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Students traveling to Spain are responsible for obtaining their own passport. We urge students to apply for their passports as
soon as they are accepted into the program. It will take three to five weeks (at the very least) to receive your passport. There is
absolutely nothing that can be done if you wait until the last minute to apply. It will be very difficult, if not impossible, to get a refund
if the reason for not taking the flight is that your passport did not arrive on time.
For further information please check:


Visas are not required for U.S. passport holders for a stay up to 90 days. To remain longer than 90 days, a special visa from
the Consulate of Spain is required. Detailed information about this visa can be obtained from the nearest Spanish Consulate or the:

Consulate General of Spain

Visa Department
150 East 58 th Street, 30 th Floor
New York, NY 10155-0080


On arrival in Madrid or your first port of entry you will have your passport examined by an immigration official. This merely means
having your passport stamped. You will have to go through customs at your final destination or the city to which you have checked
your louggage. If your luggage is checked to Valenvia your first experience with European Customs will be in Valencia and MAKE
Occasionally, luggage does not arrive possibly because it has missed a flight connection. Almost invariably it arrives later or the fol-
lowing day. If you are missing some or all of your luggage, you should claim it before leaving the baggage claim area. You should
have your luggage so that it may easily be opened for inspection, if necessary. You will find most Custom Officials courteous and
pleasant. Bonafide personal luggage, clothing and effects may be imported and brought into countries without duty. The same ap-
plies when
leaving. Generally speaking, each traveler is allowed one video and one camera.


You may bring home, free of duty, $400 worth of articles based on the fair retail value in the country of acquisition. Articles accom-
panying you in excess of your personal exception, up to $1,000 will be assessed at a flat rate of duty of 10% based on fair retail value
in country of acquisition. These articles must be for your personal use or for use as gift and not for sale. Bonafide gift-parcels sent
from abroad to friends and relatives in the US may be received duty free, if the value does not exceed $25 per parcel.
If you need additional information about items you intend to purchase abroad you can write to the US
Customs Office


Will be sent about two weeks before your balance is due. Note that all payments must be made in US dollars. Checks should be made
payable to the Institute of Spanish Studies. Please note that we do not accept credit cards.

El Bachiller 13, 46010-Valencia | |



All students will have a medical insurance that includes:

1) Medical attention for accident or illness up to 4.500 Euros.
2) Transportation to the adequate hospital if needed or to the country of origin when necessary
3) Travel expenses and stay of a relative (42 Euros/day ; maximum 420 Euros or 10 days)
4) Extension of the stay in case of accident or illness (42 Euros/day; maximum 420 Euros or 10 days)
5) Return to the country of origin in case of death (unlimited)
6) Civil Liability up to 60.000 Euros.

Advantages: In case of accident or illness, the student will not need to pay any medical or hospital bills.

The students will be covered from the first to the last day of the semester, in Valencia or anywhere else in Spain.

Students will have a card with a policy number and a toll-free telephone number to contact in case of accident or illness.


Former program participants recommend purchasing $100 in the local currency (Euros) before departure and bringing it with you
in case you want to get something to eat or drink at the airport in Madrid and to cover expenses during the first couple of days until
you have time to go to the bank. They also recommend that you keep about $50 in US Dollars for the trip back (this is important
because you might end up spending more time in the airport than planned on if one of your flight times is changed). Do not bring
large amounts of cash, it is easily stolen and unlikely to be recovered.


There are many, many variables that can be factored in when considering how much to plan on spending. Nevertheless, it is impor-
tant to have some kind of idea about what expenses you will have while abroad. You should count on spending at least $10 per day
for your personal expenses (soft drinks, city transportation, postage laundry, cultural events, coffee with friends, week end nights out,
phone calls, snack foods, school supplies and personal toiletries...), if you plan to travel extensively, purchase gifts or other items or
participate in the optional excursions you should plan on spending more money.
Books will cost $100-$120 depending on the courses you will take.


Former program participants recommend having two or three, different ways of accessing your money while in Europe. These in-
clude bringing some traveler’s checks, using your American ATM card and major credits card. Credit card and ATM withdrawals offer
a better exchange rate and lower commission fees than traveler’s checks.

