Immerse yourself in Spanish language and culture on this active summer language program in Spain for high school students. Visit El Museo del Prado in Madrid and the Alhambra palace of Granada, learn to surf on Spain’s northern coast, hike and horseback ride in the Picos de Europa mountains, and spend a week paired with a local teenager.
- June 28, 2013 - July 30, 2013
- July 5, 2013 - August 6, 2013
- Students completing grades 10-12 (June 28, 2013 - July 30, 2013)
- Students completing grades 8-9 (July 5, 2013 - August 6, 2013)
- Language Learning
- Typical Group:
- 16-22 Students, 2-3 Leaders
- 4.5 week(s)
The goals of this language and cultural immersion program are to improve your fluency in Spanish by building vocabulary and confidence in speaking, and to explore Spain’s incredibly diverse regional culture through interactions with locals. Visit the world-renowned galleries of the Prado, the Reina Sofía, and the Thyssen Bornemisza museums in Madrid. Hike to fields of summer snow in the Picos de Europa. Experience day-to-day Spanish life as you pair up with a Spanish teenager. In Madrid and Granada, as well as in charming towns off-the-beaten track, we spend time getting to know Spanish culture and history. Each day, leaders hold dynamic conversational Spanish lessons designed to help high school students let go of their inhibitions and communicate more easily with the many Spanish people they meet every day. Language lessons are fun, interactive, vocabulary-based, and often incorporate scavenger hunts, games, and informal interviews with local people.
We begin with five days in a fishing village on Spain’s gorgeous northern coast. Get to know your group, visit a local fiesta, and play soccer on the beach with Spanish friends. Next, it’s on to the snow-capped Picos de Europa for a four-day stay in a mountain inn. Hike and ride horseback on spectacular trails. The next stop is Madrid where we explore the lively streets, visit the Prado, and take day trips to Segovia’s Roman aqueduct and to Toledo’s Alcázar and ancient synagogue. Moving on to a smaller city, immerse yourself in local culture by spending the next seven days paired with a Spanish teenager. Practice your Spanish as you join in his/her daily activities, meet the family, and form lasting friendships. Then we head to Granada for four days, where we visit the Alhambra palace and learn to dance flamenco. The program ends with three days in a village in the mountainous Alpujarras region, and a final stay in a whitewashed beach-side village on the southern coast.
Accommodations in Spain are varied, ranging from Old World-style hotels to mountain chalets where we sleep in dormitories. Many of our residences are run by warm and welcoming Spanish families that Putney has known for years. Putney’s network of friends and contacts set the tone for our experience; our Spanish friends often join us on hikes and facilitate interactions with other local people. We begin each day with a traditional Spanish breakfast—breads, croissants, yogurt, fruits, juices, coffee, tea—at our residence. For lunches and dinners, we find small restaurants or hit the markets to purchase food for a picnic.
-Parents of Victoria Mathew, Coastal Christian High School, Wilmington, NC
During the week of day stays, you are paired with a Spanish teenager. This is a unique opportunity to experience Spanish life as it is really lived. The hosts are carefully selected by our local representative—a trusted long-time friend of Putney–who chooses them from among her friends and contacts in the community. During this time we come together as a Spanish/American group for day trips and excursions such as hiking to a swimming spot, attending a concert, or sharing a meal.
- Immerse yourself in Castillian Spanish for a month.
- Use your Spanish to interview the chef at a tapas restaurant in the Lavapiés barrio of Madrid.
- Don wetsuits and jump through waterfalls on a guided canyoning adventure.
- Spend a week paired with a local teenager, joining in Spanish daily life.
- Learn to dance flamenco in Granada’s historic Sacramonte barrio in southern Spain.
- Hike to the top of the highest mountain in the Iberian Peninsula.
What to Expect
You should come to the program excited about immersing yourself in Spanish language and culture, open to new experiences, and willing to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and make the most of your time in Spain. You are required to speak Spanish while in Spain and must sign a pledge that you will do so, not only with the many Spanish people you meet, but also with the leaders and within the group. The program is active and we spend much of our time outdoors. While you don’t need to be athletic, you should come prepared to be physically active every day.
At Putney we take pride in our reputation for careful, thorough planning and attention to detail. The descriptions of our high school summer programs abroad are based on our experiences in previous summers and our plans for this summer. It is inevitable that some things described here will not happen exactly as presented. To get the most out of the Putney experience, participants need to be flexible in responding to unforeseen situations, and creative in taking advantage of unexpected opportunities. We expect Putney participants to share responsibility for the success of their experience.
Putney organizes escorted international flights. Please consult us for fares.
Learn about last year’s program by reading the 2012 Language Learning Spain Blog.
Unit A is for students completing the 10th – 12th grades who have taken at least two years of Spanish.
Unit B is for students completing the 8th – 9th grades who have taken at least one year of Spanish.
This program begins and ends at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.
Departure • Join your group for four and a half weeks of language immersion and adventure travel in Spain. Gather at John F. Kennedy International Airport to meet your program leaders and depart as a group for Spain.
The Northern Coast • Fly to Oviedo, Spain, by way of Madrid, and take a short bus ride to Spain’s northern coast. Participate in language lessons, get to know your group, visit a local fiesta, and play soccer on the beach with Spanish friends.
Picos de Europa • From Asturias, travel a short distance south to spend four days at a mountain inn located among the snow-capped Picos de Europa. Hike and ride horseback on spectacular trails.
