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High School Spanish Immersion
Santander, Spain
Overview
Santander Spain

Santander

SPAIN

2020 Sessions

Two Week – $3,795
Summer 1: June 12 – 27
Summer 2: June 26 – July 11

Four Week – $7,095
Month 1: June 12 – July 11

Elegance on Spain’s Northern Coast …

Santander is SPI’s longest-running Spanish immersion program since 1996, and it has maintained its popularity as an ideal location for high school students seeking an authentic study abroad experience. Located along Spain’s breathtaking mountainous northern coastline, Santander provides an inspiring setting. Historically frequented by Spanish royalty, this vibrant city comes to life each summer with its many amazing beaches, boutiques, outdoor cafes, and restaurants. The Picos de Europa mountain range sets the backdrop for the amazing Magdalena Palace, which sits perched above the city and sea. Santander enjoys a pleasantly mild climate, even during the summer months, and attracts Spanish families year round. Each summer, the city of Santander offers a whirlwind of festivities, concerts, galleries, bull fights and many other exciting cultural events — leaving you with study abroad memories that last a lifetime!

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Santander Program Overview

Academics & Leadership

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Academic Overview

School: Local Spanish university

Course Hours: 40 Hours (Summer 1 & 2) or 80 hours (Month)

Spanish Language & Conversation:  Students are broken up by levels, and attend Spanish language and conversation classes Monday – Friday in the mornings. The courses focus on developing Spanish communication skills by simulating real life situations through interactive class activities that include writing, oral expression, film, music, food, and literature.

> Spanish levels 1 through AP/IB
> 5-15 Students per Class
> Certified native instructors with advanced teaching degrees

Cultural Leadership Enrichment
SPI offers a unique cultural leadership enrichment component for our European programs.  The component is geared toward connecting students with their local surroundings and language while engaging them in real-life skill building exercises.  The component incorporates unique activities, excursions and daily group discussions with a focus on team building, leadership, personal growth, travel skills, and cultural awareness.
 

> SPI Leadership Building Seminars
> European Travel Skills Workshop
> Exchanges with Spanish locals
> Spanish Culinary Experiences

Activities & Excursions

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Elective Activities

In addition to SPI’s cultural leadership enrichment program, students will have the exciting opportunity to enhance their experience abroad by participating in optional elective courses and activities! Electives range from sports activities to unique cultural events, and are designed to further engage students in the local culture and, of course, just to have fun! Exact electives will vary per program and are based on student interest and weather. Upon arrival abroad, students will choose which electives they wish to participate in.

Santander Elective Activities:

> Elective Courses:  Flamenco Dance, Surfing Course (Beginner to Advanced), Sailing Lessons, Northern Spain Cooking and Gastronomy
> Additional Potential Electives:  Gym Sessions, Spanish Art & Architecture, Soccer, Volleyball, Swimming.
*Optional elective activities may have an additional cost

Travel Excursions

From visits to world class museums to magnificent hikes through lush mountains, students explore the most important monuments, cities and natural wonders in the Santander region. Weekend and cultural day travel excursions help students dynamically use the language of study and interact with the local community.

Santander Travel Sites

> Santillana del Mar
> Bilbao
> Comillas (Month)
> Picos de Europa Mountains
> Fuente De/Potes
> Gijon, Asturias

Safety & Supervision

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On-site Directors & Staff

Directors and on-site staff are professional multilingual educators and caring leaders who serve as international “moms and dads”. We maintain a highly personal student to director ratio of typically one director for every eight students. Directors actively participate in all aspects of the immersion experience focusing on student well-being, cultural adjustments, and daily check ins to ensure active student participation.

Daily Supervision & Free Time

To ensure student safety, on-site directors are available 24 hours a day and carry local cell phones at all times. Directors check-in with students on a daily basis in the mornings, afternoons and evenings and monitor all aspects of the program. At SPI, we believe in the educational value of giving students a structured amount of free-time on certain afternoons. Students are expected to abide by SPI’s standards of conduct at all times, and we implement a “buddy system.”

