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SPI STUDY ABROAD - BLOG

Santander – Summer 2 – 7/4 – 7/10

Santander Study Abroad Gallery Image 88
Santander Study Abroad Gallery Image 88

We CANNOT believe we are mid-way through our final week here in beautiful Santander! It is crazy to think how quickly the summer has flown by.

Below is a recap of what we’ve been up to the last week, enjoying every moment of course! :

Wednesday, July 4th: A rainy, rainy day today in Santander! Summer 2 students toured the Museo Maritimo and Month students toured the Museo de Prehistoria y Arqueologia de Cantabria.

Thursday, July 5th: The ever-changing weather continued today. It rained off and on until late afternoon and we finally got to enjoy being out without getting rained on! The temperatures cooled off and it ended up being a great afternoon for una tarde libre! Students got to enjoy some free time either at the beach of their choice, shopping and taking advantage of those “rebajas,” or having ice cream at Regma with friends.
Friday, July 6th: Centro Botin; Today we met at Centro Botin and spent about 30-45 minutes on each of the two floors. The first floor has lots of modern/contemporary art, and students were intrigued and entertained by all the different interpretations of art! The second floor was filled with lots of pieces by Joan Miro which were all quite interesting. After our time at Botin, students were free for the afternoon. Many went straight for the shops to once again take advantage of all the “rebajas!”
Saturday, July 7th:
   Summer 2: Excursion day! Today, Summer 2 students loaded up on a private bus and headed for the mountains. After surviving the trip on the winding, narrow road, we made it to our first stop in the town of Potes. Potes is a lovely little town surrounded by the Picos de europa mountains. It has a lovely cathedral, tower (with great view from the top), a river that runs through the town, pretty bridges and lots of cafes and shops. Students had free time in Potes to explore the town, eat lunch, and relax. After that, we continued a little further down the road to Fuente De which is where the teleferico is that takes up to the top of the mountains. Although there were clear views at the bottom, we were up in the clouds at the top. Students had free time to explore the hiking paths and trains before we met at the cafe at the top, had a bite to eat, and then rode the teleferico back down. We met our bus at the bottom and then headed back for Santander. We arrived around 7pm, and students had free time Saturday evening to have dinner with friends and enjoy the beautiful beaches of Santander.
   Mes: Laredo – today month students went by public bus to a town on the coast called Laredo. There, they visited the city center, saw the cathedral and then had free time to explore the casco viejo (old part of town) on their own, eat lunch, and go to the beach on their own.
Sunday, July 8th: Dia libre! It was a sunny Sunday in Santander. Some students went to church (on their own), some toured the Palacio de la Magdalena, some went to the beach, and many slept in and enjoyed not having to be anywhere today! A restful, day off was much deserved and needed by all as we gear up for our last week.
Monday, July 9th: Intercambio – language exchange with 8 local Spanish teenagers. We met at a restaurant called 100 Montaditos, had snacks, drinks, montaditos (small, snack-size sandwiches), and divided up into groups of 4-5. Students casually chatted and talked for about an hour. Our hope is that students took advantage of a great opportunity to practice their conversational Spanish skills.
Tuesday, July 10th: Another sunny day in Santander! Today, students had the option of going kayaking and/or Stand-up paddle boarding! Students could rent a kayak or paddle board from a place called SUP Santander which is very close to Escuela Nautica, where our Spanish classes are held. Other students enjoyed free time in Santander or went to the beach as today was a great beach day!
Only a few more days of Spanish classes and activities in Santander!  We’ll have the recap of the last few days soon!

A Life-changing Experience!

Get ready to experience and SPI Abroad program yourself. Learn more about our programs or request more information today.

Request Your Catalog Today.

Fill out the form below and we will send you a catalog and get in touch. Please note all fields are required.

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Request Your Catalog Today.

Fill out the form below and we will send you a catalog and get in touch. Please note all fields are required.

A Life-changing Experience!

Get ready to experience and SPI Abroad program yourself. Learn more about our programs or request more information today.

Request Your Catalog Today.

Fill out the form below and we will send you a catalog and get in touch. Please note all fields are required.

On-Site Supervision Team Abroad

We hire bilingual high school teachers, university professors, and caring local staff who, as a team, serve as international “moms and dads” throughout the program. Directors actively participate in all aspects of the immersion experience: helping with housing adjustments, checking in on classes, and making sure students are taking advantage of the wonderful excursion and activity opportunities. All SPI staff go through extensive reference checks.

Training & Experience

Directors are selected based on their experience working with teenagers in an international setting, their ability to communicate fluently in the language of study, and their academic & professional background. All on-site staff go through an intensive training process.

Daily Supervision

Students are expected to be respectful of their directors’ guidelines and abide by the SPI standards of conduct at all times. SPI directors and program staff are available 24 hours a day. Directors check in with students on a daily basis in the mornings, afternoons, and evenings; they also frequently monitor all aspects of each student’s progress. Homestays and residence directors are contacted to learn how students are adjusting, and to handle any concerns. Daily curfews are enforced.

