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Spain Country Guide

Your Country Guide is your key to preparing for your program and understanding what to expect onsite. This tool is a result of constant feedback from student and parent evaluations as well as from the onsite directors who review these each year.

INTRODUCTION

Greetings from Sol Abroad,

You are about to embark on a life-changing experience. While abroad you will cultivate relationships and memories that will last a lifetime. Our mission is to provide you with an enriching and rewarding educational experience. As part of this mission we want to make sure that you have information about your program site before you leave.

Sol Abroad was founded under the principles of promoting cultural understanding and the lifelong study of foreign languages. While on your program you will learn about the unique cultures and people of the country you are studying in.

Please make sure you read this handbook, it is excellent preparation for your new adventure!

Thanks for choosing Sol Abroad!

PREPARING FOR YOUR PROGRAM

Before you leave on your program we suggest you do some research about where you will be studying. It can make your experience that much more enjoyable and enriching!

SUGGESTIONS

  • Read articles, books, and travel guides in order to familiarize yourself with the food, culture, and music (we recommend the Lonely Planet guidebook as a good source of information).
  • Study the maps of Spain and Granada at the end of this handbook.
  • Keep a journal and blog documenting your experience abroad!
  • Read the local newspapers!
PASSPORTS

Your passport must be valid at for at least six months or longer beyond the dates of your trip. Some immigration officers may not allow you to enter the country otherwise.

TRAVEL VISAS

** SEMESTER STUDENTS ONLY: READ VISA INFORMATION BELOW **

For summer students no special visa is needed (such as a student visa).

For stays under 90 days, Spain does not require that you obtain a visa until you arrive in the country. The stamp that you are given in your passport is the Tourist Visa. You will be allowed to stay in Spain (and the European Union) for up to 90 days on this visa. When going through Immigration simply hand them your passport.

For students staying over 90 days you will need a Student Visa which we will help you obtain. For up-to-date fees and procedures, as well as other valuable travel information, visit the US Embassy.

For semester students doing the early start date for our programs, or who plan to travel in Europe before or after the program placing their stay over 90 days, they will need a student visa. Sol Education Abroad will guide you through the steps before your program begins and help with the necessary paperwork.

You must pay the cost of your visa at the moment of application. You can now pay the visa fees through electronic transfer and other online options. Please visit Visa Fees for more information. You must provide the exact amount. The cost is currently $160 (as of 08/28/14).

If you are unable to obtain a visa, make sure you say that you are only traveling (not studying).

US DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Sol Abroad recommends that all students register with the US State Department (this is now known as Smart Traveler Enrollment Program "STEP") while overseas. This is very simple to do. Please visit the website to enter in the requested information. You will need an address and a telephone number to register.

Under the section titled “International Travel” (located on the bottom left hand side), click on the “Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)” link. STEP (formerly known as “Travel Registration” or “Registration with Embassies”) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. You can read more about the benefits of this program on the website.

You will need an address and a telephone number to register. Please use the following info:

Germán Casado
SOL ABROAD
Calle Horno Espadero nº12 bajo B
C.P.: 18005 Granada Spain
Código Postal 18005
Granada, Spain
Office Phone: +34-958-22-6181

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

Geographic Location Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest of France

Climate Temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast

Terrain (Spain) large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees mountain range in north

Terrain (Granada) Elevation is 559 meters (1,834 feet). Located where the Sierra Nevada Mountains meet a fertile plain known as El Vega. Behind the city are steep mountains and in front lies the flat agricultural plain.

Highest point El Mulhacén 3,481 m, or 11,418 ft (tallest peak on the Iberian Peninsula), Tenerife 3,718 m, or 12, 195 ft (in the Canary Islands, tallest peak in Spanish-owned territory)

Population of Spain 47,171,105 (July 2014 estimate)

Population of Granada 250,000

People Spain is generally very mono-cultural in comparison to most other developed countries. During the years of Francisco Franco (the dictatorship) there was very little immigration. 95% of the population is white and Catholic. For centuries Spain was host to Arabic culture and this has left many strong imprints both genetically and culturally.

CLIMATE IN GRANADA

In January there are lots of blue skies and it is warm during the day but cold at night. There are occasional frosts. During the spring and fall the temperature is very pleasant in Granada with warm and sunny days. June, July, and August months are hot, but fortunately Granada has a dry heat with no humidity, which makes the temperatures comfortable. Mornings are cool and spring-like and evenings can be cool and breezy, sometimes requiring a light sweater in the summer. There is very little rainfall in Granada.

