Quarter Abroad Spain - On Site

UC Davis Study Abroad, Summer Abroad Spain, Language & Culture in Madrid Program, Header Image, On Site Page

Spanish Language and Culture in Madrid


The ACCENT Madrid Center is located at the Instituto Internacional in the heart of the traditional Castilian neighborhood of Chamberi, near the Castellana and Madrid's financial district. The Instituto Internacional en España was founded in 1892 by a Bostonian, Alice Gordon Gulick. Recently declared a national monument of historic interest, the Instituto Internacional has an excellent lending library, cafeteria, auditorium, adjacent gardens and rooftop terrace.

The neighborhood surrounding the ACCENT Madrid Center, Chamberí, is a middle-class neighborhood lined with a perfect mixture of broad and narrow streets, all shaded by plenty of trees. A walk around this quiet area in Madrid leads students to such places as the Museo Sorolla, and the sunny Plaza de Chamberi with its 19th century style market. Also, just a short block from the ACCENT Madrid Center, students and faculty can find the open air museum, Museo de la Escultura Abstracta, featuring sculptures by Miró, Chillida and Colombian artist Botero.

Students may choose to stay in a student residence or in a homestay. Details about each option are below:            

Student Residence

Students stay in double, same-gender rooms in a mixed-gender residence that houses both ACCENT and other international students. Each room is furnished with individual beds, bed lamps, desks, drawers, a storage area (closet and bins), bed linens and towels. Rooms are equipped with WIFI. Participants housed in the student residence will be provided with two meals per day during weekdays (M-F) and a minimum of one meal per day during weekends/holidays. The student residence is located in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Madrid, near the Retiro Park and in the heart of the Barrio de Salamanca


Students who choose a homestay in Madrid live with carefully selected host families and receive breakfast and dinner daily. Homestay accommodations provide students with an opportunity to observe first-hand how Spaniards live. Students are placed in double or single rooms in homes within the Madrid city limits, with varying commutes to classes of 15 to 55 minutes by walking and metro. It is recommended that students considering homestays have previous knowledge of the Spanish language.

Please note: Single room accommodation in homestays are subject to availability.

UC Davis reserves the right to change the accommodation location. Should this be necessary, we will arrange alternate lodging. Please note that elevators, air conditioners and other modern conveniences may not be available in all locations.


For students who choose the homestay option, daily breakfast and dinner are included in the program fees. For students who choose the residence option, two meals per day are provided on weekdays (M-F) and one meal on weekends and holidays. The cost of buying groceries is included in the estimated portion of the program budget.

Excursions and Day Trips

As part of the program, students will go on an overnight excursion to Salamanca. More details about the trip to Salamanca will be shared at the program information sessions.

ACCENT will also plan a series of free or inexpensive activities which may include lectures on local customs and contemporary issues, sporting events, walking tours and dinners. Students will also participate in several cultural activities, including museum visits and optional bullring tickets.

Study Abroad Advisory of Student Risk

Participation in this UC Davis Study Abroad program requires travel to and extended living in a foreign location(s) abroad. UC Davis Study Abroad endeavors to reduce and mitigate risk wherever possible.  However, the environments and risks associated with living in these locations are substantially different than those found during a regular course of study at UC Davis. All participants must download and review the following information prior to departure. Any questions should be directed to the Program Coordinator.

Study Abroad General Risk Advisory

Program Specific Risk Advisories (PDF)

About Spain

Currency: Euro

Language Spoken: Spanish

Weather and Climate

To know more about weather in Madrid, visit the CNN weather page.

Research Your Destination

Keeping in Touch

Since communication options can vary dramatically from country to country, Summer Abroad advises checking with the instructor or the Program Specific Guide for advice about what might be the best option for your particular program.

Calling the U.S. from Abroad

Many U.S.-based long distance phone companies provide special services that make it easy for you to phone home from abroad. Some provide toll-free access numbers that connect with an operator in the U.S. Some provide the means to charge long distance calls to a credit card or to a third party. Some provide better long distance rates. Others provide access to emergency, medical, legal, translation, and entertainment information. Students are encouraged to investigate these options before departure and to shop for the best services and rates.

Global Cell Phones

Most cell phone companies can sell you a special global cell phone with the option to add more minutes as needed. Also, most cell phone companies can unlock your cell phone for global use, but this requires a trip to a provider at your destination who will give you a SIM card and sell you minutes. Check with your cell phone provider for more information. Global cell phones are also available through travel agencies and online. Be sure to check the policies for both incoming and outgoing calls and text messages.

Cell Phone Rental

Some students choose to rent a cell phone that works at their destination. Some companies will ship the phone directly to the student in advance of the program dates—and include a packet for sending the phone back when they return. Interested students can locate service providers via the Internet.

Phone Cards

Many travel agencies and specific phone providers carry great options for phone cards. Check the rates available from your long distance provider. You can often buy phone cards on site.


Skype is a computer program that you can download for free that allows you to talk (for free) on the phone over the Internet with anyone else who has Skype. Go to www.skype.com to download the program. For an extra fee (as low as .02 cents/minute) you can enable your Skype to call land lines instead of just other computers. You will need a microphone and headset so that you can talk to the person on the other line. Skype also includes a chat option for instant messaging.

Instant Messaging Systems

Instant messaging systems are also a great free way to communicate with people back in the states. There are numerous options for messaging systems from AOL Instant Messenger to Yahoo Messenger. Just about every messaging program can be downloaded for free online.

Internet Access

Computer and internet access varies by program. Information for your site will be listed in your Program Specific Guide.

Internet access is offered in all the countries we go to, but the reliability of it differs from program to program. Internet can be accessed through internet cafes. Some programs also offer access through the dorms or on-campus computer labs. Internet cafes are very reasonably priced and often times have various instant messaging programs installed and headphones available to chat with loved ones. Relying on internet cafes may reduce worry of bringing your own laptop with you. You can upload pictures at most internet cafes, but remember due to the speed of some connections, it may be a better idea just to bring multiple memory cards to avoid spending your whole day on the computer.

Cultural Learning

Living in a new culture can be exhilarating, rewarding, and stimulating. It can also be frustrating. It is one thing to tour a country, but it is quite another to live and function according to different norms. It is important to be open toward a new culture, to try to discard stereotypes, and to learn as much as possible about the culture before departure. If you educate yourself about the country you will be visiting, you will better understand and appreciate your new surroundings!

Even with preparation it is likely that you will experience "culture shock." Recent studies show that there are distinct stages of culture shock. Some of these stages include: awareness of the host culture and preparation, initial euphoria and excitement, irritability phase during acclimation, gradual adjustment, and adaptation to culture. Upon return to the United States, many students face "reverse culture shock."

There are some things you can do to minimize your cultural adjustment. Keep a sense of humor! Treat yourself to an occasional U.S. indulgence like a favorite food, or purchase a U.S. magazine or newspaper. Avoid other Americans who are overly negative or who complain a lot. Keep healthy. Above all, don't be afraid to try new activities!

Resources for Further Study

Ethical Considerations in Study Abroad