Spanish Study Abroad

Back to Programs

A Guide to Spanish Language Programs Abroad

If you’re interested in perfecting a foreign language that you can use in over 31 countries, Spanish is a language that you’ll want to learn! Studies show that the best way to learn a language is through complete immersion, and it sure helps to be in an incredible location! If Spanish language acquisition is more important to you than gaining college credit, taking an intensive Spanish course abroad could be an affordable and focused way to quickly improve your language skills while having the free time to explore a new part of the world. On the other hand, Spanish study abroad programs are a great option for students interested in college credit too.


Great news: there are over one hundred location options for Spanish study abroad! This may seem a bit overwhelming though, so we’ve broken it down for you with some popular places to study Spanish abroad, specifically in Central America, South America, and Europe.

Mexico has hundreds of Spanish language programs in some very unique cities. Guanajuato and Oaxaca are popular destinations for learning Spanish in México, and neither city is as overwhelming or touristy as Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta, or Playa del Carmen. Mexico’s Spanish language programs even occasionally offer volunteer options and extracurricular activities, like soccer, conservation projects, or trips to ancient ruins. Did we forget to mention the food?! Mexico has some of the best cuisine and street food in the world.

If you’re looking to learn a very pure form of Spanish with minimal slang, Spanish programs in Guatemala would be a great choice. The natural beauty of this country is easily accessible from just about everywhere, not to mention this Central American country has active volcanoes, rainforest, Mayan ruins, and incredible sea snorkeling. Antigua is the most popular city to study Spanish in Guatemala, but you’ll also want to check out Xela as well as programs in the small towns surrounding Lake Atitlan. The Caribbean coast has much more to offer than just playa and turquoise sea.

In Colombia, individuals can choose from a variety of Spanish language courses in Barranquilla, which happens to host the famous Carnival festival in February! Whether you study Spanish in Colombia near the sea or in the Andes mountains, it is very easy and affordable to travel from town to town and get to know the country’s landscape and unique cities. Colombia also has a rich history of artists and writers; make sure to read some Gabriel Garcia Marquez novels prior to your trip!

Spain is one of the most popular destinations for Spanish language programs abroad, but it can be more expensive than its Latin American counterparts. If you’re interested in a completely immersive Spanish language experience, choose a less touristy town to learn Spanish abroad in, such as Salamanca, Burgos, Malaga, or Extremadura. Spain’s great transportation system makes it easy to get to the big, famous cities like Madrid and Barcelona so you can still get your fill of Gaudi and El Prado!

Spanish Language Programs Abroad

Spanish language programs span from basic language courses to robust cultural immersion programs, which may even include volunteer or internship components. If you are serious about Spanish language acquisition, it is best to choose a program that is longer than four weeks. Most classes provider 16-25 hours of Spanish courses per week, with both group and individual options. Be realistic about how much Español you’ll pick up during your Spanish studies abroad; the longer you stay, the more you’ll learn. The more you put yourself in situations where you have to speak Spanish, the better!

Summer immersion programs are the most popular type of Spanish programs abroad, as they work well with regular school schedules. If you choose to study Spanish abroad during the academic year, you can expect to be surrounded by far less international students, since it tends to be a slower time of the year. 

Spanish learners will usually have the option to choose from credit-bearing language courses at a university alongside other international students or classes at Spanish language schools, where classmates will come from all ages and backgrounds. Spanish language programs that include college credit and a transcript will always be more expensive, but if you are already a university student, it will be well worth it! Program costs will also vary with program support level; if you are interested in on-site 24/7 emergency support, airport pickup, cultural activities, and accommodation, expect the price tag to be at least double that of a bare bones program that only includes coursework.

Intensive Spanish language courses typically have four main components: oral comprehension, listening, reading, and writing. If your main objective is to have conversations with local Spanish speakers and you don’t care as much about writing, choose a Spanish language program that focuses on conversation and find a language intercambio friend!

