Spanish schools in Spain, Spanish school in Spain

=elemadrid= a Spanish school in Madrid, Spain

Prepare to go

1. documents 4. tipping 7. pharmacies 10. courtesy
2. finances 5. safety 8. vaccination 11. phone calls
3. taxes 6. weather 9. pets 12. mail
13. food

1. documents

Make a photocopy of your passport and the page bearing your entry stamp and any other essential document you may have. Avoid carrying on you the original documents.

2. money, finances and exchange rate

As of January 1st, 2002, the new currency of Spain and most European countries: Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland, is the Euro. 1 US-$ equals about 0.8 Euro. For more information, visit the Euro website or a currency converter

Regular Banking hours are: 8.30 a.m. to 2 p. m. Monday- Friday.
Money should be exchanged in official banks. Avoid exchange kiosks, usually located in touristy areas, as they identify you as a target for pickpockets. You can find cash machines on almost every street block. When in Spain, we recommend using credit cards or Travelers Checks to avoid carrying large amounts of cash. A Reminder to U.S residents: Before leaving home, make sure you have with your four digit pin.

3. taxes

In Spain there is a 16% IVA (value-added tax) on most products and services, 4% IVA on books and 7% on food. When making a purchase always check that the price posted includes IVA. Be especially aware that in touristy restaurants the tax is not always included in the price.

4. tipping

Unlike in the USA, tipping is not part of wages. Tipping is not an obligation but if you are so inclined you can leave a symbolic amount. It is not common to tip taxi drivers.

Sample PRICES for some standard products/services in Madrid:

Beer (caña) 1 - 1.50 ¤
Coca-cola 1.20 - 2.00 ¤
Mineral water 1.00 - 1.20 ¤
Hamburger 2.50 - 4.00 ¤
Lunch menu 8.00 - 12.00 ¤
Metro/bus ticket Single Ticket: 1 ¤
10 ticket pass: 9.00 ¤
Monthly pass: 46.00¤
Taxi ride from airport to downtown shouldn't exceed 35 ¤

5. safety

Spain is one of the safest countries in Europe. However as in any other big city in the world, you should always take the usual precautions to protect your valuables and personal belongings while in Madrid.

Keep in mind! You can usually prevent problems before they happen if you follow some basic safety rules:
1 -Leave all valuables in your hotel safe or in a safe place with your host family. But always carry a copy of your documentation with you.
2 -Get your cash from indoor ATM machines and always be aware of your surroundings.
3 -Whenever possible walk on the pavement beside incoming traffic to prevent purse-snatching.
4 -In taxis, keep your windows closed for the same reason.
5 -Always wear your day packs on your chest .
6 -Do not carry huge cameras which would definitely make you look like a tourist.
7 -Never leave your shopping bags or purse unattended. This includes not hanging your purse or rucksack on the back of your chair while sitting at a café or restaurant.
8 -Be especially attentive when using public transport.
theft/loss Report it to the nearest police station as soon as possible and cancel all credit cards:
Visa 900.991.124
Mastercard 900.971.231
Travellers Check
To get your Travelers Checks reimbursed call:
American Express 900.994.426
Visa 900.974.414
As a general rule we advise students not to carry a lot of cash and to bring Travelers Checks, the school will let you know where to change them

6. weather

Min.temp.C°Dec/January Max.temp.C°July/August Annual aver.sun hours/day Humidity July/August
Madrid 39° 7.7 H 38%
Barcelona 34° 6.7 H 70%
Sevilla 45° 8.0 H 65%
Malaga 44° 7.8 H 62%
Bilbao 40° 4.2 H 74%
Cordoba 45° 7.6 H 74%
Valencia 42° 7.0 H 68%

Spain enjoys an average of 320 days of sunshine each year, which makes it an obvious attraction for most tourists. However, the weather varies from one region to the other.

