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USAC Bilbao Program

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring, Summer, Academic Year

Location:

Bilbao/Getxo, Spain

Credit:

Resident

Eligibility:

2.5 GPA; good academic and disciplinary standing

Application Due:

Fall & Academic Year: 2/24

Spring: 9/24

Summer: 3/4

Program Cost

Refer to Application tab for more details

Academic Program

Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum

This program offers a high-quality educational experience in international business, Spanish language, and cultural studies. These programs are not exclusive of one another; students may chose courses from any area. Although no prior language study is required to participate in this program, all students are expected to take Spanish language coursework. A 3 s.h. internship may also be available.

The program is administered by the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), of which the University of Iowa is a member.

University of Iowa resident credit is granted for this program.

For updated course offerings and descriptions visit USAC's program webpage.

Excursions, Cultural Activities, and Field Studies

Excursions & Cultural Activities

Students visit nearby museums, theaters, and cultural sites throughout the semester. One-day excursions may offered to locations such as Asturias, French Basque Country and San Sebastian, Navarra, Bayonne, St. Jean de Luz, Urdaibai and Oma. Additionally, a wide variety of activities are offered every week, including hiking, sports, cinema, bowling, cooking, dance clases, and guided tours. Dates and exact locations are at the discretion of the Resident Director and they vary from session and session and semester to semester.

More information about activities can be found here.

Field Studies

USAC encourages every student to participate in field studies in Madrid and Santiago; however, this segment of the program is optional for an additional fee. Participants will sign up for the tour or register for the field study on the Course and Tour Registration Form. Be sure to reserve a spot early as the tour fills quickly; the deadline for fall semester is July 1 and for spring semester is November 1.

More information about Field Studies can be found here.

Professional Opportunities

Internships

USAC internships are rich resources for academic and professional development particularly in a study abroad setting. USAC internships are considered courses and count as part of your credit load. Students are placed in a Spanish-speaking environment, with high exposure to culture and language, and must be able to communicate at an advanced language level. Interns earn credits but no financial compensation. The schedule and the number of work hours will be determined by the schedule of USAC courses.

Eligibility and Fees: registration in Track IV, enrollment in the Bilbao program, a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and junior standing at the time of the internship. A refundable fee of 100 EUR is charged and returned upon successful completion of the internship.

More information about internships can be found here.

Teaching Assistant in the Basque Country Program (TABC)

USAC offers tutoring opportunities for students to get full immersion into the local school environment, meet local people, and have firsthand exposure to the local community. Teaching assignments will depend on availability and scheduling restraints and range from 2 to 5 hours a week. Students participating in this program are required to take the mandatory 1-credit course TABC: Seminar in Developing Effective Teaching Skills.

The TABC program is offered during the semester programs only.

Program Dates

Old Quarter in Bilbao

Fall: Late August to mid-December

Spring: Mid-January to mid-May

For exact program dates, visit USAC'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
Fax:319-335-0343
Email: emily-gruis@uiowa.edu

Spain

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.

Bilbao/Getxo

Bilbao is the largest city in the Basque Country with a population of approximately 350,000; the greater Bilbao region has just under 1,000,000 inhabitants. It is an extremely walkable city with a great transportation system that is efficient and safe. Its international airport has direct flights to most large cities in Europe. Located in the north of Spain near the French border, both Bilbao and Getxo (where most of the housing placements are located) reside among beautiful green mountains that face the ocean, making it possible to hike in the morning and go swimming in the afternoon. Close by, there are several picturesque coastal towns with great beaches that are easily accessible by public transportation. Bilbao is home to some of the world’s most renowned architecture including: Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, the Euskalduna Music Hall and Convention Centre, Norman Foster’s Underground, Calatrava’s Bilbao airport, and other projects by architects such as Arata Isozaki and Cesar Pelli.

