Who can apply?
Applicants should be entering their freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior year of high school in fall 2015.
To apply, what must I submit?
- Completed application.
- Updated high school transcript. Students must have a minimum cumulative high school grade point average of 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale).
- One letter of recommendation (preferably from a Spanish teacher and guidance counselor).
- Non-refundable deposit of $300.
Space permitting, we may consider applications after April 1.
If I am not accepted into the program, will I get my $300 deposit back?
Yes, if a student is not accepted into the program, we will refund the $300 deposit.
What is the cost of the program?
The program cost includes all of your expenses for the duration of the program: Spanish language and history classes, day trips, tour guides, health insurance, housing, meals, museum & monument entrance fees, and flamenco show.
If I need to withdraw, will I get my money back?
Refund policy: a.) Cancellations made before arrival date – full refund, excluding $300 non-refundable deposit. b.) Cancellations made after arrival date – no refund.
Do I need a certain level of Spanish in order to attend the program?
Although we would like to see that students have taken at least one year of Spanish language in high school, prior knowledge of Spanish is not required to attend this program. During the program, we will offer several levels of Spanish classes, from elementary to advanced. The language classes will be taught in Spanish, while the history & culture classes will be taught in English.
When should I purchase my plane ticket?
We require a minimum number of students to run the program. As the application deadline is April 1, we will send out a confirmation email by April 15 confirming whether or not we have enough participating students to run the program. At that time, you may purchase your ticket.
For what dates must I purchase my plane ticket?
As most trans-Atlantic flights to Europe fly overnight, please note that you must fly out of the U.S. on July 5 in order to arrive to Madrid on July 6. The program will end on either July 19 (2-week program), or July 26 (3-week program), so you should book your return flight accordingly for either of those dates. Your host family will take you to the airport.
Is there a group flight for this program?
No, there is no group flight for this program. Trans-Atlantic flights typically fly overnight and arrive to Madrid the next morning. If you need to make any connecting flights, we suggest that you make connections within the U.S. rather than in Europe, so that you are sure to arrive to Madrid in the morning.
Will airport pick-up be provided?
There will be Suffolk representatives at the airport with signs to greet you. However, please try to arrive between 7:30am-2:30pm on July 6. After departing the plane in Madrid, you must first go through passport control, pick up your checked luggage off the conveyor belt, and then pass through customs. The Suffolk representatives will be on the other side of the sliding doors waiting for you. Just follow the exit (or “salida”) signs. We will have a shuttle bus at the airport that will take you directly to your homestay.
If I do not have a passport, when should I apply for one?
If you do not have European Union citizenship or permanent residency, you must have a passport in order to enter Spain. For those students who do not yet have a passport, please note that it takes approximately 4-6 weeks from the time of application to obtain a passport. There is also an expedited service that can normally process a passport within 2-3 weeks.
If you are a U.S. citizen, click here for more information. This website has a search function to find the nearest offices to apply for a passport, which is usually a post office. Please note that there are certain requirements for those who are under 16 and applying for their first passport. This website will give you all the information you need.Do I need a student visa in order to attend this program in Spain?
No, US citizens do not need a visa to travel to Spain as a tourist and can visit for up to 90 days. As you will only be here for a 3-week program, you do not need a student visa.
How am I matched up with my homestay?
On the application form, there is a series of student profile questions so that we can get to know you and find out your preferences. Based on your answers and to the best of our abilities, we will to place you in the homestay most appropriate for you.
Will I have a roommate?
Yes, we will place two high school students per homestay. If you know the student that you would like to room with, please indicate this on your application. Please note that roommate requests must be mutual, meaning that we must receive a request from both parties.
What happens if I don’t like my homestay?
The homestays that we select for the high school summer program are the same host families that we use throughout the regular school year. So, these are families that we have been working with for many, many years and are experienced in dealing with our students. Their main role is to provide a safe, nurturing environment for our students. However, if problems arise between you and your host family, our Suffolk staff will be on hand to help try to resolve any issues. Many times, we find that problems occur due to miscommunication. In the unlikely event that you are unable to adapt to a particular homestay, we will relocate you.
What happens if I have a medical emergency?
Suffolk Madrid staff will be available for any medical emergency that you may encounter during the program. Part of your program fees includes private medical insurance while in Spain. Plus, Suffolk has a 24-hour emergency number.
What should I pack? What items will be provided for me?
