Bienvenido a España!
Studying abroad in Spain is an opportunity to learn how to speak fluent Spanish, while immersing yourself in a culture that holds a high regard for great conversation, food, and friends. As a high school abroad student, you will live like a local while you study alongside your Spanish peers and stay with a native host family. Perfect your Spanish and stand out on college applications as an exchange student in Spain!
Program at a Glance:
- Host family accommodation provides full language & cultural immersion
- At least 2 years of Spanish language experience is strongly suggested
- You can choose between a 1 or 2-month, trimester, semester or academic year program length
- Start dates in the spring or fall
- Placement can be guaranteed in these cities for an additional cost: Andalucía (Seville, Cadiz, and Granada), Aragón (Zaragoza) Asturias, Castilla la Mancha (Albacete), Castilla León (León, Valladolid, Soria, and Segovia), Extremadura (Cáceres, Badajoz), or Madrid.
*Video courtesy of Spain Tourism
- Trimester: September – December
- Semester: September – January
- Academic Year: September – June
Any arrivals or departures different from these dates will incur an additional $350 fee.
Exact dates of arrival and departure depend on the host family and school you are placed in, as each school has a different start date. You will know your exact dates once you are placed in a school and host family!
Arrival and Departure
All students are required to book flights on their own. An airport transfer upon arrival is included in the cost of the program. You will be provided with your exact arrival and departure dates after acceptance, as well as the exact timeframes you should arrive/depart, so that you can start to search for possible flights. Prior approval of a proposed itinerary is required before you purchase any flights.
Packaged into the Price:
- Airport pickup and drop off
- Host family accommodation and 3 meals per day
- Comprehensive medical/accident insurance
- 2 Night Arrival Orientation (COVID-19 dependent)
- Accommodation at Orientation Site
- Traditional Spanish Meals
- Orientation workshops (covering school life, host family life, Spanish culture, etc.).
- Cultural Tours of Madrid (museums, palaces, plazas, cathedrals, etc.)
- Certificate of Completion upon successful completion of the program for use on college applications.
- 4 hours of private Spanish tutoring, option to extend for an additional fee
- $1,500 Application Fee due by the program deadline to formally apply
- $5,000 Commitment Payment due 14 days after acceptance
- Remaining balance is due 16 weeks prior to your start date. If your program starts within 16 weeks of acceptance, the remaining program balance payment will be due at the same time as the commitment payment.
So, what about credits?
The host school abroad will not provide high school credit. All credit must be granted through your home school in the U.S. or Canada. All U.S./Canadian schools have different policies.
In Spain, it is not guaranteed that your host school will provide you an official transcript unless you complete a full academic year program, take exams, and have good behavior and attendance at your high school.
Students studying on trimester and semester programs can request their host schools provide documentation, letters, and any other materials, but it is unlikely that these will include any sort of grade evaluations (either a number grade out of 10 or even pass/fail). High schools in Spain look at a student’s academic performance throughout an entire year and award a grade at the end, so it not always possible to award grades for trimester or semester student. You must have good behavior, attendance, and performance in order for the school to fulfill any requests for documentation.
Then, you should take this documentation back to your home school as proof of your participation in the program. Your home school is responsible for awarding you credit for this program or not.
Before You Go Abroad
You should meet with your U.S./Canadian high school before you leave and share the general curriculum guidelines for Spain with your guidance counselor and/or teachers.
Because the curriculum will vary by school and we cannot guarantee you’ll take any specific classes, it is important that you arrange the required classes required for your graduation, such as U.S. History, before or after your time abroad.
Once You’re Abroad
Please keep in mind that the grading system in other countries is different than the US. Most host schools will not grant grades or transcripts as it is too difficult to evaluate your work due to the language barrier. If your host school is able to award you grades, they won’t be an exact match to what you would get in the US.
In your free time, you can play soccer, basketball, go swimming, and more! If athletics don’t interest you, you can participate in theater, music, and a wide variety of youth organizations and cultural activities. Getting involved is the best way to meet people and make friends.
How to Understand the Program Dates:
If you’ve been researching high school in Spain, you might be confused. Here’s some explanation: In Spain, the school year is divided into trimesters and there aren’t exact dates for that. They change each year, and they change from one school to another. The trimester ends when the students take the trimester exams. For the first trimester for example, some schools wait until Christmas and other school have the exams the first week of December. It also varies according to the grade: usually 11th and 12th grade go together but 10th grade has other dates.
When a U.S. or Canadian student wants to come to Spain for a semester, it makes sense that it should be 4 ½ months which is half of the school year (9 months). However, this timeframe doesn’t quite coincide with any school dates. So, we have semester students start a bit later, so you finish the school year with your class.
What else to know about attending a high school in Spain:
- Students are usually placed in public high schools in Spain, with academic start dates ranging from early to mid-September and ending in late May or late June.
- The grade students are placed in in Spain will correspond with their birthdate and not necessarily their grade equivalent in the U.S.
- Classes typically run Monday through Friday.
- In the Bachillerato grades (11th and 12th grade equivalents) most students are placed in the Social Studies track with required subjects including History, Language & Literature, English, Catholic Religion or Ethics. There are also some elective courses depending on the school.
You will come back from Spain with a thorough understanding of Spanish culture and a level of fluency in the language that is impossible to obtain in the classroom at home.
Support and Services:
- Visa Assistance in applying for the visa ahead of arrival, including visa paperwork and extensive directions and support.
- Extensive pre-departure advice and support from your US-based program coordinators! They will be with you from your first inquiry, all the way through preparing to leave and your arrival in Spain.
- Support from in-country staff upon arrival to Spain.
- Online pre-departure cultural and logistical orientation before you leave.
- 24-hour in-country and emergency support for the duration of the program, including 24-hour emergency phone numbers to reach a program manager at any time.
Additional Expenses to Budget for:
- Airfare to/from Spain
- Textbooks ($300-400)
- Personal spending money for entertainment, trips, meals out, and extracurriculars ($200-300/month)
In researching a study abroad program, you have already shown you are a leader and open-minded in your academic pursuits. These are just a few of the traits that our exchange students possess. You’re motivated to immerse yourself in another culture and flexible enough to live outside your comfort zone. You should also:
- Be between 14 and 17 years of age at the time of travel
- Be from the United States or Canada
- Possess a high school cumulative GPA of at least 2.75/4.0
- Be in great mental* and physical health
- Have a genuine interest in becoming a part of your host family and community
- Have at least 2 years of Spanish language instruction
- Be open to 5 hours per week of English language exchange with host family
- Fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before departure
*What does it mean to be in good mental health?
Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to a well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on a long-term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of all high school abroad applicants.
Therefore, we may not be able to accept students who have struggled with any kind of mental illness, specifically within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition. Each student will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and ultimately it is the in-country partner who holds the right to accept or decline a student based on their individual policy.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Eating disorders
- Chronic debilitating migraines
- Bipolar Disorder
All students who currently experience one or more of these conditions will be required to submit an addendum to the terms and conditions as well as a letter of support from their current mental health specialist. If the student’s mental health issue has been managed (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will still require a note from his/her relevant practitioner (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc.) as part of the application process. We encourage you to discuss your specific situation with us directly, before securing these documents.
Please note that students who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD will not be guaranteed any academic accommodations plans by the host school abroad.