• Spain
    • San Sebastián
Academic Year, Fall, Spring, Summer
Subject Areas
Accounting Anthropology Cultural Studies Humanities Journalism Literature Philosophy
Need-based funding, Merit-based funding, General grants/scholarships
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Apartment Host Family
Oct 04, 2023
Nov 16, 2023
11 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

The San Sebastián program opens an academic window on the Spanish and Basque people, introducing you to the rich diversity of Spain and offering a truly multicultural experience. San Sebastián has the highest level of bilingualism of any of the area’s cities: all of its inhabitants speak Spanish, and one third speak Basque as well. In addition to American students, European students also participate in the San Sebastián program.

Read more about our awesome program and sign up for the next available term on the USAC Study Abroad website today!

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Diversity & Inclusion

LGBTQIA+ Support

There are LGBTQIA+ friends, colleagues, and allies throughout the world. However, cultural understanding of gender identity and sexuality does vary from country to country. USAC has compiled a lot of resources to help you through that learning process.

Accessibility Support

USAC is dedicated to working closely with students with disabilities to ensure the best study abroad experience possible. You may request reasonable accommodations after your initial application is complete. We routinely receive requests for scheduling, material, and environmental accommodations for the classroom setting, which may include assistive technology, scribes and readers, printed material, and interpretation.



Environmentally-conscious students choose USAC because many of our programs are held in some of the most sustainable countries in the world. There are options to take coursework in sustainability and the environment, as well as field trips and studies where students can leave a lasting impact on their host country.

Program Highlights

  • Study Spanish and Basque language and culture while you live it in activities such as hiking, cultural events, and the conversation partner program with local students
  • Live in a stunning location on Spain’s beautiful northern coast, twenty minutes from the border of France—with easy connections to Madrid, Bilbao, and major European cities
  • Benefit from San Sebastián’s well-known, cuisine and beautiful beaches. Surf the Basque Country with locals to see why San Sebastián is known as one of the top destinations for surfing in Europe
  • Join excursions in Spain and the French Basque Country to prehistoric caves, mountains, and traditional fishing villages
  • Sign up for the optional Madrid Tour/Field Study and earn credit while exploring one of Europe’s most exciting capital cities


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USAC Scholarships and Financial Aid

USAC awards over $2 million in scholarships and discounts each year to assist students with their study abroad expenses.

$500 - $5,000

Program Dates

Application Deadline
Program Dates

Program Reviews

4.88 Rating
based on 41 reviews
  • 5 rating 87.8%
  • 4 rating 12.2%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.55
  • Support 4.7
  • Fun 4.8
  • Housing 4.8
  • Safety 4.85
Showing 1 - 8 of 41 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An experience of a lifetime

If you're on the fence about studying abroad, JUST DO IT! Stay with a host family and practice the language as much as possible, meet new people and experience everything you can. This experience was truly one of a kind and if I could go back and do it all again I would time and time again. My classes were challenging but fun and I learned more Spanish in two months than I did in years of classes back at home. I met lifelong friends and gained confidence in myself as a traveler, learner, and person.

  • Excellent public transportation
  • Beautiful weather and the beach is RIGHT THERE
  • Delicious food and amazing basque culture
3 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Study Abroad Experience

This is my first time traveling outside the country by myself and I loved it. Everyone is very kind and sweet and I did not feel nervous and not safe. The study abroad experience as a whole was amazing. I was able to see a lot of cities in Spain and got to meet new people and try new foods. I was able to surf for the first time in Spain. I was able to improve my Spanish language skills and fluently. Everything is walkable and easy access. I barely needed to use public transportation, but when I did, it was easy to find and use.

  • Food was amazing
  • Prices are reasonable
  • People are nice and sweet
  • My roommates were mean
  • Things are closed Sunday
7 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

San Sebastián

During my time in San Sebastián, the biggest thing I learned was that living was more than accomplishing goals - it was learning from others and experiencing a new city in a different way every day! My experience in San Sebastián taught me that learning from others outside of the classroom gives you so much to think about and new perspectives that you can implement into your life! I also learned a lot in the classroom, as my professor pushed us to learn the language everyday but gave us the opportunity to mess up - it was the best class I have ever taken.

  • Walking along the beach everyday
  • Learning Spanish
  • Meeting new people
30 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

My life changing study abroad experience!

