Semester — Spring 2020
Year — Fall 2019
Sep 3-6, 2019 → Jun 27-30, 2020
When you study abroad in Spain, the friendly atmosphere and rich blend of cultures will teach you how to make the most of life. Immerse yourself in Spanish languages and cultures by living with a host family and attending a local high school. This is the best way to develop fluency in Spanish languages and customs.
People live life to the fullest in Spain. But, not in a hurried way. Instead, Spaniards tend to take their time, deliberately, to appreciate the world and people around them. You’ll savor long, multi-course meals (of some of the most delectable dishes, like pisto, paella, patatas bravas, and gazpacho), and wander vivacious villages and charming cities.
Whether it’s the middle of the day or night, you’re sure to find vibrant street culture. Imagine neighbors strolling around their blocks, older people playing checkers on the sidewalks, and teenagers hanging out in plazas. And, with such abundant art, architecture, literature, cuisine, history, and more to explore, you’re sure to find a wealth of cultural experiences to enjoy. You’ll be quoting Don Quixote in no time.
Depending on the region, locals might speak Catalan, Basque, Galician, or Valencian along with Spanish. The ethnicities and nationalities associated with these other languages offer a diverse range of cultures to appreciate. Still, what all people in Spain tend to have in common is their affectionate nature. You might find that Spaniards take some time to open up, but you’ll see that the bonds they form are strong and long-lasting. And, orientations and events with other AFS exchange students will allow you to make life-long connections and memories with people from around the world. Expand your cultural horizons and rewrite your high school experience in Spain.
You’ll likely attend a public high school with a variety of different classes like Spanish language, literature, and physical education. Depending on the region, your classes will be taught in Castilian Spanish, Catalan (in Catalonia), Galician (in Galicia), or Euskera (in Basque country). School is in session Monday to Friday from 8am to 3pm, but you may have additional classes on some afternoons if you go home for a siesta at lunch. (Although, it is a misconception that Spaniards always take naps in the middle of the day. Work and school usually prevent this customary 20-minute nap.) And, don't be surprised if your classmates use their teacher’s first name. This is not considered disrespectful to educators; it’s just their custom.
Depending on your age and the courses you have completed at home, you’ll be enrolled in 4º ESO (last year of secondary education, equivalent to 10th grade in the U.S.), 1st bachillerato (equivalent to 11th grade in U.S.), or 2nd bachillerato (equivalent to 12th grade in U.S.).
You may choose from three areas of specialization:
Each specialization consists of three types of classes:
While we can’t guarantee that particular courses or specializations will be available where you live in Spain, we will do everything we can to enroll you in your top choice.
AFSers have lived in communities all throughout Spain, but you’ll most likely be in an urban or suburban area. You might even end up in the Canary or Balearic Islands. In cities, families typically live in flats. Our students commonly share a bedroom with a host sibling. Outside of cities and especially in small villages, families tend to live in houses with a small garden.
Like anywhere in the world, all families in Spain are different. But, they’re usually warm, welcoming, and tight-knit. It’s not uncommon for people in their twenties or thirties to live at home until they get married, so you might also have older host brothers and sisters.
Many families eat both lunch and dinner together, especially on weekends. Be ready for communal meals and other gatherings to become lively, and even a bit noisy, as Spaniards do tend to speak somewhat loudly in larger groups. While at first the pace of conversation may leave you a bit confused, through practice and full immersion, you’ll be up to speed (and maybe volume) in time.
"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 developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Spain.
A new you awaits. Apply for High School Study Abroad in Spain!
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.