Madrid, Spain

Spanish Language & Culture

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Information for term Spanish Language & Culture

Application deadline, and cost information.

Application Deadline

Rolling Admissions

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Dates: Jan 6 – Apr 5, 2020 (13 weeks)

Application Deadline

May 15, 2020

Program Deadlines and Pricing Info

  • Tentative Dates: Sep 23, 2020 – Apr 5, 2021 (28 weeks)*


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Live and learn in one of Europe’s largest and most diverse cities.

Known as one of most open-minded, multicultural and culturally rich cities on the continent, Madrid offers a welcoming environment for international students. You’ll meet people from all over and have plenty of time to practice your Spanish skills out on the town.

Most mornings will be spent in intensive, interactive Spanish classes at the Tandem Language Institute. Outside the classroom, there’s plenty to see and do. Walk to world-class museums to see works by Picasso, Dalí, and Miró. Tour medieval mansions and royal palaces. Hang out with friends in the city’s many parks and cafés.

During your gap year or semester, you’ll stay with a welcoming Spanish homestay in Madrid. Together you’ll shop at local markets, prepare and share meals, and practice your Spanish while learning local customs and living typical everyday family life.

Madrid is a social city, full of people who love going out, dining out, and enjoying the city. There’s a huge shopping district selling anything and everything. Or hit the Rastro, Spain's most famous street market, dating back to medieval times. Food options abound, with a melting pot of cuisines from all over Spain. Fried squid sandwiches and churros with chocolate are perennial student favorites. Try some pig ears if you dare!

The Take-Aways

  • Language Proficiency

    18 hours per week of Spanish language instruction spanning three levels at the Tandem Language Institute

  • Global Citizenship & Cultural Competence

    Completion of CIEE’s Global Competence course providing you with a strong foundation in the core components of intercultural learning.

  • Certificate

    A Certificate of Learning in Spanish

  • said they learned to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds

  • said they learned to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds

  • said their level of independence increased


Location & Culture

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Relax in lush public gardens, and view royal palaces and world-class art.

What will you find in Madrid? The largest royal palace in Western Europe. Botanical gardens with more than 5,000 species of live plants. Two of the best soccer clubs in the world.

Contemporary spaces hosting the latest avant-garde theatre shows and exhibitions. Art galleries showcasing the best international artists today. The Paseo del Arte (Art Walk), featuring more than a dozen stunning landmarks, including the world-class Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofía museums – all with their share of priceless masterpieces.

Interested in history? Discover the striking 17th and 18th century Baroque style in the city’s many churches. Visit the Temple of Debod, a second-century Egyptian temple donated to Spain during the construction of the great Aswan Dam. Need a rest? Relax in the beautiful Retiro Park gardens, just one of the city’s many vast and well-manicured public greens. Feel like getting out of the city? There’s hiking and skiing in the mountains just 45 minutes away.

Home to 3.2 million people, Madrid is a vibrant center of what many say is Europe’s most passionate country. A wide variety of adventures await!

Daily Life

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Daily Life

"After my trip with CIEE I have definitely grown in ways I never could if I had stayed in the US."

Learn more about daily life on a high school study abroad program by reading our blog.


  • Housing

    Private bedroom in home of carefully screened homestay.

  • Local Support

    CIEE resident staff available 24/7.


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Sample Activities & Excursions

  • Take a guided tour of the Museo Nacional del Prado, Spain’s national art museum, located in central Madrid. It features one of the world's finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th, including works by Spanish masters Velázquez and Goya.
  • Visit the Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace of Madrid) to learn about the rich history of the Spanish royal family. With nearly 1.5 million square feet of floor space, it is the largest royal palace in Europe and hangs rare paintings by artists such as Caravaggio, Velázquez and Francisco de Goya.
  • Head outside for a scenic hike amid the panoramic views of the Sierra mountain ranges.
  • Put on your dancing shoes for a flamenco workshop full of music, song, and dance steps for beginners.

