SPI Study Abroad’s Spain programs aren’t located in Madrid, Barcelona, or Granada — the favored study abroad meccas for many high school and college students. No, our programs are located in two Spanish towns that are a bit more off-the-beaten-study-abroad-path: San Sebastian and Santander. Both cities are breathtakingly beautiful — Santander is located on the north coast of Spain, while San Sebastian is situated in coastal Basque country. Both are relatively small cities with plenty to offer the study abroad student or casual tourist. So, why should you study in either? The truth is that because these cities aren’t the typical student destinations, you may have more of an opportunity to soak in the culture and practice your Spanish language skills.

Of course, there are many other reasons to love SPI’s Spain programs. For instance, because we offer the homestay experience as part of our programs, students are able to get a true feel for how the locals live. This continues to be one of the best parts of the program, for many. 2013 Santander participant Caroline Deitch states, “My host family made my experience the best it could possibly be. [I learned] so much about Spanish cooking, language, and culture.” The fact that students are able to take part in the cooking and preparing of meals, as well as other family activities, really allows for a true glimpse into Spanish life — a crucial aspect of the ideal study abroad environment.

In addition, our alumni always report that the cultural activities we provide for our students are one of the top draws of the program. Whether it’s exploring the Prado museum in Madrid, hiking in the Picos de Europa mountain range with the Santander program, or checking out the famed Roman Aqueduct of Segovia, SPI students get to embark on the cultural excursions of a lifetime. These excursions and activities also help to forge incredible friendships among the students. As Mattie Mouton-Johnston, a 2013 San Sebastian participant, remarks,” My favorite activity was the karaoke and the salsa class. I thought these were both really fun ways to bond with the people in the group, while learning about the cultural aspects of Spain.” Bonding while studying abroad is inevitable, but it never hurts to do so while salsa dancing!

If you’re interested in studying in Spain, be sure to check out our summer Spanish language immersion programs!