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Spanish Studies Abroad

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, Spanish Studies Abroad has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

About

Spanish Studies Abroad (The Center for Cross-Cultural Study) has created innovative study abroad experiences since 1969, focusing primarily on academics, Spanish language, and student integration into a culture. Since then, new programs have been created, and old ones have evolved. Now offering multiple study abroad programs in Spain, Argentina and Cuba, studying with Spanish Studies Abroad has never been more exciting.

The mission of Spanish Studies Abroad is to promote students' in-depth understanding of Spanish-speaking countries, through specifically designed academically-rigorous university-level programs. All students must be willing to cross cultural boundaries, to live as members of another culture, and to thus learn about others as they learn about themselves.

We’ve updated our refund & cancelation policy to allow for flexible booking due to COVID-19

No summer application deadlines, late deadlines for fall and more!
Founded
1969
Headquarters

446 Main Street
Amherst, MA 01002
United States

Scholarships

Spanish Studies Abroad Scholarships
Spanish Studies Abroad Financial Aid

Study abroad does not have to be out of your reach financially but understand the burdens that have been placed on students. This is why Spanish Studies Abroad has awarded over $230,000 in scholarships since 2001.

Value
$500 - $1,500

Reviews

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

Last semester I had the chance to study abroad in Seville through Spanish Studies Abroad. I was able to attend Universidad de Sevilla and the Center for Cross-Cultural Studies. All of my classes were taught in Spanish and my Spanish skills improved greatly.

I had the best host family I could have ever imagined. I enjoyed being able to share moments with my host family and make long-lasting connections. Living with a host family made me feel immersed in the Spanish culture.

The staff at the SSA are very kind and always available for any questions or help. It was an amazing semester that I will never forget!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Enjoy every second of it. Soak up the sun. Go out for a walk each day. Appreciate the city and the culture. Seville is a place with open arms to travelers and students.
Default avatar
Caleb
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cuba is so amazing, but you really have to be independent, flexible, and self-motivated. You'll have an amazing time if you're looking for one! Make sure you're ready for minimal access to internet and everything happening in Spanish. You 100% need to check out the Fabrica de Arte Cubano and all the cute little bars and restaurants. Fritura de malanga is a must eat well. SO TASTY. As for classes, Cultura Cubana and Literatura Cubana are so cool. If you like literature, I encourage you to read Cuban poetry.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Bring your money in cash and don't take a taxi from the airport (happened to someone on my trip)
Default avatar
Arianna
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Spanish Studies Abroad in Cuba was a great experience for me overall, but I want to be extremely transparent for those that are thinking of going on the program. When it comes to staff support, the women working on the program do amazing work and work really hard to make us all feel like we are a part of one big family. This is especially true when we had some special events during the term.
However, having pre-existing mental health issues, I was not provided with help even after asking for it, unlike other programs that go to Cuba. Some of the bigger groups like IFSA had their own issues, but they did provide video-chat therapy for students that requested it. If they had followed up better with helping me, I probably would have had a much better experience, especially during the first half.
Our excursions went as planned even though Cuba was in a state of instability and all the students really enjoyed these trips and connected more deeply. It was also a great time to connect with our program director. I felt like some of the activities were very adventurous and completely out of my comfort zone, but overall they were worth it.
I liked that this program was the only one with a Spanish-only policy because it encouraged us to speak more Spanish than other groups did and my Spanish improved greatly while on this program.
My host family was great and the housing was way nicer than most people would ever experience in Cuba. I was hesitant about living in someone else's home, but I made some amazing connections during my host family interactions and this is where a lot of the language practicing occurred.
There were like over 50 American students in Cuba and there were Germans, and other Europeans, so don't think you are gonna be alone in Cuba because all the programs intermingle and you can find some friends who are like you if you feel like you don't fit in with the kids in your program.
Be prepared: Cuba is HOT and buggy, you will get catcalled many times if you are a woman and if you do not look stereotypically Latin@ then people will approach you for things all the time, assuming that you are rich since you are from the States.
The academics were interesting, but not very challenging so if you get bored easily maybe The Univerity of Havana won't be the place for you. Taking integrated classes with Cuban students helps with that a lot though. It wasn't as scary as it sounded.
Be aware that the internet is expensive and hard to come by and it might drive you a little crazy. Make sure you download a VPN before you get to Cuba because, if not, you will have to find a place to illegally put it in your phone if you wanna access stuff like Spotify, etc.
Cuba is an amazing country with beautiful and passionate people and this experience has shaped my entire life and I recommend that all people go there at some point in their life. Just remember to think about how a semester is a long time and make sure you truly think about it before you decide to embark on a semester abroad in Cuba.

