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CIEE Alcala Language & Culture Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:



Alcala de Henares, Spain




2.75 overall GPA, 3.0 GPA in most recent Spanish class, 4 semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent), must have valid passport or be in the process of applying at time of program application.

Application Due:


Program Cost:

Click the Application tab.

Established in 1999, the CIEE Study Center at the Universidad de Alcala provides an academic program for students with a high intermediate to advanced level of Spanish. The summer program, established in 2008, consists of language and culture courses offered through the Instituto Benjamin Franklin.

This program is administered by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) on behalf of an academic consortium of which the University of Iowa is a member. UI participants on the program join a group of students from other U.S. colleges and universities. University of Iowa students earn resident credit for this program.

Academic Program

The Instituto Benjamin Franklin 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 ten to twenty-three students, all from U.S. colleges and universities. Class instruction is in Spanish.

All courses are offered in Spanish, and many are approved for Spanish majors or minors, General Education Requirements and may also be approved for other degree requirements. Students are required to take 6 s.h. (2 courses) during each 4-week session.

Classes are held Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, students participate in class activities, excursions, and field trips to supplement what they learn in class. Attendance is mandatory.

For updated course offerings, descriptions, and syllabi, visit CIEE's program webpage.

Excursions, Cultural Activities, and Language Immersion

Excursions & Cultural Activities

The excursions are planned to supplement class work and to introduce students to the rich diversity of various geographical, linguistic and cultural areas of Spain. Participants will travel to nearby sites of historical interest such as Segovia, Toledo, Cuenca, and El Escorial. Students may have the opportunity to participate in overnight visits to other Spanish cities like Madrid, Asturias-Cantabria or Valencia. Students can visit nearby museums, theaters, and cultural sites throughout the summer. Additionally, a wide variety of activities are offered every week, including hiking, sports, cinema, bowling, cooking, dance classes, and guided tours.

Language Immersion

Participants can take the Community Language Commitment to speak Spanish at all times, chat with Spanish students in Spanish (and some English), helping you both practice, and share meals with host families for language immersion opportunities.With all classes in Spanish, you’ll benefit from full immersion, every day.

Program Dates

Summer Session I: Late May to late June

Summer Session II: Late June to late July

For exact program dates, visit CIEE's program webpage.

For More Information

Emily Gruis, Study Abroad Advisor
The University of Iowa
Office for Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353


Situated on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, Spain is a strikingly beautiful and diverse country. The country has the second largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the largest number of World Heritage cities. Spain’s distinct regions means there is has something for everyone, from lush forests to towering mountains and stunning beaches to vibrant cities. Widely known for excellent food and art, friendly locals, relaxed lifestyle, Flamenco culture, bullfights, fantastic beaches, and lots of sunshine, Spain has been one of the cultural centers of Europe for thousands of years and remains one of the most popular destinations in the world for study and travel.

Alcala de Henares

The city of Alcalá de Henares, named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998, is located 30 minutes northeast of Madrid. Alcalá de Henares is the birthplace of one of Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote de la Mancha. It is home to one of the oldest universities in Spain: the Universidad de Alcalá. Currently, Alcalá has a population of 160,000, including approximately 16,000 university students, and boasts a growing number of immigrant groups from Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Alcalá’s historic center is a unique mix of harmonious streets, noble architecture dating back to the 16th century, convents, shops, restaurants, tapas bars, entertainment venues, and graceful storks which nest on the tops of buildings. In addition to a cultural scene of concerts, museums, and theatre, Alcalá is known for its annual short-film festival.

University of Alcala

The Universidad de Alcalá was founded in 1499 and quickly gained a reputation for academic excellence. In 1836, the University transferred to the nearby capital of Madrid, leaving its historic facilities in Alcalá unused until 1977 when the University was reestablished, first as an extension of the University of Madrid and later as an independent entry.

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements


Students live in Spanish-speaking homes where three meals are provided daily. Each home accommodates one student. Homestays are the optimal housing arrangement because of their contribution to the program’s goals of language and cultural immersion. Homestays will be a short walk from the Instituto Benjamin Franklin at Universidad de Alcalá, where CIEE students take classes.