Curfew: 11 PM Weekdays & 12 AM Weekends

Pre-Requisites

Age Requirements: In grades 9-12
Language Requirement: 1 year of Spanish

AP/IB Prep

Upper level courses incorporate AP/IB course material, themes & exercises to prepare students for these classes

Flight Information

We can help with your flight, all of our guidelines and info available on our Flight Information page.

What's Included

All SPI Programs include books, tuition, room and board and more. View What's Included.
Itinerary

Santander - 2 Week Itinerary

Day 1

Depart for Santander, Spain!

Board your flight and get ready to embark on the study abroad journey of a lifetime!

Day 1
Day 2

Arrive in Santander & Meet Your Homestay

Bienvenidos! Step off the plane and into your new vida española . Enjoy an orientation party with your peers and your directors before meeting and spending the evening with your local homestay.

Day 2
Day 3

Settle Into Your New Home!

Enjoy a captivating orientation tour of this charming seaside destination and continue getting to know your group!.

Day 3
Day 4

First Day of Spanish Classes

Meet your Profesor/a and class after a language placement exam in the morning. In the afternoon, tour the city’s famed Palacio de la Magdelana and visit the park-like grounds.

Day 4
Day 5-8

First Day of Spanish Classes

Meet your Profesor/a and class after a language placement exam in the morning. In the afternoon, tour the city’s famed Palacio de la Magdelana and visit the park-like grounds.

Day 5-8
Day 9

Travel Excursion to Picos de Europa Mountains

Discover the amazing natural beauty of Spain’s Picos de Europa in the nearby province of Asturias with a cable car ride to the peak and a hike along its crests.

Day 9
Day 10

Travel Excursion to Bilbao

Expand your love of northern Spain by traveling to the city of Bilbao in the neighboring Pais Vasco.  Visit the famous Guggenheim museum, and discover the slight culinary and cultural differences of this amazing region.

Day 10
Day 11-14

Regular Classes, Elective Activities + Leadership

Be amazed by the progress you’ve made in your language skills and ability to thrive in a new culture!

Day 11-14
Day 15

As your time in Santander comes to a close, enjoy a final day with your homestay and friends!

As your time in Santander comes to a close, enjoy a final day with your homestay and friends!

Day 15
Day 16

Depart Santander for Home

¡Buen viaje! Return home with amazing memories of España!

Day 16

Santander - 4 Week Itinerary

Day 1

Depart for Santander, Spain!

Board your flight and get ready to embark on the study abroad journey of a lifetime!

Day 1
Day 2

Arrive in Santander & Meet Your Homestay

Bienvenidos! Step off the plane and into your new vida española . Enjoy an orientation party with your peers and your directors before meeting and spending the evening with your local homestay.

Day 2
Day 3

Settle Into Your New Home!

Enjoy a captivating orientation tour of this charming seaside destination and continue getting to know your group!.

Day 3
Day 4

First Day of Spanish Classes

Meet your Profesor/a and class after a language placement exam in the morning. In the afternoon, tour the city’s famed Palacio de la Magdelana and visit the park-like grounds.

Day 4
Day 5-8

First Day of Spanish Classes

Meet your Profesor/a and class after a language placement exam in the morning. In the afternoon, tour the city’s famed Palacio de la Magdelana and visit the park-like grounds.

Day 5-8
Day 9

Travel Excursion to Picos de Europa Mountains

Discover the amazing natural beauty of Spain’s Picos de Europa in the nearby province of Asturias with a cable car ride to the peak and a hike along its crests.

Day 9
Day 10

Travel Excursion to Bilbao

Expand your love of northern Spain by traveling to the city of Bilbao in the neighboring Pais Vasco.  Visit the famous Guggenheim museum, and discover the slight culinary and cultural differences of this amazing region.

Day 10
Day 11-15

Regular Classes, Elective Activities + Leadership

Be amazed by the progress you’ve made in your language skills and ability to thrive in a new culture!

Day 11-15
Day 15

As your time in Santander comes to a close, enjoy a final day with your homestay and friends!

