Youth For Understanding USA
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What kind of exchange experience do you want?
I want to spend a all program lengths  studying in Spain, or maybe all regions. And I'm looking for something with a traditional exchange  and I definitely want to show off my need for  any language skills. Can I go whenever?
  • All around the world.

    all regions
    Africa & Middle East
    Asia & Pacific
    Eastern Europe
    Latin America
    Scandinavian Countries
    Western Europe
    North America
  • Pick a place, any place.

    Say what?

    Any language requirements?

     Any  Yes  No
  • What I'm into.

    a traditional exchange
    a gap year option
    college & university programs
    language classes
    a connection to the Arts
    sports & outdoors
    a volunteer program
  • How long I want to go.

    All program lengths

    When can I leave?

    May to September
    December to March
Show me my options >


Scholarships Available

385 - Holcomb & Farnell Foreign Stud...
368 - YFU Community Grant
384 - YFU Financial Aid Fund

Age Requirement

Academic School Year Program: December 31, 2001 - September 29, 2004. Students who do not meet this age requirement or will graduate from high school before the start of their program will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.


Spanish. No previous language study is required.

Host Family Placement

Host family placement is throughout the country in both cities and rural areas. All host families are located in Santander for the summer Language and Culture Program. Most family members share the responsibility for household tasks like keeping the house clean and preparing dinner. Your new family would love for you to ask how you can help, and they look forward to dinnertime with you to know how your day was and to get to to know about your customs and culture.


Mid-September through June, with a two week holiday for Christmas and week long breaks at Easter and at another time during the school year. A normal school day might start at 8:00am and usually ends around 2:00pm, with two 30 minute breaks.


Optional educational trips are available for an additional fee. The Santander summer program tuition includes all excursions and activities.

"Estoy contento de haber venido a EspaƱa" may be your motto while you're in Spain. It means "I'm happy to be in Spain." As a YFU summer program student, you'll enjoy paella dinners, flamenco dancing, Spanish classes, and afternoons at the beach- this program has it all! Year program students will become part of a family, attend school, and live there long enough to understand what it means to be Spanish!
Learn more about Spain.

Spanish Language and Culture Summer Program

If you want to learn Spanish there’s no better place than Spain, especially through this long-running YFU program! This intensive four-week program offers Spanish (Castilian) classes and a full itinerary of activities in Santander, a beautiful seaside beach town in the north of Spain. Stay with a host family while enjoying group activities with other students, including hiking and boating, art and dance classes, city tours, and museum visits. A day trip to Bilbao is also planned, with a visit to its famous Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. There's also plenty of free time to explore Santander at your own pace, discovering its many lovely gardens and parks, charming old churches, outdoor markets, small shops, and pleasant cafes. On the weekends you might enjoy some beach time with your host family, attend a local festival, play sports, go to the movies, and enjoy delicious dinners late into the night. 


In addition to living with a host family, during past summers, students have that the opportunity to discover the riches of history and culture that Spain has to offer on excursions to places like the Magdalena Palace Peninsula, the charming ninth century village of Santillana del Mar, and an optional bullfight.  Participants may also spend their days going to museums, an aquarium, a planetarium, and botanical gardens.  In addition, many exciting activities are planned during your stay in Santander, including salsa and merengue dance lessons, an art class, traditional dinners, shopping in the many city markets, and Roman Route hiking. 


Beyond the included Spanish classes, participants may choose to add an optional intensive course in soccer, sailing, or cooking, subject to availability, at an additional cost.  


Tentative Itinerary, subject to change:


 Day 1: Arrive in Spain, transfer to Santander. Meet your host family.
 Days 2-3: Spend the weekend getting to know your host family and the local area.
 Day 4: Welcome orientation and afternoon at the beach.
 Day 5: Spanish classes and city tour.
 Day 6: Visit and tour of local historic sites and afternoon at the beach.
 Day 7: Art workshop and afternoon at the beach.
 Day 8: Day trip to Bilbao, including Guggenheim Museum and shopping.
 Days 9-10: Free weekend with your host family. 
 Day 11: Spanish classes and optional Spanish dance class in the evening. 
 Day 12: Spanish classes and afternoon at the beach. 
 Day 13: Tour of the Maritime Museum and Aquarium and special oceanography class. See the opening celebrations of the local summer festival. 
 Day 14: Spanish class at the local market. Hands-on marine biology workshop and night safari.
 Days 15: Day trip hiking on the Roman Route. 
 Days 16-17: Free weekend with your host family. Go to the local festival and parade. 
 Day 18: Festival mass and parade, followed by free afternoon with host families. Optional Spanish dance class at night.
 Day 19: Spanish classes and afternoon free at the beach. 
 Day 20: Day trip to the botanical gardens, prehistoric caves, and medieval village. 
 Day 21: Boating excursion on the bay and pottery workshop. 
 Day 22: Spanish classes and free afternoon with host families at the beach. 
 Day 23: Free day with your host family. Check out the local street theater, concerts, and dances. Optional bull
 Day 24: Optional bullfight and flemenco dancing. 
 Day 25: Farewell ceremony and chocolate con churros tasting. 
 Day 26: Final free day with your host family, last chance for souvenir shopping and packing. Fireworks and concert in evening. Depart home next morning. 

