Colby in Salamanca
FIRST SEMESTER ABROAD
Colby College Office of Off-Campus Study
4500 Mayflower Hill, Waterville, Maine, 04901
Tel: (207) 859-4500 -Fax: (207) 859-4502
Colby in Salamanca
Pre-Departure Handbook 2011
First Semester Abroad Students
Resident Director in Salamanca
Javier Gonzalez Alonso firstname.lastname@example.org
Director Off-Campus Study
Nancy E. Downey, Ph.D. email@example.com
Associate Director Off-Campus Study
Juliette Monet firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Forbes email@example.com
Office of Off-Campus Study
4500 Mayflower Hill
Waterville, ME 04901
Tel: (207) 859-4500
Fax: (207) 859-4502
The Resident Director 3
TRAVEL & MANDATORY PRE-DEPARTURE FORMALITIES 5
Travel Information 5
Student Visa 6
LIFE IN SALAMANCA 13
Tentative Academic Calendar 13
Salamanca Contact Information 13
Computers in Salamanca 17
Speaking Spanish 18
Your Homestay: What to Expect and What is Expected 19
Safety in Salamanca and Elsewhere 21
Gender Issues 24
Alcohol and Drugs 24
Health and Insurance 26
Travel Insurance 27
Dietary Restrictions 27
Money Matters 28
The Program Fee 29
Refund Policy 29
Parental Visits 30
Personal Travel 30
Local Transportation 31
Adjustment & Homesickness 31
Telephones and Internet Access 32
The Group 34
Colby’s Responsibilities...and Your Own 35
What past participants say 37
PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE 41
What to Bring 41
What Not to Bring 43
COMING TO COLBY 44
Course Registration 44
Important Colby Contact Information 45
WHAT’S NEXT? 46
Welcome to the Colby in Salamanca program. As you may know
our program has been in Salamanca since 1985 and by now is
one of the most respected at the University of Salamanca. So, you
are going to be a student in the oldest, most reputed university in
Spain, founded in 1218.
My name is Javier González and I have been directing the program
since 1992. Before that I was a teacher at Colby from 1985 to
1992. Also, I taught at the University of Washington in Seattle
from 1979 to 1985. Miriam, the Assistant Director, has worked
with Colby students since 2001.
Miriam and I are anxious to begin a new adventure with you all.
So be ready for a wonderful experience, one that is going to stick
with you for a long time. We are going to be here to help you with
everything you may need, to share with you the good times, the
greatest experiences, and also to be with you when you are
feeling blue. Because being abroad, far from home and away from
your family, does require you to sometimes be strong and to
mature a little bit quicker… but it is all part of what makes this
Salamanca is going to be your home for a little while. Salamanca
is a dynamic university town of about 160,000 inhabitants.
History and art are around every corner of the city. You will
embrace centuries in a five minute walk across town: from the
Roman bridge to the magnificent baroque of the Plaza Mayor.
Great literature characters were born here too, Lazarillo de
Tormes, Celestina, Licenciado Vidriera. Salamanca is a city that
bewitches the people who visit her as Cervantes said. So,
welcome to Salamanca! Knowledge, art, history await you. Be a
part of it!
Now relax, enjoy your summer and here and there begin to dream
of a new land, a new sound for the words you are going to hear
Miriam y yo te esperamos aquí, en la vieja y dorada Salamanca.
Javier y Miriam
This handbook was developed by the Office of Off-Campus Study
(OCS) at Colby College in order to give you advance information
about the Colby in Salamanca program which you will be joining in
the fall. It addresses administrative issues as well as daily life in
Spain. It also contains rules and regulations that apply to this
program, and of which you and your parents should be aware.
Please keep in mind that there is a great deal of information that
we cannot give you in advance; indeed, there is much you will take
pleasure in learning once you are in Spain. We hope that this
handbook serves to orient you, ease some of your initial
anxieties, and prepare you to commence your Salamanca
experience with confidence.
The Resident Director and Associate Director
The Colby in Salamanca program is under the supervision of a
resident director, Professor Javier González and an associate
director, Ms. Miriam Perez.
Professor González is responsible for most matters related to
Colby in Salamanca: activities, academics (including grades),
disciplinary matters, and allocation of funds. While he works
closely with the Office of Off-Campus Study at Colby, he has final
authority for many program issues in Salamanca. Grades are
submitted by Spanish faculty members, and then evaluated by Dr.
González before they are sent to Colby. In particular, Dr. González
and Ms. Perez have the authority to lower grades if a student has
missed classes without reason, or even (in extreme cases) to give
no credit for a course. If a student’s conduct puts the group at
risk, or is inconsistent with Colby’s standards for behavior, Dr.
González and Ms. Perez have the right to dismiss the student
from the program with no refund or credit. Dr. González and Ms.
Perez are both available throughout the semester to advise
students and provide help. They will call group meetings from
time to time and will have set periods of time for students to
consult with them (“office hours”). Please respect their privacy
outside the regular weekday, and daytime hours. During evenings
and weekends, call them only for a question or situation that
Professor González and Ms. Miriam Perez are involved in
arranging student homestay families and placing students. They
may also deal with any issues that may arise with your family
during your homestay or any concerns that you may have during
your semester. While Colby will make every effort to notify you of
your homestay placement prior to your departure from the U.S.,
last minute changes frequently occur and final placement may not
be available until your arrival in Salamanca.
TRAVEL & MANDATORY PRE-DEPARTURE FORMALITIES
If you are making your own travel arrangements please
coordinate your arrival in Madrid with that of the group and notify
us of your flight details. You will receive a credit on your Colby
account for the amount of the group flight.
You will be met the airport of departure from the U.S. by a
representative of Colby College who will accompany you to Spain
(you will be informed of this representative’s name before
departure). You should plan to be at the airport at least three
hours before departure.
Make note of the airlines’ luggage restrictions and the fact that
you will have to carry your luggage yourself during some points of
the journey. Some airlines limit checked luggage to one piece
weighing 23kg maximum (50 lbs). They charge (50$) for an
additional piece of luggage. They may also limit carry-on to one
piece plus personal item, the aggregate to weigh a maximum of
12kg -18kg. Also keep in mind that, although you will likely
accumulate new items in France, the same luggage restrictions will
be in place for your return trip. Additionally, storage space in
European homes and apartments is significantly less than in
most U.S. homes.
Make sure you keep your passport and paper tickets on your
person while you travel and not packed away in your suitcase!
Your passport will be required at check-in and several more times
as you pass through airport security and through immigration in
Upon arrival in Madrid and after exiting the baggage claim area,
the resident director will meet the group for the transfer to
Salamanca by coach.
You should have a PASSPORT, valid for at least six months past
your expected return date from Spain. You will not be able to
apply for your visa until you have your passport in hand. We will
also need a copy of the information pages of your passport for
ticketing and recommend making an extra copy to leave at home.
In the case of a lost or stolen passport, it's easier to replace if
someone has this information on hand. We suggest that you
make an extra copy of your passport before you leave your
original at the Consulate.
In order to study in Spain for more than 90 days you will need a
Long Stay Student Visa. A visa is a document, issued by the
Spanish government, and stamped into your U.S. passport.
Although tourists who stay in Spain for fewer than three months do
not need visas to enter the country, all students do.
You may apply for a Spanish visa no more than four months in
advance and no less than one month before your departure date.