SPANISH IN SPAIN

In Spain you they use “vosotros”, which is an informal plural tense. Do not worry if you don’t know vosotros! You will learn about it on the program and it is one of the fun aspects of studying abroad in Spain! Also, “c” and “z” are pronounced like a “th”. Some people call it a lisp but it is not. Linguistically, it makes a lot of sense – it is to distinguish these letters from an “s”. In Latin America “c” and “z” became to be pronounced like an “s” – the phenomena known as  “seseo”. Each region of Spain has its own accent. In Andalucía you will often hear people cut off the “s”on the end of words. “más o menos” will sound like “mah o menoh”. This is the same phenomena you find in Caribbean Spanish. There are many similarities between Caribbean Spanish and the Spanish of Andalucía.

HOLIDAYS

Jan 1st 

Año Nuevo (New Year's Day)

Jan 6th 

Día de los Tres Reyes (12th night, when Christmas presents are given)

Mar 19th 

San José (Father's Day)

Variable

Viernes Santo (Good Friday)

Variable

Día de Pascúa (Easter Sunday)

May 1st 

Día del Trabajo (Labor Day)

Jun 24th 

San Juan (St. John's Day)

Jun

Corpus Christi

Jun 29th 

San Pedro y San Pablo (St. Peter & St. Paul)

Jul 25th 

Santiago (St. James, patron saint of Spain)

Aug 15th 

Asunción (Assumption)

Oct 12th 

Día de la Hispanidad (Columbus Day)

Nov 1st 

Todos los Santos (All Saints Day)

Dec 6th

Día de la Constitución (Constitution Day)

Dec 8th 

Imaculada Concepción (Immaculate Conception)

Dec 25th 

Navidad (Christmas Day)

TIME

Spain is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). The country observes daylight savings (from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in September).

BUSINESS HOURS

Usually, business hours are 9 AM to 6 PM, Monday through Friday. Department stores are generally open from 10 AM to 8 PM, Monday through Saturday. Banking hours are 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM, Monday through Friday, and Saturday mornings. Banks are most full on Fridays. Most stores close during siesta which is from 2 PM to 5 or 6 PM.

PACKING RECOMMENDATIONS

Generally, Spaniards dress very similarly to Americans. However, clothing brands and styles do set Spaniards and Europeans apart from Americans. We suggest you bring the clothes that you are normally used to wearing. The points below are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Spaniards do not tend to dress “sporty” and normally do not walk around in athletic clothing unless they are actually playing sports.
  • For summer programs we recommend bringing all summer clothing while in Granada. However, evenings can be cool so bring a light jacket or sweater for going out. Theater performances in the Alhambra, for example, can be chilly.
  • For semester programs and fall, winter, or early spring months you will want to bring warm clothes. While it is rare that it will snow in town, it can get cold. Make sure to bring a warm hat, gloves, scarf, sweaters, and jacket.
  • Bring a grammar book such as 501 Spanish Verbs and an English/Spanish dictionary (both available in travel/pocket sizes).

CLOTHING

  • Pack light: leave a little room for the things you will buy while abroad!
  • Lightweight clothing (summer). Air conditioning is not common in Spain – pack accordingly!
  • Swimsuit, sun hat, sun glasses, towel, sunblock (summer)
  • Warm hat, gloves, scarf, sweaters, jacket (winter)
  • Fleece or sweater for any mountain trips (winter months in general, for Alpujarras trips year-round)
  • Bring at least one outfit for going out. Spaniards dress up more when going out. Guys and girls, make sure you have dressier shoes for this! Tennis shoes are not allowed in many evening places.
  • Comfortable walking shoes! Make sure you break them in before your trip to avoid blisters. Also, if you plan on jogging or doing any sports you’ll want to bring the appropriate footwear. Granada is a great place for jogging.
  • Flip flops; typically you have one pair for inside the home. House shoes are an important cultural aspect of Hispanic cultures.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Small duffel or backpack for weekend or afternoon trips
  • Towel, toiletries, and sunblock. You should bring a towel for overnight excursions.
  • Camera, batteries, and charger
  • Flashlight
  • School supplies: Notebook, pens, pencils, English-Spanish Dictionary, planner for homework
  • European electric socket adaptors (for camera battery chargers, iPod chargers, etc. You will need a European-style prong in order to plug into European sockets. This can be bought at outdoor or travel stores. It is more difficult to find once in Spain).

