Ready to Go to Spain
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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 about insurance?
Arcadia University enrolls all participants in a health and accident insurance plan with HTH Worldwide. The plan covers the costs of treatment for most sicknesses and injuries up to $500,000 with no deductible. Details of this coverage are outlined in the health and accident insurance section of our website. Specific questions should be addressed to the insurance carrier. 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.
Will I get the courses that I requested on my initial application or course selection form?
There is no guarantee you will get the specific courses that you requested, although every effort will be made to accommodate students' specific needs. Your schedule will be established after taking your Spanish placement exams when you arrive in Barcelona, Granada,Toledo or Mallorca. Students who submit their course forms diligently and provide plenty of backup options for credit pre-approval back at their home universities are poised to have a relatively smooth time of this. With special direct-enroll courses, keep in mind that registration is carried out in person once you have arrived, and that is when you will have access to the official course listings that those universities (Barcelona, UCLM, Granada) release to local students.
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. Even if you proceeded correctly to get courses pre-approved, many home universities want to review the work you completed overseas before final credit is awarded. Unless you make specific arrangements with your professors prior to departure, final exams and/or papers will not be returned to students. It is important to keep copies, therefore, of your course papers, reading lists and syllabi from all classes you take in Spain.
What is the weather like?
Geographically, 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. In all mediterranean climates, it is very important to be mindful and dress in layers, as this allows students to be prepared for all conditions they may encounter.
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. It is important to be aware of all fees that your bank may charge for international transactions and ATM withdrawals, so double check before using your card. Also, it is important to let your US bank know the date range of your program in Spain, notifying them that you will be using your card from Spain. This is useful in order to prevent your card from being locked due to anti-fraud measures if your bank sees account activity coming from abroad. To locate ATM machines: For Cirrus customers, the Cirrus cash machine locator phone number is 800-424-7787. Plus customers should visit their site for Plus cash machine locator information. Both organizations provide information for cash machines located worldwide (please see the Banking in Spain section). For Cirrus customers, the Cirrus Cash Machine Locator phone number is 800-424-7787. Plus customers should visit www.visa.com for Plus cash machine locator information. Both organizations provide information for cash machines located worldwide. Travelers' checks are still acceptable, but less relevant than in the past, with cash and ATM cards realistically being more widely used. Credit cards are good for emergencies, but take the same precautions as with your bank card to know what fees they charge if used abroad. It is not a bad idea to have a credit card on hand for emergency purposes only.
Should I take my computer?
Students often take their notebook computers 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 Fundacion Ortega y Gasset in 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. These are available in electronics and hardware stores in Spain, though they are available at most electronics retailer in the U.S., both online and brick and mortar. It's also important to note that most computers and mp3 players manufactured in recent years already contain internal voltage converters, though double check. If the converters to handle multiple currents are already there, you are able to just buy wall adapters.
Please be sure to take a look at the Security and Insurance page, as you are responsible for insuring and taking care of your valuables in Spain.
Is there any financial aid to study abroad?
Arcadia University has a scholarship fund for accepted students. See the Fees and Financial Aid section of our website or call our office for further details.
Ask the study abroad adviser on your campus about other financial aid possibilities and investigate the Stafford loan and the Plus loan scheme.
Will I feel culture shock?
Spain may not be "shocking," but it will be different. Returning students report feeling "out-of-it" when they arrive overseas and when they first return to the U.S. Read the section on Culture Shock for more detail.
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 you wait for immigration officials to 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 stamps your passport and examine your visa (if applicable), you'll head for the luggage 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. After clearing customs, you are finished with all official entry business. 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 soon after the program concludes will I received my Arcadia University transcript?
We will send an official copy of your transcript to your home school and an unofficial copy to you. Transcripts for fall program students are usually issued by the end of February. Transcripts for academic year and spring program student are usually issued by the end of 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.