Do not delay this process, as it requires in person appointments
and long processing times. Processing times can be up to 2
months (summer is peak processing time). Enclosed is important
information regarding the documents you will need to obtain a
student visa for entry into Spain. Please read this information
carefully and apply for your visa as early as possible. We
recommend starting this process in June (for fall study in Spain).
The passport must be left with the consulate while they process
Please note that these instructions are based on U.S. citizenship
and that we use the Spanish Consulate in Boston (as an example)
as they accept visa applications from residents of Maine, MA.
N.H., VT. or R.I. as well as Colby students, regardless of their
home jurisdiction. PLEASE NOTE: If you cannot appear in person
at the Boston consulate and/or are NOT a U.S. citizen, it is
important that you check directly with the Consulate for your
“home jurisdiction” as Spanish Consulates in the U.S. are not
uniform in their visa applications procedures and requirements.
For a complete list of all Consulates in the US see this link
*IMPORTANT: If you will be UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE on the date
you will enter France, please let us know as soon as possible and
contact the consulate for YOUR jurisdiction as additional
documents may be required. Minor applicants may also have to be
accompanied by their mother or father or legal guardian at the
** If you are NOT A U.S. CITIZEN please check with the Consulate
(BOTH in Boston and your home country) immediately to
determine the procedure for obtaining your visa.
REQUIREMENTS & STEPS FOR APPLICATION FOR A STUDENT
VISA FOR SPAIN:
You should have a PASSPORT, valid for at least six months past
your expected return date from Spain. You will not be able to
apply for your visa until you have your passport in hand. We will
also need a copy of the information pages of your passport for
ticketing and we recommend making an extra copy to leave at
home. In the case of a lost or stolen passport, it's easier to
replace if someone has this information on hand. We suggest that
you make an extra copy of your passport before you leave your
original at the Consulate.
Application for a Spanish student visa can only be made in person
at the Consulate of your jurisdiction and an appointment is
required. At this time, some Spanish Consulates may allow for
parents, and/or custodians to apply on behalf of the student as
long as certain requirements are met. Each consulate may have its
own requirements for this process so students are encouraged to
check their consulate's website for specific information. In
addition, the consulate may deny the request for someone else to
apply on the student's behalf. Therefore, the possibility of a
personal appearance by the student at any consulate may still be
The websites of the Spanish Consulates in the U.S. state that
processing a student visa could take up to two months. Since the
student can apply for a visa up to three months before their
departure date, we recommend applying for a visa as soon as they
can, without exceeding the three-month rule.
Boston Consulate: 31 ST James Avenue, Suite 905, Boston, MA.
02116; Tel. (617) 536-2506/2527; Fax: (617) 536-8512; E-mail:
General visa information can be found at
/scBoston/visas/Paginas/Visas.aspx. All appointments are made
online. No telephone consultations will be taken regarding your
visa status while you are waiting.
To make an appointment, please follow the link below for the
online booking system.
/scBoston/visas/Paginas/Visas.aspx. If you find no available
appointments before 1 month before your departure, please keep
checking as some appointments may have been canceled and new
spots opened up.
Long stay Student Visa Fee: Currently Money-Order of $140.00
for US citizens - payable to the Consulate of General of Spain
(some consulates will only accept money orders from the U.S.
Visas are not usually issued on the spot, so make sure to check
on the procedure for retrieving your completed visa. In some
cases, the Consulate may be able to return your passport and visa
in the mail. Please enquire with your consulates to see if they are
willing to send the passport/visa once complete or if in-person
pickup is required. Ask which traceable mail service to use and
whether you should bring a self-addressed postage-paid envelope.
DURING YOUR MEETING with the Consular Official, please ask
about permission to travel outside of Spain during and after your
stay. Make sure to ask that your visas state “multiple entries”
and allow for travel in the Schengen zone and check this and the
dates on the visa when you get your passport back.
DOCUMENTS YOU MUST SUBMIT IN ORDER TO APPLY FOR A
LONG STAY STUDENT VISA AT THE BOSTON CONSULATE OF
Boston Consulate guidelines and required forms can be found at:
/scBoston/visas/Paginas/Visas.aspx. Scroll down the page to
Applicants must submit originals + copies of the documents
listed below. Once your documents are accepted for processing
the visa, they will not be returned.
2 copies of the National Visa application (enclosed & online,
double sided sheet) duly filled out and signed. (Keep in mind
the date format in Europe: Day, Month and Year).
1 supplement application form (Supplement Form) forms duly
filled out and signed.
Passport + 2 copies of the identity pages. The passport must
be valid for valid for at least three months after your return to
the U.S. Your passport must have two blank pages to affix the
Also provide either of the following: US drivers license, US
State ID card, Voters registration card, current student ID.
2 recent passport size color photos with a white background
(Head size: 1.25 " height - 1" width). (Consulates do not
accept pictures cut down to size - these must be passport
Letter of acceptance as a full time student from Spain's
University/School or US program. These letters, and copies,
from Colby, University of Salamanca, and Salamanca program
director will be mailed to you shortly.
Proof of Health Insurance: a letter from your insurance
provider confirming that you have “international insurance
coverage for health and accident with a minimum coverage
equal to 30,000 euros (or its equivalent in dollars) during the
period of your stay in Spain”. Please note that a photocopy of
your insurance card will not be sufficient proof. Your letter, also
known as Confirmation of Coverage, should indicate your
name, policy number, type of insurance coverage received
overseas (i.e. accident, sickness, evacuation and repatriation)
the dollar amount of your insurance coverage, and the effective
and termination dates of your insurance policy. If you haven’t
already done so, please provide a copy of this letter to Off-
Campus Study. (More information on health and travel
insurance can be found in your program handbook and on
Colby’s Off-Campus Study website:
Proof of financial means during your stay: This will be included
in the Colby letter assuming full financial responsibility during
Money-Order to pay the non-refundable visa fee of $140.00 for
US citizens - payable to the Consulate of General of Spain
(some consulates will only accept money orders from the U.S.
Postal Service). Check the consulate website for the current
rate before going.
Notarized authorization letter to travel and study abroad from
the parents or custodians (only if the applicant is under 18
years of age).
ALTHOUGH BOSTON IS WAIVING THIS REQUIREMENT FOR
SEMESTER STUDY, CONSULATES IN OTHER LOCATIONS MAY
REQUIRE IT. Medical Certificate (for periods longer than 180
days): Doctor's statement on a doctor or medical center
letterhead, indicating that the student has been examined and
found in good physical and mental health to travel to study
abroad and is free of contagious diseases.
In some cases or at other consulates you may also need:
A self-addressed prepaid envelope if accepted—. Check which
For non US citizens only Evidence of your migratory status in
the USA: Provide your "Alien Registration Card" or “US Visa
with I-20/IAP-66” (except B1-B2).
For applicants under 18 years of age only: Notarized
authorization letter to travel and study abroad from the
parents or custodians.
For stays over 180 days only: Medical certificate: This
Certificate must be signed in the hand of the doctor (M.D. or
D.O.) in a letter-head paper in the following format:
“This medical certificate attests that Mr./ Mrs.
……………………… does not suffer from any illness that would
pose a threat to public health according to the International
Health Regulations of 2005.” . This certificate must be issued
in the place of residence, and is valid for 3 months counting
from the date it has been issued. ALTHOUGH BOSTON IS
WAIVING THIS REQUIREMENT FOR SEMESTER STUDY,
CONSULATES IN OTHER LOCATIONS MAY REQUIRE IT.
