The Middlebury School in Spain
This program is aimed fairly exclusively at students with advanced Spanish skills. Students can perfect their linguistic skills with the help of the Middlebury program's guidance in social and cultural integration in one of four Spanish cities: Madrid, Getafe, Logroño, or Córdoba. Students' academic and cultural experience will differ from one program to the next. For instance, students studying in Madrid will take all courses through the Middlebury program, whereas students who choose any of the other three locations will be taking courses directly through local universities. Students are able to choose between living in residence halls, homestays or independently in apartments. The Middlebury program also provides students with internship opportunities through the C.V. Starr-Middlebury program.
Further info can be found at:http://www.middlebury.edu/sa/spain
More education about Spanish spoken in Spain (pronunciation and lexical terms) would have been helpful before arriving, seeing as the people here speak a mix between two historic dialects. Knowing more of that would have definitely eased up on culture shock. The upper-level professors are the best professors at this school (the ones that you find in 3rd year or higher). The lower level professors that I had were so-so. Their classes weren't as rigorous and they weren't too stimulating either. In general, there is a heavy lack of application of information that the student is expected to learn. In one of my classes I really didn't have any clue of what to do for the final until I got there. In the lower level classes, the best education I got was during the professor's office hours and not in class. I stayed in the newest student residence hall. Students pay rent by the month which includes electricity, water, heating, and internet access. For small extra charge students can get a weekly change of towels and bedding. There is no board plan at the school and students have to buy their own food from the cafeteria (which is only open during campus hours) or buy food to cook in the residence hall. There is a tiny fridge that usually two people share (unless you have a single room) and there is a stove top in the kitchen (everything has to be cooked either there or in the microwave). Some of the rooms have a small terrace. The rooms are quite small compared to the rooms that I have lived in at Reed. Regarding Middlebury, I have not had a single problem here in Spain. But the Universidad de la Rioja doesn't offer the stimulation and challenge that I thought it would. I had two classes that I enjoyed and two I had to drag myself to. For students who are studying in Filología (which is a literature/linguistics mix) most of you will have only four days of class a week and a three day weekend. This gets kind of old after a while, so plan on finding something to keep yourself busy (I would recommend traveling).
-Anonymous '07 (Logroño program)
I was as prepared as I could have been for this program, but it would have been helpful to have taken a Spanish class the semester before, and I would recommend that. The academic aspect of the program was very hit and miss. I got lucky with two of my classes, but the other two were a bit of a flop. It depended a lot upon the professor, since all of my classes were lectures. The physical conditions were wonderful. It was very different and took a bit to adjust to (I think I was in culture shock for around 3 months) but I really appreciate the situation I ended up in. My apartment was clean, convenient, comfortable, and a learning experience within itself. Logroño is a wonderful town for people to go and really sink their teeth in. There is so much to do and see if you are willing to put in the time and effort to explore and develop relationships. It can feel a little insular and close-minded at times, but generally I found the city really interesting to be in and a great way to experience living in Spain. I would not highly recommend the University. Talk to students and ask who their favorite teachers are to get the best classes you can, but I did not find many social or academic outlets at the UR.