Madrid, Spain by Jorge Fernandez Salas

Summer research or a semester in Madrid, Spain

Madrid is the capital and the most populous city in Spain. It lies on the River Manzanares and is the political, economic and cultural center of the country. The city is also home to two world-famous football clubs, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid. Madrid has also preserved the look and feel of many of its historic neighborhoods and streets and contains many national museums and historical archives.

Madrid is home to Comillas Pontifical University. It is a Catholic university that has been run for over a century by the Society of Jesus. Comillas has been training professionals since 1890 and is motivated by the desire to contribute to scientific innovation. Classes are taught in both English and Spanish, and students are housed in apartments, houses, or homestays.

The program is available to students studying aerospace engineering, applied math, electrical and computer engineering, environmental engineering, and mechanical engineering.

Andrew Wingfield is the director of international programs for CU’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. He visited the Comillas campus and had lots of great information to share about all the university has to offer.

What are the academic draws of attending Comillas?

Comillas is a well-established, Jesuit university with campuses in and around Madrid, Spain. Engineering students study at Comillas’ main campus in the heart of Madrid and follow a U.S.-styled engineering curriculum developed in close collaboration with U.S. colleges of engineering. Known as SAPIENS (study abroad program for international engineering students), this unique program provides students access to English-taught engineering coursework graded on a 4.0 scale with ample access to Spanish culture and language courses. CU engineering students will benefit from a high-quality engineering education in a familiar format while immersing themselves in the culture and language of one of Europe’s most dynamic and cosmopolitan capital cities. Comillas offers a number of technical summer courses for students seeking a shorter study abroad experience, including popular courses like thermodynamics. Students may also pursue summer research projects at Comillas, providing a global setting for undergraduate research—an important experience for students thinking about graduate school or considering a career focused on research and development.

Being right in the heart of Madrid, what is the environment and feel of the university like?

Like so much of Madrid, Comillas is emblematic of a rich history and bright future. The campus buildings are ornate yet modern and include excellent laboratory facilities, unusual for a private and relatively small Spanish university. The campus buildings are dense, like many urban universities, and students are within an easy walk or metro ride to Madrid’s sprawling parks, world-class museums, and many modern amenities.

What would you tell students who are considering this program?

Spain remains one of the most popular study abroad destinations for American students, including at CU, and Comillas has distinguished itself for its semester and summer SAPIENS program. Students who wish to live and study in the heart of Madrid with small class sizes and a familiar course format will find Comillas to be an excellent fit. A number of housing options are available, including homestays for students who wish to practice Spanish and sow relationships with Spanish people. Importantly, students should be aware that SAPIENS courses typically align best with sophomore year, with spring semester offering the most robust engineering coursework.

What specific majors would you recommend application to this program to?

Sophomores from CEAE, EE/ECE, e+, and ME will find a number of pre-approved courses in their field of study. Summer research opportunities are available in a wide range of engineering disciplines, and students can apply to work on a project related to their interests.