For stays over 180 days only: Certification of "Absence of
Police Records". Original translated into Spanish and one copy
will be needed (contact a legal translator). This certificate can
not be older than three months from the issue date. The
certification of absence of police records" should be certified
by the police authorities of all places where the applicant has
resided during the past five years. If the country where the
police record was issued is not the U.S., the certificate must
be legalized with the "Apostille of The Hague . In the U.S. , this
certificate must be issued by the FBI - Criminal Record History
or FBI Identification Report. It should be verified with a
fingerprint card. Process to follow: Contact the
F.B.I.: (617) 742 5533,
http://fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/fprequest.htm . This Certificate Must
be stamped with the "Apostille of the Hague" (contact the U.S.
Department of State).
Additional requirements may apply.
LIFE IN SALAMANCA
Tentative Academic Calendar
September 1 Departure from U.S.A
September 2 Arrival in Madrid, transfer to Salamanca
Arrival at host family
September 5 Language Placement exam
September 6 Classes begin
September Weekend excursions to: Segovia, Madrid,
Sept. 30-Oct. 3 Excursion to Asturias-Cantabria
October 12 Día de Hispanidad (Spanish Heritage Day)
Oct. 27-Nov. 1 (incl) Mid-semester break
December 3-7 Excursion to Andalucia
December 15 Classes end
December 16 Departure from Madrid
*Note: This schedule is subject to change. Other events (Dinners,
parties etc.) to be scheduled during the semester
Salamanca Contact Information
Calle Zamora, 1, 3ºA
37002 Salamanca, SPAIN
When calling from U.S. add 011-34 at the beginning:
Please note that students’ personal mail and packages should be
sent to the Colby Center’s address but NOT before their arrival in
Professor Javier González
Plaza del Campillo, 4, 3º
37002 Salamanca, SPAIN
When calling from U.S. add 011-34 at the beginning:
Telephone: 923-26 25 78
*Mobile phone: 627-43 52 12 *Only for use in case of emergency
or during excursions.
Miriam Pérez Prieto
C/ Serranitos 35
37798 Monterubio de la Armuña
When calling from U.S. add 011-34 at the beginning:
Tel. 923 28 71 32
Móbile phone: 635 629 138
The Colby Center in Salamanca
The Center is staffed by the resident director and the associate
director. It contains a lounge area, an office, a small study space
and a kitchen with a refrigerator. There are also two PC
computers for word processing and laptops can be brought in. The
Center is open to all Colby in Salamanca students at certain
hours. The tentative schedule is:
Monday -Thursday: 10:00 to 1:45 (mornings)
5:00 to 8:00 (evenings)
Friday: 10:45 to 1:45 (mornings)
5:00 to 7:00 (evenings)
Saturdays: 5:00 to 8:00 (evenings)
Students may use the center to consult with the program staff, to
study or write a paper, or to read and relax. Only non-alcoholic
beverages may be brought into the Center. Spanish is the only
language permitted in the Colby Center. Students are expected to
speak Spanish among themselves and with the program staff.
In general, the first-year programs abroad have a fixed curriculum,
which means that your course options are more limited than they
will be during January and the spring semester at Colby. Based on
the language placement test upon arrival, you will be placed in the
section appropriate to your language level.
In Salamanca, your courses will include:
• Intensive Spanish (at your personal level)
• A choice of Spanish literature, Spanish art history, Spanish
history, Spanish culture, or Spanish and Latin American
Cinema (at your level)
• Seminar on Contemporary Spain
You will, if you successfully complete the intermediate language
Course with a grade of C or better, satisfy Colby’s language
requirement. Students who do not complete the intermediate level
will normally be required to take a semester of Spanish at Colby to
satisfy the language requirement. You may also satisfy the arts
requirement, the history requirement, or the literature requirement,
depending on which classes you choose to take.
Your classes will be held at the Cursos Internacionales of the
Universidad de Salamanca. You will be placed in language and
culture classes according to your level, which will be determined
by an initial placement exam. You will have an opportunity to be
re-tested after completing the first four weeks of classes.
Language classes run for three hours each day, Monday through
Friday and may be scheduled either during the morning or early
evening hours. You will be attending language courses with
students from around the world who are also interested in
learning Spanish. Many of these students are from European
countries, but there are some other Americans as well as
students from Africa and Asia. Colby also runs junior-level
programs in this location, and some of the juniors may be in your
language courses. The first-year seminar in Salamanca will be for
Colby first-year students only.
You will also have the opportunity to choose an elective course
during the first month of classes. Options may include Spanish
Culture, Spanish Literature, Spanish Art History or Spanish and
Latin American cinema. If you choose to continue with this class
for the duration of the semester, you may be able to fulfill a Colby
College distribution requirement. Please remember that only by
completing the entire, semester-long elective course will you fulfill
a distribution requirement. Additionally, you will participate in the
Colby in Salamanca first-year seminar, entitled “The Spanish
Transition to Democracy”. On the Colby in Salamanca program,
you will, if you successfully complete the intermediate language
course, satisfy Colby’s language requirement. You will also
satisfy the social science requirement, and you may, depending
on which courses you take, also satisfy the literature or art
Attendance in all classes is required. Absences, particularly
unexcused absences, will likely result in the lowering of your
grade, or possibly no credit. If you have visitors during the
semester (including your family), you will not be excused from
class to travel with them. Please note that you will have a mid-
semester break during which you will be able to travel as you like.
Teaching styles differ substantially between the U.S. and Spain.
The teachers you will encounter in Salamanca already have
considerable experience with American students, but, nonetheless,
there are some points you should keep in mind
while you are in their classes:
• Many teachers tend to lecture rather than conduct a discussion
type class. However, since your classes will be language
focused, there will be a greater amount of discussion than in a
traditional classroom setting.
• Additionally, the relaxed attitude Americans often have in
class, such as slouching in chairs, putting their feet up, and
wearing hats and caps, is considered impolite in Spain.
• Your teachers will evaluate you on the quality of the homework
you do, but they may also evaluate you on the neatness of your
work. It is expected that work will be submitted neatly written
and in pen. You may do your work on a computer, but this is
certainly not expected by your teachers. If you choose to bring
a laptop computer with you, be aware that printers are not
always available in the university. A computer and printer are
available in the Colby in Salamanca Center.
Computers in Salamanca
Although students are not required to have a laptop computer in
Salamanca, most of them find it very useful. However, most of
your classes will not require that work be word-processed.
Although the family with whom you are living may not have
internet access at home, the Colby Center has wifi and there are
also two computers and a printer there available during regular
Center hours. Internet access is also available at Cursos
Internacionales and in other University buildings. You will need to
be sure that your computer can use 220V AC current (almost all
of the computers on the market do) and that you have an
appropriate plug adapter (it allows North American plugs to be put
in European sockets). Additionally, be certain that your computer
is insured (most likely under your parents’ home owners
insurance) and that your insurance plan includes coverage
outside of the United States.
