SPI High School Spanish Immersion & Cultural Leadership in Spain

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from SPI Study Abroad.
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Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, SPI Study Abroad has decided to pause some of their upcoming programs temporarily and may be offering flexible booking options as well. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

Video and Photos

A photo from on top of El Monte Igueldo.
My roommate Lucy and I on top of a castle in Segovia.
Gelato from one of the many great places to get gelato in the city.

About

SPI Study Abroad's two Spanish immersion programs in Santander and San Sebastian gives high school students the opportunity to live with caring homestay families, attend Spanish language and culture class for college credit, participate in a variety of fun activities, and travel to some of the country’s most amazing sites!

About San Sebastian
San Sebastian, or Donostia, is an enchanting coastal city located in the lush rolling hills of northern Spain's Guipuzkoa province. Over the years, the city’s pristine beaches, scenic landscapes, world-famous cuisine and annual events have made it an increasingly popular destination for both family vacation and study abroad.

About Santander
As SPI's longest running immersion program since 1996, Santander has maintained its popularity as an ideal location for high school students seeking an authentic study abroad experience. Located along Spain's breathtaking northern coastline with the Picos de Europa mountain range as its backdrop.

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

Each SPI program has an interactive language course component taught by certified native speakers that hold advanced degrees in teaching foreign students. Students are broken up by skill level (beginner through AP/IB) and classes are held 3-4 hours per day. The language courses focus on developing communication skills by simulating real-life situations through interactive class activities that...

Even if you know Spanish, there is so much more to gain from studying abroad. For example, you can experience a new culture, make lifelong friends and connections, and experience new things. Moreover, even if you are fluent, you will definitely learn new words and phrases that are specific to a different country, which can really improve your vocabulary. I would definitely recommend still going...

So I only studied in San Sebastián which means I can only speak to that, but it was an incredible experience. There's always something to do no matter what time of day or night and the food is incredible. There are three different beaches that you can walk or run along all day. I felt very safe the entire time and loved all of the people in the city!

I think it is good for you no matter what. Knowing the language well helps a lot, but if you just know the basics you will still be fine. Not everyone was advanced, yet they still improved a lot. It's a wonderful experience.

Reviews

9.76 Rating
based on 29 reviews
  • Growth 9.2
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.6
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 8 of 29
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Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Summer Of My Life

San Sebastian is truly one of the most beautiful spots in Spain. I went on this trip to Spain with high hopes. Each and every one of those was met. My friend and I were placed with an older women. She was extremely sweet and we looked up to her as a grandmother. We had a few bumps in the road like hot water availablility, but our directors and SPI handled it quickly. The classes taught me so much and the activities helped us to use Spanish in fun settings. I made friends from all over the US and world and now have a grandmother in San Sebastian who I plan to visit again soon.
It was really an incredible and eye-opening experience. I got to improve my spanish-speaking skills while having tons of fun and being in a once-in-a-lifetime environment.

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing. We had the perfect balance of free time and scheduled classes and activities. Loved everything about this
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Deborah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience in San Sebastian

We were looking for a Spanish Immersion program for our son and found the SPI site via a Google search. After vetting the program on line, calling the office and asking many questions about the program, safety, travel oversight, host family background, and looking everywhere to make sure this program was legitimate and would take good care of our son, he was signed up. BEST program and staff. From the minute he was enrolled, the emails came with information - security protocol, videos of the various airports and their immigration process, language prep suggestions for the kids, roommate and host family information, day to day itinerary, etc.. Our son had an amazing experience. From the minute he was met at the local airport, he was at ease. He enjoyed meeting the other kids, loved his host family, the excursions (especially to Biarritz), the free time to explore San Sebastian, and gaining proficiency in Spanish which has definitely helped him in his Spanish 4 class this year. He still starts many sentences with " when I was in Spain...."

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Brianna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Summer Trip To San Sebastián

My summer trip to San Sebastián, Spain was one of the greatest things I've ever experienced. The city itself is small enough where one doesn't get lost, but at the same time big enough where you never run out of things to do. Another thing I loved about this trip is the interactions with the local spanish people. Whenever I'd walk into a store or restaurant, I was greeted in spanish and forced to use my spanish in real world experiences. Now, I am much better and listening, understanding, and speaking the language more than I would have ever imagined. Lastly, the experience was one of a lifetime. On the two week trip, I met tons of amazing people from all around the world and overall fell in love with the culture and country. Everyday I yearn to go back and live it all over again and highly recommend this program for any high school student hoping to be awed by their world.

