FAQs: Current Students

We have designed this page to provide answers to FAQs that arise during the 2018-19 academic year in MADRID! This section provides quick answers for questions on program resources, academics, logistics, safety and much more.

If you don’t see your question answered in the FAQs section below, feel free to ask using the “Ask a Question” link below or email us at info@tufts-skidmore.es.

Search the FAQs

Use the form below to search the FAQs

Search for in

Have a question?

Ask a Question

Use the form below to ask a question


captcha

Current Students FAQs

What do I do if I have a problem with my host family?

If any perceived problem arises with your host family you should inform the director immediately. The director will discuss and assess the situation with you, and will determine what steps need to be taken. You should also feel free to discuss the situation directly with your host family, but we recommend that you first raise the issue with us, so that we can mediate in the process. There are program protocols in place to deal with any issues that may arise, so please feel reassured. The most important thing is that you communicate with the program director in a timely fashion. Bear in mind that a student has the absolute right to request a change of host family, and although the program endeavors to mediate problems as a first recourse, we will always respect your right to request a change of host family.

What procedures do I need to follow when I travel?

Prior to travel outside of Madrid, students are required to fill out a travel disclosure form that lists logistical information, day of departure, day of return, all places to be visited and names of people you will travel with. For trips longer than 3 days, or that require that you miss a class, you must get the director's approval. Students are also required to register with Smart Traveler before traveling outside of Spain.

How do we stay informed about weekly program events and deadlines?

The program publishes a weekly newsletter, The Official, that is delivered to your email inbox. The Official contains all weekly events, interesting activities in Madrid, staff and program center operating hours, important phone numbers, security updates and travel advisories. Sometimes you are required to respond to important matters so please do read it thoroughly. You should also follow the program on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and check our blog often.

How can I prepare myself for an emergency situation?

Upon arriving you should enter the program EMERGENCY CELL PHONE number (684 03 20 60) and all program staff cell phone numbers as well as the national emergency number, 112, into your cell phone contacts. You should save your host family's phone numbers as well as all of your program peers' phone numbers. You should also carry the emergency information card that we provide to you during orientation, in case your cell phone is lost or stolen.

If any emergency situation occurs, do not hesitate to call the EMERGENCY CELL PHONE, day or night. If there is no response, call the Director's cell phone, then the Asst. Director's. If no response, keep going to the next number on the list until you connect with one of the program staff.

Carry only essentials with you while in Madrid: copy of your passport, some money, cell phone and a credit card. Do not carry your US Driver's License, your favorite photo of a loved family member, or other items that would be best left at home. That way, if you do get pickpocketed, it will be easy to replace what has been stolen.

Are recreational drugs illegal in Spain?

Spanish drug laws are constantly changing, and the program cannot take responsibility for informing you about current drug laws. Our recommendation is that you avoid recreational drugs while in Spain, as our experience has shown that their purchase and use can put you at serious risk. If we discover that a student is using drugs or involved in drug-related activities he or she may be dismissed from the program.

Can I use my travel reimbursement money for trips outside of Spain?

The 170€ travel money is set-aside to help students pay for culturally relevant trips within Spain. While we value the benefit of international travel and discovery during your time in Spain, we hope to encourage students to travel to as many provinces of Spain as possible during their semester or year abroad.

There’s only a few weeks left in the semester and I still don’t have a peer tutor. Is it too late to get one?

IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO GET A PEER TUTOR! Please consult with Guille Cámara to get guidance about how to get a tutor. Tutors are especially useful at the end of the semester in helping you with final papers and exams. Our most successful students are those who have tutors, so get one today!

My Spanish "intercambios" are not really working out for me. Can I get new ones?

Yes, you can! Please talk to Sergio Barreiro to receive a new list of names of interested Spanish university students. Remember that getting acquainted with your  intercambios is one of the best ways to start making friends, so keep up your efforts!

Can I travel during the orientation period?

No!

The two-week orientation period is mandatory for all students. This is a crucial period for your initial adaption to Spanish culture and social norms, the program, the Spanish university, your host family, Spanish peers and important security measures. Your presence during the entire period is therefore required.

How does the reimbursement program work?

Reimbursements are made once a month upon presentation of receipts, and monies are transferred directly into students' Sabadell bank accounts. The meal stipend is paid monthly into student bank accounts (no receipts necessary).

How does the peer tutor program work and how do I get a tutor?

The best way to get a peer tutor is to ask your professor to recommend one to you. You should also observe your classmates to see which of them attends regularly, takes good notes, pays attention, etc. If you see someone who seems to fit that bill, you are free to approach them and ask if they would like to tutor you.

The program will pay your tutor 7€ an hour, up to three hours a week, to tutor you. Tutors typically share their classnotes with you, read your papers for you, explain difficult concepts, answer questions, help you with your Spanish, etc. Students who get tutors invariably do better in their university classes, and they often find a friend in their tutor. If you have trouble identifying a suitable tutor, please inform Guille Cámara and he will assist you.

I got an email from the UAM/UAH and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. Who do I talk to?

Anytime you get an email from the office of Relaciones Internacionales or from any department, please forward the email immediately to Guillermo Cámara. Sending them the email will allow him to help you respond, if you need to, and it will also alert them to any changes at the UAM/UAH that he should be aware of. Do not attempt to answer the email yourself or to follow its instructions until you have spoken to Guillermo.

I have a question about getting Tufts or Skidmore credit for a certain course. Who should I talk to?

