Spain | Middle School

Discovering Andalucía

With the storied southern city of Granada as your base, explore Mediterranean landscapes, whitewashed villages, and winding cobblestone streets on this student travel summer program in Spain. Spend your days engaging with this fascinating city through a diverse array of fun activities. Travel to the mountain forests of Grazalema and the breezy beaches of Cádiz to celebrate the final days of the program.

June 26, 2017  –  July 12, 2017
At A Glance:
  • Adventure
    Outdoor exploration, hiking, biking, swimming, and other active pursuits
  • Beach
    Stay on the ocean with time to swim, surf, boat, or snorkel
  • Language
    Opportunities to practice or learn the language of your host country
  • Mountains
    Focus on outdoor exploration with day hikes or alpine trekking
Completing grades 7 – 8
US Gateway City:
New York
Middle School
17 days
Typical Group:
20 – 22 students, 3 leaders
$ 5,790 + airfare
  • Learn the basics of flamenco accompanied by traditional guitarra
  • Take a surf lesson on the white-sand beaches of the Costa del Sol
  • Explore La Alhambra, Granada’s ancient Arab fortress and gardens
  • Venture into the Sierra Nevada mountains for hiking and canyoning

Leader Profile: BENICIA COLÓN

Education: Western Illinois University, B.S., Psychology, B.A., Spanish; Illinois State University, S.S.P., School Psychology

During her undergraduate studies, Benicia focused on Spanish culture and literature while living in Salamanca and Castellón de la Plana, Spain. After graduating from Western… read more

During her undergraduate studies, Benicia focused on Spanish culture and literature while living in Salamanca and Castellón de la Plana, Spain. After graduating from Western Illinois University, Benicia traveled in the north of Spain to the iconic Santiago de Compostela. Throughout her graduate studies, she provided early literacy interventions and bilingual tutoring services to Spanish-speaking students. After graduating from Illinois State University, Benicia returned to Spain and backpacked extensively through Cataluña, Valencia, Andalucía, and Galícia, and Lisboa, Portugal. During this time, she explored Spanish cuisine, flamenco, and Spanish lifestyle. Benicia currently works as a bilingual school psychologist in the Chicago suburbs and is part of a grant-sponsored task force trying to develop procedures for properly addressing the needs of students with limited English proficiency. She is also a volunteer for Girls Rock! Chicago, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering girls’ creative expression, self-esteem and community awareness through music. She is fluent in Spanish. This is her second year leading our Middle School Spain program.


Departure • Travel Day • Meet your fellow middle school student travelers and one or more of your leaders in New York, and fly together to Málaga, Spain, by way of Madrid. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

Granada • 7 Days • Granada is an evocative and stunningly beautiful city that has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site for its concentration of historic architecture, much of it dating back to the centuries of Moorish rule in Spain. With a serene and secluded residence in Granada’s Arab quarter as your home base, explore this enchanting city — the embodiment of Spain’s multicultural history. Visit the magnificent Arab fortress of La Alhambra, catch a night of theatre in Granada’s downtown, or experience the unique gitano caves of the Sacromonte. Get to know Granada through structured cultural activities, fun language exercises designed for students of all levels, and adventure-based travel. Practice your Spanish at an open-air market, enjoy a picnic lunch in a downtown park with your group, and take in a flamenco show in the evening.


The Alpujarras • 2 Days • Travel to a white-washed village high in the majestic mountain region of the Alpujarras on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada. Hike to the highest peak in the Iberian Peninsula with professional guides or ride horseback along the mountain ridge. Spend evenings sampling local artisan cheese, listening to live music, or simply relaxing in the cool mountain air.

Grazalema • 3 Days • Experience life in a picturesque rural village surrounded by rolling olive groves. Hike into the surrounding foothills, go canyoning down the nearby rivers, or play a game of soccer with local Spaniards.

Cádiz • 3 Days • Enjoy the final days of your time in Spain in the breezy cosmopolitan city of Cádiz, known for its fantastic urban beaches and its high culture sensibilities. Reflect on your experience and say your final goodbyes to Spain together as a group.

 Departure • Travel Day • Fly from Málaga to New York with your group and a leader, then continue on to your final destination. To learn more about how we organize travel, click here.

This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the program.

A Day in the Life: GRANADA

Due to the traveling nature of this summer program abroad, each day is different. Here is a snapshot of a day in Granada.

9 AM Breakfast at your hotel
10 AM Interactive cultural lesson focused on Granada’s history
11 AM Guided visit to the world-renowned La Alhambra
1 PM Picnic lunch in the Plaza de la Trinidad
3 PM Siesta and downtime
5 PM Kick the soccer ball on the fields of la Universidad de Granada
8 PM Evening group walk through the Albaicin
9 PM Dinner and a flamenco show
11 PM Group meeting to discuss the day and upcoming schedule

The staff were exceptionally fun to be with. Benicia was funny, relaxed, and had a great sense of humor, and Peter was kind, extremely caring, and knew how to be a great leader.

— Ryan D., The Seven Hills School, Lafayette, CA

What to Expect

This travel program in Spain offers middle school students the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in Spanish culture with the guidance and encouragement of an active Putney community. Combining elements from our Language Learning and Cultural Exploration programs, this program allows students to become engaged and intentional travelers, not tourists. Activities are structured and supervised, touching on language, art and architecture, flamenco, cuisine, and culture. A high staff-to-student ratio makes for an intimate experience with a particular focus on group dynamics and team building. Spanish language students are welcomed and encouraged to participate, though there is no language requirement. To learn more about how we organize our Middle School travel programs, click here.

Independent Project Pursue an independent project and explore an aspect of local culture of particular interest to you — become an expert on a Federico Garcia Lorca poem, organize a tapas-making contest within your group, or learn a traditional flamenco song.

Physical Activity This is a physically active summer program. Hiking, surfing, horseback riding, and walking are all activities in which you might participate during this program. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.

Accommodations Accommodations in Spain are varied, ranging from Old World-style hotels to mountain chalets. Many of our residences are run by welcoming Spanish families that Putney has known for years. Rooms are a mix of doubles, triples, and quads. Leaders reside together with the students throughout the program.

Meals Begin each day with a traditional Spanish breakfast at our residence. For lunches and dinners, we find small restaurants or hit the markets to purchase food for a picnic. Lunches tend to be the biggest meal of the day in Spain, followed by a siesta. Restaurants range from traditional regional cuisine to a more international selection in Granada.

We expected our daughter to broaden her horizons, meet new people, and experience a different language and culture. This trip exceeded our expectations.

— Peter Pernicone & Alyssa Gunzburg, New York, NY

Ask Us

Call Kelsey at 802.387.5000 or email

The Middle School Spain summer program is directed by Kelsey Burns. If you have questions, are interested in receiving more detailed information, or would like to talk further about the program or any of our middle school student travel summer programs, please get in touch!

Kelsey Burns

St. Lawrence University, B.A., Spanish

A Vermont native, Kelsey has led Language Learning programs in Spain; Community Service programs in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Ghana; and directed our Middle School program in Costa Rica. She has worked as an associate director at Putney since 2003, and coordinates programs in Spain, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. Kelsey loves to travel, ski, dance, make music, and spend time with her family.