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Experience Spain with AIFS Abroad

A student standing on a rock overlooking a view of the Barcelona cityscape.
Two students on a horse carriage in Spain.

Go Abroad in Spain

Study or intern abroad with AIFS in Spain and discover its complex regional identities, lively culture, and medieval architecture.

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Choosing the Right City for You

A student in front of Barcelona Cathedral.

Barcelona

Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city and its most cosmopolitan. From the surreal Modernist buildings, among them Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia church, to the dynamic business center and the bustling seafront looking out onto the Mediterranean, it is easy to understand Barcelona’s immense popularity. The city’s origins can be traced back to the first century BC and the Roman colony of Barcino; 2,000 years of history have left their mark on Barcelona’s architectural, artistic and cultural heritage. Its Mediterranean climate, excellent location for international travel and feel for the avant-garde make Barcelona the perfect place to study or intern abroad.

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A group of students at the Alhambra.

Granada

Granada, perched between the dazzling white peaks of the Sierra Nevada and the glistening blue Mediterranean of the Costa del Sol, has a certain cosmopolitan air, but still retains the feel of a small, Andalusian town. The people of Granada are friendly and welcoming. A direct legacy of three cultures living together in harmony—Christians, Moors and Jews—has formed the openness of the Andalusian personality. Traces of Moorish, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque can be found in every corner. Buildings and monuments such as the Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens, the Cathedral and Royal Chapel, the Arab baths, the Bañuelo and the Carthusian monastery reflect each of these styles and attract thousands of visitors from all around the world year after year. 

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A group of students outside the Royal Palace of Madrid.

Madrid

Madrid’s non-stop marcha (rhythm) courses through its streets and beguiles with its welcoming and open character. As the capital of Spain, it is a cosmopolitan city of four million. It’s easy to feel at home here. It is a city of contrasts where royal palaces, medieval mansions and timeless plazas stand beside modern architectural gems and where you can enjoy traditional Spanish dishes that have endured for generations or be tempted by the new cuisine of Spain’s current food revolution. Madrid’s artistic heritage is ever-present, as seen in the world-class galleries of the Museo del Prado, Centro de Arte Reína Sofía and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza where you’ll find masterpieces by Goya, Velázquez, Picasso and Dalí. Madrid embraces its visitors as much as it embraces life. 

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Plaza Mayor at night.

Salamanca

Salamanca is a city built around the university. Like other famous European universities such as Oxford, Cambridge or Bologna, Salamanca exudes a unique medieval charm and a vibrant student life that combine to make it such a dynamic place to study. Established in 1218, the university is Spain’s oldest and world-renowned when it comes to the teaching of Spanish as a second language. But the university is not the only reason why you should choose to come here, visit as well for the monumental “golden city” of Salamanca. You can walk everywhere and the city offers a rich arts, sports and culture scene for visiting students and locals alike.  

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Seville, Spain cityscape.

Seville

Seville fits the bill for the archetypal Spain of intimate flamenco venues, crowded tapas bars and orange-tree scented squares busy with the throng of cheerful “Sevillanos”. The lively historic center encompasses the Real Alcázar (Royal Palace), Cathedral and Giralda Tower and the Barrio Santa Cruz (historic Jewish Quarter) and embodies the city’s rich cultural heritage as a Moorish capital and a prosperous 16th-century trading port. Seville’s reputation for celebration, drama and a love of life make it an exciting and engaging destination for study abroad. There is plenty to do, see and explore during a semester here…”Sevilla le da la bienvenida!”

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A pool in Valencia, Spain.

Valencia

Valencia has many draws, from its location on the Mediterranean with its lively beach and port area, to its buzzing cultural, culinary and nightlife attractions. In recent years it has become known as a city of innovation, captured most strikingly in the iconic, futuristic architecture of La Ciudad de las Artes y Ciencias (City of Arts and Sciences) built on the old town’s former riverbed and Europe’s largest cultural complex and park area. It still maintains its heritage with the historic Carmen neighborhood, the art nouveau Central Market and La Lonja, the 15th-century silk exchange, demonstrating the city’s ability to combine the old and the new. Don’t miss the chance to sample paella in the city which invented it and in spring see the city come alive with noise and color in Las Fallas, one of Spain’s biggest fiestas.  

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A group of students on a bench.

Social identity & access

One of the best things you can do before departure is enter into the journey knowing that your time abroad will be unique to this experience. The resources, community and support available to you when abroad will likely be different as well. In order to help you prepare for your experience, we have compiled many resources about social identity and access in specific locations abroad. Your program staff will also provide you with more details pre-departure and during orientation.

Learn more

In all honesty, some of the things I am looking at and experiencing right now in Spain will be the one and only time I see them. It has become normal for me to see stunning views and ancient architecture during my walk to school. When I return to the United States, that will not necessarily be the case. During my walks through Barcelona and my last few weekend trips, I will look at everything like it’s the last time in my life that I’ll ever see them. It’s not normal; it’s special and stunning. These sights need to be appreciated now, because I will one day crave to be living in those moments again.

Participating in a Study Abroad program through AIFS was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Being in a classroom with students from all over the U.S. and all over the world brought new perspectives to my attention. I developed a much more global view of things. The most important takeaway from my experience was what I learned about myself. I return home knowing so much more about myself than ever before. None of it would have been possible without the help of the AIFS directors, whose tireless efforts ensured that everything went as smoothly as possible.

I am constantly engaged while in class. In my management class, we do a lot of outdoor activities used in actual management training programs. In my economics classes, we frequently model real world issues and situations. In my Spanish class, we take field trips into local markets and barrios, and next week, as part of our food and restaurant unit, we are going to brunch during our class time.

My favorite thing about studying abroad so far has been the opportunity to be able to take classes and visit places to immerse myself in the local culture!

I am so thrilled that I chose to study abroad with AIFS. Everything from the pre-departure support, to help with my classes, to my homestay experience, and everything else in between, I could not have had a better experience. Granada was the perfect size city: big enough to constantly discover new and hidden gems but small enough that it quickly became home. I would do the semester over again in a heartbeat!

While it’s true that I am leaving Granada, Granada will never leave me. This place has become a city where I learned how to be self-reliant, independent, and more confident. I am humbled and so very appreciative of my time here. It fostered my curiosity for life and adventure, and I know that this is something that I will continue to cherish when I return home.

AIFS has been a home away from home during my time in Madrid. Not only is AIFS there to answer any question and solve any problem you may have, they’re the only study abroad organization with a representative on campus every day of the week—just for you. With all this, AIFS’s meticulously planned schedule of events, and Universidad Nebrija’s phenomenal educators, I couldn’t imagine a more ideal study abroad experience.

AIFS made me feel so at home in Salamanca. My homestay experience was absolutely incredible. I not only improved my Spanish immensely, but I also learned so much about Spanish culture and customs. I discovered so much about myself during this experience and it brought me some of my best friends. I loved it so much, I decided to extend my study abroad another semester! If you can, DO IT!

Studying in Seville was one of the greatest decisions I have made in my life. I made some amazing friends from all over the country through the program. I had the greatest host mom I could’ve asked for. She taught me so much about the culture and language and really helped me adjust to my new lifestyle. I can’t thank AIFS and Edu enough for the experience.

My favorite part about living with my host family was the little things: the laughs from trying to communicate when I didn’t know a word, trying to explain a cultural difference, and my real family meeting my Spanish family. Living in Spain was not just a fun experience but a life changing one.

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White buildings nestled alongside trees on a mountain in Spain.