LITA: A Unique Approach to Language Immersion in Spain

LITA

About

LITA is a unique language immersion program offering students a comprehensive exploration of rural Spain, a dynamic experience far removed from English-speaking tourism. Through small, intimate groups of 12-14 students and two group leaders, extensive homestay experiences in small towns, internships, research projects, and other more rural adventures off the beaten path, LITA participants advance their language skills while acquiring a genuine understanding of the diverse nature of Spanish culture through a safe, structured, and personalized immersive experience.

The name LITA alludes to the philosophical foundation of our program: a Spanish word ending with the diminutive “ita” often denotes something that is small, personal, and is something or someone toward which one feels great affection. This informs all elements of our programs.

Founded
2010
Headquarters

1904 Meadowbrook Drive
Austin, TX 78703
United States

Summer 2019 Dates

For summer 2019, we will be running three groups; two sessions in northern Spain and one largely focused in southern Spain:

North Group 1: June 17th - July 23rd
South Group: June 24th - July 30th
North Group 2: July 1st - August 6th

Reviews

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

I’m Nadia
This summer I went to spain with LITA It was the most amazing experience of my life time and I learnt so much. Words can not express how much I love and support this program. On my trip we had the best teachers Olivia and ilan then helped me so much and we’re always looking out for our best interests and pushed us to speak in Spanish and it really helped me and the other students learn. We were always in groups which made us always feel safe. The 3 weeks with my host family was one of the best times of my life, my family was amazing and I am hoping to come back and see them, they are truly apart of my life. It was such a fun experience we had many laughs, jokes and good times and did so many exciting things like kayaking, hiking singing, dancing, , shopping, cooking and so much more. I highly recommend this program because it taught me so much and I made life long friendships and I can strongly say that I feel apart of this amazing famiLITA

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

I am a 15 year old boy in my sophomore year of high school and this past summer I went on the trip of a lifetime with LITA’s north program. Through LITA, you are truly able to connect with the Spanish culture and see both the rural heart of the country and the large cities. Because this program is very language-focused, my Spanish improved tremendously through the course of the six week program and I left the program speaking so much better than I ever could have imagined. The most influential part of the program is the three week homestay with a family and I loved my family and am going back to visit them soon. The program director does a great job of pairing students with families and after the three weeks, it feels as if you have a new Spanish family. The most important thing I got from this program was a rekindled interest in learning not only Spanish but about the world and different cultures. I can say this program was truly life changing and I highly recommend it to all students with a sense of adventure and a willingness to push themselves to learn more about the world.

What would you improve about this program?
This program is near perfect and the only way I could think of making it better would be to extend the duration of the homestay but that may be impossible because the program is only about five weeks long.
Default avatar
Ila
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went on the LITA South group trip this past summer 2018, and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I gained a new family through my host family that I lived with for three weeks and through my LITA group. My host family was amazing and treated me as another daughter. I gained two new siblings and another set of parents, and saw many new places and tried new things with them. It changed my life for the better. I always felt safe and cared for throughout the trip, and was extremely prepared before the trip, as the leaders and Jordan and Michela were always available to answer our questions. I hope to keep in touch with everyone involved with LITA. I learned SO much Spanish from this trip, and it has helped me a lot at school, as well! I hope that I continue to improve upon my new Spanish abilities, and I hope to see everyone and visit Spain again soon!

Default avatar
Karlton
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The amount of thought and care that Jordan and Michela put into the planning and execution of LITA summer programs is unparalleled in any other student program. From the stunning, rustic casa rural where we began our trip to the incredible home-stay families we lived with, the program perfectly balanced language immersion, cultural immersion, and fun. It was also amazing to see how quickly my Spanish improved as the trip went along. I remember being terrified to ask for ask for a cup of water without ice in Spanish while on the plane to Spain, but now I feel comfortable with my speaking ability enough to hold a conversation with anyone.

The connections I made with the people I met during the trip were unbelievable as well. One moment that I will remember for the rest of my life was the night of my birthday when I played a solo in a concert with my home stay brother's band. Its the moments like these that are so unique to a smaller program like LITA that has the ability to craft an experience unique to the interests of every group and student. I can honestly say that I couldn't have asked for a better experience in Spain.