The Colby in Salamanca first-year program is a language
immersion program and you will be expected to speak Spanish
most of the time. Your goal for the semester should be to make
as much progress in Spanish as possible, and much of your
learning will take place outside of the classroom. This process
will not occur unless you make a pledge to yourself to speak
Spanish whenever possible. The more you commit to speaking
Spanish, even with your Colby classmates, the more satisfaction
you will gain from your experience. It is by your efforts to speak
Spanish that you will show your host family and all the people you
come in contact with that you are interested in learning all you
can about life in Spain and that you take yourself and your
You should always speak Spanish:
• When in the presence of Spanish people, including your
teachers, members of your host family, and young Spanish
students (“animadores”) who may at times accompany the
• When in the Colby Center in Salamanca
• When asked to do so by the program staff (for example, you
may be asked to speak only Spanish during an excursion or
• The program staff will speak to you in Spanish, except where a
question of health of safety exists that requires communication
Excursions to the north and south of Spain are an integral part of
your semester. Besides first-year students, upper-class students
from Colby and other colleges — all enrolled in the Colby in
Salamanca junior year program —will be participating. There may
also be animadores on the excursions as our guests. We ask all
students, first-year students as well as juniors, to speak Spanish
exclusively on the buses and during meals on group excursions.
No alcoholic beverages will be permitted in buses during
excursions. Students are expected to behave with decorum during
excursions and to be respectful in both hotels and restaurants. If,
for any reason, a student misses an excursion, no refund can be
issued by Colby.
Your Homestay: What to Expect and What is Expected
The purpose of the Salamanca homestay is to provide you with
both a physical home and a cultural and social window into
Spanish life. Your homestay family has been chosen with care, but
even so, there is no guarantee that your personalities will match.
No two families are alike; habits and traditions differ considerably
from one family to another. Some families may invite their host
students to family events or outings; others will not. Some
families may allow students to use the kitchen and serve
themselves from the refrigerator; others will be more private and
protective of their space. Enjoy observing different traditions and
patterns of interaction. The most important quality you yourself
can have is adaptability. Be as flexible and as positive as
You should expect to be comfortable in your host family
environment. Even in the most ideal placement, however,
adjustments are necessary and misunderstandings will likely
occur. If you believe a misunderstanding has occurred or that
someone’s feelings have been hurt, use this as an opportunity to
ask and clear the air, rather than making assumptions based on
what you think happened. If you are uncomfortable discussing any
particular issue, consult with the Colby program staff for
suggestions and support.
Colby expects each family to provide you with:
• A room equipped with appropriate bedding and a table or desk
for you to work on
• All your meals, every day of the week
• Your laundry done on a weekly basis
• A welcoming environment for the duration of your stay in
In turn, you are expected to:
• Interact on a regular basis with your host family. This means
participating in discussions at mealtime (to the extent that the
level of your Spanish allows), helping clear the table and with the
dishes (if your family allows this), and generally integrating
yourself into family life.
• Inform your host family in advance if you do not intend to take a
meal with them.
• Inform your host family of when you will return at night, or when
you will be away for the night.
• Keep your room clean and neat.
• Keep quiet after 10pm (no loud music or conversation).
• Speak Spanish only in your host family.
• Respect your family’s rules about smoking (or not) in their home.
It is not permitted to have overnight guests in your family without
the advance, express permission of your host family. Some
Spanish families are very private, and do not be surprised if there
is some reluctance for you to have your friends stay over. Ask in
advance and be flexible. Host families will not allow visitors of the
opposite sex to stay overnight in your room. Please observe this
Some households may resemble boarding homes more than the
home you are used to in the U.S. Many families take in more than
one student; however, we have asked that there not be another
American or English-speaking student in your household. In fact,
every host family enters into an agreement with Colby in
Salamanca acknowledging that no other English-speaking student
will reside in the same residence. If you find that there is another
English-speaker living in your home, please notify the Colby
program staff. The resident staff in Salamanca relies on student
feedback to know how the homestay is progressing, so your
communication with Professor González or Ms Perez is essential.
The most important things to keep in mind during your homestay
are to be considerate, perceptive and flexible. You will not have a
curfew, but you should inform your host family of your approximate
return time in the evening. Tell your family what your plans are,
particularly if it involves missing a meal. A phone call is worth a
great deal in goodwill. The role of the family is not to act as a form
of police, but they will need to plan around you. The more informed
they are of your plans and intentions, the more harmonious the
experience will be for all of you.
Safety in Salamanca and Elsewhere
Safety and security have always been of utmost priority for Colby
programs abroad, and these concerns have been intensified by
recent changes in real and perceived threats to U.S. citizens, both
at home and abroad. Events since September 2001 have affected
many aspects of all overseas programs. Throughout the duration
of their study program, students must remain attentive to advice
and precautions issued by Colby College, by the resident director
and program staff, and by U.S. government entities at home and
abroad. Additionally, the Office of Off-Campus Study must have
telephone (and where possible, e-mail) contact information for
parents or guardians of all students participating on Colby-run
programs. While the probability is low that a terrorist incident will
occur in Salamanca, communication access between Colby
College and program participants and their families facilitates
correspondence, information sharing, and reassurance during any
event of global impact.
Salamanca itself has always been considered a relatively safe
city, but there are some basic precautions that students should
always take. Take seriously any warnings about areas or locations
that you may hear or read about. Even in public places, such as in
the center of the city, you should take some
• Do not put valuables in your backpack, especially in the
exterior pocket. If you travel on trains or buses, make sure to
take your valuables with you whenever you leave your seat.
• Carry a minimum amount of cash on you and no more than one
credit or ATM card. Leave your passport, driver’s license and
family photos at home. Carry a photocopy of your passport
unless you need the actual document for a transaction.
• Do not leave personal items unattended in public places such
as bars and restaurants.
• Be aware that pickpockets operate almost everywhere. Keep
your wallet in an interior pocket or in a purse worn close to your
• Remain alert when using ATM machines and always hide your
• Never carry the PIN codes of your bank cards with you.
• Women should avoid walking alone at night. It is always
advisable to have a familiar companion to escort you. Favor
well-lit streets over darker, secondary routes.
• If you think you are being followed, walk to the nearest shop
and tell the shopkeeper what has happened. In general, these
situations are not dangerous, but it is best to err on the side of
• If someone threatening asks you for valuables, give him what
he wants without protest. Your health is worth more than
money, and credit cards can always be canceled and replaced.
• Keep a separate list of credit cards numbers and bank
emergency phone numbers. It is a good idea to leave a copy
with your parents.
• Be aware, particularly when traveling outside of Salamanca
that pickpockets and thieves often operate in crowds,
especially those near spots frequented by tourists, including
fast-food restaurants. Often, they work in pairs so that one will
create a diversion, allowing the other to take advantage of
people’s lack of attention to their belongings. Many times they
act so quickly that victims do not realize they have been
robbed until well after the event.
Always inform the Colby program staff of any incidents that may
arise. Rumors spread quickly, and misinformed students may
exaggerate or underestimate an incident. Inform the Colby
program staff first, before you call your parents or talk to your
friends, so that appropriate immediate action may be taken.
Note: The U.S. State Department has advised Americans traveling
anywhere to remain inconspicuous for their own safety, and we
strongly support this advice. You are advised to keep a “low
profile” while in Salamanca and wherever else you may travel. Pay
attention to culturally appropriate dress and behavior. Keep your
voice down, avoid congregating in large, noisy groups and avoid
U.S. entities considered symbols of U.S. capitalism, such as
McDonald’s and U.S. chain stores. Use restraint in situations that
could get out of hand; your personal safety is far more important
than your “honor” or your need to express yourself. Any U.S. State
Department travel advisories issued will be immediately
forwarded to students by the resident director.