Students use the public bus or train to visit Madrid, about a 35-minute ride.


This program is open to UI students who fulfill the following requirements:

  • Minimum 2.5 overall GPA, 3.0 GPA in most recent Spanish class: Student must have at minimum a 2.5 overall GPA and a 3.0 GPA in most recent Spanish class to participate in this program.
  • Good academic and disciplinary standing: Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the University of Iowa. Academic and disciplinary history will also be considered when determining whether a student is prepared to represent the University of Iowa as part of this program. Students who, even after being accepted into a program, are put on either academic and/or disciplinary probation for any period of time overlapping with the study abroad program dates are ineligible to study abroad. In these cases, students must forfeit their acceptance, will not be allowed to study abroad, and are wholly responsible for any and all financial expenses incurred.
  • Four semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent) : Students must have completed a minimum of 4 semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent) .


The most recent cost sheet for the program is included below. The cost sheet outlines the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid and planning purposes. It includes fees charged on students’ U-Bill (CIEE program fee, Study Abroad Administrative Fee, and mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance), as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic. Please see the respective websites for further details. Contact your Study Abroad advisor with questions regarding the cost sheet.

Cost Sheets

PDFCost Sheet for CIEE Alcala Langauge & Culture, Summer 2019, Session II

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.

Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities, and Non-UI External Awards.


Withdrawal Policy

After applying for a Study Abroad Program, notice of withdrawal must be made in writing to University of Iowa Study Abroad. The date on which the letter or e-mail message is received is the date by which your costs will be calculated. If for any reason you withdraw after the confirmation deadline and before or during the course of the program, the amount/percentage shown in the following chart represents what you will be required to pay to the University of Iowa.

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
After turning in this document Administrative fee: $400
Portion of program fee: As determined by the program contract with CIEE
After Program Start Date Administrative fee: 100%
Portion of program fee: As determined by the program contract with CIEE

Consult with Study Abroad Advisor Emily Gruis for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when withdrawing from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with the airline for further details.

How to Apply

Interested students should make an appointment with the designated UI Study Abroad advisor to discuss the program and the application process. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 319-335-0353. During the appointment, the advisor will provide full application instructions. Note: Application materials will not be reviewed unless a student has already met with the advisor to discuss the program.

The application process consists of the following steps:

• Complete the UI Online Application for Study Abroad. Applicants will be charged a $50 non-refundable application fee. As part of the UI Online Application for Study Abroad, applicants will need to upload a copy of their passport picture page and a list of courses to take while abroad, as well as a statement of purpose

• Complete the CIEE Online Application.

Post Acceptance

Acceptance into the applicant's chosen study abroad program is made by CIEE directly via an email to the applicant, which will refer the applicant to additional documents posted to the myCIEE account.

Confirmation of Participation - Summer 2019

If you received notification from both CIEE and your UI Study Abroad advisor that you have been accepted to participate in the Summer 2019 program, you must complete and submit the Confirmation of Participation form (posted below) by April 5, 2019. The form should be submitted in person to the Study Abroad front desk (1111 University Capitol Centre). Before submitting the Confirmation of Participation form, carefully review the program costs and withdrawal policy found on the Application tab.

PDFCIEE Alcala Language & Culture Confirmation of Participation, Summer 2019

Health & Safety Planning

All students preparing to study abroad should review the following:

Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

Students are also encouraged to complete the Health Preparation Guide for International Travelform with their medical practitioner. This document is intended to help you plan for your medical needs abroad. Please DO NOT turn this form in to UI Study Abroad.

Financial Aid

For more information about receiving financial aid while studying abroad, please review the following:

UI Financial Aid Information


US passport holders should follow the batch process instructions provided by CIEE. Otherwise participants must apply for their student visa independently. The Consulate for all UI students is the Chicago Consulate; it is based the location of one's home university, not the state of origin.

Flight/Travel Arrangements

Students may either book the group flight through CIEE or book a flight independently. Participants are responsible for being at the orientation site on time, as CIEE may fine individuals who are late.


In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs online “Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation” course distributed through ICON prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions you can email