Fall 2018 Pre-Departure PowerPoint: Madrid (coming soon)
Syracuse Madrid Center
Syracuse University in Madrid
Attn: Student‘s Name
Miguel Angel 8, Despacho 204
Tel. (011-34) 91.319.9942
Fax (011-34) 91.319.0986
Mailing Letters and Packages to Syracuse Madrid Students:
Mail should always be sent to the center address above at the student’s attention (never to the host family address or residence hall). Students will have a mail box at the Syracuse Madrid Center and the staff will notify students by email when a package arrives.
Traveling to Madrid
There are two options for travel to Madrid. You can choose to participate in a group flight, offered by Advantage Travel, or you may choose to make your own travel arrangements and meet the group upon arrival in Madrid. Admitted students receive an email detailing both options.
Participating in a group flight allows you the opportunity to travel to Madrid with other students on our program as well as a Syracuse University group leader. Upon arrival in Madrid, the Syracuse Madrid Center staff will meet you at the airport.
Group flight tickets are round-trip. It is important to note, however, that group leaders are not on the return flights to the U.S. You are responsible for getting to the airport in Madrid for your return to the U.S.
If traveling independently to Madrid for the Fall 2018 semester:
- You must purchase a flight that arrives in Madrid very early (prior to 8 a.m.) on the morning of Monday, August 27. Your return flight should depart Madrid on or after Friday, December 14.
- You will receive an independent travel memo detailing where to go after arrival in Madrid, including information on how to meet up with your Signature Seminar group if you miss the group departure from the Madrid airport.
Pack clothing and belongings for the semester in your large checked bag. When you arrive, these bags will be taken to the Syracuse Madrid Center and stored while you are on your Signature Seminar. They will be available to you when you return to Madrid and move into your housing. Pack your carry-on bag for your Signature Seminar: electronics, specific travel-sized toiletries, appropriate clothing, etc. Further packing guidelines available here.
Note that students are not allowed to store their luggage at Syracuse Madrid facilities before the start of or at the end of the semester. If you plan to travel at the end of the semester, you must take your luggage with you.
Living in Madrid
After your Signature Seminar, you will have an on-site orientation in Madrid where you will learn more about navigating a new culture and city and what lies ahead during your semester.
Syracuse Madrid offers two housing options:
- Homestay Option: Up to two students are placed with one host family. Your host(s) may vary from families with younger or older children to single professionals. Most families have been hosting Syracuse students for many years. You will receive breakfast and dinner everyday (14 meals per week) and you will need to budget additional funds to cover your midday meals. The host family will also provide you with bed and bath linens, do your laundry once a week, and clean your room once a week.
- Residence Hall Option: The Colegio Mayor El Faro residence hall is located in Madrid’s central Moncloa neighborhood. Syracuse Madrid students will share double rooms. The residence hall will provide you with bed and bath linens and will change and launder them once a week. A coin laundry is available on site for you to wash your clothes. Residence hall students should budget 5 Euro per week for one load of laundry. At the Colegio Mayor El Faro breakfast, lunch, and dinner are offered in the dining room seven days a week, and student rooms have kitchenettes to keep snacks.
After your Signature Seminar and upon arrival in Madrid, you will go to your housing assignment. Placements are based on student preferences (by completing the Madrid housing questionnaire) and our staff’s extensive experience.
Note: You are not allowed to host overnight guests during your semester abroad. Visiting friends and family should make hotel reservations. You may not stay with your host family once the program ends.
In Madrid and all Spanish cities, virtually everyone lives in an apartment (piso). Most host families live within a 30-minute commute from the Syracuse Madrid Center. The residence hall is a 25-minute walk to the center. Many students report that walking is convenient, but public transportation is also easily accessible. You will be provided with a public transportation pass (included in your program fee) which you will need to recharge every 30 days with your transportation allowance. These passes are for unlimited rides and can be used for the subway, commuter train, and bus system.
A computer lab is available at the Syracuse Madrid center during the following hours:
- Monday through Thursday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Friday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The lab has WiFi and computers for your use. If you plan to bring your own laptop, note the following:
- Ensure that your computer will work on 220/240-volt, 50-cycle current. If not, you will need a small converter to use it overseas. These are available from most electronics stores (i.e., Best Buy). We recommend purchasing one before you arrive.
