Where To Study Spanish

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1. Barcelona, Spain

Immerse yourself in Catalonian culture when you study Spanish in Barcelona. As you navigate this international city, you’ll interact with people from around the world and local residents who regularly speak Spanish just as much or more than Catalan, the other official language of the area.

With its iconic Gaudí architecture, ease of transit across Europe, and convenient Barceloneta Beach, there’s no surprise Barcelona is one of the most popular study abroad destinations. Whether you’re a true beginner or a heritage speaker, there’s a Spanish language course available to you at the IES Abroad Barcelona Center.

Take your Spanish immersion a step further with additional courses available including Spanish through Theater, Business Spanish, and a Spanish Creative Writing Workshop. On IES Abroad Barcelona DiscoverIES, you’ll take your language out of the classroom and into the streets with city walking tours, outings to spectacular restaurants, and visits to hidden cultural gems led by our staff.

spanish study abroad students in the market of Buenos Aires, Argentina

2. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Enjoy the “Paris of the Americas” when you study abroad in Buenos Aires. Picture yourself practicing Spanish with a language partner at an outdoor café where you can take in the city’s European-style architecture and unique Argentinian culture. Literature courses come alive when you walk the streets that Argentine writers Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar once called home.

The IES Abroad Buenos Aires Center offers language courses for first-time Spanish learners, intermediate, and advanced Spanish students. Challenge yourself to take classes at the University of Buenos Aires or get to know some of the more than 300,000 students at the University by joining a student organization.

spanish study abroad students with a host family playing cards in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

3. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Get ready to get up close and personal with nature when you study abroad in the Galápagos Islands. And while you won’t be using Spanish with the sea lions, you can dive into the language by practicing with your homestay family and other island residents.

Slingshot your Spanish skills by adding additional language instruction once you arrive on the islands. “For the Galápagos program, take the optional language class that is offered because it is free, low commitment, and a good way to practice every week.” – Naomi T. (IES Abroad Galápagos Islands | Colorado College)STUDY ABROAD IN THE GALÁPAGOS ISLANDS

spanish study abroad students laughing together in Granada, Spain by the Alhambra

4. Granada, Spain

In Granada, life—and Spanish immersion—happens in the street. After a siesta in the heat of the afternoon, you’ll find granadinos enjoying the cool evening air with family and friends. Experience the Andalusian lifestyle (accent and all), when you study abroad in Granada. Before you know it, you’ll be confident living, listening, and speaking in the way of southern Spain on this Spanish study abroad program.

Explore the last capital of Moorish Spain where different cultures, religions, and languages have intersected for centuries. As one of the most popular destinations for Erasmus students (study abroad students from the European Union), this walkable college city welcomes you to practice your intermediate or advanced Spanish with your homestay family, with your peers at Universidad de Granada, with fellow Spanish language students, or with coworkers at an internship placement.

spanish study abroad students in Madrid, Spain having class outside

5. Madrid, Spain

Enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life when you study abroad in Madrid. Spain’s centrally located capital invites you to experience the traditional Castilian Spanish culture and language. Navigate the city on foot or on public transportation to attend classes at the IES Abroad Madrid Center, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, or Universidad Carlos III de Madrid; work as an intern; and explore world-class museums, parks, and markets.

A modern city with a traditional feel, Madrid offers convenient domestic and international train rides and flights as well as siestas in the afternoon, tapas in the evening, and quiet Sundays when most businesses are closed. Support your cultural and Spanish language immersion in Madrid by living with a homestay family or Spanish students.

where to study spanish in spain

1. Barcelona

best cities to learn spanish in spain
Incredible architecture, food, and beaches await you in Barcelona.

The City of Gaudi seems to have it all: a thriving nightlife, sandy beaches, flamenco clubs, and the biggest metropolitan park in the world. There are rumors that it was founded by Hercules way before Rome; whichever god established this city, there sure is endless history and atmospheric alleyways to wander through as you discover one of the contemporary gems of Europe.

There’s a constant bustle, but also shaded plazas, nearby mountains, and lots of cafes and second-hand bookstores to host study sessions. Also, it has 68 urban parks and the biggest cruise port and soccer stadium in Europe…so no lack of cultural distractions while you learn to speak Spanish in Spain!

2. Madrid

As the nation’s capital, Madrid boasts plenty of perks while hosting Spanish language courses in Spain for international students: elegant boulevards, the “Golden Triangle” of museums, and one of the biggest metro systems of Europe (with affordable monthly cards for students!).

It’s also the sunniest city in Europe, which might make your beach-lounging classmates a bit jealous, and boasts the world’s oldest established restaurant (with a kitchen fire that hasn’t been extinguished for almost 300 years).

As the most popular study abroad destination in Europe, you can bet that there’s endless diversity, sangria nooks, and prestigious fun. It gave birth to Penelope Cruz and Enrique Igelsias, so you’re obviously fated for success and a sexy accent if you study here!

3. Bilbao

Eclectic Bilbao is the honorary capital of Basque Country and one of the most underrated destinations in Spain. It’s famous for its quirky Guggenheim Museum, but there are endless treasures to be found in the Old City and a museum for each rainy day of the year.

Basque pride is strong, so expect to see traditional parades and to pick up some dialect in addition to Spanish (helpful hint: there are no tapas in Basque; they are called pintxos).

Bilbao is the best place to learn Spanish in Spain for those who want an alternative city vibe, the dramatic northern coastal cliffs, an authentic experience, and Basque bliss. 

4. Cadiz

best cities to learn spanish in spain
Cadiz is one of the best, and most underrated, cities to learn Spanish in Spain.

Not only is Cadiz one of the best cities to learn Spanish in Spain, but it’s one of the coolest cities in the country in general. The old town is a fortified islandesque jumble of labyrinth alleys, which accounts for an awesome fortress wall walk, with the deep blue Mediterranean waters glistening all around. There’s a gorgeous city beach in the middle of everything, a fantastic castle, and one of the most scenic walks out to another castle perched on a rock at sea.

The lifestyle is casual and fun—after 200 years of pirate raids and Cuban influences, what else would you expect? There are also over 100 watchtowers, the seafood is stellar, Lord Byron lived here, and its Carnival is second only to Rio. 

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