Study abroad in Spain and improve your Spanish skills while experiencing this beautiful country and vibrant culture.
Bienvenido a España!
Studying abroad in Spain with Greenheart Travel is an opportunity to learn how to speak fluent Spanish, while immersing yourself in a culture that holds a high regard for great conversation, food, and friends. As a high school abroad student you will live like a local while you study alongside your Spanish peers and stay with a native host family. Perfect your Spanish and stand out on college applications as an exchange student in Spain!
Program at a Glance:
See what our alumni Christina Boyce’s experience was like studying abroad in Spain:
Applications are now closed. Please apply for a 2020 start date.
Exact dates will be provided closer to your start date!
Apply Early and Save! $300 off Trimester and $500 off Semester/Year Early Application Discount for Spring 2020 Programs: Apply by May 30, 2019
Final Deadline to Apply: September 15th, 2019
Exact dates will be provided closer to your start date!
Apply Early and Save! $300 off Trimester and $500 off Semester/Year Early Application Discount for Fall 2020 Programs: Apply by December 6, 2019
Final Deadline to Apply: March 15th, 2020
Exact dates will be provided closer to your start date!
Destination guarantee available for an additional fee of $750 USD. The following locations can be guaranteed: Andalucía (Seville, Cadiz, and Granada), Aragón (Zaragoza) Asturias, Castilla la Mancha (Albacete), Castilla León (León, Valladolid, Soria, and Segovia), Extremadura (Cáceres, Badajoz), Madrid
Packaged into the Price:
Our Support and Services:
Worried about the program fee?
Our goal is to help make travel accessible to everyone and we are here to help when you are deciding if this experience is financially do-able. Each year we offer scholarships for high school study abroad students! We also have a guide to fundraising your program fee, and many high school students fundraise in their hometown ahead of their program.
We also offer discounts for applying early (plus there are many other benefits to applying early!) for each start date and for US families that have hosted an exchange student with Greenheart Exchange.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about the program fee, scholarships, or fundraising for your program.
All participants will get to participate in a 2-day orientation upon arrival, in Madrid. You’ll have the opportunity to meet many other new like-minded and adventurous students who have also just arrived! By the end, you’ll have new friends scattered around the entire country. Orientation includes important activities and classes on what to expect on your program, language, and local culture. The accommodation will be at a hotel in downtown Madrid.
Subject to change.
Tuesday – Welcome to Madrid! Plaza Mayor, Tapas, and Art!
On Tuesday you will arrive at the Madrid Airport and the High School Spain team will greet you there! Then the staff will bring you to the hotel you’ll be staying at in downtown Madrid. Up first – a tour of Plaza Mayor and Old Madrid! We’ll have lunch at a Spanish restaurant where you can try your first tapas! After lunch, we’ll go to the Prado museum, which is one of the most famous art museums in the world.
Before dinner we’ll take a walk through Parque Retiro (dinner won’t be until 8PM – welcome to Spain!) After dinner, we’ll head back to the hotel.
Wednesday – Orientation, Paella, and the Royal Palace!
After breakfast, we’ll start our day with orientation classes! We’ll cover things like expectations, Spanish culture, school life, host family etiquette, and more! After the orientation lectures, we’ll have a large paella lunch at a restaurant nearby.
After lunch, we’ll visit the Royal Palace, another top tourist destination in Madrid, followed by dinner and back to the hotel.
Thursday – Picasso, Mercado de San Miguel, and Finally – Placements!
Thursday morning we’ll head to the Reina Sofía Museum, which has modern art from artists like Picasso, Dali, and Miro. Afterward, we’ll have lunch at Mercado de San Miguel which has tons of stalls with different foods to try.
After lunch, we’ll head to the train or bus station where you’ll board your transportation to your new host city. Your host family will be waiting for you when you get there to meet you and welcome you! This is such a great part of the week as now the adventure really starts and all of the students will go to their new Spanish home with their new Spanish family!
