FAQs: Prospective Students

Studying abroad is an exciting, often life-changing experience filled with discovery and adventure. At Tufts-Skidmore Spain we give you all the tools and resources you need to succeed and get the most out of your time studying abroad. We offer individualized academic and cultural programming and cater to students from all majors. The program offers a weekly meal stipend, travel funds, and unlimited reimbursement for attendance at cultural events such as plays, concerts, movies, art exhibits and more. Our hands-on staff is ready to assist you to build exactly the kind of experience you’re looking for, and we’re here to offer support and guidance along the way. Below are some of the common questions that students who 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. We hope to hear from you!

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Prospective Students FAQs

Can I get a cell phone while I’m in Spain?

Yes, you must have a cell phone while on the program, for security purposes. Your Spanish mentors will talk to you about the different options you have here so that you can get the best and most economical service. Many students bring their own cell phones to Spain and many others buy a pre-paid cell phone for use during the program.

Will my financial aid transfer to pay the comprehensive fees associated with the program?

Yes! Please meet with a representative at Tufts or Skidmore’s financial aid office to discuss options for transferring financial aid packages to your term abroad. Skidmore students should contact OCSE Program Manager, Eliza Camire-Akey; Tufts students should contact the director of Tufts Programs Abroad, Dr. Sheila Bayne.

Will wifi be available at the program centers and in my host-family home?

Yes, wifi is available in all host-family homes and in the Madrid and Alcalá program centers.

Should I bring my laptop?

Yes, it’s a great idea to bring your laptop if you have one. Additionally, both the Madrid “Monte Esquinza” program center and the Alcalá “María de Guzmán” program center are equipped with iMacs for student use.

Does the program sponsor cultural excursions?

Yes, the program sponsors 3 cultural excursions each semester. These optional excursions are fully paid for by the program. Past excursions have included El Escorial, Segovia, Andalucía, Toledo, Valencia, La Granja.

How are meal allowance and reimbursements dispersed to students?

Students receive a Tufts-Skidmore Visa debit card on the day of their arrival to Spain. Money is transferred to the card by the director for meal allowance, transportation pass and reimbursements. The card may be used for purchases in restaurants and stores and for withdrawing money at ATMs.

What economic resources does the Program provide for students?


-City trains, buses, subway.


–11€ per day to cover one meal a day not eaten with host family.


–300€ per semester to cover gym fees, dance, music, ceramics, yoga, cooking classes, etc.


–170€ per semester to help with independent student travel in Spain.


–Reimbursement for museums, Spanish/Latin American movies, plays, art exhibits, and other cultural activities.

What’s a typical student academic schedule?

Most students take:

1-2 University classes.
1-2 Program classes.
1 Extracurricular class (painting, dance, voice, yoga, ceramics, etc.) .
1 credit or non-credit bearing internship (3-12 hours per week).

Are there volunteer and internship opportunities?

Yes! Over 80% of our students participate in internships relevant to their field of study or professional aspirations. Flexible internships are available in prominent NGOs, diplomatic think tanks, human rights organizations, immigration associations, museums, international financial consulting firms, fashion institutes, cooking schools, web magazines, bilingual schools, women’s rights institutes, and so on.

How do I receive academic credit?

Credit appears as direct Skidmore or Tufts credit. No credit transfer petition necessary. You will receive a letter grade for all courses taken in Spain, just as you do in normal circumstances.

Are the courses at the Spanish university and the Program courses taught differently?

Spanish university courses are mostly taught according to the European tradition: there is less daily work, except for reading, and most course evaluation will be based on a final exam and final paper or presentation. Average course size at the UAM or UAH is about 20-40 students. Program courses are more characteristic of U.S. university courses, but like Spanish university courses, they require more independent work on the part of students. Average course size: 15 students.

Are the UAM (Madrid) and UAH (Alcalá) courses listed on the Skidmore and Tufts website and on this website always offered?

The courses listed on the Tufts and Skidmore websites are the most accurate. The program staff will inform you if any of your desired courses is not being offered. Courses listed directly on the UAM and UAH websites should be checked-out with program staff before being selected.

What courses does the program offer?

