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 as a part of 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

Reviews

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

LITA: two incredible, unforgettable summers

I was a student in LITA’s North program in 2017 after my freshman year of high school and also on the South program in 2019 after my junior year of high school. Having done the program twice, I can honestly say that LITA is a wonderful, fully engaging, indescribable experience and I got a tremendous amount out of it.

I had traveled significantly before having come to LITA but this program changed my perspective on what it means to be a traveler as opposed to a tourist in a foreign country. This program is truly unique compared to other programs in that the only country of focus is Spain. Upon being accepted to the program, I immediately saw that program director Jordan Romm was deeply involved in the process of creating the program and had a strong passion for Spain, its history, culture and people. He was able to place me in an internship that capitalized on my interests and challenged my language ability both summers. Throughout the programs, I truly felt like a participant in Spanish culture and felt welcomed by everyone along the way, which made me want to further immerse myself in the language and culture. LITA emphasizes that the immersion is the prerogative of the student, meaning each student has control over how much Spanish they speak and how much they interact with the Spanish people they meet along the way.

I also have met one of my best friends through these trips and we ended up at the same college together. I am now a second year in college and am pursuing a Spanish major. I will forever be grateful to LITA for the confidence in my Spanish ability the program gave me as well as the many connections and friendships I made along the way.

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

LITA — Summer of a Lifetime

When I think back to the summer I spent with LITA, I am reminded of the deep relationships I built with my homestay family and fellow LITA students, the incredible hidden parts of Spain I got to visit, and the enduring confidence LITA gave me in my Spanish.

Relationships: To this day I am still in contact with my host family. We exchange Christmas cards each year and Skype every once and a while to catch up on what is going on in our lives. During my time in my homestay town, my three host siblings, all younger, played a critical role in making me feel welcomed and in improving my Spanish. When I first arrived, my youngest host brother had built my name out of Lego’s and had drawn me a welcome sign. From then on, I grew close to all three of them as they taught me traditional games, let me in on family jokes, and took me to the library to find books of local refrains so I would understand what they were saying.

Parts of Spain: The two other summer immersion programs I completed prior to LITA did not include travel as a part of their programming. My experiences in Galicia, País Vasco, Los Pirineos, and Catalunya are experiences I will treasure for the rest of my life. They gave me a deep understanding of the diversity that Spain has to offer, and have served me well in providing context for literature I have read in my collegiate Spanish classes. LITA’s activities dive deep into the culture of Spain, ensuring students have experiences beyond just what tourists come to see.

Confidence: I came into LITA already a fairly proficient Spanish speaker, but my time with the program left me with confidence in my Spanish that still exists today. I opted to participate in an internship, working at a summer camp for kids during my stay in Castilla y León and my internship taught me to have the confidence to speak up even if I wasn’t sure what I was saying was correct. LITA is unique, too, in that I spoke only Spanish with the other students on the program. In other programs I participated in, I would switch between Spanish and English frequently, but with LITA, even when program leaders were not around I kept speaking Spanish. The consistency of speaking Spanish and the open community reinforced how much more important speaking up is than speaking correctly.

I can not recommend LITA enough. Jordan and the rest of his team do an absolutely FANTASTIC job of leading students in Spain. I cherish and will continue to cherish all of the memories I made during my favorite summer for the rest of my life. If you are considering traveling to Spain for a summer, you would be missing out if you didn’t choose LITA!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most unfamiliar thing I ate was percebes or goose-neck barnacles at a restaurant on the north coast. They were salty and rich, almost like a savory gummy bear. At first, I was skeptical that I would like them, but after a few, I was convinced!
Default avatar
Olivia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Genuinely The Best Summer of My Life

When I was looking for a Spanish Immersion program, I felt as though I was sifting through different versions of the same reviews and programs. Personally, it was difficult for me to choose the program I thought would be a perfect pick. If I could go back and make the decision over again, I would choose LITA every time.
Allow me to take you through my experience from start to finish. Upon signing up for the program, Jordan, the heart and soul of the program, reached out to my family on multiple occasions for FaceTime calls. Here, he got to know me: my interests, my knowledge of the Spanish language, my personality, and so on. This level of care and attention, one that far exceeded all of my expectations, is characteristic of all of the staff with LITA.
Jordan and his team worked to get me an internship at a bakery in my host town after I shared my passion for baking and my desire to meet with people in the community. The internship provided me with experiences and connections beyond what I could have imagined. Similarly, my host family quickly became a second family to me. I was welcomed with open arms. I quickly became integrated into their large network of cousins, grandparents, family friends, and so on. To this day, I remain in contact with the entire family. This branches from snapchatting my host sister, to whatsapping my host mother, to getting calls from my host grandmother on any, and every, occassion. I had plans to go back and visit, but, unfortunately, the pandemic has made that difficult.
Now, potential students may still be apprehensive - what if they don't have a host family as welcoming as mine? What if their experiences with an internship is not similar to mine? That is when the other, equally shiney, bright, stars of the LITA program come in to play. LITA is a unique program as it does not focus on the touristy parts of the country. LITA takes you to all of the hidden gems of the country. They take you to places that tourists do not go. You get the chance to connect with locals and to truly immerse yourself in the culture and love that is present in Spain. Getting my Spain experience through these types of towns and cities made my time radically different than if I were to have stayed in Barcelona or Madrid, and I would not have wanted it any other way.
LITA truly is the best program of its kind. I could not reccomend it highly enough and, if given the opportunity to relive it, I would go back to day one in a heart beat. There are so many fantastic aspects of the program that I have not touched on, the connection you make with the other kids in the program, THE FOOD, the personal growth and maturity you see in yourself, the monitors, the beauty of the country, and so on. Basically, you have been lucky enough to stumble upon the gem of a program that is LITA. Do yourself a favor, and stop your search. LITA is it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers on this program is do not get overwhelmed in the first week. Lean in to the discomfort you may be feeling. You are operating in a foreign language and culture. You are surrounded by strangers. It may be scary and it may make you feel like "oh no, what have I gotten myself into?" Don't worry. Everyone is scared. Be kind to yourself and have grace and find peace with the fact that you are learning. Leaning into the experience will leave you with friendships that will last you a lifetime and a familiarity with the Spanish language unlike what you could have imagined.
Default avatar
Jack
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

