You begin your program by taking a multi-day tour of this marvelous, diverse country. From North to South, East to West, Spain is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual nation. The tour will give you context to understand the history, culture, politics, and economics of the place you will call home for a semester or year.
Below are some of the locations that have been offered in the past several years, but the tour itinerary changes from year to year. An updated program calendar with the exact locations of your tour is sent to you prior to arrival.
All ground transportation, hotel, all meals, and entrances and tour guides to group-related historic sites are included in your program fee. You also receive your first cultural reimbursement fund to explore these cities outside the guided visits.
The capital of Spain since 1561, Madrid is located at the geographic center of the Iberian Peninsula. Madrid is a city of great monuments. Among its highlights are the medieval center dating back to the Habsburg Empire and the Prado Museum. Madrid is not just a cultural destination, but also a lively metropolis with a vibrant nightlife.
Barcelona, located on the Mediterranean Sea in northeastern Spain, is the most cosmopolitan and economically active city in the country. Although it has an old history and a historical center, it is a very modern city, which is reflected most in its architecture. The center of Modernist architecture is most distinguished by the works of Antoní Gaudí, including La Sagrada Familia. There is a very strong and vibrant Catalan culture, evident in the language spoken on the streets and in the city’s food.
Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Salamanca is best known for having the oldest university in Spain and one of the oldest in Europe. The university is still what gives ambiance to the town, and you will see hundreds of students passing through the streets. Salamanca is untouched in its architectural purity because all new construction in the center is required to follow the same style.
Segovia is home to one of the most important ancient Roman monuments in Spain: the enormous aqueduct of Segovia. This impressive structure was built in the 1st and 2nd Century CE. The city also houses the 11th-century Alcázar, one of the most important medieval palaces in Spain.
Also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Toledo was the capital of Spain from the 11th to the 16th-century, which explains the magnificent medieval architecture. Walking through its streets one feels like having stepped back in time. It is a veritable open-air museum with numerous magnificent buildings of all styles showing off the past splendor of this city: Mudejar, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque.
Founded in 884 and home to one of Europe's most beautiful Gothic cathedrals, Burdos was and continues to be an important stop on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route that has been in existence for over one thousand years and that spans the width of Northern Spain. Burgos is also famous in literature as the birthplace of El Cid, the 11th Century military leader and national hero.