U.S. ATM cards. The most reliable and economical way to access your money is to use your regular American ATM card at a bank
here in Spain. Most Spanish ATM´s specifically the one at the Banco de Valencia right next to the school, accept American ATM cards
that are linked to the PLUS and CIRRUS systems. Your bank account in the States will be debited automatically in dollars (using the
current market exchange rate) and you will receive your money in the local currency, Euros. You will probably be charged a minimal
service fee ($1.00 - $2.00) per transaction. Call your bank and find out how much they will charge per transaction. If you have a
CitiBank ATM card you can use it at the CitiBank here in Valencia without being charged a fee. Bank of America cards can be used at
Barclays Bank or Deutsche Bank without a fee as well. Former students highly recommend using Citibank or Bank of America cards.

Note: You should make sure that someone at home has legal access to your account, i.e. power of attorney, in order to facili-
tate transfers, deposits, paying bills or help solve any problems that might occur. This way they can also sign any checks for
deposit, tax returns or other official documents for you while you are abroad.

El Bachiller 13, 46010-Valencia | |


CREDIT CARDS. You should bring at least one well-known credit card, preferably VISA or Master Card, with you. You should use
your credit card for large purchases and any unexpected emergencies, but not for cash advances. Service fees for credit cards cash
advances are about $25 !!!. Please note though that you cannot pay for your school books with a credit card. Major credit cards
eliminate the need for handling large sums of cash. However, don’t bring extra credit cards that you won’t need and can ´t use while
there, i.e., local department store charge cards or gas cards.

INFORMING YOUR BANK & CREDIT CARD COMPANY ABOUT TRAVEL. Banks and credit ard companies now take a more pro-
active stance against the illegal use of debit and credit cards. They may deny authorization of purchases abroad if they feel that a
transaction that does not fall in the normal history of your account. That is to say, they may be suspicious if you suddenly start making
a lot of purchases abroad when your residence is in NY. While this may seem to be an inconvenience, the banks do it to protect your
credit. What you should do is talk with the people at your bank and also the customer service for your credit card and inform them
that you will be going abroad to Spain, the length of time you will be there and that you will be using your cards abroad. This way
they will have a note of it in your records and should be not deny authorizations when you start to use the cards in Spain. You should
also double check to find out what the fees are for making ATM withdrawals overseas and any added percentage rate for overseas
credit or debit card purchases. It is good to know this information.

CHANGING MONEY. A commercial bank will always give you the best rate of exchange. You can pay with traveler’s checks in some
hotels, restaurants, etc.; but this is not common and you will not always receive the most favorable rate of exchange. You must pres-
ent your passport at the bank when you wish to change money. It is better to exchange a large sum of money at once ($200) than a
smaller amount ($25) several times because the bank always charges you a minimum commission fee.

TRAVELERS CHECKS. Travelers checks are a safe way to bring money, however you should be aware that, in Spain, travelers checks
can normally not be used as a form as payment. You will have to exchange them for cash at a bank. Do not have your parents send
you personal checks, as they are almost impossible to cash. (Unless you have an American Express card, in that case you can cash it
at the local American Express office).
Banks drafts and international money orders are easier to cash but will probably take at least six weeks to verify.
It is possible to receive money from the States through Western Union. They have several offices in Valencia including one near the
Institute of Spanish Studies.


The Spanish culture is very different from our own. One of the main reasons for taking this course in Spain is that you may observe,
absorb, and relate to the culture of the country. You will find it to be most delightful, interesting and enlightening. It will introduce you
to a life style that will demand adjustment in your daily living pattern. The reason you are going to Spain is to live as Spaniards live....
your bed may be less comfortable, you will walk much more, the food will be different, but when you return to the United States, you
will have a feeling of nostalgia. This is the way it has been for the thousands of students we have had in the past.
Nearly all of your experiences will be pleasant and satisfying, but you will also have a few “ gripes “ just as you have, in your own

Remember that Valencia is a BIG CITY. You should expect a lot of noise, traffic and lots of people in the streets. This is sometimes a
shock for most American students who come from small towns and rural areas. However, you should also remember that a city also
offers many cultural possibilities: cinema, concerts, conferences, museums, art expositions, etc. Europe is not any more glamorous
than the United States and you should expect difficulties just as they exist here. In order to get the most of your stay, keep an open
mind, be observant, ask questions, act interested, keep your sense of humor and accept what may sometimes strike you as strange
as a cultural and unchangeable fact.

