and tend to remain cold even after the weather outside has warmed up. Some private homes may have a few individual heading units, but they are not used when the weather outside is warm.
The UCEAP Student Budget does not include funds for the purchase of clothing abroad.
The Pre-ILP in Cádiz takes place during the hottest part of the summer; be prepared for hot, humid weather. Classrooms and the residence hall used during the Pre-ILP are air-conditioned.
The electrical current used in Europe is 50 cycles AC rather than the 60-cycle current used in the U.S. and voltage is 220–240 rather than the U.S. standard 110 volts for small appliances. Additionally, most electrical sockets have round holes. A converter (or transformer) and adapter plugs are needed in order to use typical home appliances. Most computers come with a built-in voltage converter.
Travel irons, curling irons, hair straighteners, blow dryers, and electric razors with built-in converters for all currents can be purchased in the U.S. or abroad. Because the cost of electricity abroad is very high and since improper use of appliances may damage electrical outlets and the appliances themselves, it is a good policy to ask before using the outlets.
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.
Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters
chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
- Contact information for finance questions
- How to estimate the cost of your program
- Budget instructions and information
- Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
- UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
- Banking before and after arrival
- Fees and penalties
- Loan information
- How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
- Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget
. Program fees are subject to change.
Your UCEAP Program Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.
- Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
- Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
- Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:
If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions
It is important that you plan your finances carefully and that you prepare before departure in order to ensure access to your money while abroad.
The official currency unit in Spain is the euro, abbreviated EUR or €. Prices are posted using a comma instead of a period, for example €5,75 is five euros and 75 cents.
- Be sure to have more than one way to access money while abroad.
- Arrive in Spain with at least €200 (some in small bills). You can obtain euros from a U.S. bank. Some banks require at least a week or two to obtain foreign currency.
- Take at least one credit card in your name (preferably two), and two ATM cards (if possible) from your U.S. bank account. The ATM cards must have an international (four-digit) PIN in order to work in Spain.
- Travelers checks are useful for large purchases, to save you from high credit card conversion rates. They are also a safe back-up to get money, in case your credit card is lost, stolen, or shut down by your bank for international use.
- Do not plan to have checks (financial aid, money from family, etc.) sent to Spain. Checks should be sent to a trusted friend or relative who can deposit the funds into your U.S. bank account.
- Assign your Power of Attorney to someone you trust.
Bank and Creditor Information
Discuss the following important details with your bank and credit card companies:
- Notify them that you will be traveling abroad; otherwise, they may flag or cancel your cards for unusual activity.
- Staying in contact while abroad, including contact phone numbers and e-mail (store contact information online so that you can easily access it while traveling).
- Whether or not your ATM card can be used in Spain and other travel destinations. Cirrus and Plus systems are common throughout Europe, but if you do not have an international PIN, you will need to change it.
- Transaction fees for using an international ATM, including usage fees charged by ATMs in Spain.
- Daily withdrawal and transfer limits (there may also be European ATM withdrawal limitations).
- Process for reporting lost/stolen cards and obtaining replacements (keep your account numbers in a secure, easily accessible location in case of emergencies).
- Partner banks in Spain to minimize fees and allow access to certain benefits and services. Charles Schwab usually reimburses international ATM fees, and Bank of America has a relationship with Barclays Bank and does not charge ATM fees, so students have opened accounts with these banks before departure; other banks may offer similar services.
- Available online services, which will allow you to check account balances and pay bills. Be sure to ask about online banking fees.
- Cash advance services, including fees and interest rates (they are sometimes double that of purchases).
While in Spain
Plan on using a combination of methods to obtain money in case one fails (e.g., a local ATM is temporarily out of service). Do not rely solely on one form of access to funds.
You will have to cover the costs of daily transportation, books and school supplies, and personal items, among other expenses. Many students found that their living costs were much greater than expected and suggested budgeting a large amount of spending money.
Using an ATM card is the easiest way to access your money overseas and the exchange rate is the most favorable. ATMs are widely available in Spain and you will receive cash in local currency (euros). Plan to have financial aid or other support funds deposited directly into your U.S. checking account by a relative or reliable friend. You can then withdraw these funds (in euros) via an ATM.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and do not withdraw money from an ATM at night. An ATM card can be lost or stolen, or might not work. For this reason, we recommend that you take two ATM cards to Spain.
Credit cards are useful for emergencies, travel expenses, and everyday purchases. Most stores and restaurants in Spain honor major credit cards. Visa is the most widely accepted credit card in Europe, followed by MasterCard. American Express (AmEx) is not widely accepted, but can be used to purchase traveler’s checks abroad. The Discover Card is not widely accepted outside the U.S. and is not worth taking to Spain.
Take at least two international credit cards and always leave one at home while in Spain; if one is lost or stolen, you will have an immediate backup. These credit cards must be in your name (not a parent’s).
If you need a cash advance after hours at an ATM, you will need an international PIN. If you conduct a cash advance transaction inside a bank, you may not need an international PIN, but you will need your passport.
Travelers checks can be useful in an emergency, as an alternate source of money if you lose your wallet, or if a card does not work. Travelers checks are extremely helpful if you plan to open a bank account in Spain. In addition, travelers checks can be replaced if lost or stolen. If you don’t use the travelers checks in Spain, you can deposit them to your bank account upon your return to the U.S. Purchase the checks in U.S. dollars before you depart; AmEx Travelers Cheques are the most widely accepted. Be sure to make two copies of the check numbers and give one copy to a family member or friend before you leave home. Keep the other copy for yourself, separate from the actual checks. If your checks are lost or stolen, you will need to provide these numbers and corresponding receipts in order to obtain replacements.
Travelers checks can be exchanged for euros at any bank marked Cambio or at exchange offices (oficinas de cambio). A transaction fee will be charged and some banks may insist on exchanging a minimum amount.
