FAQs: Parents & Family

A semester or a year abroad can and should be a powerful event in your child’s life, one that will keep unfolding over a lifetime. We at Tufts-Skidmore Spain are dedicated first and foremost to helping your son or daughter keep themselves safe and sane during their time abroad, to overseeing a top-notch academic experience at the Spanish university and at our program center, and to seeing that when they return home, they will be a little older and a lot wiser–not only about Spanish and international cultures, but about their own. We are here to help your student every step of the way, offering customized academic and extracurricular resources that far surpass our peer programs in Spain. You can rest assured that the Tufts-Skidmore Spain staff will help her/him build the richest and most robust experience possible. You can help us by instilling in your son or daughter a sense of confidence and excitement about the possibility of a semester or year abroad.

Below are some of the common questions and concerns that parents whose children are thinking about an international exchange program have for us. If you don’t see your question below feel free to ask using the “Ask a Question” link below or email us at info@tufts-skidmore.es. We would love to hear from you!

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Parents & Family FAQs

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Should my child bring his/her medication to Spain?

It's important for students to let us know about any medical condition they may have, including mental health issues. Students should bring any prescriptions, medicines, extra contact lenses or other personal items they use on a regular basis or might need during the semester.

Although American prescriptions cannot be filled in Spain, if your child brings a prescription for a generic drug, a Spanish doctor should be able to write a prescription so that the drug can be filled. It it illegal to send prescription drugs across international lines, so please contact the program director if you have any questions about filling prescriptions while in Spain.

How long does the orientation period last and what does it consist of?

We conduct a 2-week orientation session that begins the day after the students’ arrival. During the first couple of days we meet and have group-building activities coupled with orientation sessions on safety and intercultural issues. Orientation will continue for the following two weeks, and activities will be a mix of intercultural and Spain specific training, social events, cultural excursions, academic lectures, an on-site orientation at the university, and academic advising.

What’s the best way for me to call my son or daughter?

Spanish cell phone customers are not charged for incoming calls, so it’s much cheaper for you to buy an international plan (or use Skype calling) to call your son/daughter than for them to call you. You should download WhatsApp for texting and also for free calling. Students have Internet (wifi) access in their host homes, so videochat or voicechat is of course also a good option if stateside families have computers and Internet access. You may also call your child on the host family’s landline (the number will be provided once the student is in Madrid). Please do not call Spanish homes after 10pm or before 9am local time.

Can my child get a cell phone in Spain?

We actually require that all students have a cell phone in Spain. Many students bring their own smartphones to Spain and change the SIM card.

What’s the time difference between the U.S. and Spain?

There is a six-hour time difference between Spain and Eastern Standard Time (7, 8 and 9 hours respectively in the other U.S. time zones). Mainland Spain is GMT +2 time.

My child will not stay with his or her host family during scheduled vacations (winter and spring)?

Correct. Host family stay and meal allowance are not provided during vacation periods. The school year runs from mid-September to end of May. There is an approximately 2-3 week winter vacation a 10-day spring vacation. All dates are available on the program calendar on this site.

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