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Spain is one of Europe's most geographically diverse countries, ranging from the near-deserts of eastern Andalucia to the green countryside and deep coastal inlets of Galicia. Spain is filled with historic buildings, from Roman aqueducts and Islamic palaces to Gothic cathedrals. Spain's diversity and regional variety make it an exciting place to spend your semester.
Madrid, known as "the Spanish city that never sleeps," is beautiful and vibrant. Spain's capital and home to four million people, Madrid boasts a rich cultural life and active social scene. The world famous Prado art museum contains works by important Spanish painters such as Goya, El Greco and Velazquez. The city's nightlife includes theater, cafés, restaurants, music, clubs and more. Madrid also offers an array of sporting events, including soccer and bullfighting.
Host Institution & Academics
Universidad Pontificia Comillas is one of Spain's most prestigious private universities. Comillas provides students an excellent opportunity for personal, professional and social development. There are over 10,000 students enrolled in the University's degree programs. Bentley students will take courses in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, which offers courses in International Relations, History, Language & Translation, Psychology, and Social Work. The Faculty of Humanities is located approximately 25 minutes outside of the city center and is easily accessible by public transportation.
The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences also offers a diploma program in "International Relations from a Spanish Perspective" which offers courses in history, international economy, interantional law, international politics & international relations, international security, and language and cultural studies. Students who wish to receive this diploma must take 20 ECTS credits (approximately 4 courses) within the program. Students who do not formally particiapte in the program are still able to take courses in these areas of study.
Students enroll in a total of five courses at Comillas, each worth three Bentley credits, with at least one course taught in Spanish. Students may either take a Spanish language course, or enroll in a course(s) from the Spanish-taught curriculum alongside local students to fulfill the Spanish requirement. Faculty in Spain expects that students are taking a course because they have a sincere interest in learning the material, not simply to fulfill a requirement. Professors may look for different analytical skills in students' work than professors in the United States, and there may be more emphasis on final examinations/papers and less emphasis on smaller assignments.
Accommodations and Meals
Students studying at Comillas have a range of options when it comes to accommodations, from homestays to apartments to student residences. The Comillas accommodations office provides more information about these options. While students who opt for a homestay placement will have their housing details prior to departure, those who would like a room in a shared apartment will make arrangements once in Madrid. In that case, it is recommended that students book an initial reservation at a nearby hostel where they can stay until they finalize their accommodation. One recommended hostel in close proximity to the university is Hostal Chelo, though students can inquire with the La Oficina de Informacion y Acogida for additional options as well.
Meals may or may not be included in a student's accommodation. Most homestays will charge a set monthly fee that includes room, breakfast and dinner. Private apartments will not include meals as part of the rental charge. Student residence halls vary in terms of whether meals are included or not. Students should be sure to check on whether meals are included as they compare the overall room and board costs of different housing options.
Madrid has an eleven-line metro network that runs to nearly every corner of the city. Another option for local travel is Madrid's extensive bus service. The cercanías, short-range regional trains, go to Madrid suburbs and nearby towns.