June 1-July 12, 2024
Arrival: Plan to arrive in Adolfo Suárez Barajas Airport (Madrid, Spain) on Saturday, June 1st no later than 4 p.m. This means you need to depart the U.S. no later than Friday, May 31st as you lose a day en route.
Departure: Program ends on Friday, July 12th in Madrid. All students must check out of the hotel in Madrid by 11 a.m. on Friday, July 12th but not later. The program will provide bus transportation to the airport at least three different times that morning. Students may also remain in Madrid/Europe after the program ends at their own expense to travel or sightsee.
Required Orientation Sessions
Students participating in the Valencia Program are required to attend at least 3 orientation sessions. It is highly recommended, however, that students attend all sessions.
Upcoming Orientation Sessions:
Please check back for possible changes in location, time or date.
Passports & Visa
A valid passport is required for entry into Spain
It is very important that students obtain a U.S. Passport (or from your home country) as soon as possible (allow 6-8 weeks). You can download the official U.S. passport application at the U.S. State Department’s Passport Services web site or request one at one of your local U.S. Post Offices. It is recommended that students apply for a passport while their application is being considered.
In most cases, U.S. students participating in the Valencia program DO NOT need a visa. However, for students who plan to stay in Spain and/or the rest of Europe longer than 90 days, or students from certain countries, a visa is required. A visa might be required if you are an international student, too. Information on whether you need a visa, and the visa application and instructions can be obtained by contacting the Consulate General of Spain in Chicago.
Students are responsible for inquiring about all entry requirements for other countries they plan to visit before or after this program. It is important for students to understand that they may be denied entry into, or be deported from, a country for which they have not obtained the required documentation.
Madrid Meeting Point
Students are expected to arrive in Madrid by 4 p.m. or ealier on the day the program starts. Program Directors will meet students at a designated meeting point in the Madrid Barajas airport. The location of the meeting point will be discussed in the orientations. Click here for a map of the airport and the expected
Money & Budget
Budgeting is a great idea. Use this budget to get started.
Exchange rates vary depending on when and where you convert your money. To see daily exchange rates go to http://www.xe.com. Generally banks offer the best rates but with a service commission. Listed prices often will appear quoted both in Euros and Spanish Pesetas. Euro bills are issued in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €500, €1.000. Coins (centimos) are in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 50, €1, €2.
When you arrive
It is a good idea to either have some currency on hand once you arrive, or withdraw some from an ATM machine as soon as you arrive in Madrid’s aiport–there are several ATM machines. There are a number of locations inside the Madrid Barajas airport to exchange American dollars or traveler’s checks. Near the hotel and other locations in Madrid and around Spain, you will always find a number of ATM machines where you can withdraw money in the local currency (be sure you understand the quanitities you are withdrawing so that you do not withdraw too much).
An excellent and convenient option is an ATM card or debit card. Most bank cards are accepted at most all ATMs around Spain. Check with your bank before departing to be sure that your card will be accepted. You do not want to wait until you get there to learn that you will not be able to use your ATM card. Be sure you have memorized your 4-digit PIN code before arriving in Madrid. If you remember your code by a 4-letter acronym, it is best to memorize the numbers instead since the number pads in Spain are labeled differently from those in the U.S. It is important that students become aware of the possible fees charged by their home institution.
Credit Cards are widely accepted in Spain. This is especially true with Visa and Mastercard and, to a lesser degree, American Express. Visa and Mastercard credit cards are also good ways to withdraw money from ATM machines since they are almost universally accepted. Check with your credit card company before departing to determine the fees you may be charged for foreign withdrawals and also to make sure you spending limit is sufficiently high to use the card for ATM cash withdrawals and purchases. Be sure you have memorized your 4-digit PIN code before arriving in Madrid. If you remember your code by a 4-letter acronym, it is best to memorize the numbers instead since the number pads in Spain are labeled differently from those in the U.S. Click on the links to find the locations of ATM accpeting Visa or Mastercard.
It is not recommended that students take traveler’s checks. While it is true that traveler’s checks can easily be replaced if lost or stolen, and many banks accept traveler’s checks in US dollar denominations, there are several disadvantages: great difficulty finding a bank to exchange the checks, being charged a fee to cash traveler’s checks, or receiving a less favorable exchange rate. Also, most stores and restaurants no longer accept traveler’s checks. Cashing traveler’s checks regularly at banks (for a $2-$5 fee) or hotels (for lower exchange rates than banks but with no fee) will be an expensive nuisance. At the same time, it is not wise to carry much cash around in cities. For credit card purchases in larger stores, VlSA and Mastercard will be much more accepted. Personal checks are not accepted anywhere.
Exchange rates vary from day to day and from source to source. When you are ready to withdraw money, shop around and ask your fellow students. Some ATMs charge a fee, while many others do not. Others give you no fees for a very low exchange rate. Generally, established banks will give the best deal. Ask your fellow students where they are exchanging. Sometimes they have found a good and trustworthy location. Exchange Rates
Value Added Tax
Value Added Tax (VAT of IVA) is a personal use tax of about 12-18% which is refundable if you buy any one single item that costs more than 100 euros. However, instead of VAT refunds, stores could offer a 10% discount on items purchased.
Service charges are usually included in hotel and restaurant bills but it is customary to leave 50 centimos, 1 euro per person in a restaurant and a little at a bar. A 50 centimo tip is average for a taxi ride. Other service people expect at least 50 centimos per person for services. When luggage is brought to your room, tip 1 euro.