As your time in Santander comes to a close, enjoy a final day with your homestay and friends!

Day 15
Day 16

Travel Excursion to Gijon, Asturias

Explore the beautiful maritime city of Gijon. This port city will deepen your appreciation of northern Spain and its unique culture and history.

Day 16
Day 17

Quality Time with Homestay & Friends

Relish life as local Spaniards do by eating un helado while basking in the coastal sun or spend the afternoon at the Spanish cine.

Day 17
Day 18-22

Regular Classes, Elective Activities + Leadership

Spanish fluency is in your grasp and Santander has become your ‘home away from home’!

Day 18-22
Day 23

Travel Excursion to Bilbao

Expand your love of northern Spain by traveling to the city of Bilbao in the neighboring Pais Vasco.  Visit the famous Guggenheim museum, and discover the slight culinary and cultural differences of this amazing region.

Day 23
Day 24

Quality Time with Homestay & Friends

Take advantage of your last full Spanish Sunday with your homestay and friends by going out for tapas or exploring a new part of the city.

Day 24
Day 25-28

Regular Classes, Elective Activities + Leadership

Dreaming in Spanish yet?! Your Spanish fluency has allowed you to discover another world!

Day 25-28
Day 29

Last Day of Classes & Farewell Party

As your time in Santander comes to a close, enjoy a final day with your homestay and friends!

Day 29
Day 30

Depart Santander for Home

¡Buen viaje! Return home with amazing memories of España

Day 30

Your Day Abroad in Santander

MORNING

8:00 – 9:00 Breakfast at Homestay & Travel with Roommate to Classes

Enjoy a light breakfast of breads, cereal, and juice/coffee. After breakfast, you will either walk or take a short bus ride to classes M-F.

9:30 – 1:30 Spanish Language, Culture, and Conversation Courses

Be amazed at how quickly your Spanish improves with SPI’s master instructors at the university in Santander! Classes are both engaging and fun.

AFTERNOON

2:00 – 4:00 Afternoon Comida and Siesta or Break

After classes, enjoy lunch with your homestay. In Spain, the main mid-day meal is the heaviest, so bring your appetite!

4:30 – 7:00 Electives & Cultural Leadership Enrichment Activities

From surfing to photography and exchanges with locals, there are afternoon activities for everyone! SPI’s program also incorporates a cultural leadership enrichment component where students will interact with the local community. (There is structured free time on some afternoons after activities.)

EVENING

7:00 – 8:00 Meeting with Directors and Evening Free-Time

In the early evening, you will have an informal group meeting to review tomorrow’s activities with directors.

8:30 – 10:30 Evening Meal & Conversations With Your Homestay

Enjoy the evening practicing your Spanish while talking with your homestay around the dinner table. You will have some free time after evening meals to meet up with other students for ice cream or an evening stroll.

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Testimonials

"Studying abroad in Santander with SPI was a once-in-a-lifetime experience! You won't know how much you loved it and how much you'll miss it until you return back home."

What SPI Alumni Say…

“Santander was an amazing experience. I loved how friendly everyone in the city was and I felt comfortable getting around (even at night.)”

Caleb, Texas

“Our directors pushed us out of our comfort zone constantly. They were a source of constant encouragement and inspiration throughout the program. To say my Spanish improved a lot would be an understatement. I can confidently communicate with a fairly high level of fluency. Thank you SPI!”

Grace, Connecticut

“SPI made me feel extremely comfortable, from start to finish, and I could not have asked for better homestay, new friends, or on-site directors. I absolutely loved everyone that I met on my trip and I wouldn’t trade my amazing experience in Santander for the world!”

John, Utah
Enroll

Enrollment Form

The SPI Online Enrollment is best completed on a laptop/desktop and will take 15-20 minutes to complete. Parents and students should complete the enrollment form together. A $1,000 deposit is required to enroll and counts toward the final program price (you may pay with e-check or credit card.) Please have a clear face photo of the student ready for submission. All notifications, invoices, and pre-departure information will be sent via email. We look forward to your participation!
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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.