Our program is a Tufts and Skidmore program, so you do not need to petition for “transfer” credit. If you are a Tufts student, you can use SIS to apply the credit to a particular department or distribution credit. If you are a Skidmore student, you should use the Matrix. If the course in question is not on the Matrix, you should speak to the department in question to get the course approved. Please talk to the program director if you need assistance.

What’s the best way to protect myself from getting pickpocketed?

Pickpocketing can happen to anyone, but being sober at all times with your awareness and judgment intact is the best way to avoid getting taken advantage of on public transportation, the street or in clubs. The U.S. embassy reports that the misuse of alcohol is involved in over 90% of mishaps that afflict American students studying abroad. So if you can avoid getting drunk in public, you will have made a massive move in favor of your security.

We recommend that you do not travel in large groups of English speaking Americans, that you do not advertise your foreignness, but try instead to keep a low profile, try to blend in. Do not carry you wallet in your back pocket nor in a backpack that you wear on your back. Women should carry their purses cross-shouldered, and should keep one hand on top of the purse at all times. Do not be distracted while taking public transportation; stay alert; don't linger by the door of the subway train. Do not walk alone on the streets of downtown Madrid in the wee hours of the morning. Use the buddy system!

Should I carry my passport with me at all times while in Spain?

No! We recommend that you make a copy of your passport after arriving in Spain, and that you carry only the copy. Leave your U.S. driver's license, unnecessary credit cards, passport and other important documents in your room, and carry only what is necessary (transportation pass, program debit card, copy of your passport, ATM card from home if necessary). The less you carry with you, the less there is to lose. During orientation we will discuss special circumstances where it may be advisable to carry your physical passport.

Are program excursions mandatory?

They are highly recommended and universally loved by students, but no, they are not mandatory. We understand that students may schedule other types of activities or travel for themselves, or that they may have visitors, so we keep the excursions optional. We do ask that you let us know before the deadline if you are not going to attend. Students who sign up for excursions and then decide not to attend at the last minute will have to pay the costs associated with the late cancellation (programmed meals, hotel room, etc).

What do I do if I am mugged or pickpocketed?

You should inform the director or program staff immediately by calling the Program Emergency Cell Phone: 684 03 20 60.  If it's 4am, you are physically unharmed, and you realize you've either lost or had your wallet stolen, you don't need to call the emergency cell phone at that precise moment. But do so once the office opens in the morning.

You will need to fill out an incident report for the program and we will assist you in filling out a police report and with replacing your stolen items. 99% of crimes in Spain are weaponless, and usually petty theft, but these incidents are distressing and we want to make sure that you let us know about it so that we can support you and get you the help you need.

If however, you are the victim of a violent crime, do not hesitate to call the Emergency cell phone immediately, no matter what time of the day or night. If there is no answer, call the director, and if no answer, call Asst. Director Mayte de las Heras.

What do I do if I lose my monthly transportation card?

Your monthly transportation card (the card that you use to access the subway or bus or train) cannot be replaced by the program. The program will assist you in replacing your card or you may go directly to the oficina de Transporte de la Comunidad de Madrid in metro Sol to do so. You can also do it online, although it takes longer to receive the new card.

For more information, click here.

What do I have to do to register at the UAM in Madrid?

Guillermo Cámara handles the UAM registration, which is a bit complicated. Guillermo will coordinate all registration proceedings and he will register you for your classes. Please pay close attention to his emails and please respond promptly to any requests for information. Remember to forward to Guillermo any email that you receive from the UAM about registration process. No matter what the content of the email please consult with Guillermo before doing anything.

What do I have to do to register at the UAH in Alcalá?

Guillermo Cámara handles UAH registration (in fact, he handles all university registrations). Normally, Guille will work with you to choose classes before you arrive, but class choice and registration is also possible on-site.

After your academic advising with the director, and your two-week trial period, Guillermo will register you into your classes at UAH. If you receive any emails from UAH about registration, please forward them to Guillermo and consult with him before doing anything.

What happens if I have an incident as a result of alcohol intoxication?

The misuse and/or abuse of alcohol or other drugs is cause for possible dismissal from the program. The Tufts-Skidmore Spain program is an international campus of Tufts University and Skidmore College, and as such, students are bound by the same rules of conduct here as there. A student who displays reckless behavior with alcohol is considered to be a risk to him or herself and to the program. Students who display any sign of potential alcohol dysfunction will be required to submit to an alcohol-drug screening test, and a psychological evaluation. Based on the results of this report, the student will either be dismissed or placed on probation and required to continue in counseling sessions until it is determined that he or she does not pose a threat to him/herself and the program.

What are the operating hours at the Program Center?

Program Center

M-Th    9:00-19:00
F            9:00-17:00

Program Center Telephone: +34 91 702 4513 (office)

You can find the staff hours and email addresses here.

 

My Sabadell debit card isn’t working/is lost/has been stolen. How do I get it replaced?

If your card has been lost or stolen, you should call 902 323 000 (+ 34 935 202 304 if you are not in Spain) IMMEDIATELY to cancel it and order a new one. It will take about a week to receive the new card. You can also cancel your card via online banking. Please let the program staff know immediately.

If the card is not working, go to a Sabadell branch or call* 902 323 000 (+ 34 935 202 304 if you are not in Spain) and they will assist you.

Sabadell has English speaking operators available to help you.

Are the biweekly meetings and dinner with my Spanish mentor obligatory?

While they are not mandatory, the biweekly dinners are great occasions for you to ask your mentor questions about the university, host family, where to go, etc. Mentor meetings are a great place to meet new people as well, as many mentors bring friends or intercambios to these meetings. These small group meetings are a great way to get to know the other students in your group and to share your experiences and perspectives. And to eat good food!