You will soon discover that gender relationships are different in
Europe than in the U.S.. This is true in Spain as well. Certain
social behaviors help define the relationship between men and
women in Spain. For example, the beso (kiss on the cheeks) is the
accepted way for Spanish women to greet men (and women) they
know; to refuse to give a beso would be considered odd, or
perhaps rude. While traditionally, when meeting a man for the
first time a woman would extend her hand for a handshake,
currently, young people tend to greet one another with a beso.
Additionally, men tend to treat women with slightly more “chivalry”
than in the U.S. and more openly their appreciation of a
woman’s appearance. This may be troublesome for some
American women, who may interpret stares from men as
aggressive or threatening. A detailed discussion of gender issues
and cultural behaviors will be included in your on-site orientation.
Feel free to approach your program staff if you want to discuss
your impressions of how men and women interact. Try to keep in
mind that you do not have to accept an attitude to be able to
adapt to it in everyday life.
Note: Once in Salamanca, if you believe that you have experienced
something more than cultural differences, such as harassment, be
sure to speak immediately with the Colby program staff. A detailed
Colby College policy on harassment will be distributed and
discussed upon arrival.
Alcohol and Drugs
Colby’s policy is to respect the laws of the host countries of its
programs. In Spain, it is legal to drink alcohol at the age of 18. It
is not legal to use drugs (including marijuana) at any age. Specific
details regarding the alcohol and drug policy will be distributed
and discussed during your on-site orientation.
Some Spanish students your age do not drink. However, if you
choose to drink alcoholic beverages, be aware that you must
know your limits and be moderate in your use of alcohol. Not only
will you heap embarrassment on yourself and your country if you
consume excessively, you also put your health and physical safety
at risk. There are many American students in Salamanca, and not
all of them, unfortunately, behave in a culturally acceptable
manner. As a member of the Colby group, you are responsible for
a standard of behavior that may be higher than that expected by
other colleges. The resident director has the authority to dismiss
students from the program for violation of the alcohol and drug
policy. If a student is expelled from the program, the student may
be sent home with no credit and no refund of fees. Colby takes
this alcohol policy very seriously, and asks students to take it
seriously as well.
Colby’s policy concerning drugs in Spain is one of zero tolerance.
We simply cannot permit students to be put at risk of accident,
arrest and imprisonment. Spanish customs officials routinely
search (even stripsearch) young men and women arriving on
trains and buses from other European countries. Salamanca
police can stop people in the streets or in parks if they think
illegal drugs are in use. If a student is caught using illegal drugs,
either by the police or by the resident director, that student may
be sent home immediately, without prior notice, and with no credit
or refund of fees. Students caught selling illegal drugs may be
dismissed from the program and from Colby College.
While you are in Spain, or any other country, you are subject to its
laws, not those of the U.S. If you are arrested, your home country
embassy can only ensure that you receive equal treatment under
the terms of local law and procedure. The protection of United
States law and legal procedure does not apply. You should always,
in all circumstances, treat the police with respect and produce any
document they may request, without confrontation. Being offensive
toward the police is a crime in Spain. Do not expect that Colby
College can exert any pressure to extricate you from a situation
which results from your own inattention to, or disrespect for, the
laws of Spain.
Health and Insurance
As a Colby in Salamanca participant, you will have some basic
health insurance available to you through a plan contracted by
Cursos Internacionales. Coverage includes office visits,
hospitalization, and surgical interventions within Spain. However,
since these services are limited, comprehensive health coverage,
either through your parent’s policy or purchased separately, is
still required. You are responsible for paying for any fees
associated with visits to doctors, dentists, or counselors while in
Spain and during any travels, as well as any hospitalization or
testing. You should therefore, familiarize yourself with the
procedure for filing claims. Please note that any payment due at
the time of your treatment will be your responsibility. Hospitals
and clinics will not bill insurance companies directly.
If you have determined that your parents’ health insurance will
not cover you abroad (either in Spain or other places you may
travel) and that there is no possibility of purchasing a rider to
extend coverage, you can consider purchasing a policy with Cross
Insurance by contacting 1-800-0537-6444 ext. 211 or
www.crossagency.com. Be sure to specify that you are a Colby
During your orientation in Salamanca, Professor González will
supply you with a list of medical contacts you may need during
your semester, including information for: general physicians,
gynecologists, dentists, and mental health practitioners. We
would encourage you to discuss any health concerns with the
Colby program staff, but you may choose to consult with any of
the practitioners independently.
Health care in Salamanca is excellent and hospitals have all the
modern equipment you find in the U.S. If you have an ongoing
medical condition however, you should bring a copy of your
medical records with you. If the condition requires monitoring,
please inform the resident director. If you are taking prescription
medication on a regular basis, including birth control pills, please
either plan to bring with you a supply for the entire semester or
bring a written Doctor’s RX indicating the generic name for the
medication. You should also make a note of any allergies you may
have to certain medicines and remember to also mention to any
attending doctor in Spain.
Note: Cigarette smoking is much more prevalent in Spain than in
the U.S. There are few designated non-smoking areas and such
designations are still frequently disregarded. Students will
sensitivities to cigarette smoke should discuss an adaptation
plan with their family doctor.
Colby College purchases a supplementary travel insurance for you
at the basic rate of $28 through iNext. There are three plans
offered, varying in cost from $28 -$215 for one year of coverage
and you can easily upgrade your coverage online. This
supplementary insurance offers benefits such as accident and
sickness expenses, emergency medical transportation, 24-hour
medical, legal and travel assistance, and travel document
replacement. It is important to understand that, as with any travel
insurance policy, this coverage is secondary to your primary
medical coverage and certain exclusions may apply.
If you have any questions about the iNext travel insurance
coverage please contact Laurie Duston, iNext manager (207)
5534039 or firstname.lastname@example.org or check www.inext.com.
Generally speaking, dietary restrictions such as food allergies,
vegetarianism or lactose-intolerance are less common in Spain
than in the U.S. Consequently, students adhering to restricted
diets will likely encounter some difficulties maintaining their
regimen. Students with allergies or other limitations should
indicate their needs and preferences on their housing form. The
Colby program staff will attempt to place students with dietary
restrictions in homestays where such needs are more readily
accommodated. However, students must be prepared to remain
as flexible as possible, particularly when dining out and
participating in group activities. More details on food issues will
be reviewed during your on-site orientation.
Room, board, and weekly laundry service in your host family are
covered by Colby in Salamanca. The money is distributed directly
to the families and students owe nothing. Books, supplies, and
entertainment are entirely the student’s responsibility. Students
may bring money in the form of travelers checks (either in dollars
or euros), however, past participants recommend using a U.S.
ATM card linked to a checking account. There are ATMs
throughout Salamanca, and, although they do not charge a fee,
your bank in the U.S. may well assess a fee for ATM use. Be sure
to check with your U.S. bank about their policy on international
ATM transactions. You should know that the exchange rate
between the dollar and euro is generally higher for transactions
conducted through ATM machines than for travelers checks. The
resident director or associate director will facilitate opening back
accounts at a nearby bank if students wish. This provides an
opportunity for parents to wire money directly to Spain.