Studying in San Sebastián, Spain has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Not only did I get to immerse myself into Spanish culture but also the Basque culture as well which I did not know much about prior to arriving. San Sebastián offered the best of both worlds: beaches to surf as well as surrounding mountains to hike and a welcoming community that wanted to help you practice your Spanish. The location was also amazing because the French border is only a 40 minute bus ride away and the Bilbao airport is just over an hour away making it very easy and accessible to travel to other places during the semester. The city itself was also super easy to get around. The public transportation was super efficient but a lot of people including myself, loved just walking or biking to places because of the beautiful views of the ocean. Not only was the location amazing, but so were the professors and directors of USAC. From the beginning the program directors helped answer any questions that we might have about the location site and other general questions we might have about studying abroad. When I came to San Sebastián I was not super comfortable speaking Spanish, especially with other people that spoke it as their primary language but with tue constant help and support of the amazing Professors I can confidently say that my Spanish had improved so much. I also appreciated the amount of opportunities provided to immerse ourselves in the culture in San Sebastián. I had the opportunity to volunteer with an organization that read stories to kids each week. Through this I got to give back to the community but also learn more Spanish and even some things in Basque as well. Another amazing opportunity to learn more about the Basque Culture specifically was the Basque Folkdance and Basque Cuisine class which gave us the opportunity to experience different parts of the culture aside from just the language. I also had the ability to learn new skills such as surfing thanks to the surfing class that was an option which was a fun laid back class that got students out of their houses and out experiencing what San Sebastián has to offer. I also made lifelong friends and connections with people that I would have never have had the opportunity to make prior to this one experience. Overall, my study abroad experience in San Sebastián has been life changing. I am so happy with the location I chose and came out knowing more about a different culture, language and myself!

  • Better understanding of Spanish language and culture
  • Learning new skills such as surfing, Basque cooking and Basque folkdance
  • Super safe, affordable, walkable and beautiful city
  • Weather was cold and rainy during the winter season
36 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

never wanted to leave

I had a truly life changing experience on my study abroad trip. From the time I arrived in San Sebastian I felt immediately at home. I wouldn't really say I ever experienced culture shock because everything just felt right. I had arguably one of the best Spanish professors alive and I learned so much in such a short time (S/O Paco). The city and all there was to do there was impeccable and I can't wait to go back. If i could live in SS for the rest of my life I would. (: If you are a college student, do it!

38 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing City, wonderful host family

I had an absolutely fantastic time studying abroad in San Sebastián and if anyone is considering studying Spain, I would definitely recommend looking into San Sebastián. The city is beautiful and the beaches are wonderful; if anyone likes surfing they are great beaches to surf. The USAC program is very well developed and there are many different opportunities throughout the city to connect with locals and learn the language. I had a wonderful host family who were incredibly supportive and whom I learned so much Spanish from.

  • Beaches
  • Proximity to France
  • Class size
  • Traveling to other cities
  • Public transportation
  • Small city
41 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Program

I took six years of Spanish classes at the middle school, high school, and college level and was still unable to hold a basic conversation. When I arrived in San Sebastian, I was unable to understand anything. After a few days of living with my host family, I began to understand bits and pieces. After a few weeks I stopped having to use the translator, and within two and a half months I was able to go to bars and talk to strangers. I finally learned Spanish after a few months of living in San Sebastian after trying to learn Spanish unsucessfully for over half a decade.

  • Beautiful city
  • Travel opportunities
  • Easy accent to understand
  • None
42 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Going Back ASAP

Studying abroad in San Sebastián has been a once in a lifetime experience!! From the surfing classes and surf instructors, the nicest and funniest Spanish Instructors and advisors, of course the people I traveled with were amazing, the music festivals, the night life and even befriending locals!! I have made lifelong friendships and we are all excited to get together again! I am already planning a Europe trip back to San Sebastián with my current roommate, to meet the locals I met last year! It was a movie like experience and it’s only for a blip of your life, SO GOO! You will not regret it :) !

  • The food is so affordable and so organic and delicious in the markets
  • The restaurants are amazing. The ethnic food is so delicious
  • The administration had a binder of activities you can do with prices and locations and transportation. INCREDIBLY useful, don’t be shy to stop by their office!
  • I wish our study abroad group had more planned dinners and activities to bond besides other travels. Although the side trips were great people were still cliquey. We just wished we had a little better assistance with group bonding
  • It was hot, but just put on sunscreen and you’re good to go :))
  • The food was too good.
44 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers

Hi Abby - sorry for the delayed response on this. If you haven't received an answer yet, you are pre-determined for a class level based on your prerequisites and classes you've already taken at home. Some things to note is that if you choose to take a class abroad at a level you've already taken at home, you won't receive credit. Also, track four, while harder since it is a 400 level class only...

I had a homestay in San Sebastian and am glad that I did. I picked up the language more quickly, had an adorable host sister, got lots of local tips, and if I ever go back to the city, I will have friends to visit. However, there were times that I experienced some "fear of missing out." I think this is common with homestay students - I sometimes felt like all my friends were hanging out without me...