International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987

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Culture Corner

View of Calle Mayor (Main Street) from the ISA Office

ISA Office, the Complutense, Antonio de Nebrija and Housing Neighborhoods

In Madrid, ISA students have the choice to study in an intimate environment at the private Antonio de Nebrija University, or take classes in the Complutense University, the largest university in Spain. Both universities are located in the university district of Madrid, known as the "Cuidad Universitaria." The closest metro stop to the Complutense is "Cuidad Universitaria," and the metro stops for Antonio de Nebrija are: Francos Rodríguez, Metropolitano, and Estrecho. To get there by bus, lines 44, 64, 124, 128 and 132 will take you close to the Nebrija campus.

The ISA office is located in the heart of the city, only minutes from the famous Puerta de Sol, and offers easy access to many of Madrid's most popular sites.

Students will be housed in either a residencia, ISA apartment, or a homestay. These are located throughout the city, with a 30 minute average commute to class. Most students travel to class and around the city on public transportation, just as the locals do.

ISA Madrid Office

The ISA Madrid office is is conveniently located in the absolute center of Madrid, just yards away from the Plaza del Sol. Several métro lines converge here which allows students easy access to The ISA Madrid office from their respective universities. The office serves as a central meeting place for ISA students, the "home base" of ISA Madrid, and is the location for regular meetings.

The ISA Madrid office houses a classroom/meeting room, resident director offices, a bathroom, entryway, computer/Internet terminals and wireless capabilities for those who wish to bring their laptop. During normal office hours, students may visit to access the free computer/Internet facilities, receive tutoring, utilize academic and other resources, check the ISA bulletin board for upcoming group, community, and cultural events, or simply visit with the ISA staff.

View the ISA Madrid office on a map.

The Universities

Computense University of Madrid

The Computense University of Madrid (UCM) is the largest university in Spain with an annual enrollment of over 100,000 students. The university is fully accredited and recognized by the Spanish Ministry of Education (Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia). With 76 degree programs, the Complutense offers the widest range of degree courses in Spain. Its official degrees are arranged with respect to four areas of knowledge: Humanities, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Health Sciences, and Social Sciences.

The University Library contains over 2.2 million volumes, over 40,000 journal titles, and over 300 student computer terminals. The UCM employs over 2,500 tenured professors. The two UCM campuses, located in the Ciudad Universitaria (Moncloa) and Somosaguas, cover more than 900 acres. This includes a natural space of 250 acres, of which more than 160 are forested and 90 are landscaped grounds. International students have access to university resources including the library, sports facilities, and computer labs.

The origins of the Complutense date back to 1293 when King Sancho IV of Castile founded a study center in Alcalá de Henares, the town which would later be the birthplace of Cervantes. In 1499, the university acquired official status as a degree-granting institution. The university was transferred permanently to Madrid in 1836 and in 1970, it was renamed the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

Antonio de Nebrija University

Antonio de Nebrija University is a private and independent university which takes its name from the 15th century humanist who published the first grammar of the Spanish language. The University is fully accredited and recognized by the Spanish Ministry of Education (Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia). In keeping with the effort to expand Spanish language and culture and to promote understanding between people of many nations, the University welcomes students from all over the world to experience modern Spain in a traditional university setting.
The University aspires to maintain the highest quality of scientific investigation and academic instruction. It is a small university, with an annual enrollment of approximately 3,000 Spanish students and 500 international students. The student to teacher ratio is roughly 10:1.

The University is divided into two campuses: Dehesa de la Villa and Berzosa. ISA students may have classes at either campus. The Dehesa de la Villa campus is conveniently located near the Moncloa campus of the Complutense University of Madrid in Northwest Madrid. The Berzosa campus is located further north of these campuses. Both are well-communicated by metro and bus to the rest of the city. The Dehesa de la Villa campus is home to international students taking classes at the Hispanic Studies Center and also to Spanish students taking classes in Industrial Engineering and Computer Science Engineering. All of these students, international and Spanish alike, share the same academic building and have access to the same library, computer lab, cafeteria, and general university services. The Berzosa campus enroll students with a more advanced level of Spanish who want to immerse themselves in an environment with Spanish students who are taking courses pertinent to their university careers and majors. Students on the Berzosa campus have the option of various campus life activities in the following areas: tapas tastings, Flamenco shows, Theatre outings, conferences, Flamenco classes, studio theatre, creative literature, and professional development.

A benefit of studying at the Antonio de Nebrija University is that students have the option of taking courses in both programs (Language & Culture, and Studies with Spaniards), and thus at both campuses. Please see the Academic Programs tab to learn more about the academic offerings through ISA at the Antonio de Nebrija University.

View the universities on a map.

ISA Housing

In Madrid, students will have a choice between living with a host family, in apartments or in residencias.

Homestays
In Madrid, most students, unless otherwise requested, live with home stays.  Although homes vary, all will provide three meals a day, laundry services at least once a week, a comfortable bed, clean surroundings, and a good light for studying.  Spaniards generally live in smaller apartments or pisos instead of houses as Americans do.  These apartments are compact but comfortable.  Spanish homes do not have the same amount of space that we are accustomed to.  You will not find large walk in closets or large bedrooms.

Apartments
Students are placed in furnished, centrally located apartments. All apartments are either within walking distance or conveniently located to public transit routes relative to the university. Residents are responsible for their own laundry service. The apartments may not have a washing machine on the premises. Residents are responsible for providing their own food and meals.

Residencias
Basically a cross between a small dorm and a boarding house, residencias are assigned on a first-come/first-serve basis, and availability is limited. Students are placed in furnished, centrally-located residences near the ISA Madrid Office around Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol. Meals and laundry service are not included, but students will have shared access to a kitchen and to a washing machine access. 

For more information about housing, please visit the "Housing" section of the Madrid page.