At the American Express office you can write checks (from the States) for travelers checks. However, travelers checks are no longer widely used in Europe and many restaurants and cafés do not accept them. Have a credit card and especially an ATM card to access your money.
Western Union can be used to have money sent from home in a very short amount of time (sometimes within minutes). In most instances, you can receive local currency at competitive foreign exchange rates. Check online
for the number and address of the nearest office.
Opening Bank Accounts in Spain
Once settled in Spain, you can open a personal savings account at a Spanish bank. Because of the temporary nature of your stay in Spain, it is not possible to open a checking account. During orientation at the Study Center, you will receive detailed information about banking options. It is important to have travelers checks or cash on hand to open an account (you cannot use ATM or credit cards to open a bank account). The minimum amount of money required to open an account varies among banks; at La Caixa, there is no charge or minimum, but some larger banks, such as the BSCH and BBVA, require about $20.
With a savings account, you will be issued an ATM card. If your U.S. account ATM is lost or stolen, it can take a month or two to obtain a replacement from the U.S., but replacing a lost or stolen Spanish ATM card usually takes only a few days. You can deposit cash or travelers checks, or wire funds from any bank in the U.S. to the savings account. Money in other forms (personal check, bank check, money order) can be deposited, but the funds will be held until the check has cleared, a process that usually takes a full month. Most banks also charge a fee for cashing foreign (i.e., U.S.) checks.
If you are taking part in the pre-ILP, do not open a bank account in Cádiz; wait until you arrive at your academic year site. You can use a combination of travelers checks, credit cards, and ATM cards for expenses during the pre-ILP.
You should also take into account the personal living expenses incurred during the break between the end of the Cádiz program and the beginning of the ILP. This break lasts approximately one to two weeks. Plan to have a minimum of $500 to $700 for personal living expenses during this period. Expenses will vary; generally, students who stay in an inexpensive hostal or pensión, either in Cádiz or the ILP city, will spend somewhat less than those who travel extensively during this time.
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 fall or year 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.
Laptops are among the most frequently stolen items from travelers.
Computer access varies by host university, but most campus computer facilities are crowded; waiting is common, and the hours can be inconvenient. It is best to bring your own laptop.
If you plan to bring a laptop:
- Be certain the UCEAP Insurance Plan property benefit is enough to cover your laptop in case of loss or theft.
- Do not ship your laptop to Spain. Your laptop may be held for inspection by customs officials and customs fees are costly, even for older laptops.
- Always carry your laptop with you and never set the bag containing your computer out of reach.
- Make sure you have a wireless card installed in your computer in order to access any available WiFi networks. Some UC campuses are members of eduroam, a WiFi network consortium accessible at all universities in Spain.
- Ensure that your laptop is equipped with a built-in voltage transformer that enables it to operate on the 220-volt system used in Spain (this is a fairly common feature) and bring adapter plugs.
- Install the latest anti-virus software to minimize hassle.
- Bring a flash drive or other media storage to back up papers, etc.
- If you choose, you can buy a relatively inexpensive portable printer to use with your laptop.
If you bring your own laptop, you will have Internet access in your dorm room free of charge. You will not receive an e-mail account from the University of Cádiz; plan to use a web-based e-mail account. You will be able to access Internet for free at the Facultad de Filosofía y Letras where the classes will take place. Cádiz also has several Internet cafés.
Campus computer facilities are adequate, but are crowded during peak times. You can access the Internet through the University of Granada wireless connection in most of the facultades. The Granada Study Center will provide the login and password to use the service. To print their work, students frequently use printers at the facultades for a small fee per page. Granada is full of Internet cafés and students can print their work there as well. Internet cafés usually operate during afternoons and evenings until 10 or 11 p.m. Internet cafés have various options and rates; past students recommend shopping around for the best deals.
Approximate time difference: add 9 hours
Please share this information with your parents before departure.
To call or send a fax to Spain from California, dial the international access code (011), then the country code (34), then the city code (see the Your UCEAP Network section in this guide), and then the phone number. When making calls within Spain, you must dial the city code, even for local calls.
Smart Phone Call/Texting Apps
If you want to see if your phone will work in Spain, you can look it up here: https://willmyphonework.net/
To call or text over Wifi connection, try cost effective and free apps such as Skype, Whatsapp, Viber, Face Time, etc.
Prepaid Phone Cards
Phone cards are also a good option to call the U.S. You can buy them from a locutorio.
You can use a prepaid card on any phone (home, cell, and public phones). Use a toll-free access number (900 number) when you call from someone else’s phone so that they are not charged any fees for the call.
Be mindful of the following:
901 Access: This access method allows you to pay for a local call but receive more minutes for your international call. To call from a pay phone, insert coins and then dial the 901 access number provided. Do not use this access number if calling from a homestay.
900 Access: By using this access method you will be making a toll-free call.
Ask your cell phone carrier about rates for international and local calling and texting. In general, having a cell phone is a good idea so you can call and text message friends in Spain.
Prepaid cell phones: With prepaid phones, you have maximum flexibility since you pay as you go. As you need more credit you simply buy recharge cards (recargas).
Cell phone rental services: There are cell phone rental services available.
Take your own U.S. cell phone: Spain operates on a GSM network, so check to make sure your phone operates on GSM.
UCEAP does not recommend shipping packages to Spain. It may not be possible for students to retrieve packages from customs. Itmay be easier and less costly for a student to order products online and have them shipped directly to them in Spain rather than having family or friends mail them packages from the U.S.
Use email, faxes, and private couriers (for example, FedEx or DHL) for critical communications and shipments, as the Spanish mail system can be slow.
Under no circumstances should laptop computers, digital cameras, or luggage be shipped overseas; it is expensive and subject to arbitrary customs duties.
Never ship medication or have it sent to you. Customs will not accept it.
