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Immerse yourself in the Spanish experience by living in Madrid, home to some of Spain’s finest museums, theater, and cinema. Join the UW-Madison WIP Madrid program for an academic year or spring semester to enjoy tapas, futbol, y arte while studying in Spain’s vibrant capital!
This program, a consortium of students from Wisconsin, Indiana, and Purdue (WIP), allows you to study alongside Spanish students in university courses at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, an authentic complement to additional courses at Universidades Reunidas that are specially designed for American students and are jointly sponsored by WIP and other U.S. colleges and universities with programs in Madrid.
The goals of the WIP Madrid program seek to advance your competence with the Spanish language and knowledge of Spanish literature, culture, history and the arts. By enrolling in courses at Complutense and living in an apartment shared with Spanish and international students, you will integrate into the academic and social environment of being a student at a global institution. This program is ideal if you’re seeking a challenging academic program with immense rewards in personal and academic development through immersion experiences.
Complutense is located on an old estate known as La Moncloa, which traces its history back to 1499. The grounds encompass full range of facultades (or "schools"), each housed in a separate building with its own library and offices. This campus serves as your home base in a city of nearly five million inhabitants. Located at the European and African crossroads, Madrid is characterized by the modern adaptation of its cultural and historical diversity. Artists, royalty and merchants have all contributed to the city's dynamic appeal.
Interested in learning more? Contact Alex and Grant, IAP Peer Advisors who participated on the program!
Not sure where Madrid is? See it on a map here.
While Madrid has grown into a modern metropolis, it has preserved the look and feel of many of its historic streets and neighborhoods. Population estimates show the city is home to roughly 3.3 million residents (6.5 million metro). Within the European Union, only London and Berlin are more populous than this booming international city.
But there is no need to be overwhelmed. You will get to know the rich character of this city through its details: cobblestone streets, balconies dripping with flowers, ornate wrought iron railings and festive Spanish tiles. Beyond campus, you can follow your senses through a variety of parks and plazas, Madrid's vibrant flea market, and plentiful sidewalk cafes. The food culture is also unique to this location. Expect more 3 course lunches, snacking on tapas and late night dinners. The very best of Spanish and international cuisine can be enjoyed in Madrid.
Madrid is home to the "Golden Triangle of Art," three world-renowned museums - the Prado Museum, which showcases the works of Velazquez, Goya, and El Greco; the Reina Sofia, a musuem of modern art; and the Thyssen, where you'll find artwork to fill the historical gaps of its counterparts. For the sports enthusiast, Real Madrid, one of Europe's most prestigious football clubs, is based in the city.
Surprisingly, Madrid is a very walkable city and its public transportation (bus and metro) make connecting between neighborhoods a breeze. The high-speed AVE can connect you to other regions of Spain in mere hours.
Getting to Your Program
You may choose to book your ticket through the group flight option (which is organized by Indiana University) or make your own flight arrangements.
A student visa is required for U.S. citizens studying in Spain for a semester or academic year.
You are responsible for applying for your own visa. IAP will provide you with visa application instructions. U.S. citizens must have a U.S. passport valid for at least six months beyond the end of the program. If you are not a U.S. citizen, contact your Study Abroad Advisor for guidance.
You are advised NOT to leave the U.S. for any international travel up to three months before the program begins as your passport must be turned over to the consulate for visa processing. If you must be out of the country more than a couple of days prior to the program start date, there is no guarantee that the consulate will process the visa in time for your departure.
Student visas cannot be extended in Spain.
IAP expects you to be an active participant in preparing yourself for your study abroad experience. As a participant on an IAP program, you will receive a pre-departure orientation, either in-person or online. The type and format of this orientation will vary by program and will be provided to you upon acceptance to the program.
About a month before the start of your semester abroad in Madrid, the WIP staff will pair you with a recent program participant mentor to give you tips and hints to further prepare for your time abroad.
You are required to participate in the on-site program orientations given by the staff of the WIP office in Madrid. They will present to you different sessions relating to general and practical information about the program, health and safety, extracurricular activities, culture shock, and a specific orientation dedicated to finding your housing in Madrid. These orientations will help you become acclimated with Spanish life.
For the first 3-4 weeks of the program, you will be housed in either a student residence hall (academic year only) or in a Spanish household (spring only). After your housing orientation, you are expected to coordinate renting a room in a student apartment for the duration of the program. Spring students have the option to make arrangements to remain with their Spanish homestay. The pre-arranged housing grants you the flexibility to explore the types of housing available in Madrid while being on location.