Spring March to May Madrid enjoys mild temperatures (ranging from 59°F to 73° F/15º -23º C). Terraces and swimming pools generally open mid-June as temperatures in Madrid start going up and summer is just a few weeks away. Although it is warm enough to wear short sleeve tops, it is a good idea to carry a light jacket or jumper as it can be a bit cool.
Summer includes the months of June, July, August and the early part of September. Temperatures range from 83°to 95° F (28º to 35°C). August being the hottest month of the year, traditionally Spaniards, especially Madrileños abandon the city for a holiday spot at the beach. However, being in Madrid in the summer can be a pleasant experience as there are fewer people and one can enjoy a nice day at the pool without the usual summer crowds! It is also a good season to visit the northern regions, especially the Cantabrian coast, Galicia and nearby Portugal.
Fall goes from mid-September to November with temperatures ranging from 41° to 78° F(5º C to 25°C) . It can get quite humid so don't forget to bring a warm jacket and an umbrella.
Winter goes from December to March and temperatures range from the low 35° to high 51° F. (2ºC to 10°C). The Sierra Guadarrama mountains are only 50 minutes away from Madrid by train. Winters can be very cold so warm coats, gloves, scarves and boots are the usual wear around here. The high mountain range in both the north and south offer excellent conditions for winter sports.
The Mediterranean area along the Costa del Sol enjoys milder temperatures.

7. pharmacies

Pharmacies are conveniently located and open from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 4:30-8:00 p.m., although in big cities some remain open 24 hours/day. A listing is posted outside pharmacies and published in the daily press, indicating which ones are on night-service and/or open on the week-end.
Health food stores are starting to appear in major cities offering a variety of organic food products as well as vitamins, teas, coffees and juices.

8. vaccination

No vaccination is required to enter the country.

9. pets

There is no quarantine in Spain. Animals need to be accompanied by their owner and a written certification, from a veterinarian certifying their good health.

10. courtesy rules

Shaking hands is the customary way of greeting. However, when or if you know the person better you may kiss him/her on both cheeks. If you are invited at someone's home it is always very kind to bring a small gift.

11. phone calls

Telephones: There are several land line telephone companies in Spain: Telefonica, Auna and Uni2. There are many public telephones through out the city and most of them operate with telephone cards or coins. To initiate a local call insert a minimum of 0 .20 cents.

For International calls you can either go to a Locutorio (like a store with several inclosed phone booths) they offer good rates. You can also use phone cards sold in kiosks or at the school. The price of a phone call from Spain to the US can be as low as 4 cents/minute. The cards may be used in public or private phones, since you don't need to insert the card in the phone. The company's toll-free number is indicated on the back of the card. Operators usually speak both Spanish and English. Phone calls made with those cards are less expensive.

Cellular phones: There are three major companies: Movistar, Amena and Vodafone. Movistar usually has better reception and rates. However it also depends on the kind of card you purchase. The most commonly used calling plan is: "Activa Cuatro", text messages or calls made between 4 p.m. and 4 a.m. will cost you 0. 15 cents/minute or message versus 0.75 cents/minute or message the rest of the day (except for Sundays and national Holidays: 0.15 cents all day).

12. mail

A letter from the U.S.A takes from 7 to 10 days and about the same from Spain to the U.S. Most post offices open from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

13. food and drinks

Breakfast for most Spaniards consists of a coffee with milk or hot chocolate with a slice of toast or sweet roll.
Lunch is the main meal eaten between 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. usually followed by a nap (siesta). However, these days, Spaniards work schedule doesn't always allow enough time to eat lunch at home and much less to take a nap.
Many restaurants offer what is called "menu del día" which costs between 8 and 12 Euros. This is a set lunch menu offering several choices for first and second course and including bread, a soft drink or wine as well as a choice of desserts or coffee. The other option is to order dishes a la carte(usually more expensive).
Dinner is eaten quite late, from 9:00 p.m. on. If you show up at a restaurant earlier don't be surprised if it is rather empty and people look at you funny!

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Language is like music, it is not only a matter of the mind but also of the heart. =elemadrid= shares this philosophy by providing solid training through class/school/work and through a wide range of out of school activities... "

Ernesto Luis, 1958,Securities Banker,USA, 4 weeks.

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