In your homestay, items such as sheets and towels will be provided for you. We suggest that you simply bring your personal items, such as a camera, toiletries, prescription medication, and clothing. Regarding clothing, just bring summer clothes as it will be very hot in Madrid in July. In addition, don’t forget to pack sunscreen, a bathing suit/swimming trunks, and comfortable walking shoes. You should also bring a notebook to take notes in your classes.
How much extra spending money should I bring?
We suggest that you bring enough spending money for any extra personal expenses, such as for souvenirs, snacks or a subway ride outside of school activities. For example, a souvenir t-shirt runs approximately 10-15 euros; an ice-cream cone costs 2.50-3.50 euros; a soft drink costs 1.50 euros and a metro ride costs 2 euros.
Where should I exchange money?
In Spain, the local currency is the Euro. It would probably be best if you exchanged money in your home country - you may do so at your local bank or at the airport when you fly out. You can also exchange money at the Madrid airport when you arrive.
Should I bring a credit/debit card?
It is not necessary for you to bring a credit card. However, if you plan to, please inform your credit card company that you will be traveling to Spain. Many times, credit card companies will block any foreign credit card transactions if they do not know you are traveling abroad. You may also take Euros out at local ATMs in Spain with your credit/debit card (sometimes the fee is cheaper than if you exchanged cash at your bank or the airport). A four digit pin number will be required. You can also use a debit card at the ATMs and withdraw Euros from your U.S. bank account. Find out what network your bank uses (the most common networks in Spain are 4B, Servired & Euro6000) and any fees that may apply.
Should I bring a laptop?
We generally do not advise students to bring laptops, as they will only be here for a short period of time. There are several computer labs for your use at the university and you will have time each day you are on campus to use the computers. All homestays will have internet capabilities, so if you decide to bring a laptop, you will have wireless access there.
Can I use my cell phone in Spain?
Using a cell phone from the US in Spain incurs expensive international rates. On arrival day we provide each student with a Suffolk cell phone which allows free calls among the Suffolk network. Calls to Suffolk, the emergency phone, and other students are all included. With Spanish cell phones, only “the caller” pays, not “the receiver”, so parents can call that phone number to reach their son/daughter; there is no charge to the student, but the caller pays international direct dial rates.
What is the best way of keeping in touch with my family and friends?
Most students use the internet to keep in touch with family and friends. Each day you are on campus, you will have some time to send emails, check Facebook, and use Skype. All of our university computers are equipped with headsets, microphones, and cameras, so phoning home via the internet can be an inexpensive option. Also, your family can certainly call you at your homestay in the evenings. Please remember the time difference, so you will not receive phone calls too late at night. For the U.S., Spain is 6 hours ahead of Eastern time, 7 hours ahead of Central time, and 9 hours ahead of the West coast.
What is the difference between a plug adapter and a voltage converter? Should I bring them with me?
In Spain the electrical plugs and the voltage are different from in the U.S. Plugs in Spain are two round prongs and the voltage used is 220. In order to use electrical items, you may need a plug adapter, a voltage converter, or both.
Usually, electronics such as laptops, Ipods, mp3 players, cell phones and digital cameras already have this range of voltage built in and will automatically adapt to the 220 voltage. You can check the item and see if it says "input: 100/240v" to verify that it covers the 110/220 range, in which case you would only need a plug adapter.
Other electrical items, such as hair dryers and curling irons, need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter. The voltage converter will change the electrical current to Spain's, and the plug adapter needs to have the two round prongs to fit the Spanish electrical outlets. Many times, the converter already has the most common European plug already installed.
You can find voltage converter kits with worldwide plug adapters at most large retailers such as Target and Wal-Mart.How safe is Madrid?
Madrid is generally a very safe capital city. You will learn more detailed safety tips at Orientation on the first day, but it is mostly common sense advice of living in a big city. As you will be out of your home environment, you need to be especially vigilant about minor theft such as pick-pocketing. So, we always advise students to place their wallets in their front pocket, wear their purses like a seatbelt, and carry their backpacks as a “front pack”, especially in crowded areas. Your host family will accompany you to campus each morning, and the university will take you to your homestay each afternoon/evening after the day’s activities.
Will I be allowed to go out at night?
No, you will not be allowed to go out after dinner.
Will I have free time outside of the organized events of the program?
On some days, you may have a few hours of free time before dinner at your homestay, so you may take this time to do some shopping or explore the city at your leisure. Please note, however, that you must go with at least another student. Use the buddy system.