The program tuition includes two day trips and one overnight excursion hosted by CIEE staff per semester. Examples of past excursions include:

Toledo and Segovia day trips

Journey up a steep river gorge to Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site once known as the “city of three cultures” – a place where Christians, Muslims, and Jews coexisted in peace. Visit the Jewish quarter and Alcázar and get a rare glimpse of distinct and diverse architecture – a mosque, synagogue, Gothic cathedral, and monastery – all in one setting.

In Segovia, you’ll visit an ancient Roman city, touring the aqueduct, a fairytale-style castle, and Romanesque churches in the Old Town.


Valencia is a charming old city and the capital of the Community of Valencia. As Spain's third-largest city, it is one of the most significant cultural centres along the Spanish Mediterranean coast. Every March, visitors flock to the city for the annual UNESCO-listed Falles celebration. Here you can enjoy paella, ultramodern architecture, beautiful beaches, and the freshest orange juice you’ve ever tasted. 


Embark on an adventure to the Costa del Sol region of Spain, where you will have the chance to visit the birthplace of Pablo Picasso and the beautiful beaches of Málaga. You’ll also get the chance to escape to the countryside to admire the stunning vistas and winding streets of Ronda.

Malaga is the second most populated city of Andalusia and the southernmost large city in Europe, it lies on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) of the Mediterranean sea. Málaga's history spans about 2,800 years, making it one of the oldest cities in the world as it was founded by the Phoenicians. The internationally acclaimed painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso and the actor Antonio Banderas were born in Málaga.


Venture into the Guadarrama mountain range on foot or snowshoe to enjoy beautiful scenery and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of a vibrant city like Madrid. Journey up a steep river gorge to Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site once known as the “city of three cultures” – a place where Christians, Muslims, and Jews coexisted in peace. Visit the Jewish quarter and Alcázar and get a rare glimpse of distinct and diverse architecture – a mosque, synagogue, Gothic cathedral, and monastery – all in one setting.

Please note this list of activities is based on past programs and subject to change at CIEE's discretion to both adapt to local circumstances and participant feedback. Our goal when revising itineraries is always to enhance your experience. Every activity is designed to provide you with a deep immersion in your topic, local culture and sights. Get ready for maximum fun!

What People are Saying

  • "I feel more confident, and my Spanish has obviously improved a lot, which is a very useful skill to have later on in life. It has encouraged me to take more chances and explore other parts of the world. I feel more confident going into college with this experience under my belt, and I am more independent and sure of myself."

    Sallie H., CIEE Gap Year Abroad alumna
  • "Taking a gap year was the best decision that I could have made before heading off to college. I have come out a more mature, open-minded, culturally aware, and ultimately happier person. I entered college with a sense of accomplishment for already having spent a year in transition and I find that it is already paying off both socially and academically. If anyone is considering taking a gap year, the answer should be yes!"

    Kira F., CIEE Gap Year Abroad alumnaa
  • "As a result of my gap semester, once I started college, I was able to immediately skip to higher level Spanish courses for my Spanish minor. The Spanish that I learned during my semester abroad allowed me to feel comfortable enough being in higher level language courses and confident enough to pursue a minor in the Spanish language."

    Christina C., CIEE Gap Year Abroad alumna

Eligibility & Fees

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Eligibility & Fees


Fall: Rolling Admissions
Spring: October 15
Contact CIEE for more information.


  • High school graduates in good academic standing.
  • Students must demonstrate, through the application and interview process, flexibility and maturity.
  • Students must be 17 years or older at the time of their departure.
  • No previous language experience required.



You can create a duo program by combining any two CIEE Gap Year Abroad semesters and get 10% off the second semester.

Apply four weeks before the application deadline and receive $400 off the cost of your program.

Program fee includes iNext travel insurance. Full inclusions are found online.


Application Due

Start Date

End Date


Spring 2020 13 weeks Rolling Admissions Jan 6, 2020 Apr 5, 2020


Academic Year 2020 28 weeks May 15, 2020 Sep 23, 2020* Apr 5, 2021*
Fall 2020 13 weeks May 15, 2020 Sep 23, 2020* Dec 23, 2020*

*Dates for this program are provided as tentative dates. Please consult with your study abroad advisor to confirm dates before purchasing your flights.

Our Staff

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