A Guide To Gap Year in Spain
Sipping sangrias, dancing the flamenco, and exploring diverse architectural styles — aww, sííí, why not live the good life with a gap year in Spain? ¡Es la caña! With 44 World UNESCO Heritage sites, hundreds of fiestas, and millions of Spanish speakers, you’ll experience something new every day. Give yourself a break from the hubbub of school or work to create a better version of yourself, learn some Spanish, and make lifelong friends. Take it despacito with a gap year abroad in Spain: lounging on beaches, exploring palaces, and savoring gazpacho on warm, sunny days.
Spain’s geography ranges from mountains to rivers to islands to coasts, but whatever city you’re in, you’re probably just a high-speed train ride or an economical flight away to another stunning place. The best gap year destinations in Spain that offer a variety of programs include Barcelona, Seville, and Madrid.
Barcelona. Let the seaside city of Barcelona brisk you away with its Mediterranean fresh air, dramatic Gothic architecture, and salivating gastronomical delights. As one of the largest financial capitals of the world, Barcelona offers gappers internships in a variety of fields to get their feet wet in the office while you soak in the sun outside of the office. Experience the whimsical Park Güell, the jaw-dropping sight of the Sagrada Familia, and the succulent paella.
Seville. Slip into your heels and shimmy on over to this historic city with some of the biggest flamenco dance events in the world. From the Moorish-Renaissance palace Alcazár to the Plaza de España, Seville will overwhelm you with its gorgeous baroque and modern architecture. Seville offers gappers small-group private Spanish classes to help you acquire skills in this romantic language. Cobbled alleys lined with orange trees, tapas ricas, and local museums makes this city a cultural haven.
Madrid. The third largest European city and capital lies in the heart of Spain. With a welcoming atmosphere, hot night scenes, and artistic sights, no day will be like the next. Madrid offers gappers language and art classes, internships, and volunteer opportunities. The royal palaces, legendary cocktail bars, artistic masterpieces, and plazas and parques will sweep you off your feet. Some of most delicious food in Spain is here from huevos rotos to chocolate con churros to orejas a la plancha.
Gap year Spain programs include volunteering, au pairing, interning/working, teaching, and learning! The question is: What lights your pasión? Spain gap year programs cover a variety of fields of interest. The most popular gap year Spain programs are for those interested in Spanish language acquisition.
Spanish. Aching to achieve a B2 level of Spanish? A gap year Spanish immersion program will help you accomplish it! You’ll likely live with a host family and participate in experiential learning activities (like surfing!) on the side. Many programs have small class sizes with private tutors, so you’ll achieve fluency in an intimate setting. Your gap year in Spain learning their mother tongue will be vale la pena!
Adventure Travel. Taking a gap year in Spain in itself is an adventure, so why not take it up a notch?! Enjoy daily scuba lessons, tour natural areas, go river kayaking, and discover new locations along the way. Several gap year programs offer multiple country tours, where you would be staying in Spain for a short time along the way.
Volunteering. If the sea calls you like Moana, then volunteer to conserve whales and dolphins! You’ll undergo training to participate in taking surveys and reaching out to communities. If you’re more interested in helping the people, you’ll find opportunities to work with children and elderly communities, where you can help to improve their communities and assist with educational programs.
Costs. You might think that tasting wines and soaking in the Spanish sun will cost you an arm and leg, but tienes suerte because the cost of living in Spain is 20% lower than other western European countries, and the rent is 75% lower than the United States! With gap year Spain programs varying in duration, offerings, and earnings, the cost can range anywhere from $150 - $5,000 a week.
If you’re interning or working, you’ll likely come out even. Most program fees cover meals, tuition, accommodation, in-country transportation, orientation information, and field support. You can recruit financial support from your family and friends via FundMyTravel to help you cover the program fees.
Accommodations. Living situations vary from gap year Spain program to program, but most offer group living in houses or apartments, dormitories, or homestay placements. You’re more likely to live with a host family for language programs or au pair programs, which will help you immerse yourself in the Spanish language and try authentic Spanish food. If you’re taking classes on a campus, you’ll most likely be staying in a dormitory. Volunteer gap year programs usually place gappers in group living environments.
Visas. The type of visa you’ll need depends on your nationality, purpose, and duration. For EU citizens, no visa is necessary. If you’re planning on studying in Spain during your gap year, a student visa will be necessary. Gappers participating in programs shorter than 90 days will only need a tourist visa. Work visas will be necessary if you’re planning on making money while living in Spain. Gap year Spain program coordinators are usually happy to help with visa questions and sometimes do the process for you. Look into the GoAbroad embassy directory for more information about nearby embassies.
Safety. Not to fear — Spain ranks among one of the top 20 safest countries in the world. However, with its enthralling features and touristy locations, you’ll need to keep your belongings close to you and always in sight to avoid petty theft. Tricksters also run petty theft scams, so don’t fall for free gifts or fake petitions. Overall, you don’t run any huge risks while traveling in Spain; you just need to stay a bit vigilant.
Taking a gap year in Spain will help you gain more clarity in your life than you ever thought possible. Whether you’re helping others, learning new things, or discovering new places, the year will unveil surprising abilities and passions you never knew about yourself. Spanish is also one of the most spoken languages in the world, and by learning this language, you’ll increase your communication opportunities in nearly half the world. Not to mention your meaningful travel will create a better globally-informed citizen out of you!
Spain’s diversity extends upon its local dialects, geography, and cultures. Be sure to ask the locals for the best hidden places to visit and how to get there. If you’re interested in learning Castilian Spanish, look for gap year programs in Spain with this dialect. Barcelona speaks Catalán also, so you might need to learn the local lingo of that area. Also, life generally moves at a slower pace in Spain, so don’t expect punctuality and efficiency — it’s all about enjoying the pleasures of life — siestas, fiestas, food, and relationships.
From the Renaissance-styled Giralda to the Teide Volcano to the Museo Nacional del Prado, the monumental landmarks will blow you away you with Spain’s culture. Your life will never be the same after relishing the gastronomic cuisine of creamy prawns, chewy croquettes, and flavorful tortillas. A gap year abroad in Spain will help ensure you get the most out of your time in the sunny country via traveling, learning Spanish, and meeting new people.
A gap year in Spain is tan chulo and will offer many benefits!
API offers affordable, comprehensive gap programs in 4 cities across Spain!
Earn college credit on an API community service, study abroad, or internship gap program. 4 cities across Spain to choose from!
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