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Getting Prepared


You must have a valid passport to travel to Europe.  If you already have one, please check the expiration date and ensure that it will still be valid at least six months after your last day of travel.  If you do not have a passport or if it will expire before the above timeline, see the U.S. State Department site for directions on how to obtain one and apply immediately. If you are applying less than three months before travel, use their expedited service.


American citizens do not require a visa to enter countries members of the European Union for visits shorter than 90 days. Requirements for other nationalities vary.
If you need a visa, or to find out if you need one, please contact the Spanish Consulate in Chicago to determine the required documentation, and make an appointment. The CBE Department can provide you with a letter of enrollment. You may also need a letter from the University of Oviedo indicating the Residence Address. Those can be obtained from Professor Susana Luque in Oviedo. Please contact Professor Root for more information


Remember to call your bank and tell them that you will be traveling, so that they don't block your cards for “suspicious activity”. Don't get too much cash at once. You can get what you need from an ATM. Visa and MC credit or debit cards are generally accepted in commercial locations. Some museums, theaters and small stores and restaurants might accept cash only; if in doubt, ask.

What to pack

Oviedo's weather is quite variable, usually on the cool side, and it rains frequently. Average high and low temperatures in June are 68ºF and 50ºF. Bring a sweater or jacket and an umbrella. There are coin operated laundry facilities at the residence, but dryers are not very efficient. Jeans may take a long time to dry. Bring comfortable walking shoes. If you want to do sightseeing in Europe you will have to walk a lot. Bring one business casual outfit for the oral presentations and farewell party. If you are planning to travel before the course and you want to travel light, you may be able to send some of your luggage to Oviedo by parcel post. Plan to ship it after you land in Europe to avoid having to pay import taxes on your own property. Please contact Prof. Luque, the course coordinator, to explore this option, or if you want to leave some of your lugagge in Oviedo for a while after the course.  


Computers are available for use at the university and some may be also available at the residence. Still, many students prefer to take their own portable computer. all modern computers have switchable power so they can be charged using a simple adaptor plug. Before you leave, you may want to install the VPN (Virtual Private Network) software which allows you to access resources as if you were at the University. Also configure your device to access the eduroam WiFi network. Information on how to do that can be found here


The course begins on Monday at 9:00 am. It is recommended that you plan to arrive by Sunday morning. This will give you time to get settled, unpack, and get familiar with the facilities and the city. Professor Susana Luque traditionally likes to meet the students for lunch on Sunday before the course begins and depending on the weather go hiking to Monte Naranco.

Transatlantic flights do not land at the Asturias airport (OVD), but you should be able to fly from several other European cities, and more frequently from Madrid. You may also travel from Madrid to Oviedo by bus or train. The trip takes about 5 hours either way.

If you plan to stay in Madrid for a few days, the subway system is very convenient. At the airport take the subway (Metro) from terminal 2 and get off at the end of the line, Estación Nuevos Ministerios. You may transfer there to another line that takes you closer to your destination. There is also a bus from the airport to the Atocha train station. It costs 5.00 €

To go from from Madrid to Oviedo, there are several train and bus departures during the day, in addition to flying.
Trains leave from Madrid-Chamartin Station. http://www.renfe.com
Buses Leave from Estación Sur (South Station). http://www.alsa.es
You may explore several options at http://www.rumbo.es

The Asturias airport (OVD) is about 30 miles from Oviedo. Take the ALSA bus to the Oviedo bus station right outside the terminal (it runs every hour, 7,50 €, pay the driver). A cab from the airport to Oviedo costs about 50 to 60 €.
If you arrive by train or bus, take a cab outside the terminal. They will charge you what the meter reads (around 8 €).

Going around the city

Although the population of Oviedo is approximately the same as that of Madison, it is a small city in terms of area. It is easy to walk to almost anywhere in a reasonable time. From the residence  it is a 10 minute walk to the university; and a 20 minute walk to downtown. But if you don't want to walk, the bus service is excellent. Each trip costs 1.20€, and must be paid at the time of boarding. Alternatively, you may buy a 10-trip bus pass card for 10.50€ and then refill it in increments of 10 trips for 9€. Also, a taxi from downtown to the residence is around 10€ which becomes a bargain if the trip is shared with 2 or 3 passengers.

During the course

There is no way around it. Between doing the experiments in the lab, writing reports, and attending industrial visits and other course activities you will be busy during the course. However, an important aspect of going overseas is to experience the local culture. If you manage your time well you should have free time to explore the city and its'surroundings. Oviedo is a small city but with rich history. Walk through the Old City. Visit the Cathedral, including the adjacent museum. Visit the Fine Arts museum. The pre-romanic monuments from the 9th Century: Santa Maria del Naranco, San Miguel de Lillo, and the San Julian de los Prados Church.

Have a picnic at Campo San Francisco on the Martes de Campo (Picnic Tuesday) if it happens to be during the course. If the weather is nice on a weekend you may want to take the bus to Gijón and soak up some rays at the San Lorenzo Beach. While in Gijón visit the Roman Baths. 

Coming home

After spending 5 weeks in Oviedo you will probably find a better way to get home than I can provide here. You may find a cheap flight to Madrid or other European cities, or go by bus or by train to Madrid and move on from there. My only advice is to buy your bus, train, or flight tickets well in advance if you need to leave Oviedo at a specific time.