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The best way to get to know another culture is to get to know the people; and the best way to get to know the people is living with

The Spanish home will be smaller than your home. Size limitations demand that you stay in your portion of the square footage avail-
able. You will probably not have kitchen privileges.

It will require a greater effort on your part than on theirs to integrate yourself into the family. Participate in your family’s activities,
especially on week-ends. Speak Spanish all the time (even with your American roommate) and you will be surprised how
quickly you will improve if you stick to it. Your family is one of your sources for language improvement and they will help you by
correcting you. If you do not understand or are not sure, ask for an explanation. People will be more eager to help someone striving
to communicate than someone retiring within oneself, never showing any curiosity about anything.

Much of the following advice will seem unnecessary to you. However, please remember that the Spanish emphasize some aspects of
life more than Americans. For example, meals have a special importance in most Spanish families; they are the core and the hub of
family communication. However, don’t be surprised if the family watches TV during meals. Besides being in the habit of watching a lot
of television, Spaniards almost never miss the news (they like to stay up to date about the latest local and international happenings).
Of course, all these landladies will be individuals with their own personalities, strong and weak points, likes and dislikes, charms and
idiosyncrasies. Often students become fast friends with them right from the beginning and even correspond with them long after they
have returned to the US. After a short time, you may sense a desire on their part to become more friendly and informal. Join in the
family’s companionship and fun. Your food will be different from what you have been eating in the US. The afternoon meal usually
begins around 2:30 . The normal dinner hour is 9:00 or 9:30 p.m.. As a rule for table manners, watch what your family does and
follow. It is not customary to eat between meals, but if you are hungry or thirsty, ask for permission before you go to the refrigerator.

You can expect the home-stay to enrich your total experience, and your family can expect that you will try to adapt with enthusiasm
to their way of life. The host family will typify a particular segment of the society. Observing and participating in their mode of life by
adapting to their different customs, and at the same time seeking to understand why they do things as they do, will serve as a basis
for learning about the significant background and influences bearing upon the nation as a whole. It should follow that as you acquire
respect for another culture, you will develop a deepened perspective of your own culture.

A willingness to conform to the family’s mode of life is expected of you not only by the dictates of good manners, but also to ac-
complish the fundamental purpose of the home-stay. Observe the standards of decorum and courtesy that identify you both as an
appreciative visitor in another country and a creditable representative of your own. At the same time, the family has assumed a
responsibility toward your welcome and welfare. They need to be concerned not only with your well being, but also with behavior,
because any unfavorable impression you might make on the community will reflect on them. They therefore will assume that they
can impose upon you the restrictions they would place on members of their own family of similar age and experience. You must ac-
cept this gracefully. You are going to live abroad as they do and not merely to continue your American pursuits in a different setting.

Nevertheless, should you encounter difficulties in your family, please contact the the Institute staff, who will intervene immediately
and, if necessary, find a new family for you. DON’T complain to your parents or other administrators in the USA before having tried
to solve the problem on location. It slows the process and makes your life more miserable for a longer period of time. In some cases
in the past, American parents have been told that the family situation was unbearable, but the Director in Spain was told everything
was fine.
The families will try to make you feel welcome and look after your comfort but their means are not unlimited and a little consideration
will go a long way in winning the good impression of your hosts; moderation in everything is your best guideline.
The following is a list of criticisms sometimes made of Americans by host families:
- Returning home too late at night.
- Neglecting to inform your host family of changes in plans, late arrivals, or unnecessary absences from home, etc.
- Being so busy as to have no time to spend with the host family.
- Excessive use of the telephone.
- Excessive and prolonged use of the shower.
- Repeated tardiness.
- Not turning off lights, excessive use of electricity.
El Bachiller 13, 46010-Valencia | |


Expect the first few weeks of school to be difficult for you but do not get discouraged. You will have foreign professors and the lan-
guage will present problems no matter what your previous preparation. The Institute of Spanish Studies is located in a small building.
It is not part of the University of Valencia. However, there are Spaniards that take English classes in the same locale and you will have
the opportunity to meet with them.