Be sure to write “Airmail” on all mail sent overseas and pay the appropriate postage. Surface mail can take up to three months to arrive. Past students say that airmail from the U.S. takes two to six weeks to arrive. Do not use the phrase “in care of” on any letters; the phrase “in care of” is not recognized in Spain. Mail should be addressed to the student.
If you need to receive important documents overseas, you must use private express mail (FedEx, DHL, etc.). The item will be registered and insured and the mailing time will be less than that of the Postal Service. The express mail service offered by the U.S. Postal Service takes much longer than the private services because the package enters the regular mail system once it arrives overseas.
Do not send packages, boxes, or luggage of any size to the local Study Center.
Receiving packages overseas can be costly. Any package valued at more than 22 euros, including shipping costs, may be subject to customs charges. If you feel it is absolutely necessary to send goods abroad, you will be able to receive small packages at your permanent address once settled. Large packages are not delivered and you must pick them up at a distant facility or at the cargo airport. Written notification is usually sent to the recipient and the package is held at a central storage location until the recipient goes to retrieve it. Daily storage charges often are imposed on packages that are not retrieved immediately.
Avoid having packages sent as they may be held in customs for a lengthy period of time and, when released, may include substantial customs charges. Customs charges are usually based on the dollar value declared when a package is sent; however, these charges are somewhat arbitrary and nearly impossible to predict. Warn parents and friends that they should avoid declaring a high value on a package; in some cases the duty charged could exceed the value of the package. You will have to pay these high duty charges in order to accept the packages sent. Fees as high as $100 or more for something as simple as a coat or care package are common. Asking friends and family to declare “Used Items for Personal Use Only/No Commercial Value” (Efectos Personales Usados/ Sin Valor Comercial) on packages shipped overseas may alleviate high customs charges, but be forewarned that even inexpensive items marked in this way are not immune to customs charges or delays. Customs officials have the right to examine the contents of any package to assess value.
Ask family and friends to stop sending you mail at least two weeks before the program end date. Remember that similar arrangements will need to be made to ship the same articles home at the end of the program.
Bring only what you can carry by yourself (a suitcase with wheels and a carry-on bag work well) because you will be traveling independently from Cádiz to your ILP location. If you need to ship extra luggage, travel with your lighter summer clothing and then have someone ship your fall and winter clothing to you later. You will not be able to have boxes shipped to you until you have established a permanent address, which may not be until the end of September.
Pre-ILP and ILP Mail
During the Cádiz pre-ILP, have letters sent to your ILP location, where they will be held for your arrival (addresses below). The only letters that can be sent directly to Cádiz are via express mail. Following the end of the Cádiz pre-ILP, any mail that arrives at the colegio mayor there will not be forwarded to other addresses in Spain.
Cádiz Pre-ILP Address: Once available, include the student’s room number.
Universidad de Cádiz
Residencia Universitaria Campus
Plaza de la Catedral, 10
11005 Cádiz, SPAIN
Mail During the ILP in Granada
During the ILP in Granada, address mail (regular letter envelopes only, not packages) to the Granada Study Center.
Centro Estudio de la Universidad de California
Colegio Mayor Isabel la Católica
Universidad de Granada c/Réctor López Argueta, 8
18001 Granada, Spain
Mail After the ILP
Mail should be sent directly to your residence after the ILP.
Pre-ILP and ILP Housing & Meals
Cádiz Pre-ILP Housing
All students who attend the pre-ILP in Cádiz will be placed in the campus residencia
(university residence hall). Room and board for the Cádiz residencia
is included in your UCEAP fees. The residencia
is located directly on Cathedral Square in the historic old section of town. It is only a five-minute walk from Playa Victoria, a stretch of beautiful sandy beach several kilometers long, and a 10- to 15-minute walk to the university facultad
where UCEAP classes are located. Photos, a map of the location, and information about the residencia
are available online.
Pre-ILP housing is prearranged and is a program requirement. You may not arrange your own housing during the pre-ILP. Most students are housed in single rooms. Overnight guests are not permitted.
If you arrive in Cádiz before the official start date of the pre-ILP, you must arrange your own accommodations. You must move out of the residencia
on the date indicated on the Cádiz program calendar. You cannot arrive early to the residencia
unless you have made a reservation to arrive early for your additional nights. You will need to cover the cost of additional nights in the residencia.
You will pay in cash directly to the residencia
at the conclusion of the additional nights. Contact the residencia
directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
, if you plan to arrive early and would like to book your additional nights in the residencia
Living standards in Europe are different from those in the U.S., and residencias tend to be smaller and older than U.S. dorm rooms. All rooms are fully furnished singles with private bathrooms. Rooms are cleaned twice a week. Bed linens, towels, and basic toiletries are provided. Coin-operated washers and dryers are available for use 24 hours a day.
Meals During the Cádiz Pre-ILP
Three meals a day are provided in the residencia cafeteria from Monday through Friday. On weekends, only breakfast is provided. You may find breakfast very light compared to a typical US breakfast. It consists mainly on strong coffee and rolls or toasts (Spanish breakfast does not include eggs, for example). The Mediterranean diet is heavy on fish (Spain is the second consumer of fish in the world!) and olive oil. Meat, vegetables and fruits are a large part of the diet, while spicy flavors are not. The residencia cafeteria makes an effort to provide variety for international students.
During your program’s ILP in Granada your housing is prearranged in a local Colegio Mayor Isabel la Católica
(roughly equivalent to a dormitory). Photos, maps, and information about the colegio
are available on their website
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 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.
Most rooms at the Colegio Mayor Isabel la Católica are single rooms. 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. Rooms are cleaned twice a week. Rooms in the colegio mayor have their own showers and toilets.
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 ILP
During the ILP, any meals provided at the colegio mayor are included in UCEAP fees. Three meals are provided Mondays through Fridays, but no meals are included on weekends. 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.
