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University of Alcala de Henares

University of Alcala de Henares

The History of the University of Alcala de Henares

University of Alcala De Henares

With just short of 23,000 students, the University of Alcala de Henares is a happening, yet manageable sized University. It has an interesting and varied history, which saw it reach great heights, then fall somewhat, only to rise again. The University of Alcala de Henares was founded in 1499 by the Cardenal Cisneros who envisaged a modern, dynamic place of study, on a par with the thriving centre of academic excellence in Salamanca at the time. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the University of Alcala de Henares reached the zenith of its prestige, with a whole host of eminent and well known academic gracing its lecture halls. Yet, change was afoot and in the 18th century the University of Alcala de Henares faced a Spanish university system intent on reform, but Alcala adapted and continued to preserve its reputation for groundbreaking academia.

The greatest challenge to the name and reputation of the University of Alcala de Henares came in 1836 when, due to the selling off of church lands, the University of Alcala de Henares was moved to Madrid – becoming the now famed Complutense University (derived from Alcala’s old Roman name – Complutum). It wasn’t until 1977, in the post-Franco era, that Alcala regained it’s university and reopened departments in the very same building that they had had to leave behind some 140 years earlier.

The University of Alcala de Henares is now a thriving and exciting University, with new satellite campuses emerging in the surrounding towns of El Encin and Guadalajara. The University of Alcala de Henares will forever be associated with literature and humanities and it continues to build its reputation today, some 500 years on.


Studying as a foreign student at the University of Alcala de Henares

In part due to its international standing and literary fame, The University of Alcala is very popular with Erasmus students and those who wish to simply study Spanish. It is popular due to the safe, cosy nature of the small city and its academic reputation. The University of Alcala is also popular due to its undeniable proximity to the Spanish capital, Madrid, and all that such a large city has to offer. For further information check out the University of Alcala de Henares homepage (in English) for prospective foreign students. If you wish to visit Alcala de Henares to learn Spanish, then the University of Alcala has a dedicated department called Alcalalingua which arranges courses, accomodation and answers all queries.

Studying at the University of Alcala de Henares has a number of advantages over Madrid, and of course a number of disadvantages. It is a small city and is incomparable with the excitement of a capital city. Yet perhaps for those who do not wish to live in a metropolis, but like to have it to hand if they want it, this is an excellent choice. The city is both historical and lively – a wonderful combination, and it’s a city that really likes to go out and have fun. There are a huge amount of bars and nightlife for such a small city, and the locals like nothing better than to be out and about, be it socialising in the central Plaza Cervantes, or frequenting one of many of Alcala’s bars.

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