Choosing to study Spanish abroad could offer an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in your Spanish speaking studies. The courses in these programs mainly focus on core Spanish language topics. These could include grammar, conjugation, new vocabulary, and even literary studies. But, most importantly, your studies could expand beyond your everyday classroom, into the real world. You could test your abilities outside of class as you explore a new country.
Living and learning as part of a study Spanish abroad program could do more than enhance your conversational capabilities. It could place you among a new culture that offers unique food to try, people to meet, and chances for adventure. Just get used to saying “Como se dice?” in the beginning. That’s “How do you say…?” in Spanish!
And, of course, you could possibly put this unique experience towards college credit at your home college or university. Schools vary so check with your advisor to learn which programs might qualify for credit.
Do I Need to Speak the Language to Study Spanish Abroad?
No! There are study Spanish abroad programs for students with different language abilities. While the levels of these programs may each offer an immersive experience, their coursework varies.
Beginner Spanish study abroad programs are designed for students who may not have taken language courses before. Classes could cover grammar basics and essential phrases. These programs are generally offered in tourist cities, which could provide additional English services if necessary.
Intermediate and advanced courses may focus on tougher coursework. This could include learning a regional dialect, practicing your conversational knowledge, and even planned excursions. Read program descriptions and curriculum to learn which programs might fit your needs.
Why Study Spanish Abroad?
Besides potentially earning valuable college credit to put towards your degree, studying Spanish abroad may be a perfect choice for a number of reasons. As you take your first steps out of your academic and personal comfort zone, you could expand your knowledge in a myriad of ways.
When browsing potential Spanish study abroad programs, why not consider some of these other possible benefits.
It might be evident in the title, but you could potentially enhance your language ability while studying Spanish abroad. Yes, it’s true you could be taking courses throughout your time there. And, they may be helpful in developing your vocabulary, usage, and more.
But, you may be forgetting the biggest classroom you have abroad. The country itself! Exploring the city could offer you a language test that textbooks can’t provide. You might hear (and understand!) things like slang, proverbs, or just phrases that aren’t used too often. In fact, your neighbors might be your newest teachers, so listen up.
Not to mention, exploring could be its own exam as well. Navigating tourist attractions, ordering lunch, or reading street signs might be a great way to apply your Spanish speaking knowledge. Immersing yourself in the language full-time could be the push you need to become fluent.
Of course, you could also list your study abroad in Spanish program on your professional resume. By doing this, you could be doing one of two things (or both!).
First, your Spanish study abroad program could demonstrate that you’re bilingual and enhance your career. For some positions, this might be a prerequisite. Or, for other roles, it might just be a great asset to have! For example, if you want to pursue a career in international business, having Spanish knowledge could help you complete deals. Also, teachers who have bilingual students might find this skillset helpful. It could help them communicate in their classroom or even work alongside students’ parents.
Second, your journeys abroad might help your resume stand out. Studying abroad in Spanish speaking countries in Europe, and Central and South America could demonstrate some of the following skills and knowledge to potential employers.
- Cultural Awareness
- Globally Conscious
These might be valuable in a wide variety of positions and companies. If nothing else, it's a great conversation starter!
Where to Study Spanish Abroad
Where you study Spanish abroad could greatly affect the culture, people, and education you encounter. Before deciding where to go, it might be important to determine what you want out of your study abroad program. Do you want the chance to volunteer while you’re there? Or maybe you’re interested in learning a specific Spanish dialect? Even still, you might just want more travel opportunities!
The following provides a more in-depth look into some area you could go to study Spanish abroad.
Studying Spanish in Spain – it has a certain ring to it. Besides enjoying immersive language opportunities, studying in Spain could also be your chance to tap into it’s unique way of life. That includes delicious tapas (small hors d'oeuvres), grand historical sites, and more.
Also, many Spaniards speak English. This could make easing into your Spanish study abroad experience a bit simpler. If you have questions, you may have an easier time finding someone to talk with than in other countries.