Housing after the ILP
You must find and arrange for your own housing for the year beyond the ILP. There are many types of housing options from which you can choose. Students usually rent an apartment, live in a private home, 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.
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.
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. Some residence halls are not run by religious orders and some are coed. 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.
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 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. Vegetarians may substitute the main dish with a salad, bread, or another vegetable. Other options include sandwiches, baguette, coffee with milk, croissant, Coca-Cola.
University restaurants offer single meals, or you may be able to buy a 10-meal coupon to save some money. University restaurants are open from mid-September 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.
UCEAP staff in Granada will provide you with an orientation session dedicated to finding housing, including where and how to look for housing, safe and unsafe areas, and a list of apartments that had been rented by previous UCEAP participants. In addition, University of Granada student monitores will be available to help you negotiate rents and agree to rental terms.
Most students share apartments. Furnished apartments in Granada are common, although bed linens are not included. It is not difficult to find housing in Granada and year-long leases are typically not required. If you are not happy with your living situation, it is usually no problem to find another. Room and board costs vary depending on location and amenities.
Remaining in the colegio mayor
after the ILP is difficult because Spanish students reserve rooms several months before the academic year begins in September. A UC student interested in staying at a colegio mayor
will have to contact them directly by logging onto the University of Granada
website, scrolling down to the "Servicios
" section, then clicking on "Colegios Mayores
Spanish Diet & Meal Times
In the U.S., the morning meal is often considered the most important meal of the day. In Spain, breakfast is rather light, usually consisting of a roll or toast and strong coffee (a “continental breakfast”). Lunch, on the other hand, tends to be a substantial meal and is seen as the main meal of the day. Lunch is typically served around 2pm or 3p.m. and Spaniards tend to linger over this main meal. The evening meal, as with breakfast, is lighter, and is served later in the evening, around 9:30 p.m.
The Spanish diet is based on eggs, bread, potatoes, chicken, pork, and fish. Pork and fish have a prominent place in the Spanish diet. Fish and shellfish are abundant but can be expensive. Their quality and preparation are superb, although past students have commented that they were initially unprepared for a fish to be served intact. Vegetables and fruits are of equally high quality.
Spanish foods and their preparation bear little resemblance to U.S. or Mexican foods. Since olives are one of Spain’s primary crops, olive oil is used almost exclusively in Spanish cooking.
Olive oil is a staple in the Mediterranean diet. The amount of oil used is usually shocking to most California students, and past students have mentioned that they are not used to eating food cooked in oil, chorizo, and eating tapas. “Greasy” and “oily” are two food descriptions heard often from UC students, yet many come to enjoy the food during their stay in Spain.
Many restaurants and cafés offer fixed menus or menú del día (a whole meal for a fixed price). You will usually find these meals to be the best value, as they will include a choice of two main dishes, bread, wine or mineral water, and dessert.
There are also numerous cafés and tapas bars, which are good places for a quick snack. Besides tapas, there are salad bars in some Spanish cities, which are a great option for lunch. They offer salads, pastas, soups, and desserts and a beverage. In bars, you can also order a Spanish sandwich (bocadillo). When eating out, it is less expensive to sit inside than it is to sit at an outside table, and even less expensive to sit at the bar.
Shopping in the markets is another great way to experience Spanish cuisine and there are many types of markets available for your grocery needs. Spaniards buy most of their groceries at family-owned specialty corner stores. You will find these for fruits and vegetables, seafood, pork, baked goods, and more. Prices are mid-range, and service, if you frequent them often, is personalized.
The best prices are usually found in the larger marketplaces rather than at the corner stores. The least expensive grocery store is Dia Autoservicio. You will have to bring your own shopping bags (or pay for theirs) and bag your own groceries.
In addition, most neighborhoods have a large marketplace with stall after stall of products, each stall specializing in one thing: meats and cheeses, chicken and eggs, fruits and vegetables, bread, pastries, dairy products, and dry goods.
If you are a vegetarian, you may have some trouble finding foods to eat, particularly if you do not eat fish. Many prepared foods contain some form of meat, or are cooked with chicken or meat broth. It is important to remember that vegetarianism is not as common in Spain as it is in California. However, vegetarian restaurants are becoming more prevelant. In this video
, a past UC student shares her experience eating as a vegetarian in Spain.
There are many restaurants and cafeteria-bars where you can find vegetarian items, such as tortilla Española, cheese portions, ensaladilla rusa (contains tuna and egg), berenjenas a la miel (eggplant dipped in sugarcane honey), slamorejo (cold, thick, tomatoe based soup), and bocadillos de queso. It is important to bring an open mind and some vitamin supplements.
You may find specialty shops that offer vegetarian and vegan options, but they may be expensive.
Granada is, in many respects, an ideal size and most destinations of interest in the city are within walking distance of each other. If you are studying at the University of Granada, keep in mind that the university is located throughout the city, so you will likely need to take the bus to at least some if not all of your classes. The local bus system is efficient and inexpensive. You can also ask the bus driver for a “credibus card,” which discounts the fare. You can give the bus driver cash to recharge this card.
Most stores in Spain are not open on Sunday, including food stores. This is especially true in smaller cities. Bars, some restaurants, and some bakeries remain open.
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.
Opportunities are not limited to those mentioned in this guide. This section discusses just a few of the many activities past students have enjoyed.
Study Center staff have information on cultural and social events and will keep you updated via Facebook posts. Each Spain program has a designated Facebook group designed to facilitate your communication with other participants and Study Center staff.
Informal get-togethers with Spanish students are sometimes organized; ask Study Center staff about ways to meet Spanish students.
During the ILP, the Study Center organizes a monitores program, in which Spanish university students help UCEAP students during their first weeks in getting to know the city, handling the practical details of living in Granada, finding lodging after the ILP, as well as visiting cultural and historic sites in and around Granada. Once the university semester begins, inexpensive excursions for students are offered through the university extension service, as are numerous cultural events. The university publishes a weekly paper listing cultural and extracurricular activities.