The initiative in locating housing is yours, but the WIP program staff will actively assist in the search for long term housing by providing resources and strategies, passing along recommendations and evaluations from former students, and a list of current apartments available through program contacts, housing web resources, and posting locations. They’ll also assist you with housing vocabulary and help you evaluate various neighborhoods.
The freedom that apartment living offers, the chance to live with Spanish and international students, the opportunity to interact with the culture in securing everyday goods and services, the freedom to cook what and when you want, and the chance to budget your living expenses, make the apartment living style of this program a desirable option.
More information on finding an apartment in Madrid
Excursions and Activities
The program organizes several excursions to popular locations throughout the year. Several extended periods of vacation throughout the year, as well as convenient public transportation, allow you to also travel outside of Madrid. Located in the center of the Iberian Peninsula, Madrid is an excellent starting place to explore the entire country as well as its neighbors, during and after the program.
Volunteer opportunities may also be available to you. Most volunteer organizations require a minimum six‑month commitment in order to participate, so academic year students have been most successful in finding volunteering opportunities.
Complutense is considered to be a commuter campus for it offers few organized student activities. You will have access to Disfruta Madrid Más
, a program that organizes weekly event offerings, activities, and area discounts so you can enjoy activities each week to help you enjoy the Spanish culture and meet like-minded students.
You will be enrolled in the UW System required health insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) and the cost of the insurance coverage is included in program fees.
A faculty member from one of the WIP sponsoring institutions serves as Resident Director. There is also a local Assistant Director and Student Services Coordinator to help with academic and student services.
Use the links below to find out more information on academics, daily life and student impressions for this program.Madrid, Spain IAP Handbook
(Year - 2013-14)WIP Madrid Program Handbook
(Year - 2013-14)Madrid, Spain IAP Handbook
(Spring - 2013-14)WIP Madrid Program Handbook
(Spring - 2013-14)
How to Apply
First complete the IAP Online Application. The following supplemental application materials will become available to you through the application portal:
IAP Foreign Language Report
Passport-Sized Photographs: 2
Passport-sized Photograph Scan
Scanned Copy of Passport ID Page
Unofficial Transcript (Student Record)
Unofficial Transcript - OPTIONAL - Additional File
Forms are subject to change. Complete the forms according to the checklist provided to you in the online application portal.
After the Deadline
IAP will review your application and make the final admissions decision. You will be notified of the admissions decision via email.
|Year - 2014-2015
You will take a combination of Reunidas and Complutense courses, all located on the Complutense campus. All classes are taught in Spanish.
Reunidas is a consortium of six study abroad programs that represent more than nine U.S. universities. The Reunidas course list covers a wide range of disciplines that include arts and philosophy, Spanish literature and language, history and the social sciences. Courses at Reunidas are taken with other students studying abroad and are taught by local faculty.
At Complutense, you will directly enroll in university courses. Courses offered at Complutense focus on world geography and history (including area studies), world literature, anthropology, philosophy and economics. You will become familiar with three academic buildings at the Complutense:
-Facultad de Filologia (Spanish language and literature);
-Facultad de Filosofia (philosophy, religion and ethics); and
-Facultad de Geografia y Historia (geography, history, art history and music)
You are required to take a minimum of one Complutense course during the fall semester and two Complutense courses during the spring semester. Your other courses will be a combination of Complutense and Reunidas for a total of 15 credits minimum per term. For academic year students, you will begin the fall semester with a September course (three-week preparatory language and culture course). This 3-credit course includes work in Spanish grammar and composition, politics, art, and history. Spring semester students do not have a preparatory course.
The WIP Resident Director, a faculty member from a WIP school, will provide you with academic assistance and advising in registering for your courses on-site. To help you prepare for university life at Complutense, Reunidas provides information and perspective on the academic culture in Spain.
Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Universidades Norteamericanas Reunidas
Finding UCM courses online.pdf
Course Offerings at Reunidas
Use the links below to see a list of courses that students have taken on this program before and the UW equivalents. Note: this list only includes pre-approved courses for your program and may not be an exhaustive list of courses or departments. You will get instructions on the course equivalent process after acceptance.
Sort by Foreign Course Titles
Sort by UW-Madison Course Titles
Group by host institution and Sort by Foreign Course Titles
Group by host institution and Sort by UW-Madison Course Titles