Madrid • The next stop is Madrid where we explore the lively streets, visit museums—the Prado, Reina Sofía, and Thyssen Bornemisza–sample wonderful food at a sidewalk café, and take in a show at a taberna flamenco. Take day trips to Segovia to see its Roman aqueduct and to Toledo to visit the Alcázar and ancient synagogue.
Day Stays • Immerse yourself in local culture by spending the next seven days paired with a Spanish teenager in a smaller city. This is an opportunity to experience Spanish life as it is really lived. Practice your Spanish as you join in their daily activities, meet the family, and form lasting friendships.
“The day stay was an amazing experience in that I really immersed myself in the culture and spoke the language.”
- Blake Beber, Rye Country Day School, Rye, NY
Granada • Next, head south to Andalucia for four days in the city of Granada. Visit the Alhambra Palace, soak in a traditional Arabic bath, and learn to dance flamenco.
The Alpujarras • Spend three days at a family-run inn in a whitewashed village in the mountainous Alpujarras region. Hike to Spain’s Mulhacén, the highest peak on the Iberian Peninsula and enjoy the crisp mountain air and natural beauty.
Costa del Sol • Continue south to stay for your final three days in a small town on the Costa del Sol. Relax, enjoy a picnic on the sunny beach of Spain’s Mediterranean coast, and participate in final group activities.
Return • On the last morning of the program, we take a private bus to Málaga and depart for New York accompanied by one of the program leaders.
This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.
Background • From the Moorish palaces of La Alhambra in Granada, to the rocky cliffs on Spain’s northern coast, to world-renowned works of art at Madrid’s many museums, and the spectacular beaches of the southern coast, Spain’s diverse natural beauty, rich history, and worldly culture make it an amazing place to visit. Explore the magnificent Palacio Real built in the mid-1800s by Felipe V, the bustling El Rastro market in Madrid, the old gypsy quarters of the Albaicín in Granada, and discover the stories of small towns and rural villages. Use your language skills to interview Spanish people and bring history to life by tracing the links to contemporary culture.
Population • Spain is home to approximately 45 million people. Madrid and Granada are the largest cities we visit (with populations of 6 million and 475,000, respectively). We spend most of our time in smaller cities and rural towns with populations ranging from 2-5,000.
Language • Castellano, Castillian Spanish, is the official language of Spain, although other languages and dialects are spoken in different regions including Catalan in Cataluña, Galician in Galicia, and Euskara in the Basque Country.
“The thing that stands out most for me was the party on our final night with our day stay families. We all dressed up and had dinner. It was really great because after only a week in the town, we had already made so many friends and it didn’t matter that we spoke different languages or came from different places. We just enjoyed being with our friends and we had a great time.”
- Jonah Zitelli, Sandy Run Middle School, Dresher, PA
Climate • Daytime temperatures during Spain’s summer months range from the mid-80s to the mid-90s, although it is cooler on the northern coast and in the mountains where afternoon temperatures often stay in the low 70s and can be cool at night.
Cuisine • Spaniards enjoy their meals, taking time to gather with family and friends at the table, to eat slowly, and enjoy their company. Most Spaniards will encourage you to try a bite of their tortilla de patata, paella, jamon serrano, churros con chocolate, or the incredible manchego cheeses produced in the northern regions. Each region of Spain is famous for its own specialty, a product of the region’s climate, history, and customs. While northern Spanish cuisine is a hearty reflection of the region’s farming industry and proximity to the Atlantic coast, southern Spanish cuisine showcases Mediterranean influences. Throughout our exploration of Spain, we complement meals at restaurants with delicious picnics and plenty of stops at cafés.
Currency • After centuries of using the Spanish Peseta, Spain converted to the Euro in 2002. An ATM card is the most convenient way to access cash in Spain.
Voltage • Spain uses 230V/50Hz current and type C plugs (two round pins). You should bring a plug adapter, and may need a voltage converter to run some US electronics.
The Language Learning Spain program is directed by Troy Shaheen. If you have questions, are interested in receiving more detailed information, or would like to talk further about the program or any of our high school summer programs abroad, please get in touch!
Troy Shaheen: Kenyon College, B.A., English, Spanish. Troy oversees programming in Latin America and Spain and coordinates Putney’s new media and web outreach. He has previously led Putney programs to Spain, Costa Rica, and Peru and has worked in bilingual education and journalism in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, Quito, Ecuador, and Kerhonkson, New York. He enjoys soccer and the outdoors.
How To Apply
STEP 1: LOG ON.
STEP 2: HOLD A SPACE IN THE PROGRAM.
You can hold a space in a program by completing the Online Application Form, submitting a signed Agreement Form, and providing the $700 Application Deposit by Mastercard, Visa, or Discover Card through our secure online system or by sending a check to our office. Our admissions staff is also available to take credit card information over the phone. We will hold a space in a program for a reasonable time, pending completion of the full application process. See Step 3.
After March 15, we will hold a space temporarily as above, but we must receive full payment by check or wire transfer within three days to continue to hold a space in the program.
STEP 3: COMPLETE THE APPLICATION PROCESS.
Before we can make a final admissions decision, an application must be complete. In addition to the Application Form and Application Deposit described above, a complete application includes:
- Applicant Statement - Attach a statement explaining why you would like to join a Putney program and what you feel you can contribute to it. Your application cannot be processed without this statement. Approximately 150–300 words is sufficient. Global Action applicants’ statements must be 300-500 words addressing these questions, and detailing their interest and/or experience in the country and issues on which they wish to focus.
- Two Teacher Reference Forms
These documents are available as part of our Online Application. We review a completed application within a few days, and notify families of our admissions decision by e-mail.