Granada is only 37 miles from the coast and 20 miles from the mountains, allowing for outdoor activities of various kinds throughout the year. Nearby are exceptional ski resorts and mountain hikes, and many students join hiking or ski clubs. The university’s Centro de Actividades Deportivas
offers a variety of activities including fitness classes, team sports, and inexpensive skiing trips to the nearby mountains. Students must purchase a membership card for an annual fee.
Granada is a university town and student life is vibrant. While there are many students from other parts of Europe and the U.S., the foreign student population is not overwhelming, as can be the case in other southern Spanish university cities.
Students with Disabilities
While in Spain, students with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation different from the US. Spain has laws that prohibit discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment and education; and mandate access to health care, access to information technology and communication, including social media, access to buildings for persons with disabilities, and the provision of other state services. The law mandates access to buildings for persons with disabilities. While the government generally enforces these provisions, levels of assistance and accessibility differ between regions. Madrid, Barcelona and many of the other major cities have improved access to public transportation, museums, and other public buildings.
Accessibility at most buildings in Spain is limited, and it is common for older buildings to have stairs and no elevators. Expect to encounter uneven sidewalks, unequipped bathrooms, and narrow doors and aisles. Newer buildings are more accessible and some of the major shopping malls, cinemas, museums, bars, and restaurants are well adapted.
In addition to official legislation across the country, Spanish universities provide support to students with disabilities through “disability support services.” Each university has its particular and specific rules for students with disabilities.
For more information:
Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?
You are required to complete the online sign out through your MyEAP account.
Click on Travel Signout and complete all required fields. During an emergency (abroad or in the US), it is important for UCEAP officials to know how to reach you so we can help you.
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
A Student Visa and Schengen Visa do not permit you to work in Spain. A work visa is required in order to work in Spain. UCEAP cannot sponsor work visas, only employers in Spain can sponsor work visas.
Spain is highly welcoming and supportive of the LGBT community. Despite being a largely Catholic country, the public is generally very supportive of the LGBT community. Isolated homophobic incidents rarely occur.
For more information,
During your program, you will embark on a 4 day student and cultural exchange program in Morocco for an insider's view on local life. Beyond introducing you to the sites and landscape of the country, this non-profit program will allow you to engage and make meaningful connections with Moroccan students, families, and people of the country.
While exploring Rabat’s Andulusian houses and the bustling life of the medina market, you will have multiple opportunities to exchange ideas and get to know local students from the University of Rabat. Through interaction and meals with Moroccan families in both Rabat and a rural Rif Mountain village, you will learn about family life, economic hardships, education, and customs. Current Peace Corps volunteers and Fulbright scholars will also be on hand to share their experiences with you.
You will depart from your host city as a group and begin your journey at the Port of Algeciras in Spain. From there, you will board a ferry and cross the Strait of Gibraltar, and disembark in Tangier, Morocco.
Day One – Algeciras, Tangier, Rabat
- Visit the Darna Women’s Community Center in Tangier
- Lunch at Women’s Center
- Visit to the coastal town of Asilah
- Walk through the Medina of Rabat in small groups
- Dinner with host families
- Spend the night in Rabat (homestay)
Day Two - Rabat
- Discussion on “West and Islamic worlds – images about each other”
- Visit to the Roman ruins of Chellah and the Mausoleum of King Mohammed V
- Lunch with host families
- Exploration of Rabat’s Andalusian houses with students from AMIDEAST/Rabat University
- Conversation with Peace Corps Volunteers
- Dinner with host families
- Spend the night in Rabat (homestay)
Day Three – Rabat, Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen
- Walk to a mountain village in the Rif Mountains (approx. 30 minutes)
- Lunch with a family from the village
- Guided visit of Chefchaouen and the medina, with a discussion on its Moorish and Jewish inhabitants
- Special dinner in the Medina of Chefchaouen
- Spend the night in Chefchaouen
Day Four – Chefchaouen, Ceuta, Algeciras
- Drive to Ceuta (Spanish autonomous city in Morocco)
- Board a ferry and cross the Strait of Gibraltar
- Arrive in Algeciras, Spain (afternoon)
- Bus back to Granada or Córdoba
This itinerary is subject to change, based on weather conditions and other factors. Study Center staff will accompany you on the trip and will provide you with dates and itinerary. For more information about activities and the Morocco Exchange
program, please visit their website.
All meals and costs associated with the Morocco exchange are included in your UCEAP fees.
Communications while in Morocco
Before departing from Spain, please inform your family and friends that they may not hear from you while you are in Morocco. As you will be traveling to various sites and meeting Moroccan students and families, you may not have time to check-in with family and friends back home, or you might simply forget. Study Center staff and the Morocco Exchange guides will carry cell phones and can be reached in case of emergencies.
Know Before You Go
While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy
. Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
The UCEAP Travel Insurance policy is not the same as your campus or private insurance. Inform yourself before seeking care. Your UCEAP Travel Insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations.
Read details in Benefits at a Glance
. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. You will be financially responsible for any charges for medical services that are not included benefits in the policy and for any charges over an above the “maximum allowable amount”. Your travel insurance policy number is ADD N04834823. It is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Company.
The travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis. There is no deductible or co-insurance.
You can submit a claim for a refund consideration of covered expenses. For more information about the medical claim process
or about non-medical claims
Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance. Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country). It is the patient's responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter
For Questions about Coverage, Benefits, and Claims Status
Contact ACI at email@example.com.
Insurance for Personal Property
Consider having additional protection for your property. In spite of your best efforts, it is still possible to experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
The UCEAP Travel Insurance
policy offers limited personal property coverage. Review the policy carefully before departure to determine if it is adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss.