Student Behavior Expectations

Since 1996, we have proudly attracted an academically-minded student body focused on improving their language skills and growing from cultural experiences. At SPI, we take our role as teachers seriously — we recognize that we are responsible for guiding students through one of their most life-changing experiences. We expect students not only to abide by our standards of conduct at all times, but also to serve as ambassadors of their local communities, schools, and cities.

No Alcohol Policy

SPI maintains a strict policy against the use of alcohol. Directors check in with students in the evenings; however, parents are expected to review our standards of conduct with their children and set clear family expectations prior to the start of the program with regards to their behavior abroad.

Afternoon Elective Activities

Our meaningful afternoon elective activities make local culture, art, architecture, museums, sports, and attractions come to life! Each program offers a variety of engaging activities designed to combine serious fun with truly inspiring “once in a lifetime” experiences. Electives are not included in the program price, and we suggest students budget $100 per week for participation in these incredible learning experiences.

Common Afternoon Electives

CULTURAL: Cooking, Dance, Art & Architecture, Museum & Theater Visits, Local Sporting & Cultural Events

SPORTS: Surfing, Volleyball, Soccer, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Hikes & Walks

ENRICHMENT: Photography, College Prep (Essay Writing, Admissions Prep), Photography, Guest Speakers

Sample Travel Excursions

SPAIN: Bilbao, Pamplona, Santander, San Sebastian, Guernika, Biarritz (France), Comillas, Picos de Europa

FRANCE: Bordeaux, Bayonne, Anglet, San Sebastian (Spain), St. Jean de Luz, Pyrenees Mountains

COSTA RICA: Liberia, Cloud Forest, Puntarenas, Rincon de la Vieja, Tamarindo Beach

ITALY: Florence, Orvieto, San Gimignano, San Vincezo, Castiglione della Pescaia

Our Screening & Selection Process

Students live with roommates in a local homestay or student residence that is experienced in hosting foreign students. SPI has worked with most participating homestays and student residences for a number of years, and they understand students are there to learn the language and experience the culture. SPI diligently screens each homestay and student residence facility with the following in mind: safety, location, cleanliness, and previous experience hosting students.

HOMESTAY EXPECTATIONS

Most homestays have hosted students for many years and take their jobs and duties as cultural ambassadors very seriously. Our foreign schools also work with each family on a year-round basis to ensure a positive experience is had by each student. It is critical to understand that most homestays come from humble means and different dynamics.

Location of Housing

All housing options are located within a 10-30 minute commute from the school. Students will walk or take the local bus, which is a safe and normal way for students their age to get around in our host cities. The majority of our housing options are located in the same areas where students will be close to each other.

Evening Curfews

Student curfews are set based on what a culturally appropriate weekday and weekend curfew would be for teenagers in the country of study. This is normally between 10 PM – 11 PM on weekdays and a little later on the weekends depending on location and group dynamic. As an important safety measure, program staff diligently monitor student curfews. Specific curfews are listed on each program page for your reference. 

Typical Housing Dynamics

Students are well supported in all housing options and are provided with: meals, a living and study space, laundry service or facilities, linens and towels. It is fundamental that students have an open mind to trying new foods and living in an environment different than “home” to benefit from this transformative experience!

HOMESTAY EXPECTATIONS
Although SPI homestays come in all shapes and sizes, the majority are older couples or single/widowed women in their 50s – 60s who have extra room in their home and are eager to host students. We have found this dynamic provides the best support, the most interaction, and the most culturally rich experience. Some homestays do have children, but students should keep in mind that homestays with children are busier and often offer less interaction — much like a busy American family.

Language Course Overview

The language courses focus on developing communication skills by simulating real-life situations through interactive class activities that include writing, oral expression, film, music, food, and literature.

> 2 Hours – Grammatical Concepts

> 1-2 Hours – Conversation, Culture, Literature, Film, etc.

> Small class sizes with levels 1 through AP/IB

College Credit Opportunity

SPI uses foreign universities and accredited language institutes for coursework abroad. These institutions provide high school students, upon successful completion of their courses, with an official transcript that they may use to petition college credit from their future university or college. Official transcripts are first sent to SPI in September, and then we will mail an official copy of the transcript in a sealed envelope to each participant. You will mail the official transcript packet directly to your U.S. university once you are enrolled.

Credit Hours vs. Credit Granted

Most SPI language immersion programs give 30-80 contact hours, or classroom hours, enabling for a potential of up to 1-6 semester college credit hours by your university. Contact hours are treated differently at every school. Some schools will grant specific class credit for the hours (e.g., Spanish), although most give a general foreign language or elective credit. Normally, 15 Contact/Class Hours = 1 College Credit Hour.

IMPORTANT:  Due to the nature of college credit granting by each individual U.S. university, it is impossible for SPI to guarantee credit for any student.