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Phoebe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SPI, I Found The Overall Experience Immensely Rewarding

Initially hesitant, my friend and I stepped off the plane and out of the airport in Madrid, and then traveled to San Sebastian, not exactly sure what to expect, it took my friend and I a little time to adjust. Being the only students in the program at that time who were neither American citizens nor studying in America, the experience was initially a little overwhelming. After all, being fairly well-traveled students, living in Africa, and attending a widely diverse International School, it was a little overwhelming to, for once in a long time, feel like a foreigner. However, in hindsight this feels a little silly, because, despite our natural quietness, and after awkward first interactions melted away, the positive encouragement and friendliness we encountered was very warm and comforting. I even recall being rather suitably dubbed as 'Las timidas', or 'Las tranquilas'! Even though we took a little while to get settled, I found the overall experience immensely rewarding. A mile or so from the beach, and within a fair walking distance of some of the main plazas, he location was utterly stunning and buzzing with life and vibrancy. The classes both interactive and entertaining, there was a healthy balance between attending the school and exploring the culturally rich cities. The experience was a wonderful and utterly raw immersion into the heart of San Sebastian. Seize every opportunity you have to explore this wonderful location, and dive head first into the fusion of lessons and culture.

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Grace
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience In San Sebastián

My experience in San Sebastián was better than I could have ever imagined. My host family was really sweet and helped me improve my Spanish speaking skills. My teachers at Lacunza Language school were phenomenal and truly made coming to school fun. My favorite experience was going to Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. We had the ability to experience a cultural traditional and truly be involved in it. My time abroad introduced me to lifelong friends and increased my confidence and independence away from home.

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Jacqueline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I Spent In Spain Were Some Of The Best Days Of My Life.

The two and a half weeks I spent in Spain were some of the best days of my life. In my opinion, the most impactful part of this program was how you didn't feel like a tourist or outsider but instead a part of the community. In most immersion programs you still feel like an outsider, but after a few days I felt connected to the town. I believe the freedom in the afternoons and evenings was a large part of this because it forces you to figure the dialect, people, and town out. I also enjoyed the provided activities because they helped you embrace all parts of the town. I would highly recommend going if you have the chance too, it will change your life.

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Annie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-changing In A Good Way

Honestly, going into the program I had extremely high expectations because I had found the program a year before going and was mentally preparing and building up the experience of the entire year. It seemed almost impossible for the program to meet my expectations, but it did and went even further. Two days in I was hysterically texting my moms how thankful I was for them letting me go on the program. I always had something to be doing, and I made close life-long friends. My roommate and I used to joke that SPI had psychic abilities because of how amazing we were as a pair. We became best friends very quickly and loved spending time together, we complemented each other perfectly. As for housing and safety, our homestay was perfect, the woman had a daughter our age who we became incredibly close with. We speak many nights sitting and talking, all in Spanish, and she taught us how to cook many Spanish dishes! As for safety, it was my first time out of my origin country and I was really nervous but the program took such good care of me that I forgot my worries the second I met the staff in the airport. Besides being a safe town, San Sebástian is gorgeous and has so many things to do like climb the mountains, go to the beach or get food in La Parte Vieja. All in all, I recommend this program strongly because I loved it so much I'm going back next year for double the time!

What would you improve about this program?
There were some unforseen housing issues but they were very rare but the staff handled it very well, if only a bit delayed response.
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Amber
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It was amazing!

I absolutely love it in Spain! I loved SPI, I loved my homestay, I loved everything about my trip. There was nothing at all that I would want to improve about my trip because everything was already perfect. I can not wait until I get to go back to Spain. I've already told my parents that I would take them back to where I stayed and show them everything that I learned because I'm so excited that I got to go there. I want to tell everyone about it!

What would you improve about this program?
I honestly don't know that I would improve anything! I absolutely loved the program and the people. But if there was anything that I would want to improve it would be the plane rides. Me and many others in my group had never been on a plane before, much less traveled that far. The programs directors were amazing but I wish they would've prepared first time travelers just a little bit more.