Prepare yourself for the program in Spain!

Health (Back to top)
• Glasses/Contact Lenses. It is advisable to take an extra pair of contact lenses, as well as a copy of your eyeglass prescription.
• Medications. If you need prescription drugs (such as heart pills, asthma medication, etc.) and/or over-the-counter medicines, make sure you have an adequate supply for your entire trip. Also, take a letter from your health care provider describing the reason for taking the drug (heart disease, asthma, etc.), the scientific (generic) name of the drug and the proper dosage. This could be useful in an emergency. Keep medication in original container. Add cotton in half-full bottles to fill space and help avoid pill breakage during flight. Protect medications from heat. If you take regular injections and need to carry syringes, carry a doctor’s prescription for them. Essential medications should be carried with you rather than placed in checked baggage.
• Cards/Bracelets for Medical Conditions or Allergies. A card or bracelet indicating specific problems (diabetes, allergies to penicillin, etc.) would be useful in an emergency.
• Medical History. If you have a chronic disease, a brief summary of your medical history provided by your health care provider would be useful in an emergency.
• The Traveler’s Medical Kit
• Antihistamine/decongestant (for common cold symptoms)
• Aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen (for fever, muscle aches or pain relief)
• Athlete’s foot remedy (Desenex? or Tinactin?)
• Motion sickness remedy (Dramamine?)
• Antacid/anti-diarrhea medicine (Pepto-Bismol?tablets) for upset stomach/traveler’s diarrhea
• Sunscreen
• Medication or vitamins you use regularly
• Copies of your doctor’s prescriptions for medicines and eyeglasses
• Tampons and/or pads
• Razors
• Tweezers
• Earplugs

Documents (Back to top)
• No visa is required for U.S. passport holders for a stay of up to three months (89 days). For stays exceeding three months (89 days), please contact the Consulate of Spain near you before leaving the United States to obtain a visa. If you are not a U.S. passport holder, contact the consulate regarding visa requirements. The address of the Consulate General of Spain in New York is: 150 E. 58th St., 30th Floor, New York, NY 10155; telephone (212) 355-4080; in Chicago (for Kentucky residents), it is 180 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 1500, Chicago, IL 60601; telephone (312) 782-4588.
• You should make copies of your passport. Leave one copy with your family, give another copy to the program director, and keep the third copy in some secure place separate from your passport. Should you lose your passport or have it stolen, it will be much easier to replace if you can present a copy of the original. While in Spain, you will not need to carry your passport with you. A copy of the original will suffice. The only time you will need to have your passport with you is when changing traveler’s checks, and when checking in into a hotel.

Credit Cards/Debit Cards/Traveler’s Checks (Back to top)
• Most major credit cards are widely accepted in Spain. It is advisable to carry a major credit card with a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to get money from a money machine or a cash advance at a bank.
• You may prefer to use a debit card. If so, obtain one from your bank and be sure to get a PIN number. Then be sure to have someone monitor the balance and make deposits, if necessary.
• All well-known traveler’s checks are accepted, BUT should you lose your traveler’s checks or have them stolen, it would be easier to replace American Express checks as there is an American Express office in Madrid. It is wise to leave a copy of your traveler’s checks with your parents and give another copy to someone else on the trip in the event they should be stolen. This will make replacing them much simpler.
• Banks normally are open from 9:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Mail/Telephone Calls (Back to top)
Leave this information with your family so they may contact you in case of an emergency. All mail should be sent to you at this address:

---Your name---
Programa KIIS
C/Jose Zorrilla 6
40002 Segovia

Telephone: 011-34-921-443033
FAX: 011-34-921-427432

Letters. Mailing a letter from Spain costs approximately 1 $ (American money), about 1,10 euros. It currently costs 1,20 cents for the first ounce to mail a first-class letter from the U.S. to Spain. You should allow 5 days to a week and a half for a letter to reach its destination.
Packages. Packages sent from the U.S. generally take a long time to arrive, even if sent “overnight” with UPS or Fed Ex. If packages are sent by mail, you must pick them up in person, with your passport, at the post office. Encourage your family not to send packages unless it is absolutely necessary. Packages could take as much as a month or more to reach its destination.
To call home from Spain. This may be done from four types of telephones: (1) pay phones are recommended for ATT, MCI, and Sprint calling card holders (if you do not have a card, it is not advisable to use these phones as they require a considerable quantity of change for international calls); (2) credit card phones for people who have Visa, MasterCard, or calling cards; (3) telephone cards which may be purchased at newspaper kiosks and tabacaleras (the cards are good for varying lengths of time, according to the cost of the card); (4) you may go to a locutorio, a public calling center from where you may either place a collect call or pay in cash after the call. Remember, each time you use a phone in your host’s home, there is a charge, even if it is to make a credit card or collect call. DO NOT use the family phone unless you have the family’s permission and you are going through an ATT, MCI, or Sprint international operator to charge the call. Soon after the group arrives in Segovia, you can call home. At that point, you will tell your family member or significant other the phone number of the home to which you have been assigned, and you can arrange a mutually agreeable calling schedule. Remind your family of the time difference. Please be considerate of your host family’s schedule and habits when doing this, and alert them to when you will be receiving calls. It is entirely likely that the members of your host family do not speak English, so you should tell those calling to say your name slowly followed by POR FAVOR.
To call Spain from the US. Dial 011 (the international access code) + 34 (the country code) + 921 (the city code) + the number of the home you wish to reach.
Time differences. Remember, there is a six-hour difference between Spain and EST and a seven-hour difference between Spain and CST. Therefore, when it is 1:00 p.m. EST, it is 7:00 p.m. in Segovia. However, you should also remember that Daylight Savings Time sometimes ends earlier in Spain, on the last Sunday of October, so you will need to inform family and friends of the change when it does occur.