Tips for Gaining Spanish Fluency

Let’s be real. Learning a language is not easy; it takes most people years to feel comfortable understanding and speaking a new language. Luckily, English and Spanish share many common words, or cognates, so some words will already be familiar to you!

If you’re starting from scratch, it is recommended to take a minimum of eight weeks of Spanish language courses if you want to leave feeling like you will retain some of what you learned. If you already have an intermediate level of Spanish prior to studying Spanish abroad, four weeks to three months could be your ticket to getting to the next level of proficiency. Before you choose a Spanish language program abroad, make sure to go over your goals and understand what you want to get out of the program. In-country immersive language programs are best for those seeking accelerated speaking and listening comprehension skills. 

The absolute most important thing to remember is that YOU are the one that will have the most impact on your language acquisition. If you choose to put yourself in situations where you will be speaking and listening to Spanish, you’ll learn much faster. Stay with a homestay, attend cultural events like plays, go to concerts in Spanish, and speak with vendors at the market. Avoid only hanging out with native English speakers or you’ll risk falling into the trap of going to another country only to speak English all the time. If you choose to travel in your host country or region, download some Spanish music or podcasts to listen to while you travel. You’ll be dreaming in Spanish sooner than you think!

Benefits & Challenges

There are incredible advantages to being multi-lingual: it can help you get a job in your preferred career, communicate with people from all over the world, and expand your mind in exciting ways!

Studying Spanish abroad will expedite your language learning capabilities through immersion that you simply cannot get in your home country. By studying through an all-inclusive Spanish program abroad, you’ll also be able to supplement your studies with enriching cultural and historical activities which give you a more well-rounded experience and understanding of your host country.

There are certain cultural norms that are typical of Spanish-speaking countries. Business will almost always move a lot slower than what you are used to, the waitstaff may take their time before they serve you, or you may be late for a meeting because public transportations rarely arrives on time. These experiences can be frustrating at times but they can also be a great excuse to strike up conversation with the local next to you and to practice your Spanish language skills!

Learning Spanish abroad will help you gain skills that will stay with you through life. Spanish is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world and the intercultural communication skills that you’ll learn from living in another country will give you an advantage in the workplace, interpersonal relationships, and future adventures abroad!

Read More

written by:

A Guide To
Spanish Language Programs Abroad


 Find Spanish Language Courses Abroad


This listing has been saved 7 times

Intensive Spanish classes in Costa Rica from $199.00

Learn Spanish in a national refuge on the Pacific Ocean in Nosara. Our intensive Spanish programs are designed to teach practical Spanish skills in a safe, modern and comfortable environment. We also offer homestay options, sport and cultural activities and much more. Come see why National Geographic and The New York Times rate Nosara as one of the top travel and surf destinations in the world.


Learn Spanish in Spain

Considering learning Spanish in Spain? Let us help you find the perfect Language School! Go! Go! España partners with the best Language Schools all over Spain. All our schools are accredited by the Cervantes Institute (a Worldwide Organization created by the Spanish government). Our support service is 100% FREE with no hidden costs. We can also guide you through the Student Visa Applicati...


This listing has been saved 5 times

Adult Spanish Immersion Program

Tico Lingo's Spanish immersion programs encompass its philosophy to give students linguistic fluency through cultural immersion. The program includes four hours of language instruction per day, with homestay accommodation in the home of a Tico Lingo Homestay family. The program also includes yoga classes to calm the mind after a long day of Spanish classes. Students are encouraged to play aroun...


This listing has been saved 50 times

Native Spanish Program—Costa Rica | Guatemala | Peru

Live and study in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Maximo Nivel offers the most intensive and professional Spanish immersion program in Latin America. Our Native Spanish Program emphasizes oral communication and integrated skills development to help you really build your Spanish language proficiency - this is a great immersion experience. Our native-speaking Spanish teachers are highly q...


This listing has been saved 4 times

Semester in Ecuador (Quito)

Live in Quito, the highest capital in the world, while studying with international students at a prestigious private university. Your host city Quito sits 9,000 feet above sea level and is a high-altitude haven for all things fun. On Semester in Ecuador, you’ll take in its markets, cultural sights, and gorgeous colonial architecture. Nearby, mountains, beaches, jungles, and crater lakes beckon ...