LITA: The Best Spanish Immersion Trip Possible

As a half-Cuban growing up on the West Coast in a primarily English speaking household, I had felt distant from Spanish speaking culture my whole life. My father spoke little Spanish to me growing up, but with my reluctance to learn at a young age, it never stuck with me. It wasn't until I was in high school when I felt a desire to really connect and learn the language of my family's culture. The director of LITA, Jordan, visited my high school Spanish class one day, and gave a presentation on what the program of LITA was, and their mission to not only introduce students to authentic, culturally rich parts of Spain, but to also facilitate an environment of independence and complete immersion in Spanish language. I was immediately excited, and that very day went home and made arrangements to go during the summer.

I am confident in saying that it was easily the best summer of my life. Right off the bat, our group, even before going to our host families, immediately stuck to the rule of exclusively using Spanish. Everyone understood that the program was all about getting out of it what you put into it. During that first week, we visited breathtaking parts of Western and Northern Spain, trying new foods, exploring unique towns and buildings, and bonding with each other. It was a perfect introduction, and set us up for the transition to staying in a small pueblo with our host families.

Without a doubt, my homestay was easily the highlight of the trip. I had two host brothers, both slightly younger than me, and two host parents. They were extremely kind and welcoming to me, a nervous high schooler anxious about living in a new family environment for nearly a month. However, by the very next day, I had completely settled in with the family, and started closely bonding with my host brothers especially. Within days, I could feel my Spanish improving at a staggering rate, fueled by my desire to better communicate with those around me, and really fit in. Before I knew it, I was exploring the pueblo with my host brother and his entire friend group, almost feeling like I had been living there for years. Together, we had amazing times chilling at the pool, playing poker at night, and visiting the summer pueblo festivals hosted every year. I even got close to some bull running that is hosted locally. To say the least, my time with the family was one of the most memorable and cherished memories of my entire life.

In addition to my homestay with the family, I also was working near daily at a local artisanal food shop, becoming friends with the guys who owned the business. They sold various local meats, bread, cheeses and more than you could ever imagine. Everyday they would teach me about the intricacies of different products, and I learned a lot from that. I interacted with the customers, who started recognizing me even outside the shop, as the pueblo was very small. All in all, my time at the shop was amazingly enriching, and taught me a lot about customer service, Spanish vocabulary for food and the workplace, and much more.

Overall, I cannot praise this program enough. When I eventually said my goodbyes I returned to the States with a heavy heart, but a cherished memory. Not only had I bonded deeply with a new community of people and a new style of life I had never before experienced, but I also came home with the confidence that I could now speak with my father and the rest of my family in the language I had always wanted to, and I only have Jordan, and his program LITA to thank for it. I hope my review inspires anyone who reads this to give this program a try, you will never regret it.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Most certainly lengua de vaca, or cow tongue. The shop I worked at sold extremely high quality lengua, and while I am an extremely ambitious eater, I was hesitant at first. However, it was simply an amazing meat, rich in flavor and with a great texture. In fact, right after trying that, my daily lunch there became a sandwich with tomato paste, olive oil and plenty of lengua, give it a try!
Default avatar
David
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

David's LITA Review

I've had the privilege of participating in four international summer camps, and I can say that LITA was, without question, the best in all senses. The program is perfectly structured so that students can quickly develop strong and close relationships—with the Spanish language, with Castilian culture, and with other other people.

1. I learned more Spanish in five weeks with LITA than in five years of classroom education. English was a rarity throughout the course, and I was constantly asked to step up, converse, and stretch my Spanish ability. I now have conversational Spanish abilities, and the difference it's made returning to America is staggering. I feel like a different person, and I've been able to talk with so many more people and take so many more opportunities thanks to Spanish.

2. I now feel a warm connection with Spanish culture; thanks to LITA's numerous tours of museums, castles, and the Spanish countryside, the distinctive three-week homestay, and the utter immersion of the experience, I feel like Spain is a second home. I still miss it today—late-night talks with my host family, seeing traditional folk concerts, extravagant lunches with extended relatives, and, of course, siesta.

3. Finally, the connections I made with the members of the program were some of the strongest I've ever made. LITA's small groups meant that it was possible to make quick friends, and that it was possible to speak out and be heard by the whole collective. Our assemblage of a dozen teenagers was filled with so amazing students fully-committed to the process of helping each other learn Spanish. I would say that the quality of the students was unparalleled and unmatched, except that this would be a lie. It's rare to meet one group of such amazing people, but with LITA I had the privilege of meeting two—the students, and the massive support network. I still text my host parents regularly, who showed me love and attention throughout an intensive and immersive month. All of the tour guides we worked with were excited, passionate, expert Spanish-speakers, and masters of their specific craft—singing, cooking, photography, etc. I miss the banter and rapport of our two group leaders, who helped bridge the gap between Spain and America and kept our group cohesive. And, of course, LITA director Jordan Romm showed immense generosity and kindness before, during, and after the program.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Jump in. LITA is an immersion program; be willing to immerse yourself. Part of what made the program spectacular was everyone's willingness to commit to Spanish, to immersion, and to five weeks spent together. The time truly flew by for me.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

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

These 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.