What to know about attending a high school in Spain:
You will come back from Spain with a thorough understanding of Spanish culture and a level of fluency in the language that is impossible to obtain in the classroom at home.
“I just started classes here at Brown University, and I’ve decided to take a class called “Spanish for Health Care Workers.” In order to take this class, you have to take a placement exam. I was pretty nervous to take it considering there are a lot of native speakers and plenty of upper-level Spanish classes here, but I did really well! I know I would not have scored this high without my time in Spain.” – Greenheart Travel high school in Spain alumna, Claire Ryan
You should meet with your US high school before you leave and share the general curriculum guidelines of your host country with your guidance counselor and/or teachers. Please consult with them about the credits they will potentially grant you for the classes you take while abroad.
Because the curriculum will vary by country, it is important that you arrange required classes required for your graduation, such as U.S. History, before or after your time abroad. There are no guarantees that you can take certain classes at your host school.
Greenheart Travel will be able to provide information about the general curriculum for your age level in your host country; however, in most cases, you will not be able to sign up for specific courses until AFTER you have arrived in your host country.
Access your High School Curriculum Guidelines for Spain here!
Please keep in mind that the grading system in other countries is different than the US. Most host schools will not grant grades or transcripts as it is too difficult to evaluate your work due to the language barrier. If your host school is able to award you grades, they won’t be an exact match to what you would get in the US.
In your free time, you can play soccer, basketball, go swimming, and more! If athletics don’t interest you, you can participate in theater, music, and a wide variety of youth organizations and cultural activities. Getting involved is the best way to meet people and make friends.
Activities & Excursions
The Spanish sociability is legendary! As the phrase goes “viven en la calle.” Spaniards spend their free time out and about in the city, either at open-air markets, shopping, family visits, at soccer games, or out socializing. Spain offers you the opportunity to participate in many different activities.
The best way to learn about a new culture and language is to be fully immersed in it and what better way to do that than to stay with a local family. All Greenheart Travel high school abroad participants live with a carefully screened, local host family and are provided with 2-3 meals per day.
“My first week was full of so many new foods, people, places, and customs. Everyone is so welcoming and friendly, and really patient with my Spanish.” High School in Spain alumni, Lauren Dutton
In researching a study abroad program, you have already shown you are a leader and open-minded in your academic pursuits. These are just a few of the traits that our exchange students possess. You’re motivated to immerse yourself in another culture and flexible enough to live outside your comfort zone. You should also:
Interested in gaining Spanish fluency before you go? Check out our Teen Summer Language Camp in Salamanca!
*What does it mean to be in good mental health?
Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to the most well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on a long term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of High School Abroad candidates
Every day in Spain will be a culinary journey!
Check out Greenheart Travel student alumni, Olivia Lisle’s experience with Spanish cuisine during her program.
Spaniards eat a Mediterranean diet. Said to be one of the healthiest diets in the world, it includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, fish, meat, and, of course, olive oil.
Most families try to eat lunch or dinner together. Around 1:00PM most people leave work to head home for their lunch break and an afternoon siesta or nap.
Lunch is the largest meal of the day as most businesses close around 8:00 PM and the dinnertime is anywhere from 9:00 PM to midnight!
The best way to learn about a new culture and language is to be fully immersed in it which is why all Greenheart Travel high school abroad students live with local host families. All of our host families are volunteers and will treat you as a member of their family. By being a part of your family’s daily life, you will learn to live and speak like a local.
Prospective host families undergo a rigorous screening process. Participants can rest assured that only suitable host families will be selected. In fact, many of our current host families have hosted students in the past, showing what an impactful experience it was.
In order to qualify as a host family, the prospective hosts must:
We will connect you with your host family prior to your arrival in your host country. By e-mailing and speaking with them before arriving, it will help break the ice when you finally meet in person. It will also show that you are as excited to live with them as they are to host you!
