Spain: Cultural Discovery

Cultural Discovery and the Arts

Explore Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, and Toledo as you learn about the differences in cultures across Spain’s distinct regions. Experience flamenco, taste tapas, see renowned works of art, and interact with locals along the way.




Outdoor Activity



Program Description

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 lively streets and visit the Reina Sofia and Prado Museum on Madrid’s “museum mile” to see original art by Spanish artists such as Picasso and Dalí. Order tapas in local cafés as you visit the Habsburg district. Take a full-day excursion to historic Toledo as your knowledge of Spain’s history and culture deepens.

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 your language skills grow through daily interactions with your host family and local students. Visit Valencia to take a bike tour through the Gardens of Turia, explore multiculturalism in Spain, and learn to make paella in a cooking class.

Your discovery 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 UNESCO World Heritage sites and parks, and see the Picasso Museum. Discover some of Europe’s most intriguing architecture as you visit Gaudí’s La Sagrada Família, one of Spain’s most famous landmarks. Shop along La Rambla, Barcelona’s bustling central street.


Program Availability:

Not Yet Enrolling


Spanish (at least one year)

Sample Itinerary

    Days 1-4

    Orientation in Madrid

    • Dive in to the history and culture of Spain by immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of Madrid, a golden metropolis renowned for its architecture and rich art scene
    • Get to know other members of your group during activities and discussions
    • Visit famous sites and museums throughout the city, including the Habsbourg District, famous cathedrals, and the Prado museum. 
    • 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 5-17

    Homestay in Valencia

    • Become fully immersed in the daily life of a Spanish family and community by engaging in activities with your host family
    • Explore your host community and the surrounding area with your group
    • Cycle along the Turia river to the beach
    • Cook traditional cuisines such as paella and tortilla de patata
    • Visit Oceanografic of Valencia, the biggest aquarium in Europe

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

    Days 18-20

    Travel and Wrap-up in Barcelona

    • Visit famous sites and museums throughout Barcelona, including the Olympic Harbor and the Picasso Museum
    • See the architecture of Gaudí, Spain’s most famous architect, and sample tapas and shop on La Rambla
    • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program as your prepare to travel home

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

    Day 21


    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.

Itinerary is subject to change.

Past Group Leaders

  • Sharon Lake-Post

    As 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 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.

Student Voices

  • I had the most incredible time on this trip, it’s hard to put into words. I loved my group, my leaders, my homestay, and last but certainly not least, I loved the country and their incredible cultures. We did so many fun activities such as learning to cook paella or biking through a park in Valencia to the City of Arts and Sciences. Every minute of this trip was amazing and if I had the opportunity to do it again, I would.

  • When I went overseas I had my doubts about Spain, and the challenges it would present. However, I soon learned my group members and my homestay family would support me throughout the trip. By far, the best part of the trip was the homestay experience. I felt like a small part of the bigger Spanish community. When I returned home my dad said they was a big improvement with my Spanish.

  • Whether we asked strangers for directions in the streets of Madrid, ate a late dinner of almejas with our host families, or walked 20 kilometers a day while enjoying the beautiful vistas of the Camino de Santiago, this trip is truly an immersive experience for those wishing to work on their Spanish and Gallego, and to learn more about the beautiful Spanish culture.

  • 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.