9 Best Spanish Immersion Programs Around the World in 2023
How are you learning Spanish?
Are you practicing the basics like mastering grammar, building vocabulary and improving your listening skills?
These are all amazing ways to learn Spanish, but eventually, you’ll have to let go of the wall.
Participating in a Spanish immersion program is the perfect way to throw yourself into the deep end.
In this post, I’ll give you the lowdown on the nine best Spanish immersion programs you can attend around the world.
Plus, get your most pressing questions about Spanish immersion answered and find out how to make the most of your immersive experience.
- Best Spanish Immersion Programs
- 1. Best Overall: Mente Argentina
- 2. Best for Customizing Your Program: EUROACE
- 3. Best for Cultural Experiences: ih Madrid
- 4. Best for Authentic Conversation: Tico Lingo
- 5. Best for Outdoor Enthusiasts: San Juan Spanish School
- 6. Best for Excursions: LatinoSchools
- 7. Best for Giving Back: A Broader View
- 8. Best for College Students: International Studies Abroad (ISA)
- 9. Best for Specialized College Courses: IES Abroad
- How to Get the Most Out of Immersion Programs
- Why Use Spanish Immersion Programs
- FAQ About Spanish Immersion Programs
- And One More Thing…
Best Spanish Immersion Programs
Spanish immersion programs will give you the support you need to stay afloat and improve so much, you’ll never need to rely on metaphorical floaties again.
With programs available all over the world and for every level of Spanish learner, you can find the right program for you. The hardest part is narrowing down the options, so we’ve done that for you.
|Mente Argentina||Best overall||Argentina||2 to 20 weeks||$990+|
|EUROACE||Best for customizing your program||Spain||From 1 week||$153/week+ for classes, $30/day for homestay|
|ih Madrid||Best for cultural experiences||Spain||From 1 week||$110+ for classes, $492+ for homestay per week|
|Tico Lingo||Best for authentic conversation||Costa Rica||1 to 24 weeks||$285+ for classes, $195 for homestay per week|
|San Juan Spanish School||Best for outdoor enthusiasts||Guatemala||1 to 6 weeks||$315+|
|LatinoSchools||Best for excursions||Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia||1 to 12 weeks||$175+/week|
|A Broader View||Best for giving back||Central and South America||1 to 12 weeks||$895+/week|
|International Studies Abroad (ISA)||Best for college students||Peru, Cuba, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Spain||1 month to an entire semester||$5,250+ plus additional costs|
|IES Abroad||Best for specialized college courses||Chile||3 months to a full academic year||$6,212+|
1. Best Overall: Mente Argentina
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Length: From 2 to 20 weeks
Price: Starting at $990
The class sizes at Mente Argentina are only eight students per instructor, which will allow for maximum one-on-one attention.
There are cultural excursions in addition to classroom time. The program fee includes many perks, providing you with a free local cell phone, tango lessons, a gym membership, safe accommodations and more.
Classes start every Monday throughout the year. The program will allow you to dive in with little or no Spanish experience if you want to give it a try or skip straight to a more advanced class if you’re more experienced.
2. Best for Customizing Your Program: EUROACE
Location: Valencia, Spain
Length: From 1 week
Price: Starting at $153 per week for intensive courses, $30 per day for homestay accommodation
This school offers a variety of customizable options including gap years, study abroad (for high school or college), internships and even some opportunities specifically for soccer lovers!
Most of the courses allow for some time inside the classroom and plenty of free time to explore the city.
As the third largest city in Spain, Valencia is large enough that there are always things to do but also small enough to feel comfortable getting around.
It’s easy to get to other cities in Spain from Valencia. And the people there are extremely nice and helpful!
3. Best for Cultural Experiences: ih Madrid
Location: Madrid, Spain
Length: From 1 week
Price: Starting at $110 for classes, from $492 for homestay accommodation per week
At ih (International House) Madrid, courses range from intensive to even more intensive so you can improve your Spanish quickly.
The course length is extremely flexible, and most programs allow you to choose a number of weeks to suit you.
No matter which option you choose, you’ll get to enjoy your time in the beautiful city of Madrid with planned cultural experiences and during your free time. The city has so much to offer in terms of art, culture, dining and much more.
You can choose from either a homestay or a student room for the duration of your program.
4. Best for Authentic Conversation: Tico Lingo
Location: Heredia, Costa Rica
Length: 1 to 24 weeks
Price: Starting at $285 for classes, $195 for homestay accommodation per week
Tico Lingo offers a variety of intensive immersion experiences.
With the most basic option, you’ll be in the classroom for 20 hours a week and receive a homestay with a local family.
You can upgrade your experience to include afternoon yoga sessions and dance lessons. Or you can use your free time to explore the town of Heredia.
In addition to all this, you’ll receive a local conversation partner who will help to show you around the area. The easy environment of one-on-one practice will really help to accelerate your learning.
5. Best for Outdoor Enthusiasts: San Juan Spanish School
Location: San Juan La Laguna, Guatemala
Length: 1 to 6 weeks
Price: Starting at $315
This school is located next to the beautiful Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. The town has a friendly vibe and is not very touristy, so you can spend your free time interacting with locals. And it’s full of art and handmade crafts!
The all-inclusive program comes with accommodations with a local family, cultural experiences, tours and activities like camping, great food (vegan and vegetarian options), and more.
The school offers private lessons which are conducted outside in a pleasant, relaxing environment. You can even request that the instructor cover specific topics.
Reach out to the school for more options about personalizing your immersion experience.
6. Best for Excursions: LatinoSchools
Location: Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia
Length: 1 to 12 weeks
Price: Starting at $175 per week
This immersion program focuses on the dialect of the region you are in, so choose the country you’re most interested in.
