High School in Spain
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:
- Host family accommodation provides full language & cultural immersion
- 2 years of Spanish language experience is required
- You can choose between trimester, semester or academic year lengths
- Start dates in the spring or fall
- Straightforward online application process
See what our alumni Christina Boyce’s experience was like studying abroad in Spain:
Dates subject to change
Dates: September – June
Application Deadline: June 7th
Dates: September – December
Application Deadline: June 7th
Dates: September – January
Application Deadline: June 7th
Dates: January – April
Application Deadline:Oct. 15
$300 Early Application Discount: Apply by June 24
Dates: February – June
Application Deadline: Oct. 15
$500 Early Application Discount: Apply by June 24
Students are usually placed in public high schools in Spain, with academic start dates ranging from early to mid-September and ending in late May or late June. Classes typically run Monday through Friday.
Most students are placed in the Social Studies track with required subjects including: History, Language & Literature, English, Catholic Religion or Ethics. As an exchange student, you will take three other compulsory subjects and will also take an elective subject.
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
Before You Go Abroad
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.
Once You’re Abroad
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 alumna, Lauren Dutton
Academic Trimester: $10,090
Academic Semester: $11,700
Academic Year: $14,800
Prices subject to change
Destination guarantee available for additional fee
- Roundtrip international airfare from JFK to Madrid
- Host family accommodations and 3 meals per day
- Medical/Accident insurance
- Support and counseling services from in-country staff
- 24-hour emergency support
- Pre-departure Orientation and Preparation
- Cultural Pre-departure Orientation (via Skype)
- General Pre-departure Orientation (in-person or via Skype)
- 2 Night Arrival Orientation
- Greeting and Transfer from Airport to Orientation Site
- Accommodation at Orientation Site
- Traditional Spanish Meals
- Orientation workshops (covering school life, host family life, Spanish culture, etc).
- Cultural Tours of Madrid (museums, palaces, plazas, cathedrals, etc)
- Personal assistance from a Greenheart Travel program manager
- Potential opportunity for formal language exchange
- Opportunities to volunteer in your host community
- Letter of Recommendation upon request and successful completion of the program
- 4 hours of private Spanish tutoring
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:
- Be between 15 and 18 years of age
- Be from the United States or Canada
- Possess a high school cumulative GPA of at least 2.75/4.0
- Be in great mental* and physical health
- Have a genuine interest in becoming a part of your host family and community
- Have at least 2 years of Spanish language instruction
- 5 hours per week of English language exchange with host family
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/Teen summer Language Camp) candidates. Learn more in our FAQs section.
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.
As a Greenheart Travel exchange student, you will be placed in Extremadura, the autonomous community north of Andalusia bordering Portugal. The majority of Spaniards, who live in cities and large towns, live in apartments (pisos). In many of the smaller towns and villages people live in houses.
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:
- Successfully pass a criminal background check
- Undergo and pass an in-person interview with program staff
- Agree to and pass a home inspection
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!
Everyday in Spain will be a culinary journey! 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!
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 that 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! You can learn more about our values and the services we provide to you and your child here.
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 cannot 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:
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Debilitating anxiety
- Eating disorders
If the student’s mental health issue has been resolved (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 Discounts and Deadlines section for more information. If you have hosted a student for CCI Greenheart, 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?
You child will not be able to take the SAT’s while abroad. We highly recommend taking the SAT’s 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?