Global Prep — 2018
Application deadline: February 1, 2018
Enjoy an eye-opening two-week adventure in Valladolid, a historic city to the north of Madrid. You’ll have the chance to take language lessons and explore cultural sites like palaces, castles, and Roman ruins. Practice your Spanish both in the classroom and around the dinner table while spending quality time with a local host family. Outside of class, you and your group will get to know the real Spain by meeting with students and sharing your experiences with them through English language tutoring. You'll also gain unique insight into contemporary global issues by volunteering with refugee children in the area. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enhance your second language skills, make lasting friendships, and give back to the community!
Your journey will begin in New York, where you’ll meet up with the rest of your group and travel with your Group Leader to Spain. When you arrive at the airport in Madrid, you’ll be greeted by AFS Staff or Volunteers. Then you’ll take a short trip to Valladolid and meet your Spanish host family. You’ll attend a welcome party with your whole group and enjoy a traditional Spanish merienda (snack) together. As you’re surrounded by Spain’s fun-loving culture, you can absorb the sights, sounds, and smells of your new home for the next two weeks.
After settling in with your host family, you’ll get started on your Spanish lessons so that you can better communicate with the locals. You’ll be split up into groups according to your proficiency level in classes with no more than 15 students. You and your group will have class every morning from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and then venture into Valladolid or the surrounding areas to experience the area’s rich culture and traditions.
When you're not in class, you and your group will take part in rewarding service-learning activities. You’ll get together with young people in the Roma community to discuss and compare your cultures and traditions. You’ll also work with local children at day camps, organizing sports and activities and helping them to improve their English-speaking abilities. Finally, you’ll meet with a group of refugee children and accompany them on a field trip to a science museum, which is sure to be an impactful experience for everyone.
During your two weeks in Spain, you can expect to spend many of your evenings growing close with your host family. Take this opportunity to enjoy homemade Spanish cuisine and practice your language skills as you chat with your neighbors! On the weekend, you and your host family will have the chance to go hiking in the countryside together or enjoy other local activities. Your family will likely have children, and host brothers and sisters are often encouraged to join in class and group activities!
Besides taking language lessons, volunteering and hanging out with your host family, you and your friends can enjoy some sightseeing in downtown Valladolid. You’ll also go on an excursion to Salamanca, where you’ll explore the city square, taking in its lively local character before visiting the famous cathedral. Look out for the carving of an astronaut on the 12th century church’s walls—it was added in a restoration in 1992!
As you near the end of your time in Spain, you’ll have the chance to visit the legendary Roman aqueduct in Segovia and see the city’s medieval cathedral and Alcazar (palace). Then you and your group will continue on to Spain’s capital, Madrid. Before heading home, you’ll take a tour of the Plaza Mayor, the Prado Museum, and the Puerta del Sol (which is like Spain’s version of Times Square).
"Life-changing" is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad.
"Transformed" is another one. When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.