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

I'll be the first to admit that I was very hesitant about studying abroad. I knew it would be difficult leaving my family, friends and everything I was comfortable with back home. I wouldn't trade the experiences and opportunities that I got for the world. With SSA, my courses and internship challenged me for sure, but also helped me to better understand the Spanish culture with hands on experiences. I met so many people from around the world, ate some incredible food and made memories that I hope will last a lifetime.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice for future travelers is to live in every moment. At first, it will be difficult to be away from friends and family back home, that's completely normal. You quickly realize that Seville will become your home in no time, as long as you are willing to let it. Do not let anything hold you back from trying new things and immersing yourself into the Sevillan culture. Also, travel as much as you can! It's super easy and not too expensive.
Default avatar
Sydney
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This is a truly excellent study abroad program, particularly for students interested in an immersive experience. I had struggled to learn Spanish my whole life, even though I started learning in Kindergarten. I just could never get the hang of it. Living in the city of Córdoba, Argentina completely changed this. I saw astronomical improvement in my language skills and my appreciation for Latin American culture. This program gave me the opportunity to live with a wonderful, adoring host mom who was an amazing cook and wonderful, loving face to come home to every day. I got to play field hockey with a club team at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, which honed my language AND social as well as my field hockey skills. The hockey season after I got home was my best in four years. I made lifelong friends through this program, both in Argentina and within my group of American students. Even though we’re all from different states, we’re planning reunions as often as we can. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity and to have learned so much. Thank you Spanish Studies Abroad!

What would you improve about this program?
This was a truly excellent program. If anything, I would improve the process of helping students acquire visas. There were some problems with organization in that regard which led to some confusion on our part.
Read my full story

Programs

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8
Spanish Studies Abroad
Study in Seville, Spain with Spanish Studies Abroad
Spain
9.33 •15 reviews

Travel to Spain with Spanish Studies Abroad to have a truly amazing...

Spanish Studies Abroad
Spanish Studies Abroad Programs in Alicante, Spain
Spain
10 •5 reviews

A mid-size port city on the Costa Blanca, Alicante has it all - a mix...

Spanish Studies Abroad
Spanish Studies Programs in Cordoba, Argentina
Argentina
9.25 •4 reviews

Study in the beautiful city of Cordoba, Argentina with Spanish Studies...

Spanish Studies Abroad
Spanish Studies Abroad: Study in Havana, Cuba
Cuba
8 •2 reviews

Immerse yourself in the beauty, culture, and history of Havana, Cuba...

Spanish Studies Abroad
Study in Barcelona with Spanish Studies Abroad
Spain
9 •1 review

Experience the bustling metropolis of Barcelona while taking classes...

Spanish Studies Abroad
Spanish Studies Abroad: Fall Virtual Program
Online
New Program

Spain via Virtual Education: A Language and Humanities Program We are...

Spanish Studies Abroad
Spanish Studies Abroad: Semester & Summer Programs in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico

The International Studies Program in English and The Integrated...

Spanish Studies Abroad
Spanish Studies Abroad: Internships & Service Learning in Seville
Spain

Spanish Studies Abroad offers multiple ways for students to gain real...

Alumni Interviews

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

Sydney Jameson

Sydney is a Senior at Houghton College in New York, double majoring in Spanish and Intercultural Studies with a concentration in Linguistics and minor in communication. She hopes to continue her education next year by earning a master's degree in Linguistics.

Why did you choose this program?

It's a funny story, actually. When I was a junior in high school, my friend Brenna and I made a pact that we would go to Argentina together. Of course, as our lives went on and we went to different colleges in different programs with different majors, it seemed less and less likely that we would be able to study abroad at the same time.

When the time came for me to spend a semester abroad in a Spanish-speaking country as a requirement for my major, Argentina was the only country that came to mind. I really wanted an immersive language and cultural experience, and Spanish Studies Abroad in Córdoba could offer me that and more. Living with a host family, studying at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, and traveling with the program to different parts of Argentina were all major benefits of this program that influenced me to choose it. And, in the end, Brenna and I did both end up studying in Argentina.

She arrived for her summer program the day I left after my semester program and when she got home we spent long hours drinking mate and sharing our favorite things about the country.

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

My program provider and my university worked together beautifully to assist me in any way they could. They helped us get student visas, plan trips, and even gave us restaurant suggestions when we decided to go out to dinner. They gave us a tour of the city and showed us how to use the bus. They even helped me to sign up for club field hockey.

We did have to organize some extracurricular things on our own. We planned travels to other cities in Argentina with only minor guidance from the staff, booking flights and Air BnBs and excursions. We actually really enjoyed this independence because it gave us a chance to practice our Spanish skills and really dig into the culture.

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

When you first get there, it is going to be so overwhelming. All of the Spanish classes in the world could not prepare you for the experience of being fully immersed in the language. You'll start to panic and question if you really can tell your host family what you like and don't like to eat for dinner, even though you've known that since middle school Spanish. You'll really want to hide away in your room and watch Netflix until everything feels normal again.

TRY NOT TO DO THIS.