If you decide to purchase supplemental personal property coverage, do so before departure and make sure that the coverage extends while traveling. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables from damage or theft by locking your room and securing currency, jewelry, passport, and other possessions.
Medical services in Spain are comparable to those in the US and northern Europe. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, carry a letter from your physician describing the medical condition and adequate amounts of your prescription medications, including generic names.
If you are sick or injured, ask the local staff for names of doctors. They can also guide you to submit a claim with the UCEAP insurance for eligible medical services.
If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits, coverage, or the claims process, contact ACI at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talk to the Study Center coordinator for referals to local medical practitioners. There are many clinics you may visit for regular appointments in case you are ill. In case of an emergency, there are four hospitals available. There is no university health center.
Cádiz: There is no university health center, but students may visit a local clinic: Clinica La Salud, C/ Feduchy s/n.
Know Before You Go
Inform yourself before you travel. Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care. Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter
of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health
web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
If there has been any change in your health—physical, mental, or dental—since you submitted your health clearance form to the UCEAP Systemwide Office, you must immediately notify the UCEAP Program Specialist.
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention and contact your Study Center coordinator immediately. The Study Center will help you choose a clinic to visit, help you with the UCEAP insurance claim process, and arrange with your professors if extended absence is expected. Let the Study Center know of any medical services you receive, even in routine or non-emergency situations.
If you have a pre-existing medical condition, carry a letter from your physician describing the medical condition, treatment, and prescribed medications, including generic names and dosage. Carry adequate amounts of your prescription medication.
Follow these tips to maintain good health and wellness:
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Stay hydrated.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Get regular exercise.
Spain’s options for gyms are always growing. Past students who have joined local gyms have met excellent exercise or jogging companions. Jogging is usually restricted to parks. See the Extracurricular Activities sub-section of this guide for information on gyms and fitness classes at each UCEAP location.
- While on UCEAP you are covered by the UCEAP travel insurance. Inform yourself, UCEAP travel insurance terms of coverage.
- If you need a refill while abroad, you must see a local doctor. US prescriptions are not valid in other countries. You must travel with a letter from your prescribing physician explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name.
Note: If the visit to the local doctor is considered preventive care, it will not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance; your campus or private insurance plan may cover it.
- If you need to find out if an appointment would be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance, contact ACI at email@example.com. For more information about the UCEAP travel insurance, refer to your UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, or your pre-departure checklist, Insurance tab.
- Two classes of medicines – narcotics and psychotropics – are under the control of international law. This covers any medicine that can have an effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the potential to be abused. The narcotic class mostly relates to analgesic opioids and their derivatives (e.g. morphine and codeine) which tend to be highly regulated. Psychotropics are all those medications likely to be used to treat mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychotic conditions.
- If you plan to purchase medication using the UCEAP Travel Insurance coverage, you must fill and pay for medication when coverage is effective (14 days before the official start of the program). Do not assume that your local pharmacy knows about the UCEAP travel insurance policy. It is not the same as your campus health insurance coverage. You will need to pay for the medication and submit a claim to the UCEAP insurance.
- Find out whether your medication is legal in your UCEAP country.
- If traveling with a prescription containing controlled substances, check the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) website. The INCB is responsible for international drug control. If traveling with controlled substances, you must have a letter from your doctor. Generally, amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal or unlicensed in other countries. Talk with your doctor to switch you to another medication.
- Talk to your doctor to see whether he/she can prescribe an adequate supply of your prescription medication to last through the end of the program. Ask your doctor how to adjust your dosage depending on time zone changes.
- Get a letter from the prescribing physician, on letterhead, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name as brand names vary considerably around the world.
TRAVELING WITH PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS
- Keep the medication in its original packaging clearly labelled with your name, doctor’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage. Carry it in your carry-on luggage, provided it is in pill or solid form. For more information, particularly if your medication is a liquid, consult the US Transportation Security Administration, Traveling with Medications.
- Carry copies of all original US prescriptions.
- Carry the letter on letterhead from the prescribing physician for all prescribed medications, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic names. This is extremely important in case you need treatment or a medication refill abroad.
Why is a letter from your treating physician necessary?
If your particular medication cannot be taken into the country, talk to your doctor. If you need to switch prescriptions, your doctor may need to make changes to your medication at least 3-6 months before departure to monitor side effects and dosage. The letter from your doctor indicating condition, treatment and medication regimen, can help a local physician to assess you and to consider reissuing your prescription provided it is licensed in your UCEAP country. Note that the local doctor's appointment for medication refill may not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.
Consult with ACI about the UCEAP travel insurance coverage for prescriptions, firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health section.
SINEWS, a multilingual therapy institute offered through HM Hospital de Madrid, has bilingual licensed clinical psychologists to help you deal with emergencies 24/7.
Are you a sexual assault survivor? Are you experiencing suicidal thoughts? Personal crises need immediate professional help.
SINEWS Multilingual Therapy Institute
M-F 8:30 am - 9:30 pm
Sat 9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Tel: (+34) 91 700 19 79
If you are currently in treatment in the US, discuss all program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. Carry a letter from your doctor (on letterhead) indicating condition, treatment history, and medication regimen, so a local physician can assess your needs.
Consider the country where you will be living and studying. Many countries do not have adequate resources. How will you manage your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a pre-existing condition?
If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for the length of your stay. Traveling through customs with medications for personal use can be problematic in countries where those medications are prohibited. Stimulants frequently used for attention deficit disorders, such as amphetamine or methylphenidate, may be problematic, along with narcotics. What substances are prohibited in any given country varies. For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.
Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.
- Do not try to manage alone. Reach out to local staff.
- The UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy 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. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration. Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at email@example.com.
Students with severe food allergies should take precautions, as the cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis in those affected. A language barrier increases the risks associated with severe food allergies.
