The beaches, the food, the people, the language…what’s not to love about Spain in the summertime? With TFT, not only will you explore this vibrant Mediterranean country like a local but you’ll learn to speak like one too! On this unforgettable journey, you will join 40 hours of intensive Spanish courses at two different international schools – so you can perfect your speaking skills while immersed in the different dialects of San Sebastián and Barcelona. Join us to explore three of Spain’s most dynamic regions and gain confidence in your Spanish skills both inside and outside the classroom!
We’ll begin in serene San Sebastián, the capital of Basque Country, where you’ll begin your first session of lessons taught by native speakers. After your studies, you’ll surf at an international surfer’s paradise, taste your way through our one-of-a-kind Tapas Tour through the Historical Quarter, relax on Playa la Concha, and say bonjour to France on a day trip! Next stop is regal Madrid, where we’ll stroll through the Puerta del Sol, pay homage to the legendary Real Madrid Football Club at the Bernabéu Stadium, and go for a rowboat ride in Retiro Park.
We’ll finish out our journey in fun and funky Barcelona where you’ll join your second session of language lessons at the local international school. We will take our speaking skills to the streets and amble down the palm-lined boulevards, explore the twists and turns of the Gothic Quarter, bike through the city spotting the architecture of Gaudí, and see the home of FC Barcelona.
Our Spanish Immersion program is perfect for high school students looking to gain a global perspective and gain fluency in the language in the best way possible. Our experienced bilingual staff will accompany you every step of the way as you broaden your speaking skills outside the classroom through language scavenger hunts, chitchatting with local shopkeepers, ordering food at local restaurants, and simply by being immersed in the culture. Come with us this summer for an enriching experience you will never forget!
During this program, you will…
- Attend a total of 40 hours of Spanish language class taught by native speakers at two different international schools in San Sebastian & Barcelona.
- Spend your mornings learning in the classroom and practice your Spanish in real-world situations in the afternoons
- Eat your way through Spain’s culinary capital, San Sebastián, with our unique Tapas Tour
- Take surf lessons at Spain’s hottest surf spot (for all skill levels)
- Ride a cable car for a breathtaking view of the mountains and sea
- Learn how to make delicious paella from the place where it originated
- Hop over the border to France for an afternoon
- Practice your royal wave at the Palace of Madrid
- Indulge in churros con chocolate at the king’s favorite churrería
- See Picasso’s masterpiece, Guernica, at the Reina Sofía Museum
- Gaze in awe at the Magic Fountain of Montjuic
- Soak in Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces at the Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, and Parc Guell
- Bike through Barcelona’s wide boulevards for an insider’s look at the city’s off-the-beaten-path sights
- Tour Camp Nou, home of the legendary FC Barcelona
Most of our travelers choose to extend their stay in Spain and really solidify their Spanish language skills by opting for our 21-Day Spanish Language Immersion program.
DAY 1: DEPART FROM NEW YORK (JFK)
DAYS 2-6: SAN SEBASTIÁN > BILBAO > ST. JEAN DE LUZ (FRANCE)
Welcome to Spain! We’ll begin our journey in rugged northern Spain for the weekend–specifically, the Basque Country. You’ll have a day to settle in and get your bearings before class begins on Monday morning. Your Spanish teachers–all locals–will put you in classes based on your Spanish ability, and you’ll have classes just in the morning. Then, after lunch, you’ll spend the afternoon exploring all the sights of San Sebastián while practicing what you’ve learned in class. Chitchat with shopkeepers, order your own food at restaurants, and haggle with street vendors–you’ll be amazed at how much Spanish you can pick up by being totally immersed in the culture!
San Sebastián is widely considered to be the culinary capital of Spain, and you’ll get to go on our unique “Tapas Tour” just like the Spanish do–hopping around to a number of different restaurants, and eating a little snack at each one. We’ll have a week full of adventure as we take surf lessons on one of the world’s best surfing beaches, ride a cable car up to the top of the mountain for a beautiful view of the harbor, and bike around the city on a guided tour! If you don’t want to bike, you can explore by foot. We’ll also spend an afternoon over the border in the quaint French beach town of St. Jean de Luz, where you can relax on the beach, explore the village, and try crêpes for dinner.