Spain can be an expensive country, particularly since the
transition to the euro. A Coke taken in a café on the Plaza Mayor
is likely to cost the equivalent of $3 or $4; of course, you’re
paying for the time you sit on the beautiful Plaza. Clothes,
toiletries, and paper products are expensive as well. You will have
to learn to live on a budget for your personal expenses,
particularly during any personal travel that you do. A conservative
estimate would be to bring at least $2,500 for the semester for
personal use, exclusive of travel. You should keep in mind that
travel within Europe can be expensive, and if you plan to travel
extensively, you may spend far more than this.
The Program Fee
You will be assessed the equivalent of Colby College tuition and
fees, which covers tuition, room, board, round-trip transportation
and a number of organized excursions. Personal travel and
expenses are not included. Please keep in mind that if a student
decides not to go on a program excursion, there will be no refund
of money either to student or to parents. Please also note that
programs have specific policies with regard to possible changes of
return dates on the group flight. Please contact us if you have
questions regarding travel arrangements.
Financial aid applies to Colby programs abroad. If you are on
financial aid, please contact the Office of Student Financial
Services at Colby to find out the details about aid during the
While some students may choose to stay in the country at their
own expense beyond the end of program date, Colby College
cannot be responsible for those who choose to extend their visit.
Pro rata refunds of the basic charges will be made for students
who either withdraw voluntarily or upon advice from the College
physician during the enrollment period. The enrollment period is
either the fall or spring semester. (Refunds of basic charges are
not granted to full-time students withdrawing during the January
Program.) A similar refund policy is in effect for Colby off-campus
programs; however, as starting and ending dates vary, the
specific dates are determined by individual programs as they
correspond to the relevant percentages of the semester’s
In addition to any applicable Colby refund, the College offers an
optional tuition refund insurance designed to reduce the financial
loss caused by a medical withdrawal. This is handled through
DEWAR, and brochures are mailed in June to the student’s home
address. For more information, please contact DEWAR at 617774-
1555 or go to www.collegerefund.com.
No refund will be made until the withdrawal/leave process
established by the dean of students is completed. Federal
regulations determine the amount and the order in which federal
loans and scholarships are to be refunded.
Parents are welcome to visit their sons and daughters in
Salamanca. Most parents choose to visit during the mid-
semester break, but visits are possible at other times, so long as
they do not interfere with classes or other program activities.
Students are not excused from class to meet their parents.
We ask parents not to visit at Thanksgiving, because such visits
are disruptive to the academic program. There will be a
Thanksgiving dinner for students, but Thanksgiving is not a
holiday in Spain and, as such, classes will be held as usual.
Except in an emergency situation, students should not plan to
return to the United States during the semester.
Travel can be a very enriching experience, and a state-of-the-art
rail system makes travel in Europe easy. There will be times when
you will want to travel and see new cities and maybe new
countries, however, you will be in Salamanca as a Colby College
student. Just as on campus you would not leave for the weekend
when you have a big paper due during the next week, there will be
times when you will have to forego personal travel in Salamanca in
order to complete assignments.
During your fall break (see Academic calendar) you are free to
travel on your own or in small groups. You can also stay in
Salamanca with your host family for some or all of the period.
There will also be a few weekends when you will be able to travel.
If you do choose to travel independently during your semester in
Salamanca, the following rules will be strictly enforced for your
safety and protection:
• All students must leave with the program staff an itinerary of
their personal travel, along with contact numbers (or cell phone
numbers), if available.
• Students must have their cell phones with them, turned on,
battery charged, whenever they travel outside Salamanca. This is
a simple safety precaution.
• Students may not travel to any countries outside the European
Union (and Norway and Switzerland) without the permission of
the resident director. Students may never travel to countries for
which the US Department of State has issued a travel warning.
• Students must return from travel on time for their classes. A
missed train is not an excuse to miss class or fail to submit
work. Grades may be lowered in such cases.
• You are encouraged to travel to culturally enriching places that
are easily accessible by train or bus from Salamanca.
Salamanca is a small, compact city and generally students move
about on foot. The university is located in the center, and there is
a new campus about a half-hour walk away. There are public buses
and taxis, but you will not need to take these unless you live far
from the city center or need to return home late at night.
Adjustment and Homesickness
First, understand that this is absolutely normal and to be
expected. Just as the transition to college is harder for some than
others, adjusting to life in another country will be challenging.
Homesickness when you are far away from friends and family and
trying to speak a different language can be very real and difficult
to deal with. For most students the first two weeks are typically
the hardest but it will get easier, especially if you try to focus on
adjusting to your new life, making new friends, and staying busy.
Remember that you are not alone and don’t hesitate to reach out
to someone in your group or the resident Director.
Of course, you will keep in touch with home, but too much calling
home (and your friends at home) may have negative effects on
your experience abroad. Your experience is what you make of it,
and if your mind is always thinking of your family and friends in
the U.S., you will scarcely have time to absorb your new life in a
new country. Try to restrict your calling parents and friends to
once or twice a week, rather than every day (or multiple times a
day). You can catch up on news by e-mail.
If one of your reasons for being in Salamanca is to make solid
improvement in your Spanish language skills, realize that
communication technology, and your use of it, may greatly hinder
your linguistic progress while abroad. Spending time
communicating in English (Skype, Facebook, chats etc..) will
reduce your language immersion and will work against your own
Telephones and Internet Access
Mobile phones: Cell phone usage is readily available everywhere
in Europe but remember that you will not be able to use your U.S.
cell phone. We generally recommend renting a cell phone locally
upon arrival and the Resident Directors will work with you to make
that happen as soon as you get there. Many have considered
these essential for local communication and receiving
international calls from home. The Spanish cell phones work on
pre-paid cards, which you purchase and install directly in the
phone. Incoming calls are normally not charged and text
messaging is quite inexpensive. Please note that U.S. cellular
phones and European cellular phones will not work
interchangeably on both systems. More information about
purchasing or renting a mobile phone in Spain will be available
Land line usage: Telephone service in Salamanca is unlike service
in U.S. where, in many locations, a flat monthly fee allows you
unlimited time on local calls. Local calls in Salamanca are
metered and charged accordingly, making the long conversations
that you may be accustomed to quite expensive. Lengthy phone
calls discussing minute details of day-to-day life are extremely
uncommon. Keep any calls you make from or receive at your host
family short. Talk to them about telephone use and respect their
There are public phones throughout Salamanca. You can buy a
phone card and use it either to call the U.S. or to access a U.S.
long distance carrier (be sure to bring access codes and other
information on how to use it with you). Many students have
commented that purchasing locally issued long distance phone
cards once they arrive in Spain is more economical than relying
entirely on U.S. carrier long distance cards.
While you will want to keep in touch regularly with your family, be
kind to your parents and share with them the positive aspects of
your experience, as well as the difficult. There is nothing they can
do, for example, to improve the hot water situation in your host
family or a misunderstanding that may have arisen with one of
Let your family know about all the exciting things you have done.
Tell the Colby program staff about your problems, big and small,
so that appropriate action may be taken on-site. When you have
discussed problems with your family, remember to inform them
when your issue has been resolved. They will worry until you let
them know that you are fine.
E-mail and Internet access: Most private homes in Salamanca will
not have unlimited Internet access, if they have access at all.
Internet access is available at the Colby Center and also at
Cursos Internacionales and in other University buildings.
Regardless of where you access e-mail and Internet, keep in mind
that time spent on-line is time away from a unique opportunity to
be in Salamanca doing other things.