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, Health chapter
, Allergies section.
Smoking in public places is now illegal in Spain (ley antitabaco); however, when looking to dine in a smoke-free environment, keep in mind that people may smoke on the outdoor terraces or patios, but not inside the restaurant.
Be aware that in most homes, a strict non-smoking environment is less common than in the United States. Families often smoke in their homes and, even if the family does not smoke in the home, visitors may do so. If you live in a homestay, prepare for these possibilities.
As in many countries, alcohol and other drugs are a part of Spanish youth culture, but typically there is no pressure to partake. Moderate drinking as a part of meals and social occasions is traditional in Spanish culture from a very young age; on the other hand, “binge” drinking at parties or drinking to get drunk tends to be much less common among Spanish university students than can be the case on US college campuses. Abuse of alcohol may bring unwelcome attention and difficulties. Drunkenness is not considered acceptable behavior in Spain.
Use of illicit drugs is a crime and can result in serious penalties. Student abuse of alcohol or use of illicit drugs is against UC and UCEAP policies and will not be tolerated.
Spain is considered a safe destination, though petty crime (pick-pocketing) continues to be a concern, particularly in urban areas and those frequented by tourists. With the right information - and by thinking ahead - you can prevent being a victim of crime.
Use the same common sense and street smarts that you would use in any big city in the US. Do not put yourself into risky or threatening situations. Know the areas of town to avoid, and carry emergency phone numbers with you at all times.
- Pay attention to safety briefings during orientation.
- Avoid risky or threatening situations and learn which areas of the city to avoid.
- Carry emergency phone numbers with you at all times. Keep a hard copy with you in case your cell phone is lost or stolen.
- Avoid heavy drinking, which increases vulnerability to safety risks. If you must drink, do so responsibly. 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.
- Do not leave your drinks unattended at bars or restaurants, as there have been instances of drinks being spiked with illegal substances, leading to incidents of robbery and sexual assault.
- Do not walk alone any time the streets are deserted, such as during the siesta. Clubs and bars let out at 7 a.m. Even though you might consider this “morning,” it can still be dark and it is not safe to walk alone.
- Always plan to walk home with a friend and always carry enough money for a taxi home. Both male and female students walking home alone at night have been mugged, even right outside their apartment door.
- When entering larger venues, always decide on a meeting place with those in your group in case you get separated.
- When carrying valuables (credit cards, cash) do not keep them all in one place.
Safety is our concern but it is your responsibility. Be proactive in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. Have an action plan.
With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in minimizing or preventing personal risks. Observe and assess the risks, plan ahead to reduce them, and think how you would lessen the consequences if things go wrong. Start by outlining activities you plan to engage in through your program and/or during independent travel; label the risk and rate it based on the likelihood of harm and the severity of consequences. Consider measures you can take to reduce the severity and chance. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.
Be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate and unpredictable terrorist attacks, which make it impossible to protect yourself from. Remain vigilant in all public areas in your UCEAP city and country and wherever you travel. Many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, are not looking for student or higher education targets.
Terrorist attacks using vehicles are very hard to prevent and appear to be on the rise. If you are in a crowded public place, know how you can exit quickly, identify barriers or safe places where you can shelter-in-place, and watch out for any vehicles that appear to be going at very high speed.
Report anything suspicious to local authorities. Read all security-related correspondence and advice from local staff. Schedule direct flights, if possible. Avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas. Minimize time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area. Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals. Have a plan for what you will do in the case of an emergency. If you are ever caught in a situation where somebody starts shooting, follow the active shooter guidelines: drop to the floor, get down as low as possible, and hide if possible. Cover yourself behind a solid object. Silence your phone. Do not move until the danger has passed.
Steps to manage or minimize risk and enhance your personal safety
- Familiarize yourself with all UCEAP resources and emergency support services while on UCEAP.
- Research potential risks you can encounter before you travel.
- Assess your surroundings. Observe and learn to recognize danger.
- Be attentive to what is unusual or threatening. Assess reasonable and safe options. Trust your feelings; if you feel threatened, act if safe to do so and leave the area immediately. Find somewhere more secure.
- Remain aware at all times. Do not walk around talking on the phone or listening to music on your headphones.
- When entering larger venues, always decide on a meeting place with those you are with in case you get separated. Always identify possible exits.
- Increase your safety and reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime by staying on top of your drinking. Know your limits. In many countries beer, wine and liquor in some countries contains a higher alcohol content than similar products in the US. Know what you are drinking and how much alcohol it contains.
- Practice the buddy system, which promotes safety. This system helps ensure that you, and a partner, will look out for each other. Choose your buddy wisely. If you are having a problem, your buddy can help to alert others and get you to safety.
- Have a communication plan. Who will you call locally if you are in an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?
Registration with the local US Embassy or Consulate
Register online with the US embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
(STEP), a free service for US citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. Receive important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in your destination country, helping you make informed decisions about your travel plans.
Registration with the UCEAP Security Provider
You will be automatically registered with iJET International, the University of California security provider. You will receive important security and informational messages about local conditions for your program country.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and has contracted with emergency assistance and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety. Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad
, for more information. Access the US Department of State Students Abroad website for updated travel information.
Minimize your chance of becoming a victim of petty theft
Petty crime is prevalent, often committed by groups of young persons using distraction tactics. Victims report being approached by individuals holding maps and asking for directions. While the victim is distracted, an accomplice picks the victim’s pockets or purse, removing cash, credit cards, passports, and other valuables. Report lost or stolen possessions immediately to the local police. Keep a copy of the police report for future UCEAP insurance claims, and as an explanation of your loss.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Be low-key. Look like you know where you are going, even if you do not. Plan before you go to an unfamiliar part of the city so you do not have to pull out a map and advertise to thieves that you are lost.