DAYS 7-9: MADRID
No trip to Spain would be complete without a stay in its decadent capital. Hear the true, authentic castellano spoken in the streets and in the shops, taste local specialties like calamari and fried green peppers, and shop til you drop along the grand boulevards. You’ll get a tour of the Royal Palace (still in use by the Spanish monarchy) and relax in the Parque del Retiro just as Spaniards do on Sunday afternoons. Laugh at the street performers in la Puerta del Sol, Madrid’s version of Times Square, and get an ice cream in Plaza Mayor–formerly the site of several bullfights and beheadings. Take in some of the world’s best art at the Reina Sofia and the Prado museums. And let’s not forget Madrid’s most famous resident–a trip to the Bernabéu Stadium to see the home of Real Madrid Football Club. By this time, you will have had 20 hours of Spanish practice–you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve learned and how well you’ll be able to talk to Spaniards!
DAYS 10-13: BARCELONA
Barcelona awaits you with its sandy Mediterranean beaches, lively boulevards, and traditional cuisine. Marvel at Antoní Gaudí’s spectacular architecture at Parc Guell, Casa Mila, and of course the Sagrada Familia Basilica. Explore for yourself all the hidden twists and turns of the ancient Gothic Quarter, and take an off-the-beaten-path bike tour to learn the city’s secrets. You’ll even get to see the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, an amazing lights and music show, and of course go to Camp Nou to try to get a glimpse of Messi. We’ll conclude our time in Spain with an elegant final dinner on a rooftop terrace.
DAY 14: RETURN FLIGHT TO THE USA
Authenticity is engrained in everything we do.
Eat, stay, and travel like a local. Check out what past travelers have to say about TFT and discover why we were awarded top youth travel organization in 2017.
Carly had the best trip. The counselors were amazing! Thank you for the daily updates and communication and for taking such great care of the kids. The staff have been an absolute pleasure and so professional!"
"Another amazing day! Laura had a bit of art history in her Spanish class this past year and was looking forward to seeing some of the paintings. Thank you again for giving all the kids such wonderful opportunities! Thank you again for all that you are doing to broaden their horizons! You work magic and get the kids to do things that we parents never would be able to get our own kids to do! Just want to tell you how much Laura’s family is enjoying your amazing, funny, and artistic pictures! Laura’s Grandma Root enjoys reading your informative, adventure-packed updates, and looking at the pictures every night before she goes to bed."
"Thank you so much! Mariia is very happy in Spain. She likes Spanish classes and has fun spending time in San-Sebastián."
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of teen typically participates in this program? What are the requirements to join?
Teens from all over the world join this program! Typically, our participants are culturally curious individuals who are excited to make new friends, experience something unique, and interested in stepping out of their comfort zones and expanding their horizons.
This program is exclusively for students who are currently in grades 9th through 12th and approximately 14 to 18 years old. Students living outside of the USA are welcome to join!
Where do we stay?
Our hotels are chosen specifically in safe areas and are well suited to facilitating group supervision. We stay in centrally located accommodations, usually within walking distance of the main attractions. We do not use large, impersonal chain hotels on the outskirts of cities; we prefer to select smaller, family-run hotels where we establish personal relationships with the owners.
Our three-star hotel in Barcelona is steps away from the port and from la Rambla–in other words, central enough to be close to the action, but far enough away to get a good night’s sleep. In San Sebastián we will be staying close to the beach in a family-run B and B in the heart of the Old City. Our Madrid hotel is three stars, right in the heart of the city near the City Hall.
For safety reasons, we do not publish the names of the accommodations we use. We do not feel it is safe to publish the name of a hotel where a group of teenagers is staying abroad. After registering, participants and parents are given access to our secure parent website where you will be able to see the names of all of the accommodations for the program.
Do most travelers go on their own?
Yes! In fact, over 75% of students who travel with us choose to come independently. This encourages teens to step further outside their comfort zone and make new friends. We believe that one of the most rewarding and exciting elements of travel is the new friendships that form along the way. When we travel by ourselves, we are bound to make new friends from all over the country and even the world. The best part is, you can travel again with your new friends on another TFT program the next summer!
If you are thinking about joining a TFT program by yourself but you are feeling unsure, please let us know! We have plenty of references from solo travelers who had great experiences and would be happy to chat with you about it.
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! We ask that if you do come with a friend, you and your friend(s) maintain openness to meeting new people and sharing this special experience with the entire group.
What do students like most about this program?
Students love that they are able to learn and practice their Spanish with locals in the best possible place to do so, while at the same time learning about Spanish culture and seeing some of the best sights both Atlantic and Mediterranean Spain have to offer.
What is unique about this program?
Between our Spanish lessons tailored specifically to each individual student, the out-of-the-classroom learning and cultural exploration experiences, and of course getting to see three of Spain’s most vibrant metropolises, this program provides unique insider access to Spain and Spanish culture.
What is included?
Tuition cost includes ground transportation; accommodation; chaperones and guides; program-related activities and admissions; taxes and tips; all breakfasts and dinners.