The program offers an exciting line-up of in-house courses, taught by top teacher-scholars from around the world:

  • Advanced Spanish Language Studies* (*required for all students, except advanced-level heritage speakers and native speakers)
  • Discovering the Prado Museum
  • In Women's Words: Feminist Literary Thought in Spain and Latin America
  • Sketchbook: Walking in the City
  • Is Spain Different?: Social and Political Changes Since the Transition to Democracy
  • Three Cultures: Jews, Christians, Muslims
  • Transatlantic Literatures

In addition to in-house program courses taught at our program centers, students take classes at the Spanish university in Madrid and Alcalá. Additionally, the program provides intercultural and human rights education through a weekly seminar series called PERSPECTIVES IN INTERCULTURAL AWARENESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS.

Will I need a Travel Visa?

Yes, you are required to obtain a visa prior to departure.  Once you are admitted, your Study Abroad office will inform you and provide a packet of information detailing the visa process. Skidmore students will have their visas “batch processed” by OCSE. Tufts students are responsible for applying for their own visas. Please note: You must have a passport, valid for at least six months beyond the end date of the program, before you can apply for a visa.

Will I need a passport?

You must have a passport, valid for at least six months beyond the end date of the program, before you can apply for a visa.

Will housing be arranged for me?

Yes, all students are placed with well-chosen Spanish families. Students fill-out an extensive housing questionnaire which is followed-up by an interview with the director during the semester prior to departure. The director places students based on student preferences and family-availability. If a student is not happy with his or her family placement, there is an option to change families after the first two-weeks.

Are both semester and full-year options available in Madrid and Alcalá de Henares?

Yes, students may choose among fall or spring semester or the full-year, in both locations.

When is the application period?

  • TUFTS: Feb. 1, for all study abroad for the following academic year (full-year and fall/spring semester).
  • SKIDMORE: Academic Year, Fall Semester: March 15;  Spring Semester: October 1.

What are the admission requirements?

SKIDMORE requires a 2.75 GPA, Declared Major, Good Academic and Social Standing, and usually completion of Spanish 206 or its equivalent. The program accepts students from all majors.* Please see the Skidmore in Spain Program Manager, Anna Burnett, in Off-Campus Study & Exchanges for more information. (Starbuck Center 202).

TUFTS requires a 3.0 GPA, Declared Major, Good Academic and Disciplinary Standing, and completion of Spanish 21 and 22, or the equivalent of six semesters of college-level Spanish. For students in the School of Engineering, a GPA of 3.2 at the time of application is required. The program accepts students from all majors.* Please see Dr. Sheila Bayne or Nora Matland for more information. (7th floor Dowling Hall).

(*Simply meeting study abroad requirements does not guarantee admission to a program).

What should I bring with me to Spain?

You should try not to bring more than one large suitcase and one small suitcase. The small suitcase will be useful for taking trips. Bring comfortable clothing, and perhaps one nice outfit (men may want to bring a blazer). Bring comfortable shoes, clothes that you can layer, and a warm jacket or coat. The weather in Madrid/Alcalá is quite mild compared to the Northeast USA, but it can get quite chilly in the winter, and it even snows from time to time. Do not bring hairdryers or any other appliances because the watts are incompatible and it will ruin your applicance. There is no need to bring toiletries, as almost everything available in the States is also available here. Bring your laptop if you have one. It's a nice idea to bring photos of your family and your house and hometown to show your host family. It is also nice to bring them a token, a small gift, preferably something that represents your hometown or your family, etc. Make sure to bring your passport with you, a US based credit or debit card, and about $50 that you can exchange into euros in case your debit card doesn't work when you arrive. Bring the director's number with you, in case you need to call from the airport!

Hi! I was wondering if I could get the email address of the program coordinator--I looked for it on this website but I can't find it. Thanks! -Melissa


Hi there,I'm wondering if there are any volunteer opportunities in Madrid related to health. Do you know if students have been involved in any in the past?Thank you,Ashley

Our program offers several internships in the community health field, working with Parkinsons, cancer research, in a doctor's office and in hospitals.

Can students from colleges other than Tufts or Skidmore apply to the program?

Yes. Please contact susan@tufts-skidmore.es for more information.

If I am ordering something to be delivered in Spain should I send it to my host family's address or the program address? Thank you!

If the item is not too large, please send it to the program center.

What are the start and end dates for the upcoming fall semester?

For fall semester 2016 the start dates is September 2, and the end date December 16.