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Spain has the second highest number of world heritage cities in the world, and is ranked third in terms of natural areas declared Biosphere Reserves. Spain also has the most Blue Flag beaches in the entire Northern Hemisphere!! The mild climate during the whole year and the extensive sandy beaches of the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean have been attracting visitors for decades.

An extended stay in a Spanish Secondary School Programme is an ideal opportunity for Irish teenagers to become fluent in spanish at a young age. Students are fully immersed in the Spanish way of living and culture through daily attendance at a Spanish Secondary school and by living with a Spanish Host Family. This programme is particularly popular with Transition Year students. A stay can be as short as four weeks or as long as an academic year. The experience is further enhanced by the support of local representatives familiar with cultural differences and cultural adjustment. Official Languages in Spain are: Basque, Catalan, Galician and Spanish. Participating in our Secondary School Abroad Programme:

  • Paves the way to excellent exam results
  • Provides full immersion that allows students to become fluent at a young age
  • Encourages independence in young people
  • Broadens cultural horizons

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be considered for participating in the Secondary School Abroad, students must:

  • Be from 15 – 18 years old
  • Have studied Spanish  language for at least 3 years
  • Be mature and responsible

What's included in your experience

  • Airport Pick-up
  • Host Family Placement
  • Meals
  • School Placement
  • Individual Contact Person
  • Medical Insurance
  • 24/7 Emergency Support
  • Assistance with Application Process
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • Orientations during your time abroad
  • Re-entry Orientation
  • Continuous Support

What you are responsible for

  • Airfare
  • Vaccinations
  • Field Trips
  • Domestic Transport
  • School Materials


Summary Information

  • Accommodation: Host Family
  • Duration: 3 months to a full academic year
  • Application condition: Students must have studied Spanish for a minimum of 3 years in order to be considered
  • Students must be from 15 to 18 year old
  • Application deadline – contact our Study Abroad Team for details

About the Secondary School in Spain

The programme offers participants the opportunity to become fully immersed in the Spanish way of living and culture through living with a carefully selected Host Family and daily attendance at a Spanish Secondary School.

It is open to students between 15 and 18 years old who are interested in attending a Spanish secondary school

There are limited places on this programme to ensure that students have the greatest exposure to the language.

The program includes:

  • Placement  in a carefully  selected school, including application, registration, school insurance fees and tuition
  • Full  board accommodation  with a carefully selected Host Family
  • Return transfers to and from nearest airport of host community
  • Monthly contact and constant support from the Local Volunteer and AFS staff
  • Local orientations
  • Group orientations
  • 24-hour emergency telephone service
  • Academic advice and counselling
  • Help with preparation for travel back to home country
  • AFS Health Insurance

The programme does not include:

  • Flights – The organisation of flights is the participant’s responsibility
  • School books and material fees
  • Local transportation fees
  • Spending money

The Host Family Accommodation

Students are housed on a full-board basis by local, carefully selected Host Families. Living with a host family gives students full insight into how Spanish families really live and provide complete immersion in the language and culture. Host families are carefully screened and selected by AFS staff all over Spain and are visited and regularly contacted throughout the student’s stay. As a member of the family, your child will share in the family’s daily life and take part in their normal day-to-day activities.

Host families will provide:

  • A genuinely caring environment
  • Clean and comfortable surroundings
  • Convenient access to schools
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
  • Shared or single bedroom

Spanish families’ motivation for hosting comes from a genuine interest in learning about other cultures and the belief that hosting a student from Ireland is the next best thing to visiting Ireland itself. Unlike an exchange programme, there is no guarantee that there will be other children in the family. Placements are always in safe residential areas and are mostly made in rural areas and medium-sized towns, very rarely in the centre of big towns. Students can be placed in any region in Spain, so they must have an open mind to this when applying, as there is no guarantee of geographical preference in the placement process.

Host families come in all shapes and sizes; single parents with children living in the house, nuclear families, older couples whose children are no longer at home, as well as young couples who may not have children are all considered potential host families. Our main criteria is a warm, caring, and comfortable home environment for students to be nurtured and thrive in.

