Spain is the world’s second country with the most World Heritage cities, the third in terms of natural areas declared Biosphere Reserves.  The mild climate during the whole year and the extensive sandy beaches of the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean as well as of its two archipelagos have been attracting visitors for decades.

Spain has a fascinating history, a diverse culture and five official languages: Catalan, Galician, Basque (Euskara), Aranese and Spanish. Stroll through the bright and colorful cities and villages, and embrace Spanish’s rich local cuisines, lifestyles, festivals, architecture and music.

People & Community

You’ll most likely live in an urban or suburban area of Spain, even in the Canary or Balearic Islands.  Many families eat both lunch and dinner together. You’re bound to enjoy the tradition of long, multi-course meals and mid-day siestas (when you can go home for lunch and a quick nap).Extended family members visit each other often, especially for large weekend gatherings. 

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You’ll likely attend a public high school with a variety of different classes like Spanish language, literature, and physical education. School runs from Monday to Friday, 8am to 3pm but you may have additional classes on some afternoons. It’s also customary for students to call their teachers by their first name.


Spain has five official languages—Aranese, Catalan, Galician, Basque (Euskara) and Spanish. With Spain being a multilingual nation, 70% of the students hosted there live in bilingual communities where Spanish is not the primary language spoken in school and by the host family. However,  Spanish language study is compulsory in all schools and many people are bilingual so you will still have the opportunity to practice your Spanish. AFS offers the Rosetta Stone Spanish course to prepare you for your exchange.

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While each region of Spain has its own food specialties, Spanish cuisine is generally Mediterranean in style with lots of olive oil, garlic, onions, tomatoes and peppers. Lunch is the main meal of the day and is served around 2 or 3 pm, while dinner may start as late as  9 pm when most family members can be together. Fish and seafood are abundant, but red meat and pork are also eaten nearly every day. With traditional Spanish tapas, you can try all different kinds of foods. Don’t miss the paella (rice with vegetables and seafood) and gazpacho (a cold tomato soup).

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Year Exchange PROGRAM

Program Date: September 7, 2018 – June 29, 2019
Birth Date Range: March 7, 2001 – September 7, 2003

Spain’s warm, friendly atmosphere and rich blend of cultures make it an ideal place to rewrite your high school experience. Let the country known for the fiesta and siesta teach you how to make the most out of life, all while advancing your Spanish and expanding your world-view. By living with a host family and enrolling in a local school, you’ll be totally integrated in Spanish daily life.

Program dates may vary and are meant to help with general scheduling only.
All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and programs are filled first-come, first-serve.

Apply Now!