Yes, a little bit of alone time is healthy. But it is so important to go out, to make friends with your host family, to bond with your classmates, and explore the city. Córdoba has so much to offer no matter what your interests are. Hiking, museums, nightlife, parks, orchestras, dance classes, even giant chess pieces near Plaza San Martín. It is absolutely worthwhile, and you'll get so much more out of your experience if you get out of your room and see all that this beautiful city (and country) have to offer.

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

For me, the average week was packed full of fun things.

In the mornings I'd wake up, come downstairs, and eat breakfast. I'd grab all my bags (usually my backpack plus a field hockey bag with maybe an extra one for a change of clothes). Then I'd walk to class! It was about a 30-minute walk, and I loved it because it gave me a chance to listen to music and watch the city wake up.

I'd go to class in the morning, eat lunch with the others in my program (there were 7 of us) and then play a nice game of cards after lunch with my friend Owen. We started out playing Gin Rummy but soon learned to play Truco, a classic Argentine card game (although Brazilians will tell you it's theirs). Then we'd go to our afternoon class, and afterward, I would head to field hockey practice.

From there I'd walk with my field hockey buddies Ro and Guille to their apartment, and if it was a Tuesday, I would drop them off there and continue on to English Talk in Barrio Güemes. English Talk was a group of adults learning English who met every week to practice conversation together, and I went to help out. From there, I would usually head home for dinner and do some homework before bed, but on Thursdays (because there was no class Friday), my friends and I would head out to the bars and restaurants of Barrio Güemes for a night on the town.

On the weekends we planned trips to museums, hiking, or to cities like Mendoza, Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, Bariloche, and Iguazú. We loved traveling and exploring the city.

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 probably being able to make friends. I'm not a particularly shy person, and I love people, but I was worried I wouldn't be able to communicate my personality in Spanish enough to make friends.

Field hockey helped me a lot with this.

Playing a sport gave me the opportunity to interact with students in Córdoba and make a ton of friends. I realized that we were a lot more alike than we are different and that making friends only takes a conversation.

What was the craziest thing that happened to you during the program?

One of the very last weeks of the program, my friends and I took a trip to Iguazú. Everything went perfectly until it was time to come home. In the taxi on the way to the airport, we received a text saying that our flight had been canceled due to high winds in Córdoba.

When we got to the airport, we learned that there were no more flights until Wednesday morning with the company we had bought our tickets from. It is a great testament to the effectiveness of the program that we were able to communicate in Spanish enough to get refunds, head back to town to the bus station, get bus tickets to Córdoba, survive a two-day journey in the bus back to Córdoba, and make it to the university in time for class Tuesday morning.

Staff Interviews

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

Jillian Meyer

Job Title
Institutional Relations Coordinator
Before working with Spanish Studies Abroad, Jillian was living and working in Madrid, Spain as an English Teacher and a Tour Guide. She studied abroad in Seville in 2014, where her love for Spain and learning languages began. Now, she travels to different universities in the US to spread awareness of different study abroad opportunities in Spain and Latin America.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My (most recent) favorite travel moment was in Puerto Rico, where I spent a day scaling cliffs, exploring caves, canyoning, and zip-lining.

At some point, our tour group took a lunch break in a tucked away chamber in the middle of the cave system. It was lit by a hundred little candles and we were surrounded by stalagmites that were hundreds of years old. It was such a surreal and unique moment, having a nonchalant lunch somewhere underneath the earth with other strangers around the world.

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

I've gotten to grow so much since starting my job with Spanish Studies Abroad! This has been my first full-time job in the states, and overall I think I've become a more responsible individual and have improved essential skills such as time management, organization, and interpersonal skills. Thanks to this job, I've also become much more versed in Latin American culture and history and have learned the ways that the use of Spanish varies from country to country.

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

My favorite story is of a student, Maria, who studied abroad in Spain and got the opportunity to meet their extended Spanish family! Maria's extended relatives were so excited that she was in Spain that they threw her a huge "family reunion" party, fully equipped with traditional Spanish cuisine and music. Maria said that although she had never met her relatives in person before, they welcomed her into their home as if they had known her their whole lives.

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

I would go on the Integrated Studies program with my company because I believe that is the one that would best help me perfect my Spanish and push me out of my comfort zone (which is one of the reasons that we all study abroad, right?).

In this track, students enroll directly in a few courses that are taught by local professors and attended by local students, an awesome way to integrate yourself into the city that you're living in! I also love that this program provides students with free tutors on campus as well as local "speaking partners".

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

What makes my company unique is it's true dedication to the acquisition of the Spanish language and integration into the local culture.

In almost all of our locations, students are actually required to live with local host-families, which students end up being grateful for since it's such a unique experience. We also have a "Spanish-Only Policy" on-site, so even when students aren't with Spanish-speakers, they are practicing amongst themselves!

I'm proud that my team is always willing to go the extra mile to accommodate students and institution contacts.

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

It is so important to have a passionate team behind a company. If the employees believe in what they do and perform their work with intention and excitement, I think that makes a huge difference in the end product. On the flip side, I also believe that fostering a positive and motivating work environment plays a huge role in the overall success of a business.

Professional Associations