Will I get the courses that I initially requested?

There is no guarantee you will get the specific courses that you requested. Because every program is different, course approval and registration processes vary. Please see your program page details.

Do I need a visa?

The Spanish government requires all U.S. nationals studying in Spain for more than 90 days to apply for a Long Stay Schengen "National" visa at their nearest Spanish consulate location. Arcadia provides students with tips on applying and all letters necessary to confirm their acceptance, though it is the responsibility of all students to take all necessary steps outlined by the Spanish government to secure a study visa. Arcadia cannot allow students without visas to participate if a program lasts for over 90 days in Spain.

What is the weather like?

Spain has it all - mountain ranges, hills, coastal plains, plateaus, lowlands, and rivers. To the north, you'll find mild, rainy, sometimes cold winters and cool summers with only slight variations in temperature. Southern Spain is extremely dry with an intensely blue sky. Winter in southern Spain is mild, although it has been known to snow on occasion in Granada. Summers can be quite hot across the board. As with all Mediterranean climates, it is very important to dress in layers.

What should I pack?

Whatever you bring, you carry in two checked luggage bags and one carry-on bag. Be prepared to move your luggage through airports, on and off busses during orientation, and up several flights of stairs to your room.  Here are some tips:

  • The Leave Half Behind Rule – Select what you think you’ll need and leave half of it behind. Nobody ever complains about having too little luggage.
  • Layering – With layered clothes you’ll be ready for the cooler evenings and warm days generally.
  • Practical clothes – Jeans, t-shirts, comfortable shoes, rain coat, bathing suits, warm coat for winter.
  • Use Duffel bags – with wheels or an internal frame. Closet space will not be as generous as what you’re used to so even if you can get it there, you won’t necessarily know where to put it.
  • No valuables - Do not bring any valuables which cannot be easily replaced. Put identification labels inside each of your bags (not just on the outside). Leave a list of your travelers check numbers with your family. We also recommend that you leave a photocopy of the data page of your passport (passport number, the date and place of issue) at home and keep a copy with your belongings in case it is lost or stolen.

How can I phone home?

There are several options you may wish to consider for keeping in touch with friends and family back home.

  • Host-country mobile— Our staff will talk to you about the benefits of buying a mobile phone after arriving in Spain – it helps you integrate and while it should be cheap for in-country texts/calls it is usually not the cheapest way to call the US. (Landlines in homestays are not for student use.)
  • International cell phone— Many US cellular phone companies provide international roaming options, so you can keep your same number and contact your friends and family just as if you were home. However this is expensive for your calls and texts to/from Spanish phones so contact your provider for full details.
  • Skype, FaceTime or VOiP— Teach your parents to skype! Sign-up online for free internet communication tools before you leave and plan ahead about when to connect. Please remember that internet access, reliability, and strength may be different to what you are used to.
  • International calling card— Often the most inexpensive and manageable way to call home – purchase either before departing or in-country.

How does tipping work?

Tipping is customary in Spain. While most establishments include a surcharge for service in your bill, it is still common to leave a small gratuity. It is customary to leave tips in restaurants, and bars and to give a token of appreciation to theater ushers, hotel porters, and taxi drivers.

What is the main religion in Spain?

During the Middle Ages, Christianity, Judaism, and Islamic religions were practiced in Spain. In the late 1400's, the Catholic Monarchs, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella declared Roman Catholicism the compulsory religion of the Spaniards. To this day, practically all Spaniards are Catholic, although few actively participate. Secularization of the State has been widespread over the last two centuries and the constitution establishes religious liberty for all.

Does Spain have many festivals?

The most important holidays in Spain are Christmas, Holy Week, and All Saints Day, which reflect the country's Catholic heritage. In addition to these important days are the feasts of patron saints. All towns and cities, some neighborhoods, even certain professions have a patron saint, which is celebrated on the saint's day. Other well known festivals include: the Festival of San Fermin, (running of the bulls) in Pamplona, Las Fallas in Valencia, Feria de Abril in Seville and the Festival of San Isidro in Madrid. Last but not least is another important fiesta - the Fiesta Nacional. This Fiesta is actually a bullfight, where the new, young, and experienced bullfighters demonstrate their talents.

Will my credits transfer back home?