Electricity (Back to top)
Electricity is 220 volts in Spain. If you plan to use an electrical appliance, you will need a plug adapter and also, if the appliance is not dual-voltage, a transformer. Do not bring American plug-in alarm clocks. Electricity is very expensive in Spain, so use appliances sparingly and turn off lights you are not using or when leaving your room.

Greetings (Back to top)
The usual greeting between men is a handshake, although a full embrace between long-time friends after a long absence is common. Otherwise, people greet each other with a kiss on both cheeks. Spaniards typically stand close to each other while talking, sometimes touching their friend’s clothing.

Accommodations (Back to top)
• There are more than 10,000 hotel accommodations in Spain. They are divided into several categories, among them hotel, residence-hotel, apartment-hotel, motel, and hostal. All of them have a plaque at the entrance showing their official category.
• Official forms are available at all hotels on which any complaint concerning service may be registered. Upon checking in, patrons should be informed of the rates of the room which can be verified against the authorized prices that appear both in reception and inside the room itself on an officially stamped document.
• The PARADORES are a state-run network of hotels. Many of them are castles, convents, or palaces restored and furnished with modern hotel facilities. Most of them are scenically situated. The architecture and interiors of the historical buildings have been carefully preserved or restored to reflect the period in which they were built.

Currency (Back to top)
In January 2002, the old national currency, the peseta, was replaced by the euro. Check the current exchange rate here.

Taxes (Back to top)
A value-added tax (IVA) is added to rates for restaurants and hotel rooms. On large purchases, you will be able receive the IVA back at the airport when leaving Spain presenting the receipts at the Tax-free counter there.

Tipping (Back to top)
In bars and restaurants, the service charge is always included. If service is unusually good, you may wish to tip a bit more. For example, if you are in a bar, having a caña (glass of beer) or a chato (glass of wine) with a tapa (a ration of food), and the barman has been friendly and the quality of the food and drink good, you might want to leave a small tip. But students are not expected to tip much.

Transportation within Spain (Back to top)
Buses. Public bus service in Spain is comfortable and efficient. Although there are many lines that cover long distances, buses are especially recommended for short trips and excursions from major tourist centers.
Metro (subway). A subway system is in place in Madrid and Barcelona.
Taxis. Make sure your taxi has a taxi meter. You should make sure the cab driver starts the meter when you get in. There will be initial base fare which will vary according to the time of day and place, and there are additional charges for bags or transportation from airports and stations. You should tip the driver, but no more than 10%.
Railways. Spain has an extensive national railroad system known as RENFE.
AVE is Spain’s high-speed train that runs between Madrid and Seville. This modern train, with speeds of up to 180 miles per hour, does the Madrid-Seville route in 2 hours and 45 minutes. The AVE has three classes: “Club,” “Preferente,” and “Turista.”
• TALGO, ALTARIA, and ALARIS are ultra-modern, fully air-conditioned trains.
• The trains which go between Segovia and Madrid are called TRENES DE CERCANÍAS, that is, commuter trains which travel within relatively short distances from Madrid and other major cities.

Language (Back to top)
Castilian (castellano) is spoken in the whole territory. Catalán, Basque (euskera), and Galician (gallego) are spoken in some regions.

Gastronomy (Back to top)
Restaurants in Spain are rated by vertical forks (from one to five) on a plaque outside the door. Prices must be listed both inside and outside the establishment in a place where they can be easily seen. Spain is a country of contrasts which is reflected in the tremendous variety of regional styles of cooking. Be adventuresome and try the succulent roasts, the fresh seafood, and the exquisite desserts. Don’t miss the cheeses, olives, and cured ham; your meal can be accompanied by one of the many fine sherries, wines, cavas (sparkling wines), or brandies. The local custom of snacking on tapas in bars and cafeterías reflects Spaniards’ love for both food and socializing.

Shopping (Back to top)
Travelers will find a great variety of items: ceramics, jewelry, suede and leather goods, designer clothing, shoes, fans, handicrafts, antiques, art objects, etc. If purchases have to be shipped home, the following recommendations should be kept in mind:
1. Receipts should be obtained from the store indicating the merchandise bought and the exact amount paid. These receipts should also indicate how much has been paid for packing, shipping, and insurance.
2. Shipping costs usually indicate only the expenses as far as a port or airport in the USA. There are additional charges to be paid here for customs, port handling, and forwarding to the final destination.
3. If the purchase has been insured, the store should give the buyer the name and address of the insurance company. The tourist should be aware that the company must, in turn, send an inspector to evaluate any damage caused in shipping. The inspector’s fee must be paid by the owner of the merchandise. The tourist must also be aware that this cost may run higher than the actual price paid for the merchandise.

Shopping Hours
Although big department stores in Madrid are open from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, most shops in Segovia keep traditional business hours, approximately 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Banks are mainly open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Books and Maps on Spain (Back to top)
The Tourist Office of Spain supplies maps, brochures, and information circulars free of charge. In Segovia, the Tourist Offices are located on the Plaza Mayor and near the Plaza del Azoguejo. They will supply you with maps of the city and information about housing, special events, transportation, and travel in the province.

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