YFU High School Study Abroad Program in Spain

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About

With YFU's study abroad program, you'll take classes alongside Spanish students at a local high school. As you adjust to daily life in Spain, you'll appreciate regional specialties in cuisine and art. You might also live in an area which has its own regional language and have the opportunity to learn that language as well as the unique community that its speakers have. Spain has art, architecture, food, landscapes, and people who will make you love your home away from home.

Family is an important aspect of Spanish culture. It is common to spend time visiting extended family on the weekends and gathering to share a meal together. From tapas to paella, Spanish food offers something delicious for everyone to try!

Don't just take it from us - see for yourself all that the cultural mosaic of Spain has to offer.

Highlights
  • Hike along the Camino de Santiago with an optional excursion during the year-long program
  • Explore Santander, Spain during the summer program and you will have the chance to see an optional bullfight and participate in flamenco dancing

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

6 Rating
based on 2 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 50%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 50%
  • Growth 6
  • Support 5.5
  • Fun 7.5
  • Housing 7
  • Safety 6
Showing 1 - 2 of 2
Default avatar
Plamena
2/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Don't go abroad with YFU

I spent a year with YFU in Spain. They are a total mess. They charge exorbitant amount of fees and then do not deliver on any of their promises. The host family's background check was sketchy - to put it mildly (according to YFU the host mom lying about her age and birth date was OK and "met the local background check requirements"). They failed to mediate when I had issues with the host family, failed to inform my parents about the issues, and then simply ordered me to pack my stuff within 48 hrs and move to a new city!

The only person I could contact was the local rep - despite their claims that they provide 24/7 support.

When I contacted my parents and they talked to YFU in Washington DC they not only did not help resolve the situation, did not apologize, but insisted they had done everything they were supposed to do.

Response from Youth For Understanding (YFU)

YFU does, indeed, provide 24/7 emergency support for our students and it is, in fact, one of the things we pride ourselves on. The key word here is “emergency”, and if the situation is discovered to not be a true emergency and the student is currently safe with their host family, the situation will be addressed the following business day.

There are some situations like the one in this review that requires our students to change homes, especially when both the host family and the student discover that it is no longer a good fit. Sometimes there are situations that cannot be resolved between the student and family through mediation and a move is made as soon as possible. We want our students and host families to have the best year they can, and sometimes a move is required for that goal to be achieved.

Background checks vary from country to country, but YFU offices across the globe follow background checks established by the local authorities. What we consider to be a background check here in the USA may be a bit different than what an official in Spain considers it to be. However, each family is interviewed in person prior to placement and each student is assigned a local volunteer to monitor and mentor them during their time on exchange.

As for the fees, we have done a lot of work these last few years to lower our tuition costs. Fees include domestic and international airfare, health insurance, 24/7 emergency support, orientations, finding a host family (that’s a good fit) and enrollment in school.

Default avatar
Lauren
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Most Memorable Summer

I can truthfully say that my YFU exchange was the most life-changing experience I've had in my entire life. The summer before my junior year of high school, I decided to push my limits and live in Spain for a month and a half. Even though I'd never been fond of sleep-away summer camps or had even been away from home for more than 5 days prior to my exchange, I knew that living in Spain for the summer would be an opportunity I couldn't miss. I was also encouraged to go on intercultural exchange by my father, who had completed the exact same program when he was my age. Even though I initially had many doubts on whether or not I'd be able to live by myself in a different country for so long, I was eager to try.
For me, the scariest part of the entire program was the 10 minutes leading up to meeting my host family. What if they didn't like me? What if they spoke too fast and I couldn't communicate? I can still vividly remember the thoughts of panic that shot through my mind. I would be picked up at the train station in Madrid, along with a couple of other American students from California and Chicago. We bonded over our mutual concerns, but I soon discovered that I'd really never had anything to be worried about. My host father picked me up at the train station and instantly gave me a big hug. From the first moment of ever meeting him, I felt like a welcome guest and member of the family. Later that day, I met my host mother, brother, sister, and their two dogs. My host parents treated me like a third daughter, and I was immediately accepted as an additional sibling to my host brother and sister. They were kind and patient as I struggled to better understand Spanish, and I could tell that they really cared about me.
Throughout my exchange, I learned to be more adaptable, independent, and better at problem solving. My experience taught me how to deal with challenges and better face the real world after high school. However, even while I was on my own with my host family, I still felt taken care of by YFU. I periodically spoke to my assigned representative to confirm that my experience was nothing but positive. YFU honestly thought of everything, from pre-departure orientations to an incredible support network. I can't even begin to explain how thankful I am for the opportunity YFU gave me to live in Spain, and I hope that many more students can experience intercultural exchange, too!!

What would you improve about this program?
To be completely honest, my only suggestion would be to make the program longer!!