Preparing to Go Abroad
Things to do after you’ve been admitted, before you leave:
- Once you have been admitted to the Madrid Program you will receive a Registration Packet in the mail. Carefully review all materials in the Registration Packet.
- Submit any outstanding application materials to the International Programs Office as soon as possible to ensure your place in the program is secured.
- Submit all payments and payment forms by applicable deadlines.
All participants must have a valid passport for international travel and report their passport number to the International Programs Office before departing for Spain. If you already have a passport, check to see when it expires. Usually, your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your study abroad period. If you do not have a passport, you can download the application form, complete it, and take it to the nearest Post Office together with the required passport photos.
For more information visit: http://travel.state.gov/passport/
If you are not a US citizen, check with the Embassy/Consulate of your home country.
While you will not need a visa to study in Spain for the duration of the program, you should check to see whether a visa is required to enter any other country you may wish to visit during your trip.
If you are not a US citizen, different rules may apply to you, and you may also need to obtain transit visas depending on your itinerary. The International Programs Office will give you a letter certifying that you are participating in an exchange program. Take this letter with you or enclose it with your documentation when you apply for the visa.
The International Programs Office strongly recommends that all participants in the Madrid Program consider purchasing medical insurance for their trip. All participants are eligible for William & Mary sponsored medical insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). Coverage for the duration of the Madrid Program is $34.00, and additional coverage may be purchased separately for students staying abroad before or after the program. A pamphlet of the coverage details and an application are in the Registration Packet. To apply, mail the completed application and a check made payable to the College of William & Mary to the International Programs Office.
Students who opt for coverage through CISI will be emailed an insurance card before the start of the program. Print this card and keep it with you at all times while traveling.
The Madrid Program assumes no responsibility for the medical care or costs for students. Although hospital services are free to Spanish citizens, they are not free for visitors. Be sure to check with your medical insurance provider before leaving to understand the details of your coverage while overseas.
Students are responsible for making their own travel reservations, allowing flexibility to find the lowest fare and plan personalized travel itineraries. Before purchasing your tickets, double check the dates you are required to be in Madrid. Exam accommodations will not be made for students wishing to leave early.
Before you go, check the State Department’s website for important travel information and advisories. The International Programs Office recommends all students review the country specific information for Spain and any other country they plan to visit before travelling abroad at: www.state.gov/travel/. We also recommend all students register their trip abroad with the State Department through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at: https://step.state.gov/step/
Books and Course Materials
Although most course materials will be provided in Spain, a book list will be emailed to participants on May 15th. Students are responsible for obtaining any books that are listed for classes in which they enrolled.
Airlines restrict the amount and weight of luggage that passengers are allowed to bring with them. Consult with your airline to determine the limits for your flights and what fees will be charged for baggage. Packing sensibly and lightly is important for all study abroad students and in addition to essential items (clothing, toiletries, etc.), it is important to remember the following:
Students who regularly take prescription medication should bring an adequate supply, in its original packaging, with them to Madrid. Spanish regulations do not allow shipment of medications from the United States to Spain.
- During the program, students will be visiting several Spanish government facilities and will be asked to dress accordingly. Professional, business attire is appropriate.
- Students wishing to use the dormitory’s swimming pool will need to bring a cover-up to wear to and from the pool area.
Converters, Adapters, and Electronics
If you plan to bring anything with you that requires the use of an outlet, you will have to purchase a converter. If you plan to bring any electronic devices such as a laptop, hair dryer, digital camera, electric razor, etc., be sure that it has dual voltage or you’ll need to bring an adaptor with you. Check the label on your electronics before you leave as adapters can be expensive and difficult to find in Spain.
Information to bring to Madrid and information to leave with someone at home:
- Bring your Registration Packet with you to Madrid, including your admission letter which lists your student ID#. The registration packet is full of helpful information and maps that you will use throughout your stay.
- Make photocopies of all important documents and cards -front and back- including the picture page of your passport, credit/debit cards, ID cards, etc. Bring one set of photocopies with you to Madrid and leave another set of photocopies with someone you trust back home. Important documents (passport, emergency contact information, insurance card, housing information, program details, money, etc.) should be in your carry-on luggage while traveling.
- Valuable items, expensive jewelry, and items that cannot be replaced should be left at home.
You should take into account your personal spending habits, the cost of entertainment and traveling, and fluctuating exchange rates when figuring out your study abroad budget. A Statement of Estimated Costs was included in your Registration Packet, and you can use it to help you estimate the amount of money you will need while abroad. We advise that you exchange some money before leaving the US in case of emergencies, and it is important to notify your bank before you leave of the dates you’ll be abroad and the countries you plan to visit so they don't place a hold on your credit cards.
Apply to be a Program Assistant
If you are fluent in Spanish and interested in helping with the daily operations of the Madrid Program during your five weeks in Spain, you may apply to be a Program Assistant. Assistants must arrive in Madrid a week early to help the On-Site Director prepare for the arrival of other participants and will work an additional 10 hours per week for the duration of the program. Assistants will have their Room & Board fees waived as compensation for their service (a $2,500 value). An email with a detailed job description and application will be sent out to all registered participants on April 1st. Applications for the Program Assistant position are due by April 15th and a decision will be announced by May 1st.