Spain FAQs


  • SYA Spain is located in Zaragoza, mid-way between Barcelona and Madrid.
  • SYA was first established in 1964, and relocated from Barcelona to Zaragoza in 1999.
  • In 2010, we moved our school to a newly-renovated location which was dedicated in 2012 as 'Casa Foster".
  • Students typically take six classes; all but English and math are taught in Spanish.
  • Students must have studied through the second year of a rigorous high school Spanish curriculum to be considered for admission.
  • Ample co-curriculars, including artistic, athletic or service opportunities are available to best meet student interests. Basketball, volleyball and soccer are popular and several SYA alums have played on high-level field hockey and water polo teams in recent years.
  • The popular Joven Erasmus program connects students with local youth to study and address shared societal challenges.
  • SYA Spain's popular "Cinco Dias" ("Five Days In") program allows students to immerse themselves even more directly with students their own age in a Spanish high school.

How will I get to school each day?


SYA Spain students walk, ride bikes, and use public transportation to get around Zaragoza, and most students live within a short walk or bus ride to school. SYA students are not allowed to drive or operate motor vehicles of any kind during their year abroad. They are allowed to bike with a helmet.


How will my host family be selected?

SYA takes great care to match students with the best host families abroad. Many of our host families are experienced reoccurring hosts and all genuinely enjoy opening their hearts and homes to SYA students.

Early in the enrollment process SYA students and parents will receive, respectively, a Host Family Placement Questionnaire and a Parents’ Memorandum that the host family coordinator uses to pair students with host families. The Host Family Placement Questionnaire and the Parents’ Memorandum give students and parents an opportunity to comment on students’ living habits and lifestyles. Both forms should be completed wholly and honestly, so as to make the best match possible. The host family coordinator, who has met and interviewed each family in their home, uses these documents, as well as other elements from student applications, to match students with host families.

Will my host family speak English?

Though fluency in English is not required to be an SYA Spain host family, the globalized nature of the world, and the SYA community in particular, is such that many families understand and speak some English, particularly if there are any school-aged children in the home. More important, your host family will be eager to help you use, stretch and strengthen your Spanish language skills; regardless of their English language skills, you will be encouraged to communicate in the target language whenever possible. However, should the need arise, rest assured that the Resident Director speaks fluent English and will assist if needed.

What co-curriculars are available? Can I continue with sports?

Students are able and encouraged to participate in whatever Zaragoza has to offer. Students regularly practice and play instruments, join and form bands and chorus groups, get involved with theatre, take cooking classes, study at dance studios, and so much more. The opportunities are nearly endless.

Students are able to continue many of the sports they play in the United States while abroad. However, there are some notable exceptions, mainly American football and lacrosse, which are much harder to continue. In Europe, sports are not organized by school teams. Instead, students are encouraged to join municipal and club teams where they will play and interact with local teenagers.

Upon arrival in Zaragoza, students will meet with the activities coordinator at their school who will help them find an appropriate team or practice facility.

How will I stay in touch with my family at home?

At SYA Spain, staying in touch is very easy. Though the frequency of communication to family members and friends back home is different for every student, most students choose to set up a weekly call with family back home, speaking by phone or Skype.