| If you are going on the Summer in Spain program as a student, the following
expenses are covered:
- your lodging with the señora and lodging on any university-sponsored
- your meals with the señora.
- your meals on any university-sponsored weekend trip.
- transportation on any university-sponsored field trips.
- admission to museums and monuments on university-sponsored field
The following expenses are not covered:
- any weekend trips not sponsored by the university.
- package deals through a travel agent are your best bet for a good
- transportation costs on the Metro, €6.40 for a 10-trip
ticket, your best bet.
- if you live far from the Institute, you will probably have to
buy at least one Metro ticket per week, two if you like to go out
at night (see the article on transportation
for more information).
- it's cheaper if you walk.
- snacks and drinks on field trips.
- if you're a coffee lover, be prepared to spend about €1.50
- there are no free refills.
- telephone and internet usage (locutorios and internet
- locutorios can often be found in internet cafés
and the cost is cheaper than a phone card; a call will cost you
about ten cents per minute.
- if you do buy a phone card, ask your señora if you may
have permission to use the telephone in her home; you will get many
minutes more from your card than if you use a public telephone.
- internet cafés cost about €1.50 per hour, although
you can find cafés that sell cards with blocks of time that
cost somewhat less per hour.
- not all internet cafés have printers, so if you're going
there to do homework you must print and hand in, be sure to check
on the availability of a printer and find out how much the printed
pages will cost.
In addition you will need (or want) money for gifts and souvenirs,
postcards and postage, night-life, additional trips to museums, movies,
- the costs of beer, wine and bottled water are more reasonable than
other drinks; depending on the establishment; you may be able to pay
as little as €2 for each drink.
- the cost of cocktails can be quite high, perhaps €9 per drink.
- museums cost about €3 with a student ID, depending on the museum;
most are free one day of the week.
- the cinema costs about €7, somewhat less for the matinee, and
most cinemas have a discount price one day of the week (día
- theater can be quite expensive, about €20 or more, but like cinemas
usually have a discount price one day of the week (día del
- dining out costs vary as they do in the US depending on the quality
and location of the restaurant; the "menú del día"
(daily special) at midday is the best deal with a 3-course meal including
wine or beer costing €10 or less, while a fine meal at a better-quality
restaurant can easily cost €35.
- the Rastro, the weekly open-air market every Sunday until 2:00 p.m.
in Madrid is a good place to find low prices on gifts, books, videos,
CDs, T-shirts, postcards, fans, junk and fine art.
- the Rastro gets very crowded--a pickpocket's heaven--so be very
careful with your wallet or purse.
- postcards can cost as much as €1 but it's not difficult to find
them for much less, normally about €.40; a postage stamp to the
US for a postcard costs €.78.
- if you're a smoker, a pack of cigarettes costs about €3; you
may wish to purchase cigarettes at the duty-free shop in the airport
if you have time in order to save some money (anytime is a good time
to quit, but Spanish people smoke quite a bit and you'll be surrounded
by second-hand smoke virtually everywhere you go).
Most students believe that a reasonable amount of spending money to
budget for the trip is between $800 to $1000.
- The best way to exchange your dollars for euros is to use an ATM card.
The ATM card should have a "Plus" or "Cirrus" symbol
on it and use a 4-digit PIN. The rate of exchange is much better with
an ATM card than with cash or travelers' checks.
- Check with your bank to see if what the fees are for using your debit
card at a foreign ATM. Many banks charge just 1% for the currency exchange
plus a small fee for using a foreign ATM, perhaps $.75.
- Inform your bank before your trip that you will be using your ATM
card abroad so that the bank does not suspect fraud and put a freeze
on your card.
- You can minimize fees by withdrawing a larger amount of cash than
by withdrawing smaller amounts more frequently; however, do not carry
large amounts of cash around with you. Carry only what you need for
that day and keep the rest safely stashed in your room.
- Do not be in a hurry to change your money at the airport; that's
where you'll pay the highest fees and get the worst rate of exchange.
The phone cards at the airport are also very expensive. The rate of
exchange is better at banks than at the currency vendors (cambios)
for the most part.
Advice from UNCG students in the
Summer in Spain 2007 program
The following advice was gathered at the end of the 2007 program. The
number in parentheses tells how many students offered that piece of advice.
- Eating with the señora rather than eating out will save you
- Bring lots of money or budget really well. Set a daily limit and stick
to it. (4)
- You need about $700 to $1000. (3)
- Bring enough money to enjoy the nightlife. Drinks are more expensive
in bars than in restaurants, so be prepared. (2)
- Metro tickets, internet cafés, bank charges and the exchange
rate will eat your money. (2)
- Spend your money wisely. Don't spend it all at first.
- Be careful with your money; it's easy to spend a lot of money quickly.
- Bring way more money than you think you'll need because you will run
- Have a good idea of how much money you'll need and of what the exchange
- School supplies cost money. Bring along what you can (notebooks, loose
leaf, folders, small stapler, scotch tape, glue stick, etc.).
- I tried hard not to spend any money and I still spent $500.
- It is very easy to forget that €10 does not equal $10. Be aware
of the exchange rate.
- Try not to worry too much about money; it's not every day you're in
Spain. Live it up.