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

LITA was by far one of the most amazing things I have ever done. I left Spain with a high level of confidence not only with my ability to speak Spanish but also with myself. I made a number of connections with people from different states and countries, and I still keep in touch with almost everyone I met. The friendships I made throughout this experience have made an incredible impact on my life, and I learned so much about myself through this experience. Not only was LITA a fun experience, but I also learned so much about Spanish culture through unique experiences like Flamenco demonstrations, cooking classes, and music demonstrations. One of my favorite parts of LITA was the homestay. Host families are picked specifically for each student, so I loved growing close and spending time with them. I would recommend LITA to any student who has a passion for learning, adventure, meeting new people, and the Spanish language.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

Alumni Interviews

Alumni interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Marlie Golden

Marlie Golden is a 16-year-old from Philadelphia who works hard in school, plays multiple sports, is has a very extroverted personality, and fights for social justice whenever possible.

female on costal cliff

Why did you choose this program?

In all honesty, my sister had done it the year before. It all sounded enchanting, and so I wanted to go and experience it myself. I was also looking to travel over the summer anyway, so this was an amazing opportunity to learn while having fun.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

My program providers, Jordan Romm and Michela Corcorran had everything organized down to the T before the trip. As applicants, we needed to fill out multiple surveys to see what family we should match with and what group we should be put with. Each student attending the trip was given a binder full of logistics and necessities in preparation for the trip.

During the home stay, since I took classes instead of doing an internship, I needed to plan ahead for the project I wanted to do. In this case I researched women's rights in the working world of Spain. The main things I organized consisted of a few interviews with different members of the town.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

This trip will give you everything you could ever hope for in terms of quickly advancing your Spanish skills if you give it everything as well. In the beginning of my trip, one of my monitors, Olivia who I am currently in touch with, told us, "There are those who will leave this trip and have had an amazing time, and then there are others who will leave this trip having had an amazing, life changing experience."

It really matters how much effort you are willing to commit towards bettering your Spanish. If you put in the work, and try your best to speak Spanish even in the moments when it's the last thing on Earth you want to do, you will return from Spain a different person.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

There are four different types of days/weeks you might have in this program. The first week will most likely consist of easy hikes, frequent group chats, amazing food, and the longest, yet most entertaining bus rides of your life. I can't even begin to explain how much fun my group had jamming out on the bus!

In the home stay, you will either have a class/internship day, or possibly a group outing. The group outing could be just the LITA students, or all of the families too, and will be filled with activities. A day with a class/internship consists of attending the class, eating a snack right before lunch, lunch, siesta, going to the pool or playing sports, dinner (at 9-10), and then going out with friends until late at night. We returned home most nights at 1:30 am which was hard to keep up with, but 100% worth the adventure-filled nights.

The Pyrenees are simple days. You wake up early, hike all day on very difficult terrain, and then find a "refugio" by around 6-8 pm where you eat and sleep. They are long, challenging days, but coming home from LITA I was so inspired by the hikes that I reached out to a hiking friend of mine and ended up going on a very nice hike!

In Barcelona the days are packed to the max with trips to the differing sections to interview the people, taste the food, take a dip in the Mediterranean sea, and shop a little.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I had two main fears. I feared my Spanish wouldn't be good enough and I wouldn't be able to communicate, and I feared I would not like my Spanish family.

I conquered the first fear quickly. The first week of the trip prepped me well. My group made a pact to try and speak Spanish all of the time, so by the time I met my host family, I felt more warmed up with the language. The leaders of my group also reassured us that it is better to talk and mess up, then to not communicate at all. Sure my Spanish wasn't perfect, but the people I communicated with always understood what I was trying to say.

As for my family, I couldn't have been happier. Jordan and Michela went above and beyond when pairing me with my family. I had two sisters, a mother, and a dad who was abroad that couldn't have taken better care of me. In fact, my Spanish sister and I grew so close I plan on having her come and stay with me this coming summer.

What was your favorite part of the trip?

This is a question I am often asked, and my response is always the same: the people. This experience encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and be as sociable as possible. I chatted with tour guides, bus drivers, our photographer Ester, random people on the street, my sister's friends, grandparents, cousins, anyone I could talk to in order to practice my Spanish.

It didn't feel like a task to practice my Spanish because the people I practiced with made it enjoyable. Even the people in my LITA group were some of the most interesting, kind-hearted people I have ever met. My two leaders, Ilan and Olivia are some of my favorite people I have ever met.