Getxo is a charming, coastal community popular for its beaches, lively nightlife, and diverse cultural activities. It is well connected to downtown Bilbao by subway (20-25 minutes away). Getxo is a relatively young town—80% of the population is below the age of 60—and it is not touristy, maximizing the opportunity for students to meet local peers. Getxo is known for its numerous outdoor activities and cultural events including: surfing, canoeing, hiking, rollerblading, paragliding, music festivals, a medieval market, and much more.

Basque

Castilian Spanish and Basque are both official languages in Bilbao and the rest of the Basque Country. Basque (or Euskara) is regularly used in all aspects of life, but is never imposed on non-Basque speakers. Taxi drivers, shopkeepers, service representatives, professors, and homestay families all speak clear Spanish whenever a Spanish speaker is present. Spanish is widely used at the university, and you are advised on which classes are taught in Spanish. While it is not necessary to speak Basque to survive in Bilbao, you will find that learning a few words can be an enjoyable experience and open doors to making friends.

Universidad del País Vasco

The USAC programs in Bilbao and San Sebastian are hosted by the University of the Basque Country, although the professors as well as the courses are directly affiliated with the program. Some University facilities are available to program participants. La Universidad del País Vasco (UPV) is a decentralized Spanish university with a student enrollment of approximately 40,000 students distributed over four campuses in Lejona, Bilbao, Vitoria-Gasteiz, and San Sebastian. Consortium offices, classes and dining facilities are housed on the UPV Bilbao Business School campus. With support from the municipal government and the European Community, the USAC programs have been recognized as centers for the teaching of Spanish language to foreigners. Students from a number of European countries who are preparing to study in Spanish Universities also participate in the program.

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

USAC students participating in this program have two housing options: a Spanish homestay or an off-campus apartment with other USAC, international, or local students. Most housing placements are located in the beach town of Getxo within walking distance to the beach and each other. Commuting between Getxo and downtown Bilbao, where the Business School is located, is efficient, safe, easy, and fairly quick; the metro makes several stops in Getxo and takes 20 minutes to get to downtown Bilbao.

Homestays

Students live in Spanish-speaking homes where three meals are provided daily. Homestays are the optimal housing arrangement because of their contribution to the program’s goals of language and cultural immersion.

Shared Apartments

Students seeking an independent environment should consider living in an off-campus residence hall with Spanish and other international students. Students are responsible for their own meals.

Apartment facade

Housing Fees

During the semester, students pay monthly rent and the housing fee is not included in the course fee. Students will need to have a plan and budget in place to withdraw the amount needed for rent monthly. For summer programs, apartment housing is included in the course fee- homestay has a surcharge.

Eligibility

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

  • Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA: Students must have at minimum a 2.5 cumulative GPA 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.

Costs

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 (USAC 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.

Semester Cost Sheets

PDFCost Sheet for USAC Bilbao, Fall 2019

PDFCost Sheet for USAC Bilbao, Spring 2019

Summer Cost Sheets

PDFCost Sheet for USAC Bilbao, Session I, Summer 2019

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
During Early Admissions Period Administrative fee: $0
Course Fee: As determined by the program contract with USAC
After acceptance of USAC Pre-Approval Offer Administrative fee: $400
Course fee: As determined by the program contract with USAC
30 days before program start date Administrative fee: 50% or $400, whichever is greater
Course fee: As determined by the program contract with USAC
After program start date Administrative fee: 100%
Course fee: As determined by the program contract with USAC

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.

• Complete the USAC Online Application.

Post Acceptance

Acceptance into the applicant's chosen study abroad program is made by USAC directly via an email to the applicant. Additional documents will posted to a USAC Gateway account for the participant.

Confirmation of Participation - Fall 2019

If you received notification from both USAC and your UI Study Abroad advisor that you have been accepted to participate in the Fall 2019 program, you must complete and submit the Confirmation of Participation form (posted below) by March 15, 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.

PDFUSAC Bilbao Confirmation of Participation, Fall 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

Visa

US passport holders should follow the batch process instructions provided by USAC. 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 USAC or book a flight independently. Participants are responsible for being at the orientation site on time, as USAC may fine individuals who are late.

Orientation

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 safety-abroad@uiowa.edu.