The home of bullfights, Flamenco, and tapas, Spain is one of the best countries to study in during the summer. As feisty and spicy as its Latin origins, Spain is one of the warmest European countries and has some of the best beaches and fiestas in all of Europe.
Studying in Spain during the summer means really being a part of something exciting: history, culture, cuisine, but also spending weekends soaking up the sunshine. It's also a chance to spend a month (or three) fully immersed in Spanish and come home speaking like a pro.
The academics are well-respected, the programs are well-established, and hey, it’s glamorous, beautiful, and full of friendly people. What more could a student want? Go, find your summer study abroad program in Spain.
For summer study abroad in Spain, there are two main options: Spanish immersion programs and educational travel. For students who have a strong enough level of Spanish, you might also be able to participate in a combo study-internship abroad or attend summer courses at a Spanish university.
The last option that students will have, which doesn't always require much fluency in Spanish, would be a short-term study abroad program that has an academic focus other than language. For example, there's Berklee’s Summer program in music and business and technology and Schiller Madrid’s program in international relations and diplomacy.
Planning Your Trip
Since most summer study abroad programs in Spain last fewer than a month -- but definitely less than 90 days -- you won't need a student visa as an American or Canadian student. You can enter and participate in your program with a tourist visa.
If you plan on doing any traveling before or after your study abroad program, make sure that, if on a tourist visa, you don't spend more than 90 days in the EU in total (between both your travels and your study abroad program).
Where to Go
Spain is a vast and varied country with as many regional differences as there are countries in Europe. There is the unique and ancient Basque culture along the Pyrenees. You can also explore Moorish influence in the south, Castilla, Madrid, and La Mancha, in the center, and, of course, the vibrant Catalonia capital, Barcelona.
Spain is a relatively affordable country as far as Western European nations go. Expect to budget about $30 USD per day after housing and program fees.
If you need to independently arrange housing while you're abroad, UniPlaces is one place to start looking.
For a summer trip to Spain, try to stick to one carry-on and one checked bag or one carry-on and one personal item. I can't stress this enough: don't overpack -- especially if you want to travel after your trip.
Secondly, leave hair straighteners and blow dryers at home. The different voltage used in Spain will just fry them. Instead, do without or pick up a cheap one abroad.
In cities such as Madrid or Barcelona, people tend to wear dressier clothes. In southern cities or beach towns, the dress is much more casual. Make sure the clothes you bring can be worn in dressier and casual settings.
When visiting cathedrals or religious sites, bring a shawl or light cardigan, as bare shoulders are not accepted. Spaniards get fairly dressed up when hitting the town at night, so bring appropriate night attire. While summer in Spain will certainly toast its visitors, there is no reason for you to leave your home in flip-flops. These are viewed as indoor shoes, so invest in a cute pair of sandals, flats, or tennis shoes.
Health & Safety
There are no special health considerations to be aware of while studying in Spain.
Though pretty safe, students should be aware of pickpocketing and theft while in Spain. Do not leave your bags hanging on the back of chairs while you're at an outside cafe, and avoid putting your wallet in your back pocket. Be especially vigilant on crowded public transportation, like the train in Madrid.
Petty theft is more of an issue in larger cities than small towns.