Host families have many reasons why they want to welcome you! Our host families are volunteers, meaning they don’t receive compensation for housing and feeding students during their program. Many host families love the experience of cultural exchange – they learn just as much about your country as you do theirs. Many are also former exchange students and want to return the favor, or they have children who have gone or will go to study in the U.S. Having an exchange student exposes their children to new languages and cultures.
Can I choose where I will be placed with my host family?
No. You can choose your destination country, but you must be flexible about where you are placed within that country. We make it a priority to place students with host families that closely match your interests and personality. For this reason, we work first to find a suitable family rather than a destination preference. We can never guarantee placements in any specific city or region, and we match based on compatibility with the host family.
I know a family in my program country that would like to host me. Is this possible?
This is possible as long as we have a support network in the family’s host community and there is an available nearby host school.
Will I be placed in a city?
No. It is very unlikely you will be placed in a city. A majority of our families live in small to medium sized towns outside of major cities, and it is important you be open-minded to small town life.
Will I have a host sibling my age?
There is no guarantee that you will have a host sibling your age. Your host family may have young children, teenage children, or grown children who no longer live at home. Regardless of the age of your host siblings, they’ll be excited to welcome into the family!
What if I don’t like my host family? Can I request a new one?
No. We do not change host families based on preferences or location. However, if issues arise once you are on the program, we will handle them on a case-by-case basis and may make changes if necessary.
The decision to send your teenager abroad can be difficult and there are a lot of questions to consider. We understand your concerns and the Greenheart Travel staff is there for you every step of the way! For us, it is important that parents be involved in the decision from day one.
We want to make the process of studying abroad as fun and painless as possible for you and your child, while also ensuring that it is a successful and life-changing adventure!
Below are some of the common questions we get from parents as they consider our study abroad program:
What does it mean to be in good mental health?
Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to a well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on a long-term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of all high school abroad applicants.
Therefore, we may not be able to accept students who have struggled with any kind of mental illness within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition.
These include, but are not limited to:
If the student’s mental health issue has been managed (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will ask for a note from his/her relevant practitioner (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc) as part of the application process.
What kind of assistance will my child receive while abroad?
There is a strong network of people working together to ensure your child’s time abroad is successful. This includes the Greenheart Travel program manager in the U.S., the natural parents, the local coordinator abroad in country, the host school, and the host family. Immediate assistance will be provided by the local coordinator and/or host family according to a robust chain of communication, explained prior to departure.
Do you offer any scholarships, financial aid, or special discounts?
Yes. Every year we offer various scholarships for select high school program destinations. There are two Early Bird Deadline discounts offered each year as well. See our Program Dates for more information. If you have hosted a student for Greenheart Exchange, you are also eligible for a Greenheart Host Family discount.
My child’s school requires service learning in order to graduate. How will they do that abroad?
Greenheart Travel is proud to offer the Greenheart Club for all of our students. The Greenheart Club challenges our participants to pursue a deeper level of immersion through volunteerism. As a member of the Greenheart Club, your child will receive guidance in strategizing creative ways to give back to their community, have access to tools for tracking their impact and receive incentives for their efforts as a global leader. This is a great chance for your child to get to know the local community outside of the classroom while they study abroad.
Can friends study abroad together?
Our programs are based on a full, cultural immersion experience so friends are not allowed to study abroad together in the same host town. Don’t worry though; making friends in the new host country will happen quickly!
Can my child come home to visit or can we visit them while abroad?
No. Visits are not allowed during the high school program. If your family wishes to visit, you should plan to meet your child after your program is completed. In this instance, Greenheart Travel’s National office and international partner office should be informed of your family’s plans.
Does my child need to be fluent in another language?
No. One of the main goals of studying abroad is to become fluent in another language while living overseas. The host family and school will not expect your child to be fluent when they first arrive and will help them improve their language skills. As long as your child tries their best, they’ll pick up the language sooner than you might think!
Can my child take the SATs while abroad?