You have chosen to spend a semester in Spain as a member of a
group. Being part of a group imposes certain responsibilities. For
the program to function well, there must be some ground rules.
There are few of these rules, but they are strictly enforced:
• You must attend all your classes. Unjustified absences (travel is
not a justification) may result in the lowering of grades or credit,
or may result in dismissal from the program.
• You must attend all group meetings and be on time. Repeated
absence and tardiness may result in the lowering of grades or
• You must notify the Colby program staff and your host family of
any overnight absences from Salamanca. You must tell the
Colby program staff where you are going and when you will return
to Salamanca. You may put this information in a sealed
envelope, to be opened only in case of emergency. This rule is
for your own protection and not respecting it may result in
dismissal from the program.
• You must obtain the resident director’s or associate director’s
permission for any travel outside of Spain, and you may not miss
classes or group meetings for travel. Not respecting this rule
may result in dismissal from the program.
Please keep in mind that inappropriate behavior will not be
tolerated and students may be asked to withdraw, without refund
or credit, from the program if the resident director feels that their
behavior is irresponsible and threatens their well-being or that of
other members of the program. Students are subject to the
policies and procedures, where applicable, listed in the Colby
Student Handbook, which can be viewed on the web at Colby’s
home page under “Publications.”
Colby’s Responsibilities…and Your Own
Colby College, through the resident directors and staff of its
programs abroad, is responsible for the academic program,
housing and a board allowance, group excursions, and academic
counseling of students. The Colby program staff can be of help in
some personal matters, but are not qualified as psychologists or
The resident director and associate director have responsibility
for all emergency situations that may arise.
Colby College does not have personal property or liability
insurance for its students abroad. If students lose personal
property, or if it is stolen, the only recourse they may have is to
their own (or their parent’s) insurance policies.
Colby will provide, in addition to round-trip air transportation from
a gateway city, transfer from Madrid to Salamanca and from
Salamanca to Madrid. This transfer will be at the discretion of the
resident director and may include coaches or trains. Excess
baggage, and any transportation in addition to the above, is the
responsibility of the student. Colby in Salamanca cannot be
responsible for shipping excess baggage for you at the end of
your term abroad. Please keep this in mind as you prepare your
luggage for departure from the US and as you accumulate
belongings during the semester in Spain.
The program staff are not travel agents, and are not authorized to
help students plan their personal travel. Students are
responsible for planning their own personal travel and for
informing themselves of any potential safety issues that may
exist in the countries they are visiting. They are also responsible
for returning to Salamanca at the date set by the Colby program
Students are responsible for reviewing the information in this
handbook and referring to it as a resource during preparation for
departure and time abroad.
Past Colby in Salamanca participants say…
Students are asked on their final evaluations what they would
advise an incoming student to the program. The following is a
collection of comments from past years:
“The program is done very well. I would tell a student next year that
the first two weeks are the hardest, however it does get easier.
Make a close friend(s) who shares the same interests as you, and
stay active, whether it’s joining a gym or taking cooking or musical
classes. Take opportunities to do different activities when they arise.
Overall, everything ran smoothly.”
“I had a wonderful time and I am so glad I got to spend my first
semester abroad. I think the program works really well with Colby,
especially with Jan Plan, because it appears it will be much easier to
adjust going in knowing the kids from my trip and not having to
juggle a full course load right away. I loved living with a Spanish
family, especially because I got to have a little sister for the
semester, and it was an amazing experience to be able to study and
get to know kids from all over the world. Salamanca is a truly
“I would say take advantage of the time you have cause it goes
really fast. There are going to be the ups and downs but overall it’s a
really great and unique experience. It takes time to adjust and
become comfortable but it happens and you have to be willing to
make the adjustments. Also take advantage of the fact that you are
in Europe and travel. Also be prepared for a lot of different weather
just in one day.”
“The program, overall, was positive. The first weeks are very
difficult. It’s just the way it is because you’re going through so many
changes all at once. But once you get past that hump, you can open
your eyes and see the beauty of the experience around you.”
“If you’re considering going abroad your first semester of your
freshman year you really need to think about yourself and what
you’re capable of. As tacky as it sounds, you need to do some soul
searching. Because ultimately, this experience will be whatever you
make of it. You can’t get caught up in everything that doesn’t go the
way you’d like it to -because lots of things are going to feel weird
and different and make you uncomfortable. You’re going to be in an
entirely new environment. The music, movies, culture, friends,
family, and other anchors of your life in America aren’t going to be
there. So it really comes down to how willing you are to try. If you’re
scared by the prospect while you’re still in America, that might not
be a good sign. If you’re thinking to yourself “I could probably do
that,” then you probably can.”
“Definitely do it. Spend time apart from the Colby kids for a while
and meet other students from other schools and speak as much
Spanish as you can.”
“I loved Spain. The program was quite well organized. I was a little
disappointed in the fact that many kids were not really interested in
learning Spanish and grouped off. However, I had a wonderful
experience and loved that I had the opportunidad to live in Spain
and experience the cultura and I would have loved to stay for the
rest of the year if I would have been able to, and took classes at the
Universidad and really learned Spanish to the point of fluency.”
“I would tell them to be open to enjoy Salamanca. Try to be
extroverted as much as possible, because this is the Spanish way
and this is the way to enjoy any foreign country.”
“Take advantage of everything Colby offers. Try to travel as much as
you can throughout Spain since it is a beautiful place. Speak as
much Spanish as possible (although it may be hard.)”
“I would strongly encourage them to come! Although it was a bit of a
shock to be here instead of on campus, it was an amazing
experience. If a student is thinking of going abroad and or has any
interest in Spanish it is an absolutely amazing opportunity!”
“I would rate it 6 out of ten. I would say know that it can be difficult.
The culture shock will probably be bigger than you expect. Don’t let
the group close itself off into smaller little cliques because the
experience will be lessened because of it. Do meet other people. Get
to know the international kids in your class. Don’t feel obligated to
drink, but know that it is a huge part of the social culture of Spain.
Look into your classes for Jan plan and spring semester REALLY
early, because you won’t have much help while you’re there. Take
trips when you can. Bring your laptop. You’ll be glad you did. Also,
bring a computer microphone headset so you can talk on skype.
Bring your own pillow. Spanish ones are kind of strange. Be open to
the food, but don’t be afraid to speak up if you just can’t eat
“I would say 100% do it on the basis that first of all it’s a lot of fun,
and second that you learn a lot; not simply Spanish but things I feel
that you wouldn’t learn on the Colby campus.”
“Living in a different country for an entire semester is a huge deal
and I think that it is really important to weigh if you are ready for it
or not. I assumed I would be fine, and I was, but I think that getting
mentally prepared for the trip is very important. I didn’t give myself
enough time to prepare emotionally before my departure, and
because of that, the first few weeks were really tough. For me, as
the trip went on I enjoyed myself and the city more and more
because I was growing more independent and not needing the
company of others. If you think that you have the capacity to grow
independent and are confident that you can fight loneliness without
it bringing you down, going to Salamanca is for you. If you wonder if
you can do that or not, wait. I know a number of girls on my trip who
voiced to me that they would rather have had this experience later
in their college careers. I can understand completely where they are
coming from. It was easy to be enticed to come to Salamanca
without really understanding yourself if it was the correct choice or
not. Traveling is all about thinking for yourself, and it’s very
important that you have the capacity to do so if you elect to come to
“I’d say that they should research Spanish culture a lot before
leaving. I’d also advise them to go into the whole experience with
an open mind and no expectations.”