Class attendance is of vital importance. You should miss no more than three days of class. After that your final grade will be
lowered (i.e. from an A - to a B+). You will have to readjust your studying habits: more independents, initiative, self-discipline, and
systematic daily work. Doing your homework is up to you and cramming just before the exams will prove futile. Taking note in class
is essential. You will need them to study and prepare for exams as in some courses you will have no textbooks. Participate fully in
the class discussions, make comments and ask questions whenever you do not understand properly: This is very important. Don’t be
discouraged or shy because some students will seem more fluent than you. You are there to learn as much as the others, and you are
not the only one with difficulties. Professors will gladly help you if you do not comprehend the material well.

If you have any problems in classes ask for an appointment with your professor. Many students admit that they do not work as hard
during their study abroad as they would at the home campus. At the same time they also say quite frankly that they would resent more
difficult course work which would limit their enjoyment of the foreign experience.


Cultural shock is the term that describes what happens to the person from one cultural environment when he is placed in an entirely
new setting, unable to identify with familiar cues. This term usually applies to most groups living abroad. It takes longer than a two-
week vacation for cultural shock to really blossom. Most students fall into a cultural shock pattern to varying degrees. However, an
understanding and awareness of cultural shock can minimize its effects.

As your stay progresses you will find yourself passing though several phases of adjustment. The first will be one of excitement and
enthusiasm urged on by the new, different and superficial aspects of life around you. Then, as the first couple of weeks come to an
end, the excitement and enthusiasm wear off and all the new and different things around you are no longer quaint. If fact, they may
become annoying and frustrating to you. It is at this point that you may find yourself saying, “Life back in the USA is so much better.”
It is hoped that as your living experience in Spain comes to an end, your attitudes and understanding towards yourself, your group,
and your experience in international living will have reached a satisfactory level of maturity and experience.


An important part of the program is having an “intercambio”. At the school where you will be studying, Spanish people also take
English classes. Many of these students are as interested in practicing their English as you are interested in practicing your Spanish.
The school can introduce you to one of these students so that you can meet to talk (in both Spanish and English) and get to know one
another. Most students meet once or twice a week with their intercambio. Sometimes they speak for half an hour in each language or
they may speak one day in Spanish and the next time in English. It is a great way for both students to practice the language they are

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your “intercambio” may turn out to be one of your best Spanish friends or he/she may only be a casual ac-
quaintance with whom you practice the language. Your “intercambio” may have a lot of interest in practicing English and Spanish
with you but maybe he or she won’t have a lot of time because of work or studies. If you want you can sign up for more than one


Students are encouraged to speak Spanish at all times. This includes speaking Spanish with other Americans in the group. However,
in conversations that include people of different nationalities, the common language is frequently English. Therefore English speak-
ing students have to make a special effort to speak Spanish as often as possible. No matter how good your textbooks, materials and
teachers are, if you do not practice the language, you will not learn it.

El Bachiller 13, 46010-Valencia | |



Like hot water heating, heating a home is also usually by butane gas or electric heaters. Some homes lso have centralized city gas.
Heating in the homes is not quite what it is in the United States, not because of lack of heat, but because of local customs. In other
words, for the fall and spring semesters bring sweaters, a bathrobe or sweat suit, slippers, etc. Most homes do not have centralized
heating. Almost all public places (cafes, movie t
heaters, restaurants, etc.) are air-conditioned. Private homes are usually not air-conditioned (although this is changing).


Your hostess will do the laundry for you without charge. Dry cleaning establishments are found throughout the city


It is strongly recommended that you do not bring hairdryers, curling irons, etc., as that the current as well as the voltage in Spain
(and in the rest of Europe) is different from that of the US., Canada and Mexico. Spanish electric outlets are 220 volts and electric
appliances must have these specifications. The shapes of the plugs are also different (round instead of flat). If you feel that it is ab-
solutely necessary to bring electrical appliances along, you will need to purchase a converter kit (transformer and adapter). They
are available at most department stores. Always ask what the voltage is before you plug in any electrical appliance for the first
time anywhere.
It is normally possible to use lap-top computers in Spain since most have dual voltage. It is important to confirm that they do.


