IES Abroad Madrid - Language & Area Studies

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About

Our program is designed for students who want to experience the vitality of Spain and the large urban university environment of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), one of the country’s most distinguished universities.

Our Center is located on the UCM campus, and this program strives to immerse you in the culture of the Madrileños through its academic options, extracurricular activities with university students, and housing choices. Several field trips take you beyond the city limits to sites of historic and contemporary interest.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 59 reviews
  • Academics 7.5
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 15 of 59
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Paige
10/10

IES rocks, Madrid is the best,

There is no better place to study than the capital of Spain, the adventures are endless! Why would you study anywhere else in Spain when you could study in the heart of the country!? I have great things to say about my whole experience. IES Abroad is such an amazing program! The whole process from start to end was smooth and easy. They were very good at communicating details that were needed and made sure that we had all the proper resources before departure, during our stay, and upon arrival back in the USA. The program itself was amazing. I improved my Spanish while learning so much about the culture and history. The entire faculty was amazing and supportive while I was there. We went on various field trips as a program, and there were also so many other opportunities to get involved outside of the classroom. There were cooking classes, free tours, flamenco classes, and many other exciting events that we were able to sign-up for! I would highly recommend this program if you want to improve your Spanish, while being surrounded by the Spanish culture. IES provides with opportunities to interact and learn with Spanish students, and volunteer in schools helping teach English to elementary schoolers (one of my favorite memories! Overall, this experience was everything that I hoped for and then some!

How can this program be improved?
I really can't think of anything!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Emily
10/10

Madrid, Me Mata! (Madrid, you kill me!)

Being in the IES Abroad Madrid program was truly a unique experience for someone who hadn't travelled much in her life, and suddenly was given the opportunity and funds to travel Europe! Madrid was absolutely perfect for me as a city girl because I felt 100% safe there, I had a great home, three dogs and delicious food every day (shout out to my host mom!), access to quick and easy transportation, and I lived a short 15 minute walk away from my school. Being in this program exposed me to being a true 'madrileño' due to all the events IES hosted, and all the resources they gave us when it came to exploring night life or traveling. I miss Madrid every day, and it will always feel like home to me.

How can this program be improved?
I think this program could improve on introducing the students in the IES program with other student abroad programs in Madrid. I felt like I was in a little bubble sometimes when it came to expanding my social life, and I wish my program had more events/made more connections with other student groups abroad.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Robin
9/10

Studying Has Never Been More Fun

Before I went to Madrid, I was terrified of going abroad - there were so many unknowns, and it was such a big leap to leave all of the friends that I'd made at college to go spend an entire semester in a country I'd never been to with people I'd never met. But as soon as my plane touched down in Madrid, I felt more relaxed. All of the students were nice, the staff were helpful, and the city was beautiful. IES really made Spain feel like a home to me, with interesting courses and the ability to take classes at the local university and really immerse myself in the college life of Madrid.

Not only did I grow academically and improve my language skills, but I also learned so much about myself and I have so much more confidence now. I know that not only can I live on my own in a country 10 hours away from my family, where everyone speaks a different language, but I can thrive there. As happy as I am to be back in the States, with all my friends and family, a part of me wishes that I were back in Spain again.

How can this program be improved?
The program could be improved by having better communications between the local university and the program, as well as more flexibility for classes - it was often very difficult to manage finding a class that would fit in a schedule, and there was not a lot of leeway to provide for students who wanted to really fit into the local university.
Yes, I recommend this program
Brie
9/10

The most culturally-immersive experience of my life!

I had the most amazing, culturally-enriching experience in Madrid this past Fall semester! Going into studying abroad, I was torn between Barcelona and Madrid, and am so incredibly grateful to say that I made the best choice by choosing to study abroad in Madrid with IES. I specifically chose a full-immersion, language intensive program so that I could strengthen and improve my Spanish speaking skills, and fully immerse myself into the Spanish culture and way of life. I absolutely LOVED living inside of a Colegio Mayor (Spanish dorm), as it served as a cultural hub, overflowing with so many different cultures, allowing me to meet new friends from literally all over the world ( that I still talk to). I was able to do "intercambios" with these new friends, where they helped me improve my Spanish, and I, their English, so it was a really great living-learning environment that I recommend everyone to choose! IES was amazing with their pre-departure information, and for helping me with every single step along the way before I left to Spain. Once I got to Madrid, the orientation was informative and the staff was so incredibly kind and caring, and truly want you to get the most out of your experience abroad. The study center put on different cultural events during the week and on the weekends, and IES did a really nice job with pre-planned trips to different cities in Spain (San Sebastían being my favorite). The study center was in a super safe location, right next to a beautiful park, and was actually located right next to one of the metro stops, allowing me to access the metro very easily and accessibly. As far as classes go, they were more academically challenging than the classes I was used to in my home institution, in that I have never taken a course taught in Spanish that was not about Spanish grammar or Spanish studies. I definitely wrote a lot for some of my classes, but the homework load wasn't too intensive that I didn't have a social life or couldn't travel. During my experience abroad, I only stayed in Spain; I visited 11 different Spanish cities, and truly had the opportunity to immerse myself into the Spanish culture. I was able to see the world through a more globalized and empathic lens, and be more understanding towards others who are different than me. Madrid gave me the chance to step out of my comfort zone, make amazing friends, explore beautiful sites, learn what my passions are, and helped me grow in more ways than I thought were possible. I hope you enjoy the vitality and heart of Madrid as much as I did. (:

