Preparing to Go: Madrid

Syracuse Madrid Center

Syracuse University in Madrid
Attn: Student’s Name
Instituto Internacional
Miguel Angel 8, Despacho 204
28010 MADRID
Tel. (011-34) 91.319.9942
Fax (011-34) 91.319.0986

Madrid Staff Contact Information

Staying Connected on Social Media:
You can stay connected by following @syracuseabroad on Twitter and @syracuseumadrid & @syracuseabroad on Instagram.

Syracuse Madrid students are required to download and use the Syracuse Madrid Guide app. Here you will find your orientation schedule, event sign-ups, Madrid tips and tricks, the Syracuse Madrid academic & cultural calendar, and more!

You will be required to check your Syracuse email regularly as this is our official means of communication.

Syracuse Madrid Program Dates

Page Contents

Traveling to Madrid

There are two options for travel to Madrid. You can choose to arrange the suggested flight through a local travel agency, 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.


Please refrain from arranging travel to Madrid until prompted to do so by your International Program Advisor.

You will receive instructions on purchasing a flight to Madrid.  The instructions will follow these basic guidelines:

  • You must purchase a flight that arrives in Madrid on the morning of Thursday, September 16.  Your return flight should depart Madrid on Friday, December 3, unless you plan to stay in Spain after the program end date. Program housing will not be provided beyond Friday, December 3 for Syracuse Madrid Center students. Per Spanish Immigration laws, U.S. citizens must depart by December 14 to avoid overstaying their 90-day tourist period within the Schengen Zone.
  • You will receive an independent travel memo that outlines arrival details.

Do not plan personal travel until you get to Madrid and know when you may be required to take part in any class-related tours, all-program trips, make-up classes, exam periods, and other academic commitments.

Travelers are expected to wear masks while in flight and/or at the airport. Students should expect to travel with a basic supply of masks.


Pack clothing and belongings for the semester in ONE large checked bag.  Be sure to pack your carry-on bag with essentials in case your checked luggage is delayed.  Items to pack in your carry-on bag may include: electronics, specific travel-sized toiletries, a change of clothing, etc. Do not bring more luggage than you can comfortably transport on your own, and leave unnecessary valuables at home. Here are more packing tips and guidelines for your trip.

Note that students are advised not to store their luggage at Syracuse Madrid facilities before the start of or after the end of the semester.

Living in Madrid


Prior to your arrival in Madrid, you will complete a Digital Orientation on Blackboard. You will receive the link and instructions several weeks before departure.

You will also have an orientation at the Syracuse Madrid Center where you will learn more about navigating a new culture and city and what lies ahead during your semester. Participation in all events, including housing orientation activities the first weekend in Madrid, is mandatory.


Syracuse Madrid offers two housing options:

  • Homestay Option: No more than two students are placed with one host family. Your host(s) may vary from families with younger or older children to single professionals. Many families have been hosting Syracuse students for many years. You will receive breakfast and dinner every day (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 Options:  Syracuse Madrid students will share double rooms.  Your housing placement will be confirmed with you by your International Program Advisor in May 2021. The residence halls 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 five euros per week for one load of laundry.
    • Colegio Mayor El Faro Residence Hall:  The Colegio Mayor El Faro residence hall (El Faro) is located in Madrid’s central Moncloa neighborhood.  At El Faro breakfast, lunch, and dinner are offered in the dining room seven days a week, and student rooms have kitchenettes to keep snacks.
    • Hubr Residence Hall:  The Hubr Residence Hall is located in Madrid’s Salamanca neighborhood.  In Hubr, forty meals per month are available at the on-site dining facility.  There is also a kitchenette on every floor.

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 in your housing assignment once the program ends.


In Madrid and all Spanish cities, virtually everyone lives in an apartment (piso).  Most host families live within a 35-minute commute from the Syracuse Madrid Center. The El Faro residence hall is a 35-minute walk to the Syracuse Madrid Center, and the  Hubr residence hall is a 25-minute walk.  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) if a passport-style photo is uploaded to OrangeAbroad before July 15. You will need to recharge your transportation card every 30 days with a transportation allowance loaded onto a prepaid Mastercard that you will receive immediately following the orientation. These passes are for unlimited rides and can be used for the subway, commuter train, and bus system within Madrid.

