Zaragoza, Spain


2020 Program Dates: June 17- July 23

(flights depart on June 16th)




You will be carefully placed in a Spanish family who will become your guide to Zaragoza and the surrounding area. Let them "teach" you as you once "learned" your native tongue from your own family.

"SYA's relationships in the community and the placements with host families is what stands out in my mind. Our daughter's homestay was extraordinary. SYA is a top-notch program. The faculty and director were outstanding. I can't say enough good things about SYA." - SYA Summer: Spain '17 parent


Explore and travel in the surrounding areas, whether it's a hike in the Pyrenees or a visit to Barcelona. Improve your Spanish and expand your knowledge of the people and culture of Spain. 

"Top notch program...ALL aspects of it were simply amazing!" -SYA Summer: Spain '18 parent



Classes are held in the morning and the afternoons are designed to help you immerse yourself in the local language and culture. Enjoy activities such as cooking, art and dance classes.

"I can confidently say that this was one of the best experiences of my life. I feel like I have grown so much in my understanding of the Spanish culture, and my Spanish language skills improved immensely. I feel like I am leaving the program an infinitely more confident and curious person. I absolutely loved it!" -SYA Summer: Spain '17 student

Program Overview

The SYA Summer: Spain program provides a five-week intensive immersion experience which includes a homestay with a local family, 60 hours of class time (45 in the classroom and 15 hours of experiential learning), daily afternoon cultural and extracurricular activities and excursions to two of Spain’s major cities, Madrid and Barcelona.

Students will arrive in Barcelona and go on a short, two-day orientation trip to Jaca in the Pyrenees to get to know each other better. After orientation, students will then take a bus to Zaragoza and meet their host families (who will be in touch about two weeks prior to arrival).

Class time is divided into two sections: Spanish Language and Spanish Culture & Current Events. Classes are conducted entirely in Spanish and the focus is on local language and culture. While Spain serves as a living classroom for our students, teachers make connections with the rest of the Spanish-speaking world both linguistically and culturally and encourage students to do the same. Our summer classes are taught by experienced master teachers in Spanish and class size is small. When students arrive in Zaragoza, they will sign a language and rules pledge; at school and during the activities outdoors, they are required to speak in Spanish!

Types of activities available to the students are cooking, art and dance classes, as well as research and discovery projects throughout the city which require students to use their Spanish language skills. Trips for hands-on learning are also a big part of the experience.

In and out of class, students have ample opportunities to demonstrate their proficiency in written and spoken communication. Teamwork, as well as creativity, is encouraged throughout the program and are two of the key components of the iBook project; a cooperative, multimedia project based on a topic of each student's choice.

At the end of the course, a global grade is awarded to each student based on their performance in all areas of the course including their use of Spanish and their level of participation in classes, activities, cultural visits and life with their host family.

The final week of the program is a group trip to Costa Brava and Barcelona, visiting the Old City, Museo Picasso, Sagrada Familia and Park Guell.

Admissions & Eligibility

All SYA Summer programs are open to rising 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade high school students. Application for admission is considered complete when the following have been received:

• Online application and $50 application fee
• Transcript (with fall semester grades)

The Spain Summer 2020 application will be available in October 2019.

Daily Life

Daily Schedule (example)

9:15 am- School opens

9:30-11:30 am- Spanish Language classes

11:30-12:00 am- Break (free time in the area to get a coffee or buy some snacks)

12:00-1:20 pm- Spanish Language class (culture and current events)

1:20-1:35 pm- Assembly (program explanations, practical issues, student comments, etc.)

2:00-4:30 pm- Lunch with host families

4:30 - School reopens (depending on the afternoon activities can be later)

4:45-7:30 pm- School activities (at school or at different places: Spanish cooking classes, salsa/Latino dancing classes, kayaking, cinema, museum visits, etc.)

8:30 pm or earlier - Return to host family: conversation, dinner and around 45 minutes of homework.

On Fridays, after school activities, students go directly home in order to spend a “closed weekend” with their host family. In order to maximize the linguistic and cultural immersion, students are not allowed to meet other American students during the weekend .


