alcala de henares spain study abroad

Study Abroad in Alcalá de Henares

College Study Abroad

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Explore Alcalá de Henares, Spain

Located about 22 miles east of Spain’s capital city of Madrid, Alcalá de Henares is a small, charming city with a large student population. Perhaps most known as the birthplace of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, studying abroad in Alcalá de Henares allows students to experience a historic city center with centuries-old buildings. 

When you study abroad in Alcalá de Henares, you’ll immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Spain’s second largest city in the community of Madrid. Whether you’re looking to enjoy Spain’s signature tapas plates, take in medieval architecture, or improve your Spanish language skills, Alcalá de Henares offers something every student can enjoy.


  • red pin alcala de henares
  • alcala students excursion abroad
  • alcala de henares study abroad spring semester group

Study Tours & Cultural Excursions in Alcalá de Henares

Every CIEE program has frequent cultural excursions uniquely designed to complement the program’s academics and enhance students’ cultural immersion. In Alcalá de Henares, past study tours and excursions have included:

  • Visits to famous museums and cultural sites, including the UNESCO World Heritage site city center
  • Explore beyond the city with one-day trips to the Golden Age Palace and Monastery of El Escorial
  • Take a group hike and picnic in the National Park of the Guadarrama Mountains

If you’re a student looking to study abroad in Alcalá de Henares, CIEE’s tours and excursions allow you to experience the culture, history, and language of this beautiful city. From eating various sweets and rosquillas de Alcalá to exploring 16th-century history with a tour of the Cervantes Birthplace Museum, Alcalá de Henares is a study abroad destination that any student can enjoy!

students at ciee alcala de henares center spain

Where Students Study

Universidad de Alcalá (UAH)
At the Instituto Benjamin Franklin, students study at the institute’s beautiful and modern home. Founded in 1499, the University of Alcalá hosts about 29,000 students in the city center where they study in renovated 16th and 17th century buildings. 

Study Abroad Programs in Alcalá de Henares

alcala de henares garden building
  • Alcala de Henares, Spain
  • Study Program

With small classes, a local family host, and plenty of peer interaction, your already strong Spanish skills will further progress as the weeks fly by.

Program Interests
  • Host Institution
  • Mountains to Hike
  • Small City
Pocket Guide to Alcalá de Henares


Spoken Languages in Alcala de Henares 

Available Transportation 
Bus, train, taxi

Famous Local 
Daniel Diges – famous Spanish singer, pianist, composer, and actor

Warm, dry summers with an average temperature of 84°F; cold winters with an average temperature of 59°F

Places to Explore 
Cervantes Birthplace Museum – famous family home of Miguel de Cervantes, writer of novel Don Quixote

Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD)

Social Norms 
With Spain’s large coffee culture, it’s not uncommon to drink multiple cups of coffee throughout the day

What to Pack 
Backpack, comfortable shoes, sunscreen

Frequently Asked Questions

Known for its medieval architecture, historical significance, and charm, Alcalá de Henares is a good place to study abroad for students looking to explore a smaller city outside of Madrid. Alcalá de Henares offers students an excellent opportunity to practice their Spanish and gain experience living abroad in Spain.

Alcalá de Henares is known to be a safe city with a very low level of crime. As with any study abroad destination, we recommend that students keep their belongings secure, stay aware of their surroundings, and travel in groups when possible.

Alcalá de Henares is considered a suburb of Madrid and is known for having a quieter, more student-centered atmosphere full of historic buildings. Just a short bus ride away, Madrid, the one of the biggest cities in continental Europe, is known for its famous European art museums, exciting sports events, and political and cultural significance. Alcalá de Henares may be a better fit for students looking for a small-town feel in a historic city, while Madrid may be the better option for students looking for a more urban, lively lifestyle.

In order to ensure our students feel welcomed, supported, and empowered while studying abroad, CIEE staff completes comprehensive diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) training. Staff provide students with advice, resources, and ongoing support both before and during their study abroad program in Alcalá de Henares.
For more detailed information on diversity in Alcalá de Henares, visit our Diversity in Alcalá de Henares page.

The cost of studying abroad in Alcala de Hernares varies depending on the specific program that you choose and how long you plan to study abroad for. For detailed cost information, we recommend researching each individual Alcala de Hernares study abroad program page.

For costs not included in your program’s outlined fees, it’s important to consider factors surrounding your individual journey while abroad.  

Read more: How Much Does it Cost to Study Abroad?

Study Abroad Scholarships & Grants

students in alcala de henares studying together

Apply in 1,2,3!

You may be wondering if there are any scholarships to study in Alcalá de Henares. CIEE offers scholarships and grants for study abroad programs in Alcalá de Henares to students with demonstrated financial need, proven academic merit, and for specific CIEE programs. Students can apply for scholarships through 3 simple steps:

  1. Search for and apply to your dream program
  2. Review all available funding opportunities
  3. Complete the Scholarship & Grants portion of your application
city square in alcala de henares spain

Study Abroad Scholarships


Based on students' Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) from their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and enrolled institution. Complete the Scholarships & Grants portion of your program application to be considered for all awards to which you are eligible.


Based on academic achievement. Complete the Scholarships & Grants portion of your program application, along with an essay, to be considered for all awards to which you are eligible.


Other scholarship awards are based on program or alumni status.


Talk To A Student Who's Lived It...

Ask an Ambassador

Reach out to one of our Student Ambassadors to learn what CIEE Study Abroad is really like from alums who've lived it! Address any questions you may have about Alcalá de Henares, from your academic interests and travel planning to housing and cultural differences. 

Alcalá de Henares Study Abroad Reviews

  • "The activities and excursions that CIEE plans for its students were really fun and interesting. The staff was kind and helpful."

    Claire W., Tufts University

  • "They are extremely welcoming and friendly people who are very approachable."

    Kylie B., Indiana University-Bloomington