How can this program be improved?
I would say that this program can be improved by having a broader range of courses offered. I know compared to other IES programs, Madrid is fairly small, but it would have been nice to see a wider range of options. Additionally, inside of the study center, the majority of the American students spoke in English and did not want to use their Spanish. It kind of disappointed/dis-heartened me that people flew all the way out to Spain (in a full language immersion program) just to speak English with people they already knew. For there to be more pressure, encouragement, and accountability for the IES students to regularly use their Spanish in the colegio (and outside) would have made it a bit more immersive for the rest of the program. Additionally, some of the professors I had were a bit unorganized and demanding, and wavered from following the syllabus ( we had to read a 75 page play, write a 5 page essay, and then do in an class written final) all within the last week of the program, so it was definitely a bit stressful. Also most of the IES cultural activities were on saturdays or sundays at 10 am ( I was sleeping or possibly in a different city), so possibly changing the time later in the day, or making them during the week would produce more participation among the students.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Katherine
7/10

My Experience with IES Madrid

My favorite part of this experience was participating in the many extracurricular activities that IES provides. I was able to join a language interchange group, participate in a flamenco dance class, and assistant teach English at a grade school in the city. I also loved taking a course about the Prado Museum. Despite having a semi-difficult experience with my host family situation, I felt that the program staff was always available to support me. If you go on this program, do not be afraid to ask for help.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Victoria
10/10

The Experience of a Lifetime

I had the opportunity to fully immerse myself in a culture different from my own. Participating in a full immersion program helped me to step outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself to try new things and continue strengthening my Spanish speaking. Living in Spain's capital, Madrid, I never ran out of things to do. My favorite part of living in Madrid was running from my homestay to see the magnificent sunset at Parque del Oeste and run by the Palacio Real. There are so many great food options, and for dessert, I definitely recommend San Gines for the best churros con chocolate. Overall, my experience studying abroad in Europe was better than I could ever imagine. I had the opportunity to travel to many different countries and experience even more cultures. I loved my experience and highly recommend that everyone studies abroad.

How can this program be improved?
This program can be improved by having professors coordinate more on when they are assigning papers, presentations and exams instead of assigning them for all five classes at the same time.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Amanda
10/10

Discovering a new home

Madrid is a diverse city that has a way of making you feel at home. It's easy to navigate and has all of the resources of a big capital city without feeling overwhelming. IES ensures a positive, fulfilling experience by providing opportunities to interact with local students, live with a host family or Spanish compañero, and take courses that will improve your understanding of the city and culture. I had courses about the History of Madrid and an art course taught in the Prado museum. Be sure to take advantage of all of the IES sponsored trips, too; the guides are incredible. Come prepared to make friends for a lifetime and discover a newfound independence.

How can this program be improved?
Choosing classes at the local university can be a bit complicated and overwhelming. Some additional information and guidance about the process prior to departure could be helpful for students as they work with home universities.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Elizabeth
10/10

Global Expansion

Living in Madrid for four months really opened up my eyes to the way in which the United States influences the rest of the world, as well as how Americans are perceived by others. It made me more understanding of cultural differences, and I came back to the U.S. feeling much more informed. It was a great way to take what I have been studying in Spanish classes for so many years out into the real world, and I was able to further develop my conversational speaking abilities to be more like a "native."