Meet the Director

Marta Escartín - Program Director and Spanish Culture & Current Events Teacher

A native of Zaragoza (Spain), Marta earned her MA in Hispanic Philology from the University of Zaragoza and never stops studying more about second language acquisition. She loves classes, an arena where she can express her passion for language, literature and life. Coordinator for SILC, a French teacher association, during the last 25 years, Marta pioneered the first program in Zaragoza to host foreign students for a week at a time to live in families and take Spanish classes. It was there that Marta was bitten by the bug for teaching Spanish as a second language.

During the last 20 years, Marta has been working as a Spanish language and literature teacher at School Year Abroad, and she was Host Family Coordinator for almost 8 years as well. She prepares all of her students for the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam and some of them for the DELE (the only official Spanish language diploma recognized worldwide). In 2007-2008 she requested a leave from SYA to teach for one year at Choate-Rosemary Hall in Connecticut where she could delve more deeply into the American culture and the world her students come from, thus achieving a better, firsthand understanding of her students’ experience abroad. In 2009 she traveled again to the States to work at MMLA (Middlebury) as a Spanish teacher and to prepare the basis for this summer program.

In what little spare time she has, Marta is an avid mountaineer and educator of outdoor experiences. She organizes groups of SYAers on weekend hikes and ski trips, a passion stemming from her long experience as counselor and Director for camps in the Pyrenees.

Languages, communication and tolerance are some of the most important ingredients of her favorite recipes for the table and life!

Meet the other SYA staff members here!

Host Families

For most of our students, the host family experience will be one of the most rewarding of the summer. Host families for our students have been carefully interviewed, visited and selected personally by the Program Director and SYA Host Family Coordinator. The decision to host a student from the SYA Summer program reflects a strong commitment on the part of the host family, and the whole family is involved in the process. The host family will expect the same commitment from the student. The host family home is a place to live and to discover the culture from the inside. Of course living with a Spanish family will require a fair amount of work and patience on both sides, but it will likely be the student’s most important and demanding undertaking.

A few of our host families speak English, but we ask them to refrain from speaking English to you! So get ready for a full linguistic immersion! About a quarter are families from the year-long program and the rest are not. Almost all host families will have teenagers in the home, but this does change from year to year.

You will have a private bedroom, but bathrooms are shared with host siblings or other family members.

Our School

Zaragoza is Spain's fifth-largest city, located halfway between Madrid and Barcelona. Relatively unspoiled by tourism, it is an ideal location for immersing yourself in the local community.


Tuition, Dates & Financial Aid


Program fee for SYA Summer: Spain 2020: $8,800
The summer fee is inclusive of tuition, homestay, meals, excursions and health insurance. Not included are: round-trip airfare, personal expenses such as visa fees, travel insurance and spending money.

Duration: Five weeks 

SYA Summer reserves the right to cancel a summer program if minimum enrollment is not met by February 15th. In the event of cancellation, all deposits will be refunded.


Summer 2020 dates: June 17- July 23

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until programs are full.  


SYA Summer has very limited need-based financial aid available. Less than 5% of our summer students will receive a grant, with no grant to exceed 50% of the tuition. Financial aid funds are awarded on a  first come, first served basis and are for families with demonstrated need.

To apply, check the financial aid box on the Summer Application and send a copy of your most recent tax returns to

Payment Schedule/Refund Policy:
A non-refundable deposit of $1,000 is due within two weeks of acceptance into the program, with the remainder of the balance due by May 15th.  A refund of 50% will be granted to those who cancel before June 1; however, no refund will be offered for cancellations after June 1.

Getting to Zaragoza

Departure/Return: SYA organizes a round-trip group flight  from the East Coast to Barcelona. There will be an SYA chaperone on the outbound flight in June, but not on the return flight in July.  The group flight is optional; students are not required to be on this flight.  Students are free to arrive in Barcelona any way they want, as long as they arrive at the Barcelona airport at the group meeting time and location (date/time/location to be in included in acceptance materials).

After arriving in Barcelona, the group will board a chartered bus and depart for the orientation spot in Jaca. After a two-day orientation, the group will then travel by bus to Zaragoza to meet their host families.

Please note: group flights depart the day before each program starts abroad.

Students who are accepted to the program will receive details about the group flight and all other arrival options.

Accepted Family Login

Contact us!

We'd love to hear from you! 

If you have questions about our SYA Summer in Spain program, you can email us at or give us a call at 978.722.6170.