AFS High School Study Abroad Program in Spain
94% Rating
(7 Reviews)

AFS High School Study Abroad Program in Spain

Semester & Year: Adopt the life of a Spaniard by spending a semester living with a host family and attending a high school amidst this rich blend of cultures. Take on regional pride like you never have before, based on which area you are placed in. No matter where you live, the landscape will be varied and beautiful; in some areas, the climate changes so rapidly that you can practically ski down a mountain directly onto the beach.

Summer language: This four-week program in Malaga, Spain is designed to provide an intensive Spanish language learning experience through both formal study and first-hand cultural experience. You will have the unique opportunity to grow close with students from around the world by living together on a high school campus. The school has to main buildings: a new one and an elder one, named to be “Best monument of minor Art of Malaga City” and designed by the architect Casto Fernández Shaw. All parts of the ancient architectural buildings are reproductions of the Gothic Style, incl. the big chapel within the residence. The program includes 80 hours of Spanish language classes (4 hours per day, 5 days per week). Classes take place on campus, and are taught professional language teachers. Beginner Spanish speakers are welcome. Your Spanish-speaking ability will be evaluated at the beginning of the program to ensure that your own classes are suited to your needs as much as possible.

Summer global prep: This summer, join the AFS Group Program in Spain for a two-week international culture program. This exciting excursion will introduce you to some of the highlights of Spanish culture. With tentative visits to Madrid, Seville, Granada, and Málaga's Costa del Sol in the works, there's something for everyone. You will have the opportunity to stay with a host family while in Spain. By spending time with your family in the evenings and on weekends, you will have the opportunity to further improve your language learning and learn about local cultures. This immersion offers a unique way to skyrocket your learning by placing it in immediate context. Your learning will not be limited to books, but rather will be a part of every aspect of your life throughout your 2 weeks in Spain.

Europe » Spain
Program Categories
3-6 Months
6-12 Months
Academic Year
Host Family
Starting Price

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Program Reviews (7)

Default avatar
23 years old
Santa Rosa, CA
Saint Louis University

Experience of a Lifetime


I went abroad with AFS in 2010-2011 when I was 16 years old. Today, I'm 21 and every single day I still use the skills that I learned on the program. I ended up returning to school for college in my host country and with the language skills I obtained, was able to travel and work in other Spanish speaking countries. I'm still in regular contact with my host family and friends and have even become a volunteer for the program because I believe so much in the quality and value of the experience they offer. More than anything it inspired in me a thirst for exploring new cultures and made be capable of surviving and adapting to any environment and situation.

How can this program be improved?

Better communication between the various country's branches: The program is not run exactly the same in each country (logically), so what you're told in orientation typically is what is offered in your home country and not necessarily how things are done in your host country. It's not a real issue except that it is better to be aware of before the fact so that students arrive with the correct expectations.

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23 years old
Boulder, CO
Case Western Reserve University

AFS Spain High School Study Abroad


I studied abroad in order to be who I felt I was. To expand, my first few years of high school were rough; I was continuously boxed into playing a person and a role that I didn't identify with by the people I had grown up around. I was ready to break out and grow into a different person, but I could not do so by remaining in my home environment. So, instead, I left and went to study in Spain. Getting off the plane, I was instantly whisked away to orientation, where I was placed with a group of teenagers who were all just as scared and nervous as I was. Never before had I felt so comfortable. Other exchange students are some of the closest and easiest friends you could ever imagine to make - they are the only ones who fully understand and identify with the struggle of being immersed in a brand new culture, and that allows a connection that is both instant and intimate. Being in a new environment allowed me to act as the person I saw myself becoming, and the struggles that come with studying abroad and learning a new language built me into that person. My year with AFS, as a result, was the most formative of my life, and, no matter where you are, I highly recommend partaking in a study abroad experience.

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20 years old
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts
Mount Holyoke College

Finding a new home


The cliché that study abroad is not a year in a life, but a life in a year holds so much truth. Between school work and family and friends and weekend travels my life in Spain was so exhaustingly wonderful. I was welcomed and loved by mere strangers. Like that time I didn't have exact change for the last bus fare back to my host family town. A complete stranger so me struggling and completely saved me that night. Or when 20 of us exchange students were waiting in a bus station and this old lady taught us tongue twisters. And all of those strangers on the street who took our pictures. I love all of my memories from Spain.
To begin with, AFS had the history and the reputation that encouraged my parents to let their 16 year old travel thousands of miles away for 10 months. AFS was there every step of the way with monthly orientation meetings where everything from homesickness to family troubles was discussed. The real reason I loved the orientations was the other exchange students. To be able to talk and make connections with people who understand exactly what you're going through is invaluable.
Take the leap. Becoming comfortable with uncertainty and saying yes will change everything. And AFS volunteers who have studied abroad themselves understand what it's like and they care so much.
I wouldn't trade the friendships, family, and new home I found while abroad for anything.