During the fall 2021 semester in Madrid, you should expect occasional delays in public transportation and longer commutes as social distancing measures evolve.


Students are expected to bring a working laptop computer.

  • 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 and El Faro will have internet access. Do not expect the same speed as in the United States. Internet access at home may be limited according to the host family’s needs.

Student Email

All university communications will be sent to your email, so it is imperative you check this daily. We expect you to read and respond to emails promptly- it is our first mode of contact in an emergency.

Note that Syracuse University uses a two-factor authentication system for email and other electronic access. You should configure this with a smartphone app before travel, so you do not have issues accessing your email: view Answers for more information.

Failure to receive and read communications sent to your university email address does not absolve you from knowing and complying with the content of them.

Cell Phones

Please ensure that before you leave the U.S. you have downloaded the Duo Mobile app on your smartphone. This will allow Syracuse University’s two-factor authentication system to work while you are abroad and is critical for access to email, MySlice, etc.: view Answers for more information.

Syracuse Madrid is committed to student safety and security; therefore, all students must have a smartphone which can regularly make and receive calls locally for the duration of the program. GPS must be activated at all times for our Alert Traveler program.

The use of a Spanish cell phone or SIM card is encouraged for the duration of the program. Many students choose to unlock their U.S. cell phone (before departure for Madrid) and purchase a SIM card upon arrival or obtain an inexpensive smartphone once in Spain with prepaid plan. Students are advised not to purchase SIM cards at the airport.

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.

In order to maintain the highest level of Syracuse Madrid support:

  • You must have and keep with you a working Spanish cell phone number (if you do not have an international plan).
  • You must supply Syracuse Madrid’s Student Life staff with your up-to-date mobile number within one week of arrival in Madrid.


Mail should always be sent to the center’s address (see above) to the student’s attention (never to the host family address). All mail that fits in an envelope may be sent to Madrid typically without any delay by Spanish customs. This includes replacements for debit or credit cards.

Staff will notify students by email when a package arrives, though students are strongly discouraged from receiving packages from non-EU countries due to the lengthy and expensive process of retrieving packages from customs.

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 an active Spanish fiscal number to clear a package that is being held. Syracuse Madrid staff cannot provide you with this number, and many host families do not feel comfortable doing 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 is no sure-fire way to be able to avoid paying customs duties or tariffs (marking packages as gifts or used personal items will not help). Be prepared to pay 21% IVA (VAT), up to 17% duty and a flat fee for processing each package. Syracuse Madrid staff can inform you about the steps to be taken, but can neither intervene nor guarantee a completed and successful shipment.

Financial Information

Syracuse Madrid Program Cost


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

Current detailed information will be provided in the Planning Your Schedule packet.

Enrollment Policies

You are required to enroll on a full-time basis and register for at least 12 credits of Syracuse Abroad courses. You may enroll for up to 19 total credits at no additional charge. Due to Spanish immigration requirements, you may not drop below 12 credits at any point during the semester. The optional Signature Seminar does not count towards your 12 credit minimum.

All students must take at least one Spanish language course for credit. These classes are scheduled at 9:00 am. 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 required SPA courses and affiliated Spanish university courses.

Attendance to all classes is mandatory. Students are also expected to attend all scheduled trips and events. Before booking any personal travel, check the academic calendar published in the Syracuse Madrid Guide and each of your course syllabi for mandatory travel.


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 your Planning Your Schedule 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 one to two weeks before registration starts. You will be notified by email if you have permission to register for a requested Special Enrollment Course.

Because course offerings at the local affiliated university—Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM)—are not confirmed until shortly before the semester begins, students accepted to this program are advised to participate in online registration for Madrid Center courses. In addition, a separate registration process is required by the partner university. Deadlines and procedures are determined by the partner university; therefore, it is your responsibility to follow the specific instructions that are emailed to you once you are accepted.

Diversity & Inclusion

For more information regarding Syracuse Madrid’s dedication to diversity and inclusion, visit the Syracuse Madrid website.

At our Madrid Center, you may join the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee (DISC) or choose to attend MadConvos, where discussions often center on diversity and inclusion.