API Gap Year in Spain

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API offers study abroad programs for those who want to take their gap year in Spain in five different locations (Barcelona, Granada, Madrid, Salamanca, and Seville), spanning the country regionally, culturally, and linguistically. Most locations offer courses in Spanish in a variety of disciplines such as Hispanic and cultural studies, business, and communications. Spanish courses are taught at all levels, from the beginning to the bilingual level. Internships (for credit and not for credit) are available in Salamanca and Seville.

If you are coming to Spain for the first time, be warned: this is a country that fast becomes an addiction. You’ll be hooked by the celebration of some local fiesta, or the amazing nightlife in Madrid, by the Moorish monuments of Andalucía, by Basque cooking or the wild landscapes and birds of prey of Extremadura. And by then, of course, you will have noticed that there is not just one Spain but many. Spend your gap year abroad in Spain with API!

Aspire by API is now known simply as API. API (Academic Programs International) has been the parent company of Aspire by API since 2009, and API has sent thousands of students abroad since 1997. Our name has changed, but our mission will remain the same. We still aim to transform lives by providing enriching experiential programs abroad that foster increased self-knowledge, cultural sensitivity and understanding of the global nature of our contemporary world.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Salamanca, Spain

Daily Schedule: My roommate and I would wake up to coffee provided by my host mother. Then 9am class until about 1:30 (that was about 4 classes in a row) then straight home to have lunch at 2pm with the host family. The city is relatively small so it was easy to get around. I walked everywhere. After lunch we would have a siesta (or break) and then at around 5pm go outside for some daytime exploring, coffee shops, hanging out with friends, homework--general daily life things. By 9pm we arrived home to dinner. Then there were always nighttime activities to be had with friends.

Salamanca is an absolutely beautiful city. It is a college city, and there are lots of people from all over the world. It was really easy for me to meet people and make friends, but be wary that if you don't put yourself out there, you'll spend your entire semester hanging out with Americans. The accent that is used in Salamanca is very easy to understand, and if you use it as often as you can, you will absolutely improve.
In my time there, I made the mistake of keeping to my American friends for the majority of my time there. Once I finally began hanging out with Spanish friends I picked up the language so quickly, and began having all sorts of Spanish adventures. I am still very very good friends with both my host family, and my international friends from my abroad trip almost 4 years ago.

Salamanca is a relatively safe city. There are very few cases that I heard of pickpocketing, mugging, or violence. I walked home alone very often, and I very rarely felt that I was in any real danger. It is a city; however, and I heard stories, although nothing ever happened to me directly.

I had a very wonderful host family experience. I chose to live with a roommate (also an American), and she and I became quick sisters. We had a very great relationship with our mother and her children (when they came home--they were moved out by then). My Spanish mother was exactly that--a mother. She was strict, but very loving. By the end of our time together, we had a very close relationship. My roommate and I are still dear friends, and we still send letters to her and the family, as well as visit as often as we can.

Lastly, the API program directors were absolutely amazing wonderful women. Every single staff person that I ever met or talked to in the program was so helpful and kind. The directors in Salamanca walked us through everything we could possibly need to know for the program and the city. They were willing and able to help us out of any problems that we encountered (class scheduling, sickness, homesickness, traveling, host families etc.). Likewise, they were so approachable and really cared about each student.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish that the program had had a better way of setting people up with internships, or tutoring in English. I would have really loved to have been able to have something else to do with my time in the afternoon after class. I originally went with API because there was a possibility that I would have been able to find an internship. But upon arriving, it didn't end up being a reality.