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Spanish Gap Year

About

Spanish Gap Year is an experiential learning organization with HQs in Madrid, Spain. Having run cultural immersion programs since 2014, we launched our new program "Spain by Train" in 2021. It is a 12-week cultural immersion experience around the different regions of Spain. For adventure details, please visit our website or follow us @spanish.gap.year

Reviews

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Tim
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent Program for Language and Culture

Writing as a parent of a gapper who spent 3 months touring Spain with Spanish Gap Year and Arantxa's team. Overall...GREAT Experience!

We would heartily recommend Spanish Gap Year and were very impressed with Arantxa's organization, staff, home-stay placements (AMAZING!), and connections with local resources. The activities (fun and educational) were super fun for our gapper. We would give a special shout out to Arantxa for connecting with wonderful group language classes for the gappers. The stay in Salamanca was especially well done. Our gapper now hopes to study abroad for a semester or even a year in Salamanca as part of her undergraduate work!

Although the program is still in its early days, Arantxa has loads of personal experience and tons of passion for what these kids are hoping to find, see, learn, and experience. She really gets it.

Spanish Gap Year is a well run outfit. The program offers tremendous opportunities for growth in Spanish language skills as well independence, social opportunities, culture, gastronomy, and understanding the fascinating culture and history of every region of Spain...a true crossroads of cultures.

Pros
  • Excellent Language Instruction
  • Fun Activities and Adventure
  • You will learn to TRAVEL and navigate just about every possible mode of transportation. A GREAT life skill!
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Israel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spanish Gap year

My daughter had a wonderful time on this program. It provided a rich and diverse cultural experience across many parts of Spain and in a way which was fun and enjoyable. As a parent I always felt that my daughter was being taken care of and the communication was excellent. The communication not only consisted of email updates but am instagram and google drive location which provided videos and pictures. I would whole heartedly and without reservation recommend this program to other parents considering a gap year program for their son or daughter.

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Trina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Parent of a Spanish Gap Year Student

Arantxa (the founder/leader) is a rare gem. She directs the program with professionalism and has excellent communication with the parents, but her heart is with the students. She understands their age and stage of life and respects their independence while also providing a safe and enriching experience. Each aspect of the program is very intentional and provides immersion without pressure. It's a great rhythm of homestays and city hostel adventures with some wilderness adventures that aren't too intense for students who don't have experience. Arantxa co-leads with select people in every region and all of them were fantastic. My child was sad to say goodbye to each leader and host family but always knew the next adventure would unveil a new relationship. Her love of Spain is now deep and lifelong. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this program to anyone!

Pros
  • As a parent, you have the confidence that your child is safe and having a meaningful experience
  • All levels of Spanish language proficiency are welcomed and accommodated
  • My child had a medical emergency and Arantxa couldn't have handled it better. She took great care of her!
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Bram
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spanish Gap Year Review

Spanish Gap Year provided a lot of the opportunities for growth that I had been looking for in a gap program. My experiences with amazing host families, using Spanish to navigate unfamiliar cities, and living with different Spanish culture-influenced routines helped me expand my independence. Making friends out of various situations, always with people that had intriguingly different lived experiences to myself, supported social growth and expanded my comfort zone. As for how my Spanish has improved, I took classes in high school but had not really used Spanish for maybe two years before this trip. Now I can't help unconsciously switching to Spanish on a regular basis.

Pros
  • You learn from amazing teachers, and you make amazing friends.
  • You will learn a lot of Spanish (especially outside the classroom).
  • The food
Cons
  • Not enough time with Juan Luis :(
  • Perhaps our final week felt a little empty compared to the rest of the trip.
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Brett
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spain By Train

My time on the Spain By Train program with Arantxa, my group, and all the mentors along the way was incredible! I thoroughly enjoyed the different stops and meeting lots of new people along the way. From amazing new food, to walking Tibetan bridges, the varying activities were constantly eye-opening and action packed. Right from the get-co, I can confidently say my Spanish speaking ability improved, with great learning opportunities throughout. I’ll remember these 3 months for the rest of my life.

Pros
  • Get to see many different parts of Spain
  • Can work on improving Spanish speaking
  • Opportunities to get out of your comfort zone
Cons
  • Small space group living occasionally
  • Need a good amount of extra spending money

Programs

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Staff Interviews

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

Siobhan Mearon

Job Title
Assistant Manager
Siobhan grew up In the U.K and Bundoran in the North West of Ireland, where she is now based in our ID Languages office. She has taken on varied and unique responsibilities during her time with the company, from social media to sales, to facilitating a drama workshop for 40 students!
Siobhan Mearon

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favourite travel memory was my first solo work trip to Bilbao. I've traveled before, with friends and family, but visiting an unfamiliar city and country alone was an unforgettable experience. I got the chance to take in every detail about the city and its culture and even practice my language skills - both Spanish and Basque!

It has given me the confidence to plan further solo trips in the future.

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

When I began working at ID Languages, I was a receptionist who greeted students and helped out our teachers. But quickly, my role became more dynamic and it seems that every month since has brought a different challenge.

I have worked on our social media campaigns, sharing behind-the-scenes looks at all of our courses and trips. I started working with sales and developing new contacts in Europe and the US. I even took part in the TEFL course myself and as soon as I qualified I became one of ID Languages' English teachers.

My biggest challenge to date was working as a camp leader for our under 18's Summer Program. Not only did I lead activities and trips for 40 teenagers, but I also used my teaching expertise to develop and facilitate a drama workshop! This was such a rewarding role and I can't wait to do it again next summer.

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

It's really important to us that we keep in touch with our former students because we are always so excited to hear about what they have been up to since they left Bundoran! Some of our previous TEFL grads have traveled to Europe before choosing their favourite city and beginning their teaching career. Others have traveled to Asia and chosen to teach in China and Vietnam.
My favourite story, though, is a student who came from abroad to complete the TEFL course and ended up moving to Ireland permanently!

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

As I have already completed the TEFL course, I would like to go further with this and work abroad in Spain! Working in this company has given me a desire to travel to as many different places and learn as many different languages as possible. I think this would help me to advance my teaching skills and offer a new perspective.

As well as that, this course offers Spanish language classes and trips to various cities in Spain, which would fulfill my desire to travel and keep learning languages.

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

Our company is family-owned and community-based. We work hard to be a welcoming place for all members of our local community and we hope every student who joins us gets a sense of that too.

Growing up in this area, I'm passionate about supporting the local community and we often host free events to promote language and culture.

Every student who joins us is welcomed into the community of Bundoran and whenever they return, they pop in to say hi, or for a cup of tea and a chat. Even though most of our students are now based all over the world, they still make the effort to keep in touch.

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

I believe that being passionate about what the company is providing is hugely important in building a successful company. Everyone who works with us does so because they believe in the core values and mission of ID Languages.

When a company is focused on promoting their values and expressing their enthusiasm for what they do, it will thrive.

Professional Associations

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