- You will also need a specific plug adapter for Spain, available at stores like Best Buy or Target or at any hardware store in Madrid (e.g., ferretería).
- Host families will have internet access. Do not expect the same speed as in the United States. Internet access at home may be limited to the host family’s criteria.
Syracuse Madrid is committed to student safety and security; therefore, all students must have a working cell phone for the duration of the program.
The use of a Spanish cell phone or SIM card is encouraged for the duration of the program, and many students choose to unlock their US cell phone and purchase a SIM card upon arrival or obtain an inexpensive phone once in Spain with prepaid plan.
In the event of a travel delay or flight change during your transatlantic flights to and from Madrid, it is helpful to have your American cell phone so that you can contact your family and Syracuse Abroad.
If you plan to use your existing cell phone service (e.g., AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon) be sure it is set up for international roaming with a convenient international plan – do this before you leave the U.S.
There has been a marked increase of packages from the United States being held at customs. In many cases, students are being asked to pay hefty import tariffs. Furthermore, customs officials will require a Spanish fiscal number activated in order to clear a package that’s being held. Syracuse Madrid staff can’t provide you with this number and host families aren’t required to do so. As a result, you may have to resort to paying a broker to release your shipment.
Encourage loved ones to avoid sending you packages by mail as most items can be obtained in Spain. If articles must be sent by mail, advise your loved ones not to send irreplaceable or valuable items because there’s no sure-fire way to be able to avoid paying customs duties or tariffs. Be prepared to pay 21% IVA (VAT), up to 17% duty and a flat fee for processing each package. Syracuse Madrid staff can help you with the documentation but cannot guarantee a completed and successful shipment.
You will find that you use cash more frequently in Madrid than you do in the United States, especially for purchases of less than 10 euros. Please visit the Finances Abroad page for more information on banking while abroad.
Family members may send you money during the semester by depositing money in a U.S. bank account accessible through ATMs or by wiring money to any MoneyGram or Western Union office for pickup. During orientation, you will be provided with a Spark Prepaid MasterCard for your transportation allowance. Family members may also transfer money directly to your Spark card. For complete advice on transferring money overseas, check with your bank. We advise you not to bring U.S. dollars because exchange fees are high and it is difficult to find banks that will exchange small amounts.
You are required to enroll on a full-time basis and register for at least 12 credits of Syracuse Abroad courses (not counting Signature Seminar credits). You may enroll for up to 19 total credits, including the credits for the Signature Seminar, at no additional charge. Due to Spanish immigration requirements, you may not drop below 12 credits (not counting Signature Seminar credits) at any point during the semester.
All students are required to enroll in a Signature Seminar. The Signature Seminar course may not be dropped. The seminar is the first 10 days of the program and may include several additional sessions during the semester in Madrid.
All students must take at least one Spanish language course for credit. Students who enroll in SPA 302 or a higher-level language course are also required to take at least one non-language instruction course taught in Spanish that carries an SPA cross listing. Students who place out of Spanish language must take at least two non-language instruction courses taught in Spanish that carry an SPA cross listing.
Some courses may not be audited. These include the Signature Seminar, required SPA courses, and affiliated Spanish university courses.
Grades: Final grades for courses taken at an affiliated Spanish university may not be received and posted to Syracuse’s student records system until mid-February for fall semester and late August for spring semester.
Online course registration occurs prior to departure with dates announced in the academic packet. You will need special permission from our office to register for any courses designated in the academic packet as “Special Enrollment.” To be considered for these courses, you must meet any prerequisites, return your Student Advising Form by the specified deadline, and list the Special Enrollment course among your Primary Course Selections. You will receive registration instructions, including a list of students eligible to register for any Special Enrollment courses, one to two weeks before registration starts.
Because course offerings at the local affiliated universities – IE University (IEU) and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) – are not confirmed until shortly before the semester begins, students accepted to these programs are advised to participate in online registration for Madrid Center courses. In addition, a separate registration process is required by each partner university. Deadlines and procedure are determined by the partner university; therefore, it is the students’ responsibility to follow the specific instructions that will be emailed to them once they are accepted.