Putney Student Travel: Language Learning Spain (Grades 8 & 9)

Putney, VT

Overview

Immerse yourself in Spanish language and culture on this language program in Spain. Visit art museums and explore ancient castles and palaces, learn to surf on Spain’s northern coast, hike and horseback in the Picos de Europa mountains, and pair up with a local teenager for a language exchange and day stay.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Immerse yourself in Castilian Spanish for three weeks.
  • Use your Spanish to interview the chef at a tapas restaurant in Madrid.
  • Don wetsuits and jump through waterfalls on a guided canyoning adventure.
  • Spend a week paired with a local teenager, joining in Spanish daily life.
  • Learn to dance flamenco with an authentic gitano instructor.
  • Savor traditional Spanish foods — tortilla espanola or churros con chocolate.

OVERVIEW

Spanish Language Adventure

The goals of this language and cultural immersion program are to improve your fluency in Spanish by building vocabulary and confidence in speaking, and to explore Spain’s incredibly diverse regional culture through outdoor activities and interactions with locals. Visit the world-renowned galleries of the Prado, the Reina Sofía, and the Thyssen Bornemisza museums in Madrid. Hike to fields of summer snow in the Picos de Europa. Experience day-to-day Spanish life as you pair up with a Spanish teenager. In vibrant Spanish cities, as well as in charming towns off-the-beaten track, spend time getting to know Spanish culture and history.

Each day, leaders hold dynamic conversational Spanish lessons designed to help students let go of their inhibitions and communicate more easily with the many Spanish people they meet every day. Language lessons are fun, interactive, vocabulary-based, and often incorporate scavenger hunts, games, and informal interviews with Spaniards.

Putney’s network of friends and contacts set the tone for our experience; our Spanish friends often join us on hikes and facilitate interactions with other local people. We begin each day with a traditional Spanish breakfast — breads, croissants, yogurt, fruits, juices, coffee, tea—at our residence. For lunches and dinners, we find small restaurants or hit the markets to purchase food for a picnic.

Northern Coast, Picos de Europa, Madrid, and the Mediterranean

We begin in a fishing village on Spain’s gorgeous northern coast. Get to know your group, visit a local fiesta, and play soccer on the beach with Spanish friends. Next, it’s on to the snow-capped Picos de Europa for a stay in a mountain inn. Hike and ride horseback on spectacular trails. The next stop is Madrid where we explore the lively streets, visit the Prado, and take day trips to Segovia’s Roman aqueduct or to Toledo’s Alcázar and ancient synagogue. Move on to a smaller city and immerse yourself in local culture by pairing up with a Spanish teenager. Head to a Mediterranean beach town for the final few days of the program.

Daystay

During the daystay week, Putney students are paired with a Spanish teenager. Practice your Spanish as you join in his or her daily activities, meet the family, and form lasting friendships. This is a unique opportunity to experience Spanish life as it is really lived. The hosts are carefully selected by our local representatives — trusted long-time friends of Putney–who choose them from among their friends and contacts in the community. During this time we come together as a Spanish/American group for day trips and excursions such as hiking to a swimming spot, attending a concert, or sharing a meal.

Spanish Language Pledge

Start your Spanish off on the right foot by taking the Putney language learning pledge, promising to use only Spanish to communicate with each other, our hosts, and the many wonderful Putney friends and contacts we meet. Soon you notice that you are speaking more comfortably, and your Spanish has taken on a momentum of its own.

Accommodations

Group accommodations are carefully selected by Putney Student Travel to emphasize convenience, a positive group environment, and wholesome interaction with local people and fellow travelers.Accommodations in Spain are varied, ranging from Old World-style hotels to mountain chalets. Many of our residences are run by welcoming Spanish families that Putney has known for years. Rooms are a mix of doubles, triples, and quads. Leaders reside together with the students throughout the program.

Physical Challenge Level

Our programs are active. Days are filled with movement — taking a surf lesson in Llanes, hiking in the Picos de Europa mountains, or walking the streets of Madrid are all activities you might participate in during this program. You do not need to be at peak fitness to participate, but it is important that you have a desire to be physically active, and that you are excited about trying all activities.

A Typical Day

Due to the traveling nature of this program, each day is different. In addition to daily language activities, we attend music and dance performances, go to world renowned galleries, and learn about the history and present day life in Spain. Active pursuits such as hiking, biking, or swimming are also a part of this program. No matter the activity, we’ll be spending time getting to know the unique nature of the destination we’re exploring. Evening activities might include a movie in Spanish, a visit to a churreria for Spain’s famous churros y chocolate, a theatre or musical performance, or a stroll through the streets of Madrid as a group. Each day is capped with a group meeting to discuss the day and upcoming schedule.

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