How can this program be improved?

Coming back from Spain was a difficult adjustment and I wish there had been more structured support upon return to the U.S. Although I was prepared for reverse culture shock during the last couple AFS orientations in Spain, I think more support upon return would have helped me adjust back to my life.

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19 years old
Salinas, CA

My Year in Spain


Without a doubt, my study abroad in Spain was the most transformational experience I have ever had the privilege of having. It is something that I want to share with everyone and I wish everyone could have the experience I did. Staying with a host family, learning about a new culture, speaking in a new language, and creating life-long friendships with people my age from around the world was an incredible experience. The food in Spain is amazing as well so that always helps. Overall, I would encourage anyone considering studying abroad to go to Spain because it is a beautiful country with awesome culture.

How can this program be improved?

The communication between the organization and myself could have been more organized.

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17 years old
Menlo Park, California

Incredible Learning Experience


I participated in this program the summer after my freshman year of high school, which was a rather difficult time for me; I was shy and hesitant to try new things. My time in Spain increased my self-confidence and global awareness exponentially. I was pushed beyond my comfort zone and discovered a new side of both myself and the world through my immersion in the Spanish language and culture.

How can this program be improved?

This program was a wonderful educational experience, and very enjoyable as well. However in my opinion, we students were perhaps given too many freedoms. Granted, Spanish culture is vastly different from the environment I was raised in, and I personally never found myself in an uncomfortable situation while participating in this program. With this said, the likelihood of such a situation was increased by the slightly irresponsible staff.

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San Diego State University

A Life in a Year


It has been three years since my year long study abroad program in Spain with AFS, and I still notice the different ways it has affected my life. Three years later I am still in contact with my host family and friends while I Spain. Three years later I am still tapping in to everything I learned about myself and the world around me. This is not to say my year was perfect. I struggled just as every exchange student does. What separates those who had a successful year abroad and those who did not enjoy most of their time abroad is how they dealt with those hardship. Mine was finding friends. This is not to say people weren't friendly to me, but in the beginning I never felt connected to my class. The downside was that I was with them all day long at school. My solution was making friends in the grade below me, and not only were they younger than me, but they were also my host sister's friends. I know there is the stereotype is that Spaniards are extremely friendly, and they are. However, in my experience, I could not get passed the "acquaintance" stage of friendship. I worked on that the whole year and I was finally successful in finding true friends.

How can this program be improved?

AFS has liaisons for all the students, which is a great idea. The only thing I would say is that they don't really have the power to do anything. If a student is having a hard time, the most that the majority of the liaisons can do is talk to the student, listen to them, and give advice. This is sometimes sufficient, but other times it isn't and that can be really frustrating for the students who are legitimately having problems.

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19 years old
Riverside California

My year in Asturias


My name is Caterina Amici, and I spent my junior year in Spain. I was the only exchange student placed in Asturias, so I didn't have the same experience as most of my friends had. Upon arriving in Spain I was a very shy and introverted person, but by the end I became more confident in myself. I had a lot of challenges during my year. Some being: the language(if you do not think it is important to take some classes before leaving...think again), the attention I got at school (I hadn't thought about getting put on the spot ALL the time), sharing a room, and eating so late (the Spanish eat very very late). My family was the best thing about my whole year. I love them to death and will always have a close relationship with my 3 siblings and my mother and father. My friends will also always hold a special place in my heart. It was the best year of my life, and I don't even think my first year of college will top it. If I were to give a future AFS student advice, it would be this, your year is what you make of it. It can be very difficult at times being so far away and all, but you cannot think about that stuff too much. Be open to the experience, and enjoy the time you have there. SUERTE (GOOD-LUCK)

How can this program be improved?

I would have liked to have more AFS events without all the pressure of the orientations. Also I think it would have been very beneficial for AFS to have found some sort of tutor for me while I was there to help with the language, homework, and studying.

About The Provider


AFS-USA (formerly the American Field Service), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a leader in intercultural learning and offers international exchange programs in more than 40 countries around the world through independent, nonprofit AFS Organizations, each with a network of volunteers, a professionally staffed office, and