Not included in cost (this is not intended to be an exhaustive list): airfare; lunches; visas and visa application fees; personal and medical expenses; activities and admissions that are not program-related or referenced in the itinerary; beverages other than filtered water at meals; participant expenses that are outside of the program description, such as excess baggage fees and damage to hotels; expenses related to unforeseen circumstances, such as transportation strikes and natural disasters.
How do the optional group flights work?
Upon registration, you will be contacted by our International Logistics Team to discuss the program’s flight details. There is no requirement to take the group flight, but there are several advantages to doing so. The group flight is usually chaperoned by a TFT staff member, and it also offers an opportunity for the students to get to know one another prior to the start of the program. Parents are responsible for coordinating transport to the departure airport – however, the logistics team will send out instructions detailing the exact meeting spot and airport point person. For additional information about flights, visit our dedicated flight page.
Who leads the program?
Our staff is a cut above the rest! We seek out two main characteristics in our counselors – extensive knowledge of and experience in our destinations, and a passion for working with teens. Our staff’s backgrounds include living abroad and working in summer camps or other educational settings. Team members are proven leaders and role models, who connect easily with others and form genuine friendships with each student – all while bringing each destination to life.
We celebrate diversity! Our staff represents 49 different nationalities, speak a combined total of 21 languages, and visited 142 countries. Additionally, 80% of our staff lived or worked abroad in their lives. With so many unique experiences to share, you are sure to gain a global perspective.
Our average minimum ratios are one staff member to every seven participants. Each program has one Trip Director with several support staff, depending on the group size. Directors must be at least 25 years old and have prior experience working with TFT.
What are the safety qualifications for our staff?
Our staff members undergo a rigorous hiring process. They receive the same background check as school educators, an extensive training process to go over all safety precautions and protocols, and are required to be certified in CPR and First Aid. We exclusively hire responsible, multi-talented individuals who are safety-minded and are as passionate about teen travel as we are.
What is the average group size?
We pride ourselves on small group sizes to create a more authentic and personalized experience. Our group sizes fall between 14 and 21 students – the perfect size to facilitate new friendships without feeling lost in a crowd! We believe smaller groups eliminate the likelihood of cliques, and allows for a well-rounded, healthy group dynamic.
How does this program connect to other programs?
Our program dates are designed specifically so that participants can opt to combine trips throughout the summer. When connecting to another program, your counselor will escort you to the airport on the last day of the program and assist you in meeting your next group at your new destination.
Families who sign up for more than one program will also receive a 15% discount on the lesser-priced program.
What is the food like on this program?
In a word – delicious! At TFT, we believe food should be an integral part of the travel experience and always make an effort to eat at authentic establishments when we can. What better way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place than by sampling the local delicacies, and we encourage students to do so whenever possible! Just as we stay away from Americanized hotel chains, we try to avoid restaurants with menus that cater only to tourists because every good traveler knows the best food is found wherever the locals are eating!
The food in Spain can be a variety of styles, but one of the most amazing food traditions to ever exist remains the same throughout the whole country – tapas! Can’t decide on what to order? No problem! With tapas, you can try a little bit of everything. Tapas are small, shared dishes that accumulate to a full meals served in multiple appetizer sized plates.
We will also have an opportunity to cook and eat paella, a traditional Spanish dish, in Barcelona. We also love to have picnics al fresco, and do this whenever possible, which is a great way to taste some local food while sitting out in the fresh air taking in the sights and sounds of our surroundings.
Of course, we are always willing and able to accommodate vegetarians, vegans, gluten allergies, and other dietary restrictions.
Do we ever get time to go off on our own?
Our staff and teens are nearly always together, but we do provide the opportunity to break up into smaller groups to allow for flexibility and customization within the itinerary.
We offer free time in defined safe areas – for example, shopping in a market or exploring a museum. During these times, students remain in groups of at least two and are given no more than an hour. Of course, the counselors remain nearby and available. Additionally, a lifeguard-certified counselor supervises the campers any time they are involved in water activities.
Do I need any vaccinations for this program?
We recommend checking with your family doctor regarding vaccinations and medical advice for the destination you are visiting. For more information, please check the World Health Organization’s website. Upon registration, we provide a list of recommended vaccinations that can be discussed further with your doctor.
What kind of visa do you need for this trip?
Any US citizen that enters Europe is automatically granted a free 90-day tourist visa.
When joining a TFT trip from outside of the US, please be sure to check your country’s specific visa requirements.
Do I need to speak the language?
No! Our Spanish classes at the academy are for all levels, from beginner to advanced, so there’s something for everyone. Before the start of the program, you will be complete a placement exam to see which class is most appropriate for your level.