Place your name and address inside and outside your suitcase. On transatlantic flights a maximum of two 70 lb pieces of luggage
and one small carry-on bag are allowed per person. The carry-on must fit either into the overhead compartment or underneath the
seat in from of you keep in mind that this is only when checking luggage directly from the U.S to Valencia. If you are going to make
domestic connections, please check with your airline. Former program participants have found that suitcases that stand vertical and
have a pull-out handle are much easier to manage. Buy durable luggage – it’s worth in the long run. Remember – you will have to
carry all your luggage by yourself. Practice doing this at home.

Do not pack your passport. You will need to show it in the airports. Carry it with you in a safe place. Leave a copy of the 1st page of
your passport with your family in the States. Don´t lose your airline ticket. It´s your return passage as well.


Valencia experiences cold weather during the winter months of November, December, January and February, although temperatures
rarely go below 45º .

The spring months of March, April and May are temperate, much like Spring weather experienced in the Mid-Western part of the US.
Usually, there is not much rain, but at times, there are periods of rainy weather.

The Summer months of June, July, August, September and part of October are hot, sunny and dry.


It is suggested that you bring all medication that you might use, since the specific item you require probably has another name, or
form, in Spain. If you are susceptible to strep throat or have a tendency to take an anti-biotic like amoxicilin once the cold season
begins, it might be a good idea to ask your family doctor for a prescription for a general anti-biotic.


Europe and North Africa do not require any inoculations. Please, check with your family doctor for additional confirmation or sug-
gestions on your personal health needs.
El Bachiller 13, 46010-Valencia | |


Don´t go on a shopping spree before you leave – travel light. In case of real need, you can buy additional items in Spain. Bring
things which are simple, conservative and not showy. In general, if in doubt, leave things out rather than include them. You will have
to carry everything yourself. Everything should fit into two lightweight but durable suitcases. After you pack, go over it again and
remove some of what you have packed: you will certainly have packed too much, and you will want to save space for bringing
home souvenirs purchased abroad. The following are a few important things to remember when bringing clothes for the trip or
anticipating buying clothes while there.
The people in Spain generally dress more neatly and more fashion conscious than people in the US and Canada.

Clothes are more expensive, but generally much better made. The average Spaniard, therefore, does not have that many clothes, but
the ones he/she has always look good.

Excellent dry cleaning stores are located all over, do not take more clothes than you need.

Men and women wear all types of bathing suits. Bikinis and Speedo´s for men are worn all over the country. Topless sunbathing is
quite commonplace.

Clothes and shoes are all on sale (50% and more) during the months of January and February and July and August, and you´ll want
to take advantage of the bargains.

Taking the weather into consideration (see weather), you can wear anything you would wear anywhere in a large city in the US or
Canada. (Remember, you are in a large city – not on a college campus). BRING CLOTHES THAT YOU CAN MIX AND MATCH !!!


It is absolutely essential that you bring comfortable walking shoes. You will be walking-A LOT!!! You will be given a map of Valencia
upon arrival. Extra maps of Valencia are available for free at El Corte Ingles (Spain’s largest department store). An even better map
of the city as well as other cultural information can be obtained for free at the tourist office located next to the Ayuntamiento (Town
Hall) in La Plaza del Ayuntamiento in the center of the city.

Valencia also has an excellent public bus system. The buses run at about five to ten minute intervals and are clearly marked with
route numbers that correspond to the route diagrams on the signs at each bus stop. Each ride costs 1.30 Euros, but it is much more
economical to buy a BONOBUS at any tobacco shop or kiosk. This ticket entitles you to ten rides for 6.95 Euros. Unlimited monthly
bus passes are also available but take away from the fun of getting to know your way around the city by foot.

Taxis are also used frequently but are more expensive. There is a minimum charge of 3.90 Euros per ride (6.00 euros at night). You’ll
probably use them most when returning home late after a night out, Remember-it’s better to be safe than sorry!


