Here's what you get when you study abroad with CEA in Madrid:
While CEA highly recommends that you choose one of our Madrid housing options provided, you also have the option to arrange independent housing. If your ideal housing scenario includes living in a particular neighborhood, having specific amenities or living with a specific person as your roommate, then independent housing could be just the ticket for you.
Use the online housing application form to request permission for this option no later than the application closure date. If your request is approved, you will receive a rebate for your housing payment, however CEA will not provide you with any assistance setting up independent housing. Keep in mind, rebates are not granted to students who move out of their CEA housing or choose to pursue independent living arrangements after the application closure date.
One of study abroad’s many benefits is the opportunity to explore beyond your host city. That’s why CEA offers excursions for all semester, year, and summer programs; typically, we offer two to three excursions to semester students and one or two excursions to summer students. You’ll receive a calendar of excursions during orientation. Here are a few day and weekend trips we’ve offered in the past:
Seville & Cádiz
Your time in Seville begins at La Maestranza, an infamous bullfighting ring, followed by a visit to Reales Alcazares, a 14th century Moorish fortress. Tour La Giralda—one of the world’s largest Gothic cathedrals and (allegedly) the final resting place of Christopher Columbus—before enjoying a fabulous lunch in a restaurant set in a former Arab bathhouse. Let yourself be amazed by the incredible buildings that line Seville’s narrow streets and small plazas. Spend free time relaxing at the popular Parque de Maria Luisa and Plaza de España, complete with fountains and rowboat-filled canals. You’ll also have time to take a pleasant stroll along the banks of the Gualdalquivir River.
In coastal Cádiz, Europe’s oldest continuously inhabited city, you’ll relax at Playa Victoria, considered by many to be Spain’s best urban beach. Spend the day enjoying the sand and sun, watching the surfers, and exploring Cádiz’s picturesque historic center.
Spain’s second largest city offers a unique blend of medieval Gothic charm and Modernist architecture. While in Barcelona, we’ll take a walking tour of the oldest part of the city and a guided tour of world-famous Sagrada Familia cathedral. In your free time, listen to the street musicians on Las Ramblas, browse the boutiques on Passeig de Graci, lounge on Barcelona´s 4.2 km beach, or simply enjoy the city’s warm weather, diverse cultural experiences, architecture, and cuisine.
On our overnight trip to Granada, you’ll explore the Alhambra, a 14th century Arab palace (and Spain’s most visited monument) renowned for its magnificent architecture and lush Generalife gardens. Enjoy tea in one of the city’s fine teahouses, accompanied by amazing views of the skyline. Tour Granada’s cathedral in all its grandeur, including the Royal Chapel where the Catholic King and Queen rest. As you stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets of the Albaicin, Granada’s ever-present Arabic influence—thanks to centuries of Moorish rule—will come to life.
Ávila & Salamanca
Discover the historic town of Ávila. Encircled by 11th century stone walls, it’s one of Spain's best-preserved medieval treasures. Salamanca is home to striking Baroque sandstone buildings and the oldest university in the Spanish-speaking world.
San Sebastian & Bilbao
Donostia, as San Sebastian is known in the local Euskera tongue, is a relaxed city with a small-town feel. Once a popular resort destination for aristocrats and glitterati, this coastal town retains an exclusive,
cosmopolitan ambiance thanks to excellent beaches and stunning architecture. We’ll tour the city’s main beaches, La Concha and Ondarreta, known as some of Spain’s most beautiful stretches of sand. Right next door you’ll find the Monte Igueldo Amusement Park, home to amazing views of the city, ocean, and surrounding mountains. If we’re visiting during Carnival, we’ll join the party, mingling with locals and enjoying the Carnival Parade.
We’ll visit Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum; located in the city center, this stunning structure stands out thanks to innovative architecture and the Nervion River reflected on its walls. You’ll also have the opportunity to taste local Basque County cuisine in a traditional sidrería.
For 200 years, Toledo was the capital of medieval Spain; today it’s the capital of Castilla la Mancha, the land of Don Quixote. Known as the "City of the Three Cultures," Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived together peacefully; their legacy is a city filled with diverse, impressive architecture. Enjoy a captivating train tour to Toledo’s most beautiful locations, narrated with tales from local legend and history. Art lovers will appreciate Toledo as the home of El Greco, the world-famous Renaissance artist whose most important pieces can be appreciated in the city, including his masterpiece, The Burial of Count of Orgaz, displayed in the small church of Santo Tomé. Toledo is particularly well known for its quality sword makers; many films, like the Lord of the Rings trilogy, feature swords made in Toledo. While students are welcome to handle and photograph the swords, you’ll need to start saving early if you want to purchase one of your own, as price tags range up to $600. As many people consider Toledo the most beautiful city in Spain, get ready to have a remarkable experience on this excursion.
The first thing that’ll catch your eye in Segovia is the massive 1,900-year-old Roman aqueduct that delivered water to this charming town until just a few years ago. You’ll also tour the Alcázar, an 11th century castle that’s rumored to be Disney's inspiration for the castle in Sleeping Beauty. The local cuisine is an experience in and of itself, particularly the cochinillo (a.k.a. roasted suckling pig). You’ll also have the chance to visit La Granja, an incredible royal palace and grounds just 10 km from Segovia.
Madrid Inside Out
These morning trips allow you to explore other cities in the Community of Madrid, with visits to sites such as:
Join your classmates at a typical flamenco show, where you’ll witness and understand one of the most representative dances of Spanish culture.
Retiro Park Tour & Rowboats
El Retiro is Madrid’s main park; together, we’ll discover its hideouts, main spots, and take a few rowboats out on the lake.
Madrid Rio - Biking the Manzanares
The Madrid Rio Park was renewed from 2006-2011; ever since, it’s become an outdoor sport destination. You’ll have the opportunity to cycle through the park and along the Manzanares River that runs through it.
The Prado is Spain’s main museum, featuring one of the world´s finest collections of art from the 12th to the early 19th centuries. Visiting it is a must!
Chueca & Gay Culture, Guided Tour
Madrid is a LGBTQ-friendly city; in this tour, you’ll would get familiar with the main gay neighborhood and its historical importance.
Senate & Congress
Visit these emblematic buildings while learning about local politics. You’ll learn how Spanish government operates and gain familiarity with the politics of your host country.
As a CEA Madrid student, you’ll have the opportunity to stay active, meet new friends, and have fun while participating in CEA-led sports and exercise activities. You may:
Language Level Improved Immensely
My language level improved immensely in just a few weeks and it was a great way to get to know the culture and city.