Only your home college can answer this question, so be sure and safe – ask now, and obtain all the approvals you'll need.  For more information regarding credit transfer policies, please visit the "Credits/Grades/Transcripts" section of our website.

Should I make copies of my papers?

Yes. Many home colleges want to review the work you completed overseas before final credit is awarded. Unless you make specific arrangements with your tutors prior to departure, final exams and/or papers will not be returned to you. It is important to keep copies, therefore, of your papers, reading lists and syllabi from all of your courses.

What happens when I arrive in Spain?

There will be plenty of signs with instructions when you arrive inside your airline terminal. Follow the ones that say Llegadas or Arrivals and you will be led to Control de Pasaportes or Passport Control. You will most likely wait in line for a while as immigration officials verify your passport, visa and landing card (which you'll receive and fill out on the plane). Officials may ask a few questions about your stay in Spain. Please take this seriously and offer a calm, friendly demeanor. It is a very bad idea to joke or to say something that is untrue when dealing with the immigration official. After they stamp your passport and examine your visa (if applicable), you'll head for the baggage claim carousel. If your immigration officer does not offer to stamp your passport, please insist on this as the immigration officials inspecting your passport upon program completion will hassle you over the missing entry stamp.

After collecting your luggage, you will notice several Cambios or money exchange stations. The rates offered by these airport exchange booths tends to be very bad, so it is advisable that you visit a nearby ATM machine to withdraw some Euros. After passing through immigration you will need to pass through Customs. Follow the exit signs or Salida out of the luggage claim area to arrive at a Customs official's station. You'll have nothing to declare unless you are carrying goods that exceed the duty free limit.

If you travel on the group flight, and if you booked flights according to the official arrival instructions, you will be met by Arcadia staff at the arrivals area and transported from the airport to the orientation venue. If you are an independent traveler, you'll follow the instructions we'll send you in the final pre-departure email and accompanying Spain Travel Guide on how to get to the orientation venue.

How should I carry my money?

Take an ATM card that is linked to your U.S. bank account and withdraw money periodically, as ATMs are easy to access and widely available. You can also use your U.S. bank card at department stores and some supermarkets. Check out our Financial Tips and Budgeting information too.

Should I take my computer?

Students often take their laptops to Spain, as wireless internet connections are available at the Arcadia in Barcelona and Granada Centers, in addition to the Residencia and main buildings of the Fundación Ortega-Marañón - Toledo. In many cases, internet connections will not be available in apartments and homestays, though it is possible to purchase USB 3G wireless internet access at almost all mobile phone shops.

It is important to purchase wall adapters for your laptop and other electronics, as Spain has the 220 volt currents and the type of two-pronged wall plugs that most of Europe uses (unless your device contains an internal voltage converter).

What is the time difference with Spain?

Spain is six hours ahead of our Eastern Standard Time for most of the year. Spain switches to daylight savings time before we do, so for one week in March or April, Spain is seven hours ahead of E.S.T. (Add one, two or three hours to these figures in the Central, Rocky Mountain or Pacific time zones, respectively.)

An excellent resource for determining the time in different areas of the world is The Time Now.

What about insurance?

Arcadia University enrolls all participants in a comprehensive health and accident insurance plan. Details of this coverage are outlined in the health and accident insurance section of our website. Please note that Arcadia University does not provide insurance for your possessions. We encourage you to purchase coverage for them or to leave irreplaceable valuables at home.

Can I still vote while abroad?

Before you leave home, check with the Board of Elections at your County Court House about procedures for voting by absentee ballot. You may want to arrange for a member of your family to pick up the ballot and mail it to you. Visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program for more details.

When will I receive my Arcadia University transcript?

We will send an official copy of your transcript to your home school and an unofficial copy to you. Program transcripts are usually issued:

Fall: mid-March; Academic year and spring: late September. Summer: early September.

Your transcript will be withheld by Arcadia University if you have an outstanding balance on your account resulting from nonpayment of the program fee (in whole or in part) or special course surcharges, any late fees or returned check fees, damage charges, library fines, or other unmet financial obligations as deemed appropriate by Arcadia University.

Do I need a passport?

YES! Please visit the U.S. State Department travel pages for the most up-to-date information regarding passport application and fees. Make sure that your passport is valid at least six months beyond your program end date.