Sol Abroad

Sol Abroad

About

Sol Abroad is an affordable high school study abroad, Gap Year and Spanish immersion program for students 14 - 18 years of age. There are programs offered during the summer and semester. Sol students live with local homestays, take Spanish classes weekday mornings, participate on weekend excursions and afternoon cultural activities and have the opportunity to perform community service hours. Sol Abroad programs are for all students who have a desire to learn about Spanish language and culture! With Sol Abroad you will cultivate relationships, gain language skills, and produce memories to last a lifetime!

Founded
2005
Headquarters

503 Oakland Ave.
Austin, TX 78703
United States

Time to make summer plans!

Sol Abroad is accepting applications already for summer 2020. All new dates and prices have been published. Sign up today!

Reviews

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Caelyn
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This program was so amazing and I really enjoyed it. I met so many amazing people and friends from all over the country and all the cultural activities were so much fun. From cooking paella to trips to the beach in Malaga to touring the Alhambra, the coordinators really planned fun events almost every day. There is also a lot of free time to go out and explore the city on your own. Staying with my host family was such a great experience and I felt my Spanish really improved. The meals were all traditional Spanish style meals (which was great), and you also have options to go out and eat if you would prefer. There’s a ton to do in Granada and the Arabic part of the city really gives it its own unique style with lots of great markets and souvenir shops. I would totally recommend for any high schooler looking for an amazing summer experience!

What would you improve about this program?
I would most likely change the length of the school day at the University of Granada. I barely learned any grammar from the classes and they were four hours long which was quite draining. They are not sufficient if you want to skip a level upon your return.
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Chloe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I loved this program. Not only did I meet new people that I still talk to everyday, but I got to see the beautiful culture and land that Spain has to offer. Getting to see a new part of the world and comparing to America was a very unique experience. I gained confidence with speaking in Spanish and I learned lots of new things like pronunciation, something I wouldn’t be learning at home. The food was something that was very different and interesting to experience. Their culture is very different from ours and being able to enjoy traditional dishes was an amazing experience. All of the fun activities I was able to experience was my favorite part of the program. Seeing all the historical buildings and getting to learn the history behind them was a very memorable opportunity. I am so grateful I attended this program and would do it again.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Having to speak to my host family without my roommate there.
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Katrina
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had a great experience. I got lucky and had two roommates who I really liked, and we got very close. We had a ton of free time each day to explore the city of Granada. We were all there for a month, and were able to make friends with other people in the program. Our host family gave us freedom to go out for meals, but were also willing to provide every meal for us. I did not get as much Spanish practice as I would have liked, but if I had interacted with my host family more, that would have been improved. I enjoyed the cultural activities (we took a trip to Madrid which was a great time), but often our program leaders didn't give us a ton of information about the sites. The best experiences were the times we spent exploring, or going out.

What would you improve about this program?
More informative tours, more get to know you activities.
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Carly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Upon arriving in Oaxaca it was nerve-racking to leave, and embarking on a new foreign experience. I was blessed to meet up with my roommate at the Fortworth airport in Dallas and we immediately bonded over our nervousness, unsure what the next 3 weeks had in store for us. My roommate and I were dropped at first, to our host families' house, they were so sweet and welcoming. Every day our house mom cooked us some of the most delicious homemade meals I'd ever had. We'd also been lucky to be in walking distance of the school as well as the city. Many days after school we'd meet up with others to walk the streets and explore. The excursions were fun but also helpful in developing our comprehension, listening, speaking of Spanish, and our immersion of the culture. Priscila, the director of the group, always goes out of her way to help the group and made sure everything went smoothly. The friendships made with the other solmates also made the trip/experience one to never forget...

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take advantage of your free time! Do a little research, and you'd be surprised of the little nooks and crannies of cute places that the city holds.
Read my full story
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Katlyn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The independence and welcoming community makes this trip well worth the money! The opportunity to see most of Costa Rica, from the Jungle to the beach. Ticos are very welcoming and nice. They will do anything they can to make your trip a great experience. If you are on the fence for just go for it. This is an experience you will remeber for the rest of your life. The opportunity to learn a new languages is amazing. The food that you try their will stick with you for the rest of your life. This trip allows you to find yourself. I will miss the walking the most, to walk into town it is three fourths of a mile. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery. In the market I was able to drink straight from the coconut. Costa Rica is on of the best places on earth!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Carly Barello

Carly's a 10th grader in high school who loves to learn and travel. She is hardworking and enjoys experiences that get her to get out of her comfort zone!

Why did you choose this program?

My family and I chose to do my trip abroad with Sol Abroad because of the well-established and professional program they have set up.

The website is extremely helpful with details of the excursions, activities, and academics involved in the trip. Every step of the program is detailed on their website, as well as testimonials of those who have gone on the trip to the location!

Overall, the website was very valuable to my discission and research to choosing SolAbroad.

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

Sol Abroad does an AMAZING job; every step of the way through the trip was organized and flowed quite smoothly. Once signed up for the program, a few weeks in advance, the schedules, and more helpful documents are sent through email. You're then able to see all the plannings of excursions throughout the few weeks.

