FAQs: Prospective Students

Studying abroad is an exciting, often life-changing experience filled with discovery, adventure and personal growth. At Tufts-Skidmore Spain we give you all the tools and resources you need to navigate this intercultural experience in a transformative and wholesome way. We offer individualized academic and cultural programming that caters to students from all majors and abundant resources that help to level the financial ground for all of our students:  a weekly meal stipend, travel funds, activity funds, Spanish medical insurance 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 ready 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. It is also mandatory to be part of the official program's WhatsApp group once the semester has started, so make sure that WhatsApp is downloaded on your phone. Your Spanish mentors can 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 smartphones to Spain and change to a Spanish SIM card.

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

Yes! Please meet with your financial aid officer at Tufts or Skidmore to discuss your situation. Skidmore students can also contact OCSE Program Manager, Kendra Nelson; Tufts students can contact Programs Specialist Melanie Armstrong or Program Coordinator Julie Dugan.

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

Yes, wifi is available in all host-family homes and in the program center.

Should I bring my laptop?

Yes, it’s a great idea to bring your laptop if you have one. Additionally, the program center is 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, Bilbao-Logroño, Valencia, Extremadura.

How are meal allowance and reimbursements dispersed to students?

All students will have Sabadell bank account opened for them when they arrive, which will include a Sabadell Visa debit card. All stipend and reimbursement money is transferred directly to the student's bank account. The debit card may be used for purchases anywhere in the world and for withdrawing money at ATMs.

What economic resources does the Program provide for students?

  • MONTHLY TRANSPORTATION PASS (City trains, buses, subway)
  • MEAL STIPEND (11€ a day for the one meal a day not taken in the homestay)
  • EXTRACURRICULAR REIMBURSEMENT (300€ per semester to cover gym fees, or classes or other activities offered at private studios or businesses (dance, music, ceramics, yoga, cooking)
  • TRAVEL MONEY (170€ per semester to help with independent student travel in Spain)
  • CULTURAL ACTIVITIES REIMBURSEMENT (Unlimited reimbursement for museums, Spanish language movies (including dubbed movies), plays, dance performances, art exhibits, and other cultural activities)

What’s a typical student academic schedule?

Most students take some combination of the following:

  • 1-2 University classes
  • 1-2 Program classes
  • 1 Extracurricular class (painting, dance, music, 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, public health associations, 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. During orientation we will offer a thorough presentation on exactly how credit is applied at the home institutions.

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, student-centered, continuous assessment, daily or weekly assignments. Average course size: 10-14 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 Guille Cámara 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).
  • Spanish for Heritage Speakers.
  • Spanish Cultural Studies: Memory and Absence in Modern and Contemporary Spain.
  • Identity and Intersectionality in Spain.
  • 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.
  • Transatlantic Literatures.

In addition to in-house program courses taught at our program centers by local faculty, 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 ON MINDFULNESS & JUSTICE.

Will I need a Student Visa?

Yes, you are required to obtain a student visa prior to departure, unless you are an EU citizen. Once you are admitted, your Study Abroad office will inform you and provide a packet of information detailing the visa process. Tufts and Skidmore students will have their visas “batch processed” by the program abroad manager at your institution (this may also be possible for those applying from institutions other than Tufts and Skidmore).

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?

Yes, students may choose among full-year, fall or spring semester options.

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, Kendra Nelson, 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 Julie Dugan in the Programs Abroad Office 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 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 cell phone number with you (included in her email signature), in case you need to call from the airport!

Hi! I was wondering if I could get the email address of the program director.

Susan Sánchez Casal, PhD

Dr. Sánchez can be reached at the following email addresses:





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 at the Parkinsons Association, The Cancer Association, shadowing a doctor in an asthma-allergy clinic (Clínica Ojeda),  and in hospitals.

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

Yes. Our program frequently hosts students from other colleges and universities. Please contact susan.sanchez@tufts-skidmore.es or knelson1@skidmore.edu 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, you may send it to the program center. Please remember not to send items directly from US retailers, as they will be stopped in Customs and assessed high custom taxes (there is no free-trade agreement between Spain and the US). Also, please remember that it is illegal to send medications, food stuffs, toiletries across international borders. If you plan to send your child a care package, it is advisable to mark the package as "used personal items" and list no value or a value under 20€.

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

For spring semester 2018 the start dates is January 19, and the end date May 19.

A few questions about the Home-Stay experience-Who are the host families? How are they screened and selected? How are they compensated? How do we show our appreciation? What might they expect/appreciate from us- the student's parents?

All of our host families and their homes are thoroughly vetted and most have been with the program for years. They are experienced in hosting our diverse student body, which includes Students of Color, LGTBQ+ and students with disabilities. We also have host families who can accommodate students with severe allergies and gluten intolerance and/or celiac disease. Hosts are 100% dedicated to the health and wellbeing of your child. We will send detailed information about the host family selected for your child at least one month prior to his/her arrival (over email), including the family’s address, email and contact phone numbers.

We recommend that students bring the host family a small token of appreciation upon arrival, maybe something that is typical of the area where you live.

Host families are compensated monthly, in order to cover the costs of electricity, food and lodging, but our families will not consider your child a "boarder" but rather a new member of the family. Spanish homes are very private, so in welcoming your child into their home the host family is also welcoming your child into their family. If you come to visit your child, the host family will most likely invite you to dinner or meet you somewhere in the city in order to get to know you. It is becoming increasingly common for host families to speak to you over Skype while your child is here.

If you have other specific questions, you may contact the program director: susan.sanchez@tufts-skidmore.es

What are the start/end dates for a normal spring semester? Does that include orientation?

Spring semester normally starts mid January and ends mid May, and these dates includes orientation.

Are their internship opportunities for credit?

Yes, both Skidmore and Tufts offer credit for internships. If you come from another institution, please check with the registrar or your advisor.