This listing has been saved 3 times

Standard Spanish in Cadiz, Spain

Welcome to our Spanish language school in Spain! At K2 INTERNACIONAL we srtive to give our students the best possible experience when coming to Cadiz to study Spanish. Our highly trained and motivated teachers and staff are eager and willing to help the students to get the most out of their stay here with us. Culture, and top quality Spanish classes make us the only choice when deciding on wher...


Language School Cuzco: Amigos Spanish School

Participate in Spanish language study or cultural activity programs with Eurocentres in Cusco, Peru. The school provides a professional yet friendly experience which also helps educate local young people through charitable work. Students are given the option to take dance classes or traditional Peruvian cooking classes and take Real City Tours where they can explore the charming city and its co...


This listing has been saved 3 times

Medical Spanish in Guatemala

The Medical Spanish program is an intensive language program for intermediate level spanish students. Topics covered will include taking health histories, medical vocabulary, and cultural training. Students will put the topics covered in class to practical use by spending time in community health projects. Projects may include working with government public health posts, educating the public a...


This listing has been saved 7 times

Spanish Language Courses in Valencia with Euroace

Our goal is to offer our students a complete cultural immersion allowing them to really improve their Spanish language skills during our courses! Our flexible choice of programs includes various levels, class sizes and topic areas. We believe learning Spanish is an individual process! Therefore we do our utmost to facilitate each of our students’ personal development and provide them with a c...


This listing has been saved 6 times

Spanish Immersion for Adults - Samara Beach & Heredia City

Learn Spanish at one or both of our two unique locations – Samara Beach Campus and/ or Heredia City Campus. We offer you the opportunity to experience Costa Rica from two very different perspectives and provides total immersion in the Spanish language and culture. Each campus and region has a distinctive character, way of life and charm. You can choose from: STANDARD GROUP IMMERSION C...

Save - A life changing experience in Spain

Do you want to study Spanish in Spain, but you don’t know where to start? has trips and courses available for all proficiency levels and various durations. If you want to explore the architecture in Spain, the tapas culture or just focus on learning Spanish we can help you. Our trips are powered by Go! Go! España which specializes in Living and Studying in Spain. We ...


This listing has been saved 7 times

Mente Argentina: Ultra Intensive Spanish Program

The Mente Argentina Ultra Intensive Spanish Program is designed for participants to learn Spanish quickly while experiencing the enigmatic city of Buenos Aires. Spanish classes are taught in an innovative and creative way by integrating class course work with cultural activities and excursions. Any level of Spanish speaker, beginner, intermediate, or advanced, are welcomed to partake in thi...


This listing has been saved 2 times

Study Spanish in Bilbao, Spain

Our Institute: Our fully accredited language training center is located in one of the most interesting areas of Spain. Educational programs provide a unique combination of in-class work and outside activities. We are not only a 'School for Spanish', we are an 'Institute for Languages and Cross-Cultural Training'. The Institute is located in the very heart of the financial city center. From our...


This listing has been saved 6 times

Teen Language Camp in Salamanca, Spain with Greenheart

Learn and improve your Spanish through full language and cultural immersion on Greenheart Travel’s summer language camp program, in Salamanca, Spain! Our 1 - 6 week program welcomes teen students of all skills, including beginners! Live with a Spanish host family and make international friends from around the world, all while learning about the country and culture of Spain. Program-at-a-Glanc...


This listing has been saved 3 times

Intensive Spanish Course in Sevilla, Spain

Plenty of destinations offer Spanish courses. But if you wish to add language learning with cultural immersion and fun-filled activities, study with Sevilla Language Center. Our location in the capital of Spain’s Andalusia region promises a plethora of things to do, from watching a flamenco show to visiting Christopher Columbus’s tomb in Seville Cathedral. Attend our Intensive Spanish Course...