Skip to content

Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Study Abroad Areas of Studies: Art, Art History, Business, History, Linguistics, Literature, Management, Marketing, Political Science, Spainish
Language of Instruction: Spanish Minimum GPA: 3.0
Class Standing: 2.Sophomore Housing Options: Homestay, Residence Hall
Program Description:


Spend a semester or a year  solidifying your informal and academic Spanish language skills in the charming city of Alcalá de Henares.

Through daily interaction with social and academic communities, rigorous coursework, living arrangements with native speakers, and various cultural excursions, you’ll not only drastically improve your proficiency in Spanish, but develop an understanding of issues relevant to contemporary Spain and its people.

Study abroad in Spain and you will:

  • Perfect your Spanish skills: learn formal Spanish in the classroom and colloquial Spanish in the community; participate in conversation exchanges, intercambios  or volunteering.
  • Enroll directly in Universidad de Alcalá courses alongside Spanish students
  • Choose between living in a Spanish homestay or a shared room at the University residencia with Spanish and other international students
  • Enjoy free cultural visits to museums, theaters, and fairs in Alcalá de Henares and Madrid; day trips almost every Friday to Toledo, Segovia, Cuenca, Soria, El Escorial, El Pardo and Castilla Castles; and two overnight CIEE trips to, Asturias-Cantabria, La Rioja, Castilla- León, and Extremadura, hidden treasures for the great majority of foreigners where you will can discover the real Spain.
The CIEE Difference


Choose from a wide variety of CIEE elective courses ranging in subject from Globalization and Business, to Literature, History, the Arts and Communications. For future healthcare professionals who need to use Spanish in the workplace, CIEE offers a course covering medical terminology, commonly used grammatical structures and culture aspects that every health care professional should know.

Students with advanced language skills can opt to enroll directly in courses with Spanish students at Universidad de Alcalá


Enjoy visits museums, theaters, and fairs in Alcalá de Henares and Madrid, as well as excursions to nearby sites of historic interest such as Toledo, Cuenca, Valle de los Caídos, El Pardo, El Escorial, Ávila, and Segovia. Longer trips may include La Rioja, Extremadura, Asturias, and  Castilla- León which are planned to supplement class work and to introduce students to the rich diversity of the geographical, linguistic, and cultural areas of Spain.

Cultural Activities

Conversation exchanges, theater performances, and various clubs (chorus, book club, dance class, etc.) and activities sponsored by the Universidad de Alcalá throughout the semester and are designed to bring together American and Spanish University students.


Total recommended credit for the semester program is 12–15 semester/18–22.5 quarter hours. Total recommended credit for the academic year program is 24–30 semester/36–45 quarter hours.

Contact hours are 45 hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours per course, unless otherwise indicated. A full course load is considered four courses. All courses are considered junior- or senior-level.

Program Requirements

In CIEE and Institute Benjamin Franklin courses, study abroad students are graded on the basis of class participation, in-class activities, homework assignments, examinations, papers, and often oral presentations, much like in the United States. In regular University courses, assessment is sometimes based solely on an examination given at the end of the semester, but other times it is a combination of both exams and papers. Grades are given on a ten-point scale.

About Alcalá de Henares

Alcalá de Henares, named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998, is located 35 minutes northeast of Madrid by train. Alcalá is the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote de la Mancha. It has a population of 270,000 and includes approximately 28.680 university students and a growing number of immigrant groups from Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Alcalá’s historic center is a mix of harmonious streets, noble architecture dating back to the 16th century, convents, shops, restaurants, tapas bars, and graceful storks that nest atop buildings.

Where You’ll Study

The Universidad de Alcalá was founded in 1499. In 1836 the University transferred to the nearby capital of Madrid, leaving its historic facilities in Alcalá unused until 1977 when the University was re-established. The Instituto Benjamin Franklin offers academic programs in Hispanic Studies for U.S. students. Study abroad students can also take courses in three schools at the Universidad de Alcalá: Philosophy and Letters, Economics and Business, and Law.

Housing & Meals

Housing and meals are included in the program fee. During the study abroad program, students live in either Spanish-speaking homes (one student per home) or in University residencias (in a furnished apartment with a private bedroom with other students). All rooms in the residencias have Internet access and air conditioning. Students share a kitchen with stove, refrigerator, microwave, and living area.

Students in Spanish homes take their meals at the place of residence. Students in the University residencias receive a meal stipend and take their meals in University-run facilities or prepare their own. The residencias are located outside the historic city center, and students take a 15-minute public bus to the Institute. Students who choose a homestay either walk or take a bus to the Institute.

Academic Program

Established in 1999, the CIEE Study Center at the Universidad de Alcalá provides an academic program for students with a high-intermediate to advanced level of Spanish. The academic offering consists of a combination of one CIEE Study Center language course and three or four courses offered through the Institute Benjamin Franklin (Hispanic Studies for U.S. students). Students with the necessary prerequisites are encouraged to enroll in one or two courses at the Universidad de Alcalá and learn alongside Spanish students.

Academic Culture

The Institute is housed in a 17th century convent which has been renovated to preserve the building’s beauty and charm, while providing modern office and classroom space. Class size ranges from five to 21 American students. Instruction is in Spanish. Classes at the Institute meet twice a week for 90 minutes, Monday through Thursday. Fridays are reserved for class-related activities, weekend excursions, and field trips to Madrid and surrounding areas or free time.

In the fall semester, Institute courses start the first week in September and end in mid-December. Regular University courses run from September through late January. While some professors allow early exams in December prior to the holiday break, CIEE cannot guarantee this for all courses; during pre-departure registration, CIEE will provide a list of classes for which early exams are possible. All semester students interested in enrolling in all other regular University courses must be prepared to stay until the end of the examination period in late January.

In the spring semester, Institute courses begin in early January and run through late April or early May. Regular University courses begin in late January with exams usually scheduled in May.

Although extracurricular activities and personal travel contribute to the students’ overall study abroad experience, attendance in class is paramount. An early departure for or a late return from vacation is not allowed. Any extended travel should take place prior to the start of the program, during vacation periods, or upon completion of the program.

Nature of Classes

CIEE language courses are with CIEE students only. Area studies courses through the Institute Benjamin Franklin are with CIEE and other U.S. students. Regular University courses immersed with Spanish and ERASMUS (European) students are an option if you hold advanced language skills and are willing to choose from a smaller list of classes or extend your stay (late January for the fall semester and late May for the spring semester).

CIEE Community Language Commitment

Students take part in the CIEE Community Language Commitment by speaking Spanish at all times (except in emergencies). This fosters a learning community that contributes to both Spanish language proficiency and understanding of Spanish society.

Grading System

In CIEE and Institute Benjamin Franklin courses, students are graded on the basis of class participation, in-class activities, homework assignments, examinations, papers, and oral presentations, much like the U.S. In regular University courses, assessment is based on in-class activities, homework assignments, examinations, papers, and oral presentations as well, or sometimes based solely on an examination given at the end of the semester. Grades are given on a 10-point scale.


All the classes are taught in Spanish. Language activities have been developed to enhance the student’s language improvement and cultural immersion. These activities may include language exchange events where our CIEE students can meet Spanish students to speak English and Spanish. Past activities included a Spanish Book Club, university choir, and volunteering.

Language of Instruction



All courses are taught by faculty from the Universidad de Alcalá and teaching and research centers of Madrid.


Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2025 10/15/2024 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.