Yes, I recommend this program
Dan
10/10

The best 4 months of my life

Studying in Madrid through IES was the best 4 months of my life. I was able to enjoy the awesomeness of the hospitality, academics, and culture of Madrid through the assistance of IES. The semester was sprinkled with explorative group trips that really allowed me to become close with my peers, and learn about the lesser known parts of the country. The academics were intensive enough to allow me to improve and practice my Spanish; however, they were not unnecessarily rigorous. IES really established a system where I felt that I was able to fully immerse myself to the Madrid lifestyle as much as I wanted. I met my current best friends, I meandered around Europe, and I fell in love with all things Spanish. I am hit with a wave of nostalgia every day that I am not able to sip on a cafe con leche paired with the ever so consistently delicious tortilla española. IES Madrid does it right.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Sydni
8/10

IES Abroad Madrid Language & Area Studies - Academic Year

While enrolled in this program I enjoyed my abroad experience a lot. I enjoyed this program specifically because it allowed me to get a feel for what it feels like to truly live in Spain because the program supervision was not overbearing, but there were enough activities that allowed me to feel a great sense of community. My only critique for the program was that students were rarely allowed to live outside of IES housing, which (in my opinion) did not provide the best option for cultural immersion. Overall, this is a great program for students to have low-academic rigor in order to fully enjoy their abroad experience.

How can this program be improved?
This program can improve the housing to decrease the ratio of students : compañeros in the apartments so that the students get a better feel for what it feels like to live in the town with Spanish students their age.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Savannah
10/10

AMAZING Trip! 10/10 recommend!

IES Abroad Madrid was AMAZING! I learned so much while I was in Madrid and wouldn't trade that experience for anything. Because Madrid is so centralized, I was able to travel to a plethora of cities within Spain and experience other countries outside of Spain as well. There is a wide variety of classes offered and lots of activities to participate in with the university. Plus, my homestay experience was incredible - I still talk to my host mom a couple of times each month!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Juliette
10/10

Glory Days

This program was the best 4 months of my life. The staff at IES was incredibly helpful and hands on in every capacity. From academics, to travel and safety, they had amazing resources and advice that was genuinely helpful. The courses were relatively easy (language barrier was tough at times) but the professors are helpful and want you to do well. Madrid is an incredible city that is filled with beautiful parks, wonderful museums and amazing food. You will never be bored while you are here. I made some of my best friends through this program and was able to travel to and explore more than 20 different cities throughout Europe on my own and with IES.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Morgan
10/10

Supportive, fun and all around great experience

IES Madrid is a great program that I highly recommend! It is in an incredible location and I loved being in Madrid and getting to know the city. My host mom was incredible and the staff really wants each student to feel comfortable. My classes were challenging and ranged from analyzing Spanish film to going to the Prado museum twice a week to study paintings. I thoroughly enjoyed this program and all of the different academic options as well as the program trips. The staff is incredibly kind and patient and I made some great friends!

How can this program be improved?
I would make the option to take classes at the Spanish University a bit more clear and accessible! I ended up not taking one ( and took other great classes) but I felt it was a bit challenging to find one that fit my schedule at the larger Spanish University.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Sean
9/10

Diverse options in an amazing city

IES Madrid is a great program with many different options to personalize your experience. Academically, students are able to challenge themselves as much as they like with the option of enrolling in UCM. UCM courses are a great way to become immersed and learn in a foreign setting.
Also, it is great that there are other opportunities to become involved: including an internship program and being an English Teaching Assistant in a local secondary school. I enjoyed learning about the Spanish education system and helping adolescence learn English through the teaching assistant program.
Overall, this is a great program with a lot of options. Also, Angel and Yolanda do a great job supporting all of the students.

How can this program be improved?
I would recommend sending the course list earlier to have more time to discuss the options with your home university.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Amanda
9/10

The Best Decision of My Life

On this date one year ago, I made the best decision of my life: to study abroad in Madrid, Spain. I was filled with anticipation and excitement... I had seen friends' pictures and heard that studying abroad is "an experience of a lifetime" but still didn't know exactly what that meant.
Through IES Abroad, I was pushed to expand my horizons both in the classroom and out. I improved my Spanish, of course, but more importantly I learned about myself. Everyone, from the program directors and the professors, to my host family, and the friends I met along the way greeted me with kindness and made me feel loved. While I was in Madrid, no matter how bad of a day I had had, it was impossible not to smile. In fact, just reflecting on my experience makes me smile.
One year ago I had no idea that I would fall head over heels for the country, the culture, and the people of Madrid. One year ago today I could have never told you that I would feel just as much like I was leaving home when I was departing from the USA as I did on my return flight from Madrid. I am so thankful for all the opportunities I was given through IES Abroad and urge you to apply... who knows, maybe one year from today, you'll feel the same way I do!

How can this program be improved?
Other programs that my friends chose had more time built in to travel outside of Spain. That would be my only suggestion, although not having class on Friday's was a definite perk so traveling was not as hard as some people made it out to be.
Yes, I recommend this program

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IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student...