You’ll be placed into a suitable class for you through a precise testing procedure, ensuring that you’ll be learning at the right level.
In addition to Spanish courses, you can take part in an internship or volunteer experience during your immersion program.
You can also choose a more involved course package that will take you on excursions around the country, showing you everything from beautiful scenery to cultural and historical spots.
You can choose to live in either a homestay with a family or student housing.
7. Best for Giving Back: A Broader View
Location: Central and South America
Length: 1 to 12 weeks
Price: Starting at $895 per week
If you don’t want to spend any time in a classroom, this option is for you.
A Broader View is a nonprofit that will pair you with a volunteer project in a Spanish-speaking country.
For a fee that includes lodging with a local family, you’ll have the chance to work in the country of your choice.
You can choose from a variety of different places to volunteer such as in a medical clinic, in a museum, on a youth-oriented project and so much more.
This is an immersive experience that allows you to give back to the community while learning Spanish.
8. Best for College Students: International Studies Abroad (ISA)
Location: Peru, Costa Rica, Cuba, Colombia, Chile, Argentina and various cities in Spain
Length: 1 month to an entire semester
Price: Starting at $5,250, plus additional costs
ISA offers exchange programs around the world for college students. With nine locations in Latin America and eight in Spain, you’re sure to find the place for you.
Courses typically last an entire semester but there are also shorter language immersion options available through WorldStrides for those who can’t commit to a few months.
The program I participated in was an amazing immersion experience. The program leaders provide a very supportive environment, where you feel safe and can focus on learning.
The programs include classroom learning plus planned excursions and plenty of free time to explore on your own.
9. Best for Specialized College Courses: IES Abroad
Location: Santiago, Chile
Length: 3 months to a full academic year
Price: Starting at $6,212
This option is for anyone who wants to specialize in a certain educational field and do it all in Spanish. Courses include topics like health studies, politics and social justice.
Throughout your stay in Santiago, you’ll be living with a host family and attending college-level courses (at least 15 credit hours). Most of these programs require you to have taken four years of college-level Spanish studies.
You can also take part in internships and service learning outside of the classroom. On the weekends you can participate in some cultural activities and explore the great city around you.
How to Get the Most Out of Immersion Programs
- Learn the basics first. Use some of the best ways to learn Spanish from home to get a good base in the language before you go abroad. Familiarize yourself with the pronunciation, basic grammar and introductory vocabulary. You’ll have an infinitely easier time in your chosen immersion program if you’ve conquered the initial linguistic hurdles.
- Optimize your free time. Use your free time to attend concerts, plays and anything else that may contribute to your understanding of local culture and language. The more you get yourself out there, the more likely you are to interact with people and improve your Spanish conversational skills.
- Consume Spanish media. While it may be tempting to relax by watching an English series during your downtime, take advantage of all the authentic Spanish media around you. Read the local newspaper and make a list of new vocabulary. Watch the local news on TV or listen to the radio. Enjoy a telenovela or a Spanish sitcom and improve your listening skills.
- Don’t get overwhelmed. The first time you’re truly surrounded by Spanish, you might feel overwhelmed. The key is to stay relaxed and not beat yourself up when you make mistakes. Keep practicing at every possible opportunity, and you’ll soon see noticeable improvements.
- Don’t speak English with your classmates. It can be fun to hang out with your classmates and a relief to speak English with them outside the classroom. But doing this all of the time will rob you of opportunities to improve your Spanish. Try to only speak in Spanish with them, and, even better, use your free time to socialize with the locals.
Why Use Spanish Immersion Programs
When you visit a Spanish-speaking country for your immersion program, you will have no choice but to use your Spanish skills constantly. Instead of working through grammar exercises and vocabulary-building activities, you will have to just speak the language.
Spanish will surround you 24/7. Simple things like getting something from the grocery store or finding your way home will require you to use your Spanish skills.
The value of learning from native speakers cannot be understated. You will not only improve your conversation skills, but you will learn how words and phrases are actually used. That information can be hard to glean from a textbook.
You can also use a language learning program such as FluentU to hear how native speakers use Spanish in context.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Spanish skill improvement is just one of the many benefits of using an immersion program. In addition to all the language-learning benefits, you will also be learning about the culture and the people through hands-on interaction.
It will help you to better understand an entire country in a meaningful way by making connections with its people.
FAQ About Spanish Immersion Programs
What Is the Meaning of “Spanish Immersion”?
Can You Learn Spanish by Immersion?
Yes, immersion is the best way to learn Spanish because you’re learning and practicing constantly and using the language naturally. And if you’re experiencing immersion in a Spanish country, you’ll be hearing native speakers and their pronunciation every day!
How Long Does It Take to Learn Spanish Through Immersion?
It’s hard to say exactly how long it will take to learn Spanish because everyone learns differently and at different paces. But if you’re living in a Spanish-speaking country and taking immersive Spanish classes, you can expect to speak basic Spanish in around three months.
What Are the Cons of Spanish Immersion?
You may feel frustrated if you can’t communicate as well as you’d like to at the beginning of your immersion experience. But if you stick with it and take advantage of all the opportunities to practice, you’ll quickly gain confidence speaking Spanish.
So many excellent programs! Which one you choose really boils down to your goals. Decide what you want to get out of a program and then start looking for that experience.
You should really give this a try if you have the opportunity. It will change your Spanish—and maybe even your life—for the better!
And One More Thing…
If you've made it this far that means you probably enjoy learning Spanish with engaging material and will then love FluentU.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re learning with the same video.
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