Have all your correspondence and packages sent to you at the school’s address:

Institute of Spanish Studies
El Bachiller, 13
46010 - Valencia SPAIN

To avoid anxiety attacks by parents, other relatives and friends, please send a letter or email immediately upon arrival to all those who
tend to get nervous and who are waiting to receive word from you. It will take a week to ten days for normal airmail correspondence
to reach you. This is a very important thing to remember during the final two weeks. Packages sent to students in Valencia take long
to arrive. People sending you packages from home should definitely keep this in mind.

El Bachiller 13, 46010-Valencia | |



You can use AT&T, MCI and Sprint calling cards in Spain but local international calling cards (like the Happy Card) may have better
rates. Currently you can call the US for 11 cents a minute plus 39 cents connection fee.

You will be expected to make your calls from one of the many telephone booths “cabinas” located on almost every street or buy a
pre-paid Spanish telephone card (at tobacco store or newspaper stand – “kiosco”) worth 6 or 12 euros of talking time. You can use
these cards to call from the home or telephone booth. They work by calling a Spanish toll free number, next you dial the PIN number
included on the card and then you dial the phone number you wish to call. At any rate, you are allowed to receive calls at your Span-
ish house, but you should limit the calls with family and friends in the US to 20 minutes maximum. Other calls should be limited to
5 minutes. This is IMPORTANT because your hosts may be expecting other calls or someone might be trying to contact them in an
Call your long distance carrier at home to get the best bargain possible. Rates vary constantly.
You can dial direct from the United States to Valencia with the following prefixes to the Spanish family´s phone number:

011 - overseas code to get an international line from within the US.
34 Spain´s country code.
96 City code for Valencia.


You can plan on traveling during long weekends but you should not take week-long trips across Europe (or Spain) during the se-
mester. Trips lasting longer than 3 or 4 days should be taken at the end of semester after classes. Please note that you will not have
a week long vacation in November or March (although you do get two or three days off). There are many places in Spain that can
be visited on short trips.

Most students use a Eurail pass for travel. You need to buy this before leaving the States You can’t buy it in Spain.
One thing to keep in mind is that you will also have to pay for seat reservation (3 Euros –9 Euros). A Eurailpass means you can get
on a train but it doesn’t guarantee you a seat so you must make reservation. For additional information, check:

The international student ID card is internationally recognized and will provide you with some discounts to sights and museums. For
more information see:

You must inform the Director and your host family of all travel plans regarding dates of departure, return dates, and if possible the
address at which you plan to stay. This is for your protection in case anything unexpected happens. When you travel, always have the
following with you: passport, personal medicine, student I.D. card, small change.

Keep your papers as safely as you do your money. In an emergency, contact the nearest American Consulate. You may want to pur-
chase a phrase book of several different languages if you are planning to travel extensively.


The Institute of Spanish Studies does not condone drugs in any form and will not be responsible for what happens to any student
involved with drugs. Anyone involved with drugs in any way will automatically be expelled from the program. Remember, when you
are in a foreign country you are governed by the laws of that country. There is no way around the laws and no Embassy, family or
lawyer can help regarding the consequences imposed by the law.

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There is no curfew, however, you are expected to return to your home each night at a reasonable hour. When you come in late, try not
to disturb anyone. If you are planning not to come home for a night or will be away for a weekend, please tell someone in the family.
During week days it is generally recommended to stay home after dinner (10:00 P.M.) unless you are attending some specific event.
On weekends Spaniards, specially students usually stay out very late, again you should be careful not to go “overboard” with your
nights out.


Because of the variety of backgrounds, it is difficult to have or enforce a Behavior Code, therefore there is none. However, note the
following comments:


Although Valencia is a safe city, it is advisable to take some basic precautions. It is a good idea to avoid walking alone at night, we
recommend taking a taxi, they aren’t that expensive either and its part of the cultural experience to ride in them. Also, if a stranger of
any kind approaches you, it is best to ignore them unless you are absolutely positive that they mean you no harm.


The drinking of alcoholic beverages is permitted. Wine is an integral part of the Spanish -Mediterranean culture. However, getting
drunk is highly discouraged and very dangerous. Because alcohol is easily available verywhere in Spain and less expensive than it is
in the States, students should be specially careful of not rinking in excess.

El Bachiller 13, 46010-Valencia | |