Ah, yes, Spain: the land of sunshine and siestas, fiestas and flamenco. It’s no wonder you’re trading in your summer gig at the pool for an adventure across the pond. Summer study abroad programs in Spain will light you up with newfound, fiery passions— not only live the Spanish lifestyle, but to also learn through a high-impact educational adventure. Take advantage of those precious months off and have a once-in-a-lifetime summer studying abroad in Spain. Tap into your inner Spanish explorer and set sail—er, take flight—to discover the country where music lies in its heart and soul and the history and art from your textbook comes to life.
Why Spend Summer Abroad in Spain
Summer study in Spain is a win-win: not only will you get to stay on top of coursework (or even get ahead in the game by earning additional credits), but you’ll be able to experience Spain’s culture when it’s muy caliente. Smaller class sizes + shorter time commitment is a recipe for success as a summer study abroad student in Spain. In your free time, you can try the chilled concoction of gazpacho and other delicacies, dance the night away, and relax on the beach in Spain’s sunshine.
With Spanish being the second most spoken language in the world (400-some odd million people!), you can immerse yourself in this language and practice, practice, practice. Beyond impressive español, the fact that you studied abroad in Spain will pop out on your resume and catch the eyes of future employers. You’re widening your horizons, gaining a deeper understanding of Spain’s culture, and interacting with people whose “norm” is very different than yours— it’s no surprise hiring you will be a “duh!”
The sweet concoction of holidays, festivals, and traditions experienced during Spain summer programs will jump start new (and might we add *VERY* exciting) chapters of your young life.
With its vastness of mountain ranges, coasts, cliffs, and coves that look like they inspired a Bob Ross painting, you can choose from a diverse array of landscapes to muse while sipping sangria and discussing schoolwork with your new amigos. Below are some popular hot-hot-hot summer study programs in Spain:
Barcelona. The second most populous city in Spain—located on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula and facing the Mediterranean Sea—will make students who are studying arts and sports giddy with delight. Take a tour through the immense stadium of Camp Nou where you can interact with galleries and breathe in the football (soccer) fun. Later, you can explore the twists and turns of the whimsical Gaudí’s Park Güell to see the mosaics of columns, roofs, and statues, which will remind you of a Willy Wonka wonderland.
Madrid. The heart of Spain may close some of its restaurants and bars in the summer, but this city is still the center for nightlife and culture where you can explore sights like Retiro Park and the Debod Temple. While here, you can meet your classmates at La Puerta del Sol, stroll and shop along the Gran Via, and gaze at hundreds of paintings in the air-conditioned Museo del Prado. Throughout the summer, you’ll experience the exuberant colors and diversity of this capital city with its summer music festivals and exhibitions, like Vida Festival and PhotoEspaña.
Seville. In this pedestrian-friendly college town in southwest Spain, your eyes will sparkle in delight from seeing the stunning architecture of the Renaissance and Gothic styles of palaces and cathedrals. After your day excursions strolling through and learning about the Alcázar of Seville, the Museo de Baile Flamenco, and the Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, you can relax with your classmates at a tapas bar and try some savory seafood. To cool off from the heat of the summer, you even take a trip on the Guadalquivir River.
Tips for Summer Study in Spain
Planning to study abroad in Spain in summer 2017 isn’t quite like other times of the year. In many of the summer study abroad programs, the courses include experiential learning, such as day trips and weekend excursions that are culturally enriching. Visiting Gaudí’s art and architecture, taking in the vastness of the Alhambra, or swooning to the Spanish guitar are all fair game (be sure to bring a camera and a travel journal to document your adventures!). Take special care to sit on a rooftop as the sun sets and sip on Mirinda to really feel the magic of a summer in Spain.
Most summer study abroad programs in Spain give you the opportunity to take a wide range of elective classes in English from arts to business to sciences or study Spanish abroad in the summer by taking language intensive classes. Spanish is the official language in Spain and generally Spaniards speak little English, so take advantage of learning to speak Spanish during your summer abroad.
While most ways to study abroad in Spain in the summer give you the option to live in an apartment/flat or in a dormitory, your short time in Spain will be enhanced by homestays. Not only will you have the opportunity to practice your Spanish in a comforting environment, your host family can offer you local knowledge and recommendations for places to visit nearby.
Spain’s weather is generally warm and dry in the summer, and because your time there is short, you won’t need to pack much! In big cities, Spaniards have an elevated standard for dresswear for religious sites where you’ll be taking class tours: cover your shoulders and wear dressier clothes. While flip flops may be your go-to pair of summertime kicks, Spaniards consider them to be indoor shoes— treat yo’ self by purchasing a pair of flats or sandals instead.
Accommodations and airfare tend to be higher in the peak of summer in Spain thanks to tourism, but don’t despair, scholarships are here! The cost of your summer abroad in Spain varies by program and the length of your duration, and you can minimize the amount of moolah you spend with summer abroad scholarships.
- The Boston University Scholarship accepts summer term applications on a rolling basis for those accepted into a Boston University Study Abroad Program. Awards are based on financial need and academic merit, and range from $500-$2000—cha ching!
- CEA offers a wide range of summer study abroad scholarships based on need, merit, and diversity. The scope of the majority of the scholarships fall between $500-$1000. While some scholarships are more competitive than others, you’re on your way to plumping up your piggy bank with a good GPA and penmanship.
A little goes a long way, right? Don’t be shy and ask your program coordinator what scholarships are available. A plethora of summer study abroad scholarships in Spain are available via GoAbroad’s Scholarship Directory, and be sure to apply early and customize each application for each scholarship.
Benefits & Challenges
By joining a Spain summer study abroad program, you’ll immerse yourself in the Spanish language from ordering tinto de verano from the locals to discussing class topics with your professors. As Europe’s statistically sunniest destination, Spain’s healthy dose of vitamin D (not to mention its widespread opportunities to understand regional politics, master the Spanish language, or witness the comeback of an economy) will complement your bright future.
While spending a summer studying abroad in Spain has more benefits than the number of pictures you’ll be taking here, you’ll have a couple of challenges worth noting. The tourists in Spain overflow in the summer, which appeals to pick-pocketers, so beware of petty theft happening; invest in a money belt to keep your valuables hidden. Stay vigilant and keep a close eye on your backpack in crowded areas, like public transportation and the beach.
You may experience some culture shock in Spain—the professors may arrive to class later than usual and some places close in the afternoons for siestas. Also, if you decide to visit a public beach (which you will, because #summer), you may see some—ahem—nudity, which is legal. Who knows? You might decide to flaunt what you’ve got too!
After spending a summer studying abroad in Spain, your Instagram will be filled with photos of a summer you’ll never forget. You’ll remember what you learned, however, because you lived and breathed it like a true Spanish explorer.