One of the hardest things I've had to do recently is say goodbye to the people in my Spanish town and the people in my LITA group. I have made bonds this summer that will last a lifetime, and hope that anyone fortunate enough experience LITA, chooses LITA.

Staff Interviews

Staff interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Jordan Romm

Job Title
Director
Jordan is the director of LITA. He taught Spanish at the middle and high school levels for several years prior to founding LITA. He is a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont and resides in Burlington (VT) with his wife, Kate, and his children, Miles, and Ayla.

What is your favorite travel memory?

LITA Director Jordan Romm

Several years ago, I spent a week with one of our groups toward the end of their program. They had just finished the homestay portion of the trip, as well as having just spent a few days in the mountains hiking.

The group arrived in Barcelona for the final stage of their trip. By that point in their program, they had spent four and a half weeks largely in rural areas of Spain and this was the first urban experience they had. It was the first evening that the group was in Barcelona and we were walking together toward a restaurant in the Gothic quarter.

I was speaking with a few of the students toward the back of the group, when one of them said to me in Spanish, “this feels so strange being here. I feel like we have been on our own, all by ourselves in Spain for the past four weeks. It’s so strange to see all of this tourism and hear English. I have barely heard English since we arrived, and this just feels weird.” I am not sure that the student realized it, but for me, this was a total affirmation of the goals of our program.

We focus our programs in rural areas that are more removed from English-speaking tourism specifically so students feel that sense of immersion, of being away from what is familiar and comfortable. This off-hand comment that this student made illustrated to me exactly why our programs are unique. I don’t think the student realized that her particular comment made such an impression on me, but it is something that has stayed with for a long time.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I was a teacher at an independent school here in Vermont for many years prior to establishing LITA. I loved teaching and the school was a wonderful community in which to work. I am fortunate to have been able to maintain strong connections with the faculty and alumni there. Leaving that position to focus on LITA full-time was a big decision for me; a leap of faith of sorts, and a big decision both personally and professionally. I had run several LITA type programs specifically for students from that school during the years that I was teaching.

Many of my favorite moments professionally during those years occurred on those programs in Spain, watching the students grow and seeing their Spanish skills take off in a true experiential learning context.

I realized during one of those early programs that what I most valued as an educator was being able to pair two of things that I loved most, Spain and my passion for the language with time spent with motivated and enthusiastic high school students. Since LITA was established, the lasting connections I have made with our students has been the biggest reward and has made my decision to leave the classroom one of the best decisions I have made in my life.

As an educator, I believe that I have evolved most by being witness to the growth and maturity of our student as a result of their time with LITA. I have learned so much from them about how to best design meaningful learning experiences. I have come to realize that learning occurs most fluidly when a student makes meaningful connections with a place, a language, and with their peers in an engaging, hands-on environment.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

There have been countless students over the years that have returned to visit their LITA host families during subsequent summers, but what is most rewarding is seeing how Spanish has become a true passion of so many of our alumni, many who go on to college with language goals in mind and incorporating their experience with LITA into their college level studies.

In the end, one of the true goals of our programs is not how much Spanish a student learns, but rather cultivating a love of the Spanish language and facilitating connections that last.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Spanish language programs by LITA

I think there are several unique curricular elements of our programs. Specifically, the fact that we focus our programs in more rural areas of Spain, in smaller pueblos, that are more removed from English-speaking tourism, is something that sets us apart from other programs. This allows our students to learn in a truly immersive environment and to forge lasting connections that sometimes can be a bit more challenging to create in larger cities.

I also love that we are a smaller program and that Michela (LITA’s Assistant Director) and I are truly able to get to know each of our students well, both during their application process and during the programs in the summer. Above all, however, I think that our students are what makes LITA so special. We attract such motivated and enthusiastic students each year. They are genuine, kind and academically curious students, who bring a true desire to learn to our programs.

Our programs cater to students who are truly interested in growing their Spanish in a total immersion environment, with like-minded teenagers who embrace the experience of learning outside of their comfort zone. Our students are amazing! And I also feel very privileged to work closely with my Assistant Director, Michela. She has been a wonderful partner for the past several years and brings boundless enthusiasm to our programs and our students’ experiences.

More Interviews