Academic Year Program

During your time in Spain, you will live with a host family and attend a local high school. Part of your experience will be:


School: Spanish schools are academically challenging. You'll find yourself taking courses with students who are preparing themselves for university education. Exchange students are usually placed in an "Instituto" and will have eight compulsory subjects, four of which are common to all students while the rest are specific to the learning track you choose. You can choose from five tracks: art, natural science and health, humanities, social studies, or technology. Most schools offer sciences, humanities and social sciences, while very few have the art and technology path (there are usually special schools for Art or Technology). Most exchange students choose the social sciences track, as it is the most interesting for them and has the greatest variety of subjects. You'll learn about Spanish history and literature, have the chance to work on language fluency, and maybe even study one of the regional languages (if your host family lives in an area where there is a co-official language)— Basque, Catalan, Galician, or Valencian.


Please note: Students may not be able to receive a transcript or a record of grades. Some schools are able to issue a certificate of attendance. Placement in a particular grade level, credit, or graduation cannot be guaranteed. 


Orientations: All students applying for the semester or year program must be available for a mandatory 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation, which usually takes place in mid-July. This orientation is a required part of the program aimed at preparing students for their experience overseas. All students will participate in a one-day local pre-departure orientation in May or June. Upon arrival in Spain, you will attend a 5 day arrival orientation in Madrid before traveling to your host family. This orientation will introduce you to Spanish culture and language and help prepare you to be an exchange student in Spain. Year students will also be invited to attend a 3 day mid-year orientation, and all students attend a 2-3 day re-entry orientation before departure to reflect on their experiences. All orientation costs are included in your program tuition. 


Special Program Offers: YFU Spain local volunteers plan optional activities throughout the year.  Last year this included organizing a 5 day hiking trip along the Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James), a network of famous pilgrimage routes in northern Spain. 


Year program students may have the option to participate in the YFU Young Europeans' Seminar, a week-long program of seminars, educational workshops, inspiring guest speakers, panel discussions, and other activities.  The Seminar takes place in Germany in late June and is attended by around 500 other YFU exchange program participants from across the continent. Space is limited and participation requires an additional application and fee.


Academic Semester Program

YFU also offers a fall semester option to study on exchange in Spain.  Students will be enrolled in public schools that follow a trimester system, where they will have a choice of science or humanities subjects. Students on the semester program are likely able to receive final grades from their host schools.


Orientations: All students applying for the semester program must be available for a mandatory 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation, which usually takes place in mid-July. This orientation is a required part of the program aimed at preparing students for their experience overseas. All students will also participate in a one-day local pre-departure orientation in May or June. More information about in-country orientations for the semester program in Spain coming soon. 


Tuition Includes

-Placement with a host family
-Enrollment in a local Spanish high school (or language classes for students on the Santander program)
-Airport transfers
-Domestic and international travel
-All pre-departure and post arrival orientations
-Pre-program support by trained YFU staff
-Support from an Area Representative while on program
-Comprehensive insurance


Additional Information 


Visa Information: The visa process for year and semester students can be rather complicated. Students are likely to be required to present their visa applications in person, so they should budget for travel costs to and from the Spanish Consulate in their jurisdiction. A copy of your passport and a copy of your official transcripts affixed with the Apostille of the Hague will be needed several months in advance of departure, as our partner in Spain will need to begin working on obtaining visa documents for you. Students who are applying to study in Spain after high school graduation should have their junior year transcripts legalized. Some students may need to have report cards, grades, or school certificates translated into Spanish by an official translator. 


Students staying in Spain for more than 180 days will need an FBI Background Check, which should be submitted as soon as your participation is confirmed in the program. Failure to do so may result in delays beginning the visa application process, or may even mean you are not able to get your visa in time to depart. You will likely be required to present your visa application in-person, and you should budget for travel costs to and from your consulate if it is not located nearby. Students will also need to apply for a foreign student identity card at a Foreigners Office or police station after their arrival in Spain. Your Admissions Counselor can provide additional information about the visa process.


Additional Costs: All students should be prepared to pay for textbooks (approximately 250 euros), school transportation costs, and occasional optional school excursions and activities. Students struggling with the Spanish language may be asked to enroll in supplemental language tutoring. Program tuition does not include personal spending money. 


Programs Code Departure Return Full Tuition
Fall Year

1505 *

early September

late June

Fall Semester


early September

late December

Summer Cultural Tour

0599 *

late June

late July


* Programs also available to graduates