Carnegie Mellon University

Study Abroad in Spain

The Department of Modern Languages is pleased to offer an exciting four or six-week summer study abroad program at Estudio Sampere in Madrid, with additional opportunities in Alicante or Salamanca. 

Carnegie Mellon in Spain takes place at Estudio Sampere in Madrid and either Alicante or Salamanca.  Students may choose a four-week program or a six-week program and begin in mid-June or early July. The four-week program takes place in Madrid. For the six-week program, after four weeks in Madrid, students transfer to a second Sampere site: either Alicante (on the Mediterranean coast, south of Valencia) or Salamanca (northwest of Madrid).

City Information

At the very center of Spain, Madrid is a bustling city, a city of "mucha movida,” or much activity. It is easy to navigate by metro, bus, or foot. Students who study at Estudio Sampere will live in or near the Barrio de Salamanca, an older, centrally located residential section of the city, close to many of the key sights and attractions: Retiro Park, the Prado Museum (as well as many other of the some hundred museums of the city), the center of the city at the Puerta del Sol and the Plaza Mayor, the "terrazas" or outdoor cafes of the Castellana (a main thoroughfare that divides the city vertically), and shopping and entertainment districts. The Madrileños, or citizens of Madrid, are also known as "los gatos," or cats, because they greatly enjoy a nightlife that begins late and ends late. There is a wide selection of movies, theaters, concerts, bars, cafeterias, nightclubs, and restaurants in a variety of neighborhoods. Madrid is an exciting place to explore, a vibrant city rich in culture and history.

A popular tourist destination on the Costa Blanca, with miles of sandy beaches, Alicante has been described as the pearl of the Mediterranean. Well-inhabited well before the Romans, Alicante plays a vital role in the modern Spanish economy. Alicante is a medium-sized city of roughly 500,000 inhabitants, with a cultural life and a young and dynamic university. Century-old traditions like the San Juan Festivities and revivals of the Reconquista battles of "Moros y Cristianos" are celebrated in Alicante.

Salamanca is home to Spain's oldest university. Hundreds of young Spaniards study here from October to June. Salamanca life centers on the Plaza Mayor. Surrounded by bars, restaurants, and shops, Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor is one of the most beautiful squares in Spain, and is known as the living room of the Salamantinos. Virtually everything in this small city is within walking distance: beautiful churches, ancient streets, bars, restaurants and much more. Segovia, Burgos, Santiago de Compostela, Leon, and Madrid are all within easy reach. The climate is continental, with chilly winters and sunny summers.

Students may choose a four-week program or a six-week program and begin in mid-June or early July. The four-week program takes place in Madrid. For the six-week program, after four weeks in Madrid, students transfer to a second Sampere site: either Alicante (on the Mediterranean coast, south of Valencia) or Salamanca (northwest of Madrid).

Depending on the courses taken, students completing the Madrid program may receive 18 units of transfer credit, and an additional 6 units for the Alicante or Salamanca segment.

As part of their academic experience, all students participate in three museum visits in Madrid and three full-day excursions to sites near Madrid (for example, Toledo, Segovia, El Escorial, and Valle de los Caídos). Advanced level classes include Readings in Literary Genres, Commercial and Technical Spanish, Survey of Spanish Literature, Spanish Film, Advanced Grammar and Composition, and Advanced Conversation and Writing. To complement course offerings for advanced-level students, Sampere may facilitate arrangements for internship experiences in the fields of law, marketing, and tourism.

Extracurricular activities include:

  • Additional visits to museums, historical sites, and monuments in Madrid
  • Walking tours within the city
  • Get-togethers with Spanish people

Students may enroll in courses at beginner, intermediate, or advanced levels. They should consult with the program advisors before registering for courses to discuss placement. To ensure proper placement, students take a placement exam on their first day of class in Madrid.

For Beginning and Intermediate Level Students

Prior to study in Spain, a six-week intensive language program on the Carnegie Mellon campus during the first summer session from mid-May to late June is open to students at the elementary level (12 units) and intermediate level (9 units). No previous knowledge of Spanish is required for entering at the elementary level. Participants will have classroom instruction, work in the Modern Language Resource Center, computer-aided exercises, drills, films, and discussions of contemporary Spanish society. Students should register for the on-campus six-week program through the Carnegie Mellon Summer School.

Fees include tuition and room & board during the four weeks in Madrid (and final two weeks at a second Sampere site).

Not covered: transportation costs to Madrid and back; incidental expenses of a personal nature. For additional cost and credit, students have the option of extending their study in Madrid beyond the six-week program. There may be a surcharge for internship arrangements.

For current fees, program dates and deadlines, please contact Therese Tardio.

Study Abroad Scholarships

Our department, along with the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, offers study abroad scholarships for students to study for a semester, full-year, or summer overseas. Scholarships can be put towards tuition, room and board, airfare and/or book expenses when participating in any accredited study abroad program. A printable document with more information about these awards is available [pdf] as a fillable form.


Participants have the added advantage of being placed with Spanish families during their course of study. Housing assignments are located within walking distance or easy metro rides to Sampere. Estudio Sampere in Madrid is very centrally located, in the Barrio de Salamanca, an older, residential section of the city a few blocks from Retiro Park, the Prado Museum, and the elegant shopping street Calle de Serrano. For the final two weeks, students will live with new host families in either Alicante or Salamanca, and will resume their studies at the point where they stopped in Madrid.