Your child will not be able to take the SATs while abroad. We highly recommend taking the SATs prior to or after the program.
My child has already graduated, are they still eligible?
On a case by case basis, we can accept graduated students for Argentina, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
Can we speak to current high school students or alumni?
Greenheart Travel has been working with high schoolers for many years, and there are advantages of applying for this program through us:
We also have some unique offerings to our Greenheart Travel students and alumni!
Greenheart Grants are funds awarded to Greenheart Travel participants to use for community development projects in their host or home country. A Greenheart Grant is the opportunity to create, improve, or maintain an impactful, community-focused project abroad or at home. Grant funds could be applied to supporting women’s cooperatives, schools, community centers, or health clinics, for example. Grant winners will be featured on our website, social media, and blog. You can see our past winners on our blog here.
Greenheart Alumni Program
We created the Greenheart Travel Alumni Program to provide resources and a community to support alumni in their advancement as global leaders, and a way to celebrate and reward our participants for being ambitious, inspiring catalysts of cultural exchange!
Junior Greenheart Global Leaders Conference
Each May Greenheart offers full-ride scholarships to around 10 teen alumni to attend our annual conference in Chicago. You can see more about what Jr. GGLC is and what you could do at the conference here.
Committing to studying abroad can feel daunting, but we are here every step of the way to make the application process as simple as possible! Below are the various steps you’ll need to take to be accepted on a high school abroad program.
1. Start Your Application Here: Greenheart Travel Application. Once the initial form is complete, you will be connected to a High School Abroad program manager who will speak with you and a parent to go over the details of the program.
2. Sign the Terms & Conditions (Approximately 10 Minutes): After you complete Part 1 of your application, you and one parent will be asked to read through and sign our Terms and Conditions which outline the requirements and policies of the program.
3. Submit your deposit (Approximately 5 minutes): Next, you will submit your $1,000 non-refundable deposit which reserves your spot on the program and is subtracted from your total program fee.
4. Skype Interview (Approximately 30-45 Minutes): After submitting your deposit, you will schedule an interview with Allison. During this interview, Allison will ask you questions about living with a host family, adjusting to new situations and homesickness, among other things. She will also explain the overview of the next few months and what you can expect. This is done via Skype, and at least one parent should also be in attendance. If you do not have Skype, please download it before the interview.
5. Secondary Application Form (Approximately 30 Minutes): This part of the application process will help us get to know you and assess the best match for your host family abroad. You will need to provide detailed information about yourself, why you want to study abroad, and what you hope to gain from your experience. You can do this prior to the Skype interview should you wish.
5. Second Parent to Sign the Terms & Conditions (Approximately 5 minutes): Your other parent will be asked to read through and sign our Terms and Conditions which outline the requirements and policies of the program.
6. Submitting Your Documents: You will also be required to submit documents (outlined below). You can be collecting the documents during the application process, but all documents will be due 14 days after you submit your deposit.
Once you’ve completed all the steps, Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 2-3 weeks about your acceptance. Then, you’ll get more information about preparation, visas, and placement.
In addition to completing an application, you will also be required to submit documents. You can be collecting the documents during the application process, but all documents will be due 14 days after you submit your deposit.
The following documents will be required for all destinations:
Additional documentation may be required as needed.
For payments, a $1,000 non-refundable deposit will be due with your submitted application. This is a deposit, not an application fee, and will be deducted from your overall program cost. If your application is submitted after the deadline, the deposit will be $2,000.
Once you are accepted onto the program, a $5,000 commitment deposit will be due within 7 days of acceptance. Remaining balance is due on June 1st for fall departures and November 1st for spring departures.
You’ve Been Accepted, Now What?
Start getting ready for your adventure! Your program manager will be in regular communication with you to make sure that you are on track in your preparations to go abroad.
Have questions or want to talk to one of the program coordinators? Set up a time to have a phone call below.
Picture yourself in Spain!