High School in Spain

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  • Overview

    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 a 1 or 2-month, trimester, semester or academic year program length
    • 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:

  • Program Dates

    Fall 2019 Dates

    Applications are now closed. Please apply for a 2020 start date.

    • Short Term Option (1-2 months): September 2019 – Oct/Nov 2019
    • Trimester: September 2019 – December 2019
    • Semester: September 2019 – January 2020
    • Academic Year: September 2019 – June 2020

    Exact dates will be provided closer to your start date!

    Spring 2020 Dates

    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

    • Short Term (1-2 months): January 9, 2020 – February 2, 2020 or March 2, 2020
    • Trimester: January 9, 2020 – April 2, 2020
    • Semester: February 4, 2020 – June 18, 2020

    Exact dates will be provided closer to your start date!

    Fall 2020 Dates

    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

    • Short Term Option (1-2 months): September 2020 – Oct/Nov 2020
    • Trimester: September 2020 – December 2020
    • Semester: September 2020 – January 2021
    • Academic Year: September 2020 – June 2021

    Exact dates will be provided closer to your start date!

    Can’t commit to going during the school year? Check out our 2-4 week Spanish summer language camp options in Costa Rica or Spain!

  • Costs and Inclusions

    • 1-Month Academic Program: $5,900
    • 2-Month Academic Program: $8,480
    • Academic Trimester: $12,260
    • Academic Semester: $12,470
    • Academic Year: $15,420

    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:

    • Roundtrip international airfare from New York City (JFK) to Madrid, Spain
    • Airport pickup upon arrival
    • Host family accommodation and 3 meals per day
    • Comprehensive medical/accident insurance
    • 2 Night Arrival Orientation
      • 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)
    • Letter of Recommendation upon request and successful completion of the program
    • 4 hours of private Spanish tutoring, option to extend for an additional fee
    • Access to Greenheart Travel Facebook groups to connect with alumni and others on your start date ahead of your program.
    • Greenheart Atlas Program 
    • Greenheart Travel T-shirt & Reusable “No Plastic Please” Canvas Tote Bag

    Our Support and Services: 

    • Visa Assistance in applying for the visa ahead of arrival, including visa paperwork and extensive directions and support.
    • Extensive pre-departure advice and support from Allison and Jess, your US-based program coordinators! They will be with you from your first inquiry, all the way through preparing to leave and your arrival in Spain.
    • Support and counseling services from in-country staff upon arrival to Spain.
    • Online pre-departure cultural and logistical orientation before you leave
    • 24-hour in-country and emergency support for the duration of the program, including 24-hour emergency phone numbers to reach a program manager at any time.
    • Opportunity to apply for a Greenheart Grant to give back to your community at home or abroad

    Payment Details:

    • $1,000 Application Deposit due by the program deadline to formally apply
    • $5,000 Commitment Deposit due after acceptance
    • Remaining balance is due on June 1st for fall departures and November 1st for spring departures.

    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 travelabroad@greenheart.org if you have questions about the program fee, scholarships, or fundraising for your program.

  • Orientation

    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.

    Example Itinerary:

    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.

    Greenheart spotting in Plaza Mayor!

    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!

    Orientation fun!

  • Academic Info

    What to know about attending a high school in Spain:

    • 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.

    Claire[5] (1)“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.

    Access your High School Curriculum Guidelines for Spain here!

    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.

    study in spainAll 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.

    “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

  • Eligibility

    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 14 and 17 years of age at the time of travel
    • 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 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!

  • Host Families

    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:

    • 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!

    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.

    A Greenheart Traveler bonding with his host family.

    A Greenheart Traveler spending time with his host family in Spain.

    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.

  • For Parents

    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:

    • Depression
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • Debilitating anxiety
    • Eating disorders

    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?

    Yes! Check out our blog or your child can join our exclusive teen programs Facebook group to talk to current and past students.

  • Why Greenheart Travel?

    Greenheart Travel has been working with high schoolers for many years, and there are advantages of applying for this program through us:

    • 33 years of experience with cultural exchange programs
    • Friendly, responsive, and professional support from your program manager, Allison.
    • Connect with alumni and others on the program via our Greenheart Travel only Facebook forums, before you even leave!
    • We try and make our program fees as inclusive as we can. We include things like medical insurance and flights so you don’t run into any hidden fees down the line.
    • Greenheart Atlas Program. The Greenheart Travel Atlas is a cultural training interactive guidebook alongside five videos where you will find three main topics covered: Personal/Professional Development, Cultural Understanding, & Environmental Awareness.
    • Our alumni recommend us! GoOverseas.com Reviews // GoAbroad.com Reviews
    • Hands-on support and personal attention every step of the way
    • 24/7 emergency phone number to reach a staff member at any time
    • Pre-departure “Culture Shock and Adjustment” Webinar before you leave
    • Discounts for future Greenheart Travel programs
    • We are a non-profit, mission-based organization
    • Continued support throughout your time abroad

    We also have some unique offerings to our Greenheart Travel students and alumni!

    Greenheart Grants

    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.

  • Application Process

    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.

    Required Documents

    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:

    • Letter of Recommendation (from a teacher, coach or guidance counselor) – does not need to be sealed, should be scanned and uploaded to the document portal
    • Transcripts from the last 3 years (unofficial transcripts accepted)
    • Student Dear Family Letter
    • Parent Questionnaire & Letter
    • Photo Album (5-7 photos of you on a Word document with captions in English and Spanish)
    • Medical Form (including immunizations)
    • Copy of your passport
    • 60-90 second self-introduction video in Spanish sent via YouTube link
    • Secondary rules & expectations document signed by both parents and students
    • Medical attention consent authorization
    • Photo of your Student ID or Driver’s license

    Additional documentation may be required as needed.

    Payments

    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.

    • Upon acceptance, you will receive a student handbook (parents – you get one, too!) and access to the Greenheart Travel Atlas, as well as the Greenheart Club.
    • You will receive your host family and school placement roughly 2-3 month after acceptance.
    • After receiving your host family and school placement, you will receive further instructions on applying for you student visa (if applicable for your program length)
    • We will also schedule an online pre-orientation with other Greenheart students a few weeks before your departure!
  • Schedule a Call

    Have questions or want to talk to one of the program coordinators? Set up a time to have a phone call below.


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