- Dress to blend in. College sweatshirts, sweatpants, baseball caps, flip-flops, and shorts are all associated with Americans and will likely make you a target.
Drugs & Alcohol
Drinking even a small amount of alcohol can lead to dangerous or even deadly situations. Drinking can impair a person's judgment, coordination, and reaction time. Your reaction to the immediate effects of alcohol depends on body size, gender, genetics, and when and what you last ate.
There have been serious accidents due to falls from balconies. A number of these incidents involved drugs or alcohol. Drink Responsibly.
- Stay in control of your drinking. You are vulnerable when you are drunk, making it easier for you to have an accident or for criminals to take advantage of you.
- Never leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from a stranger, as it could be spiked. "Date-rape" drugs, GBH, and liquid ecstasy are examples of drugs that may be used in bars and clubs.
- Stay with a group of friends. Plan to take a licensed taxi home. Store a taxi number on your phone.
Photocopies of Important Documents
Make photocopies of your passport, credit card/ATM numbers, emergency phone numbers, and other valuable information and store them in a safe place, separate from the actual documents and cards. Leave a set of copies with your parents. You might also choose to store this information in a private online account. If you lose your wallet, purse, or backpack, you will have the copies to make it easier to proces a new passport of new cards. Avoid carrying your passport whenever possible to prevent it from being stolen. Make a copy of the first page of your passport to use as a form of ID. In case your passport is lost or stolen, immediately notify the nearest US embassy or consulate, local authorities, and the Study Center.
Demonstrations & Protests
Avoid all large gatherings related to civil issues. Even seemingly peaceful rallies can spur violent activity or be met with resistance by security forces. Bystanders may be arrested or harmed by security forces using water cannons, tear gas, or other measures to control crowds.
If violence erupts or you feel is imminent, leave the area. If you cannot leave the area, seek shelter in large public buildings such as hotels, churches, stores, hospitals, and museums. Wait until the crowds have dissipated before going back outside.
Spain faces terrorism threats from both the Basque terrorist organization ETA (Euskadi ta Askatasuna—Basque Fatherland and Liberty) and al-Qa’ida elements and cells. ETA traditionally directs its attacks against government officials (police, military, and politicians) and facilities, as well as journalists and business executives (especially those involved in bringing high-speed rail to the Basque region). While ETA operates principally in the areas of northern Spain and southwestern France, attacks do take place in other areas including Madrid, Andalusia, and Barcelona.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Spain has an excellent network of roads and highways. Public transportation in large Spanish cities is generally excellent and travel is usually secure. Do not drive. Spain has a high rate of car accidents, especially among young people.
In larger cities, subways, buses, commuter trains, trolleys and their associated stations are havens for thieves, pickpockets, and purse-snatchers. Use security money belts under your clothing. Keep loose items, such as cameras and purses, within a larger and securable carrying bag. Keep it in front of you, on your lap.
Rail service is comfortable and reliable, but varies in quality and speed. Intercity buses are comfortable and inexpensive.
- Travel during the day. If overnight travel is required, book tickets only on international rail lines, in a lockable cabin.
- Never travel alone.
- Use the highest class of travel and the most direct booking available.
- Train stations are usually open 24 hours a day and have limited security. Stay aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid using the station’s public restrooms if they are vacant or not guarded by an attendant.
Licensed taxis usually provide a more secure means of transport. Use only officially licensed taxis. They are governed by strict legislation and standards are higher than in unlicensed taxis. Licensed taxis are normally white with a red diagonal band on the door and will display a LIBRE (free) sign or an illuminated green light at night when they are available. Look for the taximeter inside the vehicle, and word TAXI painted on the outside.
If you have a problem or suspect you are being over-charged for a taxi ride, ask for an official receipt. The license number for the taxi should be located in a metal plaque by the passenger window. This number identifies a specific taxi and can prove useful in the event of forgotten property or if you decide to file a complaint.
Most cities have phone reservation and radio dispatch services for added security. Use only telephone-dispatched taxis after dark.
Road safety is a concern. Practice safe pedestrian behaviors:
- Pedestrian crossings are marked with black and white (zebra) wide striped lines. Use these indicated crossings.
- Cross streets at a corner, using traffic signals where available.
- If there is no traffic light at the crossing, the pedestrian has the right of way, but cross with caution. Spanish drivers do not usually stop at zebra crossings unless they are accompanied by traffic lights.
- Do not assume cars will stop or that they see you - always check to make sure both directions are clear.
- When going out at night, wear brightly colored or reflective clothing.
- Exercise increased caution where the view is restricted before you cross.
Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment
Every member of the UCEAP community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment, retaliation, and other prohibited behavior (“Prohibited Conduct”) that violates law and/or University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of Prohibited Conduct and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates this Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment. Report to the local
UCEAP staff and/or partners if you suspect one of these behaviors has occurred.
Most college-related fires in the US are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
- Know where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
- Know how to call the local fire department.
Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
- Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
- Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
- Have an escape plan and practice it.
- Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
- Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
- If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
- Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
Forest fires occur frequently in Spain during the summer months, especially in southern areas of the country.
Fire - Dial 112
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.
Program Suspension Policy
If the US Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Advisory after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, UC security providers, US Embassy, US Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.
The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy evacuation on US government-arranged flights, that require US citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP and its experienced security providers, is covered by UCEAP insurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
What Is an Emergency?
An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
- Any life/death situation
- A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
- An arrest
- Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country
In an Emergency
Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:
If you are in the US
- During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
- After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.
Carry the local UCEAP emergency contact information at all times.
Police, Ambulance, or Fire Department: 112
US Embassy in Madrid
American Citizen Services (ACS) Unit
Calle Serrano 75
Business Hours:M–F, 8:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
Phone: (34) 91-587-2240
Fax: (34) 91-587-2303
After-Hours Emergency Phone: (34) 91-587-2200
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.