“This program is not for everyone. With the freshmen, Colby needs
to be really careful who they select to be here in terms of character
and prior Spanish. It’s interesting because the kids who apply to
Colby all prepare themselves to live in the woods in a comfy
community, and Salamanca is a drastically different lifestyle. I would
tell freshmen coming next year to prepare themselves for that, and
similarly, to take as many risks here as humanly possible. It’s easy
to settle into a routine that leaves you with practically no contact
with anything actually Spanish, be it out of fear or laziness. At the
risk of sounding trite, it’s worth really pushing yourself to try
everything, because the time goes quick and it’s only as amazing as
you make it. And bring a lot of shoes. I was glad I did.”
PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE
What to Bring
In general, we advise you to bring far less than you think you will
need, especially clothing. You will accumulate items as you stay
in Salamanca, and the baggage limitations will be the same on
the return flight, so leave room in your suitcase! Also, storage
space in European homes is significantly less than in standard
Clothing: It does rain in the fall in Salamanca, so be prepared with
a folding umbrella and rain jacket. Contrary to popular belief, it
does get quite cold in Spain in the winter -and even fall -so bring
some warmer clothes, particularly layers. Previous students have
said that they were taken by surprise by the cold weather in
November and December.
In general, young people in Spain dress in a casual, yet neat, way.
Your goal should be to dress in a culturally acceptable way for
each occasion. Blue jeans are ubiquitous. T-shirts and polo shirts
are commonly worn (but leave any shirts with offensive messages
at home). Running or tennis shoes are also commonly worn, but
leather shoes and sandals are more popular and stylish. Women
generally dress-up a bit more than in the U.S.. When you go to
some cultural events, you may want to dress more formally.
Women can bring a dress or two, and men can bring nice trousers
and button-down oxford shirts with a tie or two, as well as a
sports coat if desired.
Male students should be aware that baseball caps are
sometimes worn in Spain, but never in class or in someone’s
home. If you want to fit in, don’t bring a baseball cap.
Here is a proposed packing list that you may, of course, modify to
suit your own wardrobe:
• Raincoat or water-resistant rain jacket
• Fall/early winter jacket or coat, and gloves
• 1 pair of city shoes (leather or similar)
• 1 pair of hiking shoes or good sneakers (for excursions)
• 2 or 3 pairs of good slacks and/or (for women) skirts (for our
dinner in a good restaurant)
• 2 pairs of jeans (not torn)
• a few good shirts, blouses and/or polo shirts
• 2 sweaters
• pajamas and light bathrobe (for homestay)
• slippers or flip flops (for walking around homestay family’s
home; most families don’t allow bare feet at home)
• a sports jacket (for men), optional
• enough underwear, etc., for seven days
• toiletries, medicine, contact lenses
Medications and toiletries: If you are on any prescription
medication, try to take enough with you for the duration of your
stay. If this is not possible, have your physician write out the
generic name and dosage of the medication, as brand names vary
from country to country. If you wear glasses, bring an extra pair. If
you wear contacts, it is advisable to bring a pair of glasses “just
in case”. Also bring extra solution, as it is more expensive in
Spain, and finding a comparable brand to yours may take you
some time. Likewise, it may be difficult to find comparable over
the counter medications that you may use regularly.
If you play a portable musical instrument (guitar, harmonica, etc.),
bring it along! It is always nice to have music on the bus rides
Last, but certainly not least, you should bring a small gift for your
host family. Something that represents your specific region of the
United States (or other country) would be appreciated. Bring also
some pictures of your (real) family, because your host family is
sure to be curious.
Don’t forget to:
• Make copies of your passport & visa to bring with you and
leave at home
• Bring the book that Professor González has chosen for
your first semester reading, The New Spaniards, by John
Hooper (It will be sent to you by Colby during the summer).
• Also bring along this handbook as you will want to refer to it
during course registration mid-semester.
What Not to Bring
Do not bring anything with you that has great sentimental value you
will most likely not use it, and it may be lost or stolen. Avoid
bringing unnecessary electrical appliances (hair dryers, etc.) since
Spain uses a different electrical current as well as completely
different plugs. If you do need to bring an appliance, make sure it
is rated for both 110V (U.S.) and 220V (SP), and that you have a
COMING TO COLBY
In early-October, the January Program curriculum will be available
and selection for spring 2012 courses will take place in early
November. You will be notified via email by the Registrar’s Office
once these are available and provided with information about
registering for classes on-line. All first-year students at Colby are
required to take a course in January (“JanPlan”); juniors may or
may not take a Janplan (course or internship). You are encouraged
to consult with your academic advisor at Colby along with your
Resident Director in planning your courses for January and the
spring semester. You are also welcome and encouraged to ask for
guidance from any faculty member on campus.
In October, you will complete an online housing preference form,
provided by the Office of Campus Life at Colby. This
questionnaire will be used to match you with another first-year
student roommate. More information regarding housing at Colby
can be found on the Class of 2015 portal. Here you can find
helpful housing information such as what you are and are not
allowed to have in your room. If you have specific housing
questions, please feel free to email email@example.com.
During the semester, you will be contacted by your Colby “link,” a
sophomore who was on the Salamanca program last year. The
Links program, a student initiative, has prepared activities for
Dijon and Salamanca first-year students when they arrive on
campus. There will be many activities organized for the entire
Class of 2015 when the first-year students arrive on campus.
You will participate in a COOT (Colby Outdoor Orientation Trips)
called “Iced COOT” in January along with other FSA and other
Colby students. COOT (Colby Outdoor Orientation Trips) is an
outdoor-based student orientation program that is required of all
First Year Colby College students. Iced COOT trips take place
during the second weekend of JanPlan. Students will also take
part in C2IT, the civic engagement component of first-year
orientation, during the first weekend after their arrival on campus.
In November, you will be contacted by the Office of Campus Life
about registering for Iced COOT. More information on COOT is
available at http://www.colby.edu/administration_cs/dos/coot/.
Important Colby Contact Information
To call the U.S. from Spain, first press “00” for an international call,
then “1” (the international country code for the United States) and
then dial the U.S. area code and the number.
Off-Campus Study firstname.lastname@example.org (207) 859-4500
Colby switchboard (207) 859-4000
Dean of Students email@example.com (207) 859-4250
Office of Campus firstname.lastname@example.org (207) 859-4280
Registrar email@example.com (207) 859-4620
Student Financial firstname.lastname@example.org (207) 859-4120
Services or 800 723-4033
These are some reminders of things you will need to do over the
summer. You will receive many of these documents and reminders
via email and snail-mail from Sue Forbes in the Off-Campus Study
Office so it is important to check your email and read your mail!
Get or update your passport
Return student health form & release of information to OCS
Return health form & immunization record to Colby’s Health
Apply for your visa
Send 2 passport format ID photos to OCS
Send copy of passport info pages to OCS
Send copy of health insurance coverage abroad letter to OCS
Register your Colby email account
Return assumption of risk form to OCS
Return tentative course selection
You will also receive from us:
• Letter of Acceptance from Colby & University of Salamanca
(which you need to apply for your visa)
• Blank Visa forms & samples
• A list of your group members’ names and contact info
• The Link guidebook to First Semester in Salamanca
• The summer reading book (The New Spaniards)