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CIEE Alcala Language & Culture Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:



Alcalá de Henares




2.5 GPA, 3.0 GPA (B) in most recent Spanish class, 4 semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent), good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

Mar. 1

Program Cost

Refer to Application tab for more details

Program Description

Designed for students with at least 4 semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent), this 4- or 8-week summer program helps students with advanced Spanish language skills further improve their abilities through a variety of courses taught in Spanish by faculty from the Universidad de Alcalá and other teaching professionals. Courses may cover academic areas such as art history, literature, culture, and translation.

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

Students enroll in two courses (6 sh) per session. All courses are taught in Spanish at the Instituto Benjamin Franklin at Universidad de Alcalá. Classes range in size from 5 to 25 students, all from U.S. colleges and universities.

Classes are held Monday through Thursday. Supplementary class activities, excursions, and field trips occur on Fridays. Attendance is mandatory.

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

Cultural Activities


Excursions are planned to supplement coursework and to introduce students to various geographical, linguistic, and cultural areas of Spain. Participants will visit museums and cultural sites and take a day trip to the palace and monastery of El Escorial.

Language Immersion

Participants agree to speak Spanish at all times. Beyond taking all coursework in Spanish, students can focus on daily language acquisition by living with a host family.

Program Dates

Summer Session I: Early June to late June

Summer Session II: Early July to late July

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

For More Information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with USAC, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa. 
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive  program application instructions.

Contact Information

Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353

Universidad de Alcalá

The Universidad de Alcalá was founded in 1293 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. Courses for this program are held at Instituto Benjamin Franklin, a renovated 16th-century convent.

Alcalá 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 Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote. It is home to one of the oldest universities in Spain, Universidad de Alcalá. Currently, Alcalá has a population of 190,000, including approximately 17,000 undergraduate 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.


Situated on Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, Spain is a strikingly beautiful and diverse country. The country has the third largest number of UNESCO World Heritage sites. Spain’s distinct regions means there is something for everyone, from lush forests to towering mountains and stunning beaches to vibrant cities, many of which are easily accessible through the country's extensive network of high-speed trains. Widely known for excellent food and art, friendly locals, relaxed lifestyle, Flamenco culture, 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.

U.S. Department of State Country Information

The U.S. 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

CIEE students participating in this program have two housing options: a Spanish homestay or a student residence hall. Housing decisions are at the discretion of CIEE.


Students live in Spanish-speaking homes where three meals are provided daily. Each home accommodates one or two CIEE students. Homestays are the optimal housing arrangement because of their contribution to the program’s goals of language and cultural immersion. Homestays are located near the Instituto Benjamin Franklin at Universidad de Alcalá.

Student Residence

There is one privately-operated student residence in Alcalá with limited space. CIEE students live in single or double rooms with a shared bathroom. The residence has coin laundry, a study lounge, internet, a small gym, and a student cafeteria.


U.S. Citizens

U.S. citizens who do not have a passport should apply for one as soon as possible. More information about how to apply for a passport is available on the U.S. Department of State’s website.

Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. US citizens who need to renew their passport can find more information on the US Department of State’s website. The passport must be renewed before applying for the Spanish visa required for semester or academic year programs.

Expedited processing service is available at an additional cost. UI Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.

Non-U.S. Citizens

Students who are not U.S. citizens should contact UI Study Abroad ( for information on how to ensure that their passport is valid for the duration of their time abroad.

Travel Arrangements

Students book flights independently. Participants are responsible for being at the orientation site on time.

Local Transportation

Within the host city and around Spain, students will utilize public transportation such as buses and trains. Spaniards are also very used to walking, so be sure to bring comfortable shoes!


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

  • Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA: Student must have at minimum a 2.5 cumulative GPA to participate in this program.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA (B) in most recent Spanish course: Student must have earned a grade of B or higher in most recently completed Spanish course.
  • Four semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent): Student must have completed a minimum of 4 semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent).
  • 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.


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 the designated UI Study Abroad advisor with questions regarding the cost sheet.

Cost Sheets

PDFCost Sheet for CIEE Alcala Langauge & Culture, Summer 2022, Sessions I & II

Scholarships & Financial Aid

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.


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.

• Complete the CIEE Online Application.


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

Application Deadline

Summer: Mar. 1

Acceptance & Confirmation Materials

Acceptance and confirmation materials will be posted after the next application deadline.

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.


U.S. passport holders can remain in Spain for up to 90 days without a visa, so no visa is required to participate in one or both of the summer sessions.

Non-U.S. passport holders should consult with CIEE regarding their visa requirements.


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.

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

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.