In the first week, there is a meeting that covers all the basics (your host family is also there to always help). Overall, Sol Abroad, and the director, Priscila, was there to assist and provide help EVERY step of the way!

The only things that we would have needed to organize on our own were our own mini excursions in the city, not a part of the program. Still, our host parents were always willing to assist us by giving advice or additional places to go. My host family was kind enough many times to drive us to places! Taxis are also fairly inexpensive as well.

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

What I would recommend is to do at least some minimal research on the city and jot down a few points of interesting destinations! Additionally, I wish that I could've done a bit more exploration throughout the city in the first weeks, especially after school. Many times, after school, a group of us would walk to the market or around the school. The school is in an easy walking distance from the main center of the city!

Don't be scared to go exploring at night! Of course, you should never go alone, but with other students/your roommate, but simply walking in the main center of the city at night is wondrous. I definitely recommend this or even going out to eat.

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

On weekdays, I would start my day by getting up early, around 7 to get ready, then around 8 we would eat breakfast with our host family. By 9, we would be at school in class until about 12. Then we would have the choice to spend the rest of the day freely, walk back home to eat lunch with our host family, or on many days an excursion as a group.

On weekdays, some days after school, we would have a mini dance class or mini-group trip! Usually on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we had our main excursions. The excursions on either Saturday, but usually Sunday, were day-long excursions! Some of the places we went on these days include Teotitlan del Valle, Hierve el Agua, Monte Albán, Santo Domingo, and many other mini-adventures! Make sure to get plenty of rest before because it can be very tiring.

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

My biggest fear was definitely understanding and how my Spanish would improve in the three weeks.

I had a lot of nerves leaving my parents, and the long plane rides, but fortunately, I was met up with my roommate in Texas! Other students apart from Sol Abroad were also on the flight, helping to calm my nerves. My nerves weren't completely settled until after the first week, but there isn't much to do about it.

After a week, it is easy to get comfortable, and the nerves wear off. I'd also been a bit nervous about my roommate, but I love her so much - we still have kept in touch! For my fear of understanding, it was quite challenging for me at first, but all you can possibly do is try your best!

It is completely natural to be nervous about the trip as well as the language aspect. Throughout the trip, I was nervous to voice my Spanish, but what I've learned and now regret is speaking as much Spanish as possible!

Take advantage of the trip! Don't be too shy - NO ONE is judging!

Is there any other advice for prospective travelers?

Let me say, this trip was one of the BEST things that have happened in my life! There isn't a day that passes that I don't think about the experience and the people apart of it.

Go to Mexico ready to go, get excited! Mexico is absolutely incredible: phenomenal food, kind, welcoming people, beautiful markets, streets, and shops! Don't get too caught up in thinking about how there is 'only 3 weeks': just get out there, explore, learn, have fun!

Staff Interviews

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

Priscila Holder

Job Title
Onsite Director
Priscila Holder was born and raised in Oaxaca City, Mexico. Since she was very young she has always had a passion for traveling. Priscila is enthusiastic about sharing her culture and loves showing off the amazing wonders her state and city have to offer.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Definitely the beach trip!

Since I was very young, I have always had a passion for traveling. This passion developed as a child when I visited my family’s coffee plantation, located in the tropical forest of Pluma Hidalgo, near the “costa grande” of Oaxaca state.

My summer visits to the pacific coast sparked my curiosity in nature and exploring Oaxaca. That is why the beach trip is always very memorable for me, because getting there includes an incredible drive through the valleys of Oaxaca, the Sierra Sur Mountains and the tropical forest where coffee plants grow amongst kapok trees in order to finally be welcomed by the warm pacific breeze: a journey to admire the incredible geographical diversity of Oaxaca.

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

Of all the things I have learned with Sol Education, I am very thankful that this job has given me the opportunity to embrace my culture and shared it with others. I have developed myself as a leader, tour organizer, I have enhanced problem-solving skills and in general, it's been great to work with students.

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

One student once told me that it was very challenging to return home after being a whole semester in Oaxaca and that he experienced a reverse cultural shock. For him, it was hard to return to a big city and without a host family to spoil him! So he comes once a year and stays again with the same host family that received him.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would choose Argentina.

It's just been in my bucket list for a while now, and for what I've seen in the videos and heard from students or the staff that has been there with the program, they have all agreed that Sol Education has designed a great and a very authentic experience in this southern country.

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

This is a hard question! But I believe that, in general, the Sol Education team stands out for offering a unique experience in each of the countries they have a Spanish program in; there's also a great communication with the students and parents and there's a great logistics team behind each program that includes, of course, the incredible onsite staff they have in every country: onsite directors, logistics staff and the experienced host families that make a great difference for the student's experience.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe the biggest factor is to work harmoniously and positively with coworkers and find creative solutions to problems in a team. I think it is integral to the success of any project to come together with both colleagues and clients to understand the subtleties of our professional environment and endeavor to make a strong contribution both as an individual and as a company.

Professional Associations

The Forum on Education Abroad Logo
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USA Gap Year Fairs Logo