Spain: Regional Cultures

Celebrate the regional cultures that define Spain on an immersive summer abroad program for high school students.

Experience the differences in regions and cultures across Spain on this high school summer abroad program. Your journey begins with an immersive orientation in Spain’s capital and largest city, Madrid. Immediately begin practicing your Spanish as you navigate the city’s medieval streets, visit the Prado Museum on Madrid’s “museum mile,” order tapas and other Spanish cuisine in local cafés, and visit the Habsburg district. Take a full-day excursion to historic Toledo as your knowledge of Spain’s history and culture deepens.

Then, experience an entirely different region of Spain as you and your group travel from Madrid to your homestay location. Spend two weeks immersed in a Spanish community as you come to experience Spain’s regional differences. Your Spanish language skills grow through daily interactions with your host family. Take day trips to explore the surrounding area with your Experiment group. Participate in flamenco classes, attend workshops with a local NGO that works with youth, and learn how to cook regional specialties. The homestay community varies each year.

Your exploration of Spain’s cultures and regional differences continues as you and your group travel to Barcelona—Spain’s second largest city and the capital of Catalonia. Visit Barcelona’s numerous World Heritage sites, parks, the Picasso Museum, and the Olympic Harbor. See the architecture of Gaudí, taste tapas on La Rambla, and get introduced to the regional language of Catalan. Return to Madrid for a final day of exploration and reflection.

Orientation: Madrid, 3 days
Homestays: Valencia, Vilagarcia (Galicia), Ubeda (Andalucía), or Logrono (La Rioja),* 13 days
Other Accommodations: Hotels and apartments

* Homestay locations can vary.

Days 1–3

Orientation in Madrid

  • Learn about the history and culture of SpainStudents in Madrid
  • Get to know other members of your group during activities and discussions
  • Visit famous sites and museums throughout the city, including the Prado museum and the Bourbon district
  • Explore diverse neighborhoods, navigate the metro, and sample Spanish cuisine in street-side cafés
  • Practice your Spanish language skills
  • Go on a daylong excursion to Toledo

During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Days 4–17

Homestay

  • Become fully immersed in the daily life of a Spanish family and community
  • Do activities with your host family
  • Explore your host community and the surrounding area with your group
  • Attend traditional crafts workshops and flamenco classes
  • Learn how to cook paella
  • Go biking along the Turia River

During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Valencia, Vilagarcia, Úbeda, Logrono

Days 18–20

Travel in Barcelona

  • Visit famous sites and museums throughout Barcelona, including the Olympic Harbor and the Picasso Museum
  • See the architecture of Gaudí and taste tapas on La Rambla

During this period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Day 21

Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Madrid

  • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program

During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Day 22

Departure

Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.

These are leader bios from summer 2014.

Sharon Lake-Post

Sharon lake-postAs a high school student, Sharon Lake-Post had the good fortune to study abroad, in Barcelona, Spain, where she lived with a Catalan host family. She returned to Spain in college, this time to Valencia, to further enhance her Spanish language and cultural studies. Sharon graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, with a double major in Spanish and political science, then went on to complete her master’s in international politics at the University of New Hampshire. Sharon has spent the bulk of her career working and consulting with Save the Children Federation in Westport, Connecticut, supporting new families as a childbirth educator and postpartum doula.

Through her work in international development, she has travelled to Bolivia, Brazil, Malawi, Mexico, and the Philippines. She enjoys biking, kayaking in Maine, playing basketball, and trying to grow a vegetable garden. Sharon currently teaches middle school Spanish and lives in Connecticut with her husband, three children, and dog.

Emily Robbins

Emily RobbinsEmily first began her travels as an Experimenter to France in 2001. On that trip, she learned a love of language and culture that has shaped much of her life. Now a writer and translator in Chicago, Emily speaks Arabic, Spanish, and Portuguese and has lived in much of the Middle East and South America. In 2008, as a Fulbright Fellow, Emily lived with the family of one of Syria's leading intellectuals while she did research on the use of technology in women's sacred spaces. Her experiences in Syria were the inspiration for a novel, A Word for Love, which is forthcoming from Penguin/Riverhead Books in 2016.

Emily has a BA from Swarthmore College and an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis. Her other jobs include teaching and anthropology, and her other loves include reading new fiction, and swimming in lakes. She has led for the Experiment four times, in Morocco and Spain.

Diverse, kind hearted, outgoing, and fun are just a few adjectives to describe my group. Everyone’s unique character contributed to what this experience was about. Throughout the stay my group members no longer felt like the kids I first met at the airport but my family members.

 Daisia Glover, Aquinas High School