N.B. Students and parents cannot reject a host family placement in favour of a new one. Once host family details are sent to the student, they are final; students and parents must agree to accept them without prejudice and to go into the programme with an open mind. Cancellations will incur loss of deposit.

The School in Spain

Public schools start in early September and finish in late June. All schools use a trimester system with breaks at Christmas and at Easter. All schools work on a five-day week, Monday to Friday. Public schools have a morning-only timetable. Classes start at 8:30AM, lasting approximately one hour each and continue on until 2:30 PM, with a one hour break around midday. Depending on the age of the participant and the course they have already done in their country, they will be enrolled in 4º ESO (last year of secondary education, 10th grade in the US).

There are three types of Bachillerato: Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, and Arts. Each one consists of three types of subjects: – Comunes (common ones), compulsory for all students whatever the specialization. – Materias propias de la modalidad (sub-courses)These are specific for each of the specializations. – Optativas (elective subjects) to complete the total number of subject. Before coming to Spain we will ask participants which type of Bachillerato they would prefer to be enrolled in.

Important Conditions

Important terms and conditions about going to school in Spain

  • Please note that friends will not be placed together. This is a programme designed for individuals. Emphasis is placed on full language and cultural immersion. If friends apply together, they will be intentionally separated and placed in different communities and schools.
  • Students may not return home for the duration of their programme. This includes Christmas and Easter holidays, and mid-term breaks. Likewise, all family visits must be limited to the end of the student’s programme, not at the beginning or in the middle. After years of experience, we find that such visits disrupt the adjustment process and can lead to further homesickness and integration problems
  • Please note that Students will have to take and complete the Rosetta Stone Language Course prior to their arrival which will be organised after receipt of the application
  • AFS/EIL Ireland and our partners AFS Spain reserve the right to send home any student whose health requires it or whose conduct is considered improper or offensive to the host family, community or school. Such conduct includes drug use, unacceptable sexual behaviour, excessive drinking, violation of the law or failure in schoolwork.  In the event that the student is returned home, either alone or accompanied, parents or guardians are responsible for all expenses above those covered by the fee. In such cases, no refunds will be available. If a student chooses to end the programme early on his or her own accord, for reasons including travelling home for a holiday or during mid-term, no refund will be given.


Students may be asked to fly into the nearest airport to their host community or into any major city, depending on their arrival date. Please note that flights and trains are not included in the programme fee.

Local transportation to and from school is dependant on the host family. Depending on the placement location, students may be able to walk or cycle, may be driven or carpooled or required to take the bus. In the case of a school bus, students will need to pay for their own costs.


For further details, can you please contact Tom at [email protected]

  • Flights, school books and materials, local transportation, personal items and spending money are not included in the price
  • Late application fee: €250
  • Deposit: 25% of the program fee

How do I apply?

To apply please contact us and we will send you an application from to complete.

The application form includes:

  • 25% non-refundable deposit
  • Personal Photo
  • Introduction to your Host Family in English and Spanish
  • At least 4 pictures with family and friends
  • Academic Records
  • Copies of 3 most recent school reports
  • Confirmation of language level
  • Health Certificate
  • Medical/parental release forms
  • Parental Authorisation Form
  • Passport Copy

Failure to include any application materials as well as incomplete applications will delay or inhibit your acceptance into the programme. Please make certain that all signatures are completed by student, parents, teachers, and physicians before sending to AFS/EIL.

Applications in full must be received at least 3 months in advance, or else you will be charged a €250 late fee.

Apply Today


Im sure you have lots of questions and we will do our best here to answer the most common but if you have any specific questions a member of the Study Abroad Team would be only too happy to answer them for you.

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    We will endeavour to call you at the time you specify. Please note that the office hours are Monday to Friday 9 Am to 5:30 PM
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No, this is a one-way exchange. You will not have to host a Spanish student. Some Irish students remain friends with the host family and siblings and stay in contact, but there is no obligation to have them come to Ireland unless you make a personal arrangement amongst yourselves.

Further Information