Of courses, Spain is a rather large country. Each region boasts its own flair for you to explore. Not to mention some unique learning opportunities! Why not consider some of the following study abroad options?
These are just a few examples. Contact schools directly to learn which other Spanish cities may have programs.
Costa Rica could be another great place to expand your Spanish abilities. Many study Spanish abroad programs are offered out of Costa Rica’s capital city of San José. By being located in this major metropolis, you could have access to some prestigious colleges and universities. These might be the same schools that your Costa Rican neighbors attend. Speak with your peers for a little extra help in your work. Or, they might be a great way to find out more about the city’s culture (and nightlife!).
But if the city isn’t for you, don’t worry. Costa Rica is home to lush forests, exciting volcanos, and breath-taking ocean views. When you need to escape your studies, it might only be a short trip to a white sand beach.
Exploring the South American country of Ecuador might be a treat during your winter break. It’s location close to the equator means it might stay pleasantly warm year-round.
Many Ecuador Spanish study abroad programs may also include volunteer opportunities. As part of this, you could travel to remote villages throughout the country to help with infrastructure, repairs, or even teach a little English. Besides providing some much-needed community service, this might enlighten you about the varying cultures hidden within Ecuador itself.
Puerto Rico could be a great choice for students who are looking for a first-time study abroad experience. Due to Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States, you may find many citizens speak English. This could alleviate some of your fears about speaking Spanish 100%. In addition, many US products find their way to PR. You may find some of your favorites on a trip to the grocery store!
But that doesn’t mean Puerto Rico is a mini USA. The island has a proud culture of its own. Taking a walk past its colorful buildings, trying a plate of lechon, or taking in a salsa class are sure to demonstrate that!
If you study in the city of San Juan, you may have the chance to take additional courses at their many universities. Advanced students may be encouraged to take history, literature, and other courses as part of their program. That way, they could continue to branch out their Spanish knowledge in academic fields.
Peru could be a great place to study Spanish abroad because of how Peruvians speak the language. Many native Peruvians speak Spanish slower than in other countries. This dialect could be easier for students studying the language to understand. And, you could take your own time responding to others when you’re out and about.
Just because the talk might be slow doesn’t mean you shouldn’t rush to see Peru’s sights, though! Whether exploring the cities or the Andes mountains, you could have your choice of historical sites. For instance, the Incan culture used to call Peru home. Now, their ruins dot the country waiting for student travelers to come visit.
How You Could Fit Studying Spanish Abroad into Your Schedule
Study Spanish abroad programs are generally offered year-round for varying amounts of time. That means there may be plenty of options to ensure that you could fit this program into your schedule.
Traditionally, students attend study Spanish abroad programs during the fall and spring semesters. These are generally semester long programs that might include more immersive opportunities. They might also be a great choice if you’re looking to experience a foreign country’s culture. The extended program length means you could take part in more local holidays and festivities. Or, it might just mean more time to travel in your chosen Spanish speaking country.
But, some students may be unable to miss vital courses offered at their home university at that time. In these cases, you could pursue study Spanish abroad programs during your summer or winter breaks. These programs are often shorter, lasting from 1 to 3 weeks, which may mean you don't have to skip out on signing up for that one vital class at home. In addition, this might be perfect for students who haven’t traveled abroad previously. The short timeline could provide a taste of travel without going too far outside your comfort zone.
Heading Out to Study Spanish Abroad
A lot goes into deciding how you want to study Spanish abroad! Using this information, you might have a better idea of the why, where, and how of Spanish study abroad programs. To start your search for a program, browse the list of links on this page. Or, you could narrow down your results by choosing your preferred country or city to study in.
Clicking on a link provides with a brief description about the program and country you may be studying in. You could also request more information from the program itself while you’re there. This could provide you with details about the country’s culture, program itineraries, and more.