Preparing to Go: Madrid


Spring 2018 Pre-Departure PowerPoint: Madrid

Syracuse Madrid Program Dates

Madrid Center Mailing Address

Syracuse University in Madrid
Attn: Student‘s Name
Instituto Internacional
Miguel Angel 8, Despacho 204
28010 MADRID

Mail should always be sent to the center 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.

Syracuse Madrid Contact Information:
Tel. (011-34) 91.319.9942
Fax (011-34) 91.319.0986

Madrid Staff Contact Information:
Dr. Dieter Roberto Kuehl, Director,
Amalia Yrizar, Assistant Director,

Staying Connected on Social Media:
You can stay connected to the Syracuse Abroad and Syracuse Madrid offices by following us on Twitter (@syracuseabroad) and (@SU_Madrid) and Instagram (@syracuseabroad) or following Syracuse Madrid on Facebook.

Traveling to and from Madrid

U.S. and Canadian citizens are allowed 90 days outside of the dates of your visa for travel. Your visa will be issued for the program dates (not your travel dates) so you must be certain that your arrival and departure from the EU fall within the allotted 90-day window. For example, if you plan on arriving in the EU two days before the official program start date, then you must exit the EU within 88 days of the official program end date. There are no exceptions, and failure to comply could result in immediate deportation and/or criminal charges. Plan your travel accordingly! Syracuse University is not responsible for students who fail to comply.

International students should check with your respective consulate regarding length of travel allowed on your visa before making travel plans in order to make flight reservations accordingly.

For students who are not traveling on a U.S. or EU passport, you will need to check whether tourist and/or transit visas will be necessary for travel to countries included in the Seminar(s), course excursions, or during personal travel throughout the semester.

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.

Housing and Facilities

Syracuse Madrid offers two housing options: homestay and residence hall. In the homestay option, up to two students are placed with one host family. Homestays encourage rapid language acquisition and help you assimilate into the Spanish lifestyle by participating in la sobremesa (discussion around the table) and observing Spanish customs. Your host(s) may vary from families with younger or older children to single professionals. Our host families have been hosting students for years and continue to do so because of the rewarding experience it is for both them and the student(s). Each home is reviewed by our housing coordinator to ensure that you will be living in a clean, safe environment.

If you choose the homestay option, you will receive breakfast and dinner everyday (14 meals per week); however, 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. Remember, although this is your home for four months, you must respect your host family and what they are providing for you.

The Colegio Mayor El Faro residence hall is located in Madrid’s central Moncloa neighborhood. Syracuse Madrid students will share double rooms and will enjoy meals and common areas with local and international university students. This option encourages authentic interaction with Spaniards of similar ages and interests. 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€ 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.

Students opting to study at UAM/IEU may be subject to an additional program fee because the calendar might be longer than that of the Syracuse Madrid Center program.

Note: You are not allowed to host overnight guests during your semester abroad. Visiting friends and family should make hotel reservations. Suggestions are provided in the Syracuse Madrid’s Visitor’s Guide. 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). There are fewer suburban housing developments compared to the United States, and most hosts live within a 30-minute commute from school. The residence hall is a 25-minute walk to school. 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.

Technology Center

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 wireless internet access 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.

Cell Phones

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, it is helpful to have your cell phone in the airport so 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.


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 articles 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.

Financial Information

Syracuse Madrid Financial Planning Budget 2017-18


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.

Transferring Funds

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.

Academic Information

Enrollment Policies

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. Enrollment in some disciplines may be limited during online registration. 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.