Madrid is the third largest city in the European Union and a major political, financial, and cultural hub of southern Europe. As a high school student abroad in Spain’s capital, you can explore life in one of the most important cities on the continent while improving your Spanish and making friends from all over the world. From the Royal Palace to the Golden Triangle of Art, Madrid’s cityscape is non-stop grounds for adventure and cultural enrichment.
High School Programs in Madrid
Many high school programs in Madrid are focused around Spanish language acquisition. Nothing will improve your Spanish ability more than traveling to a Spanish-speaking country and utilizing the language on a daily basis. A typical structure for such high school programs in Spain entails taking Spanish courses during the week combined with regular field trips and cultural outings to famous attractions throughout Madrid.
Other high school programs in Madrid will not focus so much on language as on a particular aspect of Spanish life, such as dance, music, cooking, or art, allowing students to truly explore Spanish culture. You can take classes in any of the latter subjects while even enrolling in an internship to gain valuable international work experience too. Madrid is widely known for its cultural richness and offers tremendous educational opportunities in a wide variety of artistic fields.
Another type of high school program in Madrid is built around exploration and will guide students through Madrid as well as various other cities across Spain, such as Barcelona, Seville, and Valencia. While these programs do not as often provide academic credit, they are a fantastic way to see the country and have a valuable travel experience at a young age.
Most high school programs in Madrid are offered over the summer and can last anywhere from two to eight weeks. Exchange programs are also possible if you wish to attend high school in Madrid for a semester of full year. If you do enroll full time then you should have already have a strong command of the Spanish language, because this is typically the language of education across the country.
Life in Madrid
Madrid is a large global city with an ethnically and culturally diverse population. It is hard to depict a standard version of what everyday life is like in Madrid, because it takes so many different forms with so many different people!
As a high school student in Madrid you will likely be enrolled in academic courses and also have the opportunity to embark on many supervised cultural outings throughout the city. Madrid is an architecturally stunning place, which has retained a diversity of stylistic influences across its checkered history. Some of the most famous attractions in Madrid include the Royal Palace, Royal Theater, and Alcala Gate, all set within the backdrop of a highly modern infrastructure
Furthermore, there are many cultural attractions in Madrid. The Prado Museum, Reina Sofia Museum, and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum together comprise Madrid’s infamous Golden Triangle of Art at the city center. It will also be fun to check out a bullfighting match (Las Ventas is the largest bullring in Spain), a flamenco show (which is considered to be one of the most passionate dances in the world), and a Real Madrid game at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium (one of the very best football clubs and stadiums in Europe!).
Scholarships & Costs
Madrid is not an overly expensive city by European standards, but you will want to be careful with your spending habits nonetheless. Though Spain’s economy is somewhat struggling, Madrid remains a major tourism and financial center, so expenses can add up if you are not careful.
Still, most of your everyday costs of living as a high school student in Madrid are likely to be encompassed in upfront program fees. These costs vary significantly according to the type of program you embark on, and so should be inquired about with your provider. If affordability is a concern then there are a variety of scholarships and fundraising opportunities that you can take advantage of!
Accommodation & Visas
Accommodations in Madrid will vary with program type. If you are taking academic classes in Madrid then you will likely have the opportunity to live in either a homestay or in a dormitory with other international high school students. If you are travelling as part of a cultural exploration program then you might stay in a variety of different housing situations, such as hotels or hostels, as you move throughout the country. No matter what, high school programs in Madrid will be well supervised so housing safety need not be a major concern!
International high school students coming from most Western countries will only need to apply for a student visa if they plan on staying in Madrid for longer than three months (European students will not have to apply for a visa at all). Those coming from other parts of the world may face tougher visa restrictions, be sure to check with your program provider to see what visa policy applies to you.
Benefits & Challenges
Embarking on a high school program abroad in Madrid is a great way to earn academic credit, develop your Spanish, and experience the hustle and bustle of life in one of Europe’s greatest cities. Some aspects of the Spanish culture will certainly take some getting used to, such as afternoon siestas and dinners which often do not begin until later than 10 p.m. But ultimately adapting to life in Madrid will be a tremendous growth and learning experience for high school students from all over the world.