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Approaching Madrid

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  • Students must arrive in Madrid on the arrival date indicated on the Key Dates page and go directly to the RESA Paseo de la Habana residence hall.
  • Throughout the orientation students will meet local faculty and administration and get a thorough introduction to the program, the city of Madrid, and the country as a whole, together with language review, art history and culture classes, and site visits.

NOTE: If you choose to arrive early or stay on after the end of the program, you are responsible for arranging your own temporary housing. You will be provided with suggestions for affordable temporary accommodations during orientation on the Stanford campus.

Accommodations and Meals

For Academic Year 2022-23 (Autumn, Winter, and Spring quarters), students on the Madrid Program will be housed in a local residence instead of with host families.

All students will be housed at the recently opened RESA Paseo de la Habana residence hall in single rooms with private bathrooms. RESA Paseo de la Habana is located in the Chamartín district, a safe, residential neighborhood 30 minutes by public transportation (either metro or bus) to the center at the International Institute. The program provides monthly metro/bus passes.

To get to know the residence hall better, you can also take a virtual tour. Around 70-80% of Paseo de la Habana’s residents are native Spanish speakers, including both students from Spain’s different Autonomous Communities and from Latin America, who come to study at Madrid's universities.

Program participants will have a 17-meal plan (breakfast, lunch and dinner during weekdays plus brunch on Saturdays and dinner on Sundays). Students will receive a weekly meal and laundry subsidy to cover meals not included in the meal plan (breakfast on the weekend as well as Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch) as well as one load of laundry per week (washer and dryer). Students have access to a number of other amenities such as common working spaces, a shared kitchen, laundry facilities, and a fitness room. Bedlinen, towels, and toilet paper are provided and rooms will be cleaned by residence staff weekly.

The program is working with some of their long-time families to design focused, small group activities such as cooking classes, a shared meal, outings in the city, etc., to allow students direct contact with local families. Aside from the integration opportunities the program facilitates, the residence also offers its own robust programing, including leisure activities, sports, and cultural programing, allowing program participants to mingle with peer residents.

Meeting People and Extracurricular Activities

Madrid offers more things to do than you could exhaust in a few quarters studying abroad. You are encouraged to explore the city in depth, from its streets and houses to its shops and museums.

Talking with people in a neighborhood café, reading local newspapers, and “getting lost” for a day to explore new surroundings puts you in contact with the city life that locals know. Host families and staff can help you find activities that are of interest and through which you can make Spanish friends.

In order to facilitate social interaction with Spanish peers, the Madrid program works with a group of local university students who organize weekly chats and social activities.  Students have the opportunity to sign up and participate in the Charlas language partner program and sign up for a weekly “chat” with one of the local students and will be invited to join the entire group in informal activities. For students taking 12M and 13M, participation in this program is mandatory. The Spanish students organize these activities based on the interests of the current Stanford group, local holidays, weather, etc.  Activities in the past have included visiting the local university campuses, touring neighborhoods “off the beaten path”, Spanish board games at a local student hang-out, or going to a student-run theatre festival.  The Spanish students serve as a gateway to the larger social network of university students in Madrid and give students a chance to experience life as their Spanish peers would.

The more effort you devote to exploring the local environment, the more enriching the experience overall. While opportunities to travel throughout other parts of the Iberian Peninsula exist, if you make a conscious attempt to get to know Madrid and its people while studying at the center, you will be richly rewarded for your efforts.

City Life

Situated 650 meters above sea level, Madrid is Europe’s highest capital and third largest city (after London and Berlin). Wide 18th and 19th century boulevards in parts of the city contrast with the narrow and winding streets of the city’s historic center.  Today, Madrid is the financial and political center of Spanish life, home to the Government, Cortes(Parliament), Senate, and Royal Family.

A variety of world-renowned museums, including the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza, and Reina Sofía, serve as a testament to the city's thriving and varied cultural community and multicultural past.  Madrid is also known for its lively and colorful fiestas which are held at celebration times throughout the year, not to mention its exciting night life.