LAPTOPS

In general, we do not suggest students bring a laptop for short programs (1 month or less) because it is one more item that could be lost, stolen or damaged. There are computer labs at the school and Internet cafés all over town. You will not need it for class.

CARRY-ON

  • Bring an extra pair of clothes & toothbrush in case your luggage gets lost or delayed by your airline.

MEDICAL/SAFETY ITEMS

  • Bring any prescription drugs that you may use. Make sure they are labeled and if possible, carry your doctor's prescription.
EXCURSIONS

Excursions are a fundamental part of the abroad experience and are included in all summer and semester program unless stated as optional. We carefully select weekend excursions that allow you to discover more about the country in which you are studying and are selected based on cultural and educational importance or sites of natural beauty. Entrance and transportation fees are always included. Before any excursion your director will go over the itinerary of the trip and what you should pack. If you have a guide book it can make it more interesting to read about the excursion before you leave, the Lonely Planet or similar guides are excellent options.

MADRID CITY TOUR

The climate of Madrid is dry, warm and pleasant. It's high altitude and proximity to mountains causes some wide variations in winter and summer temperatures. In summer the heat at midday can be intense, with cool evenings. Winters, by contrast, bring temperatures dropping to just below freezing. Rain in Madrid is a rarity, with a short rainy season in late October and some showers in spring. We'll be walking a lot in Madrid so make sure to have comfortable shoes for this part of the trip.

NERJA BEACH (COSTA DEL SOL)

Nerja is a relaxing getaway to the Andalucía coast. Commonly known as the Costa del Sol (Sun Coast), it is a popular beach escape for people from all over Europe. The drive between Granada and Nerja is impressive. You will pass through deep canyons and then along a spectacular coastal highway. The deep blue Mediterranean Sea stretches out below the winding roadway. Nerja is a small coastal town with plenty of beaches to pass the day. Many of the beaches are intimate, tucked amongst cliffs and rocks jutting from the sea. Along the beaches are restaurants set out in the sand where you can enjoy fresh fish while basking in the tranquility of the Mediterranean. The paella here is incredible!

THE SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAIN VILLAGES

The Alpujarras, located high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, was the Moor’s last stronghold in Spain. This area was actually first colonized in the 1200s by Berber refugees from Seville. The Berbers, originally from North Africa, introduced the unique architecture that is still used in the high villages of the Alpujarras today. This region is an earthly paradise high above the rest of Andalucía. The snows of the Sierras keep the valleys and villages of the Alpujarras well-watered year round. Even in the summer, the countryside is green and full of flowers. Visiting these villages is like stepping into another world. Small whitewashed farmhouses cling to the terraced edges of forest-lined gorges while rivers rush by below. Besides exploring these unique villages, there are many opportunities for hiking in the area. While trekking from Capileira, one of the most picturesque of the Alpujarras villages, one is rewarded with views of El Mulhacén, the tallest peak on the Spanish Peninsula. There can be more chance of sunburn here so bring plenty of sunblock. Also, because of altitude, temperatures are cooler here. In the evenings you will want a light fleece or sweater.

MEDITERRANEAN BEACHES

The beautiful beaches of Southern Spain are tucked along a rugged coastline backed by arid mountain ranges and tropical valleys. Ancient white-washed villages hug the steep hillsides. We will explore the tropical beaches and kayak and sail over the clear, deep blue Mediterranean waters.

ALHAMBRA PALACE

The Alhambra is one of the most impressive monuments in the world. It was the ancient palace of the Sultans beginning in the 9th century, and remained in their power until 1492. The marvelously decorated walls of the palaces are like something out of a dream. Stuccoed inscriptions in Arabic repeat throughout the palaces, continuously drawing you into the unique history of the fortress. The use of water throughout the Alhambra bestows upon you a sense of calm while exploring the ornate passages and stunning gardens. It is nothing short of stepping into another world. Equally as inspiring as the restored palaces of the Alhambra are the breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada and of Granada below. No trip to Spain is complete without experiencing this colossal palace.

SEVILLA & CORDOBA (custom groups only)

Seville (Sevilla in Spanish) is one of the most historic cities in Europe. Over 2,000 years old, it has been influenced by countless cultures all of which is seen today in its enchanting architecture. The many historic buildings and neighborhoods hold the imprint of the vibrant Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures that called this city home. We will visit the most impressive sites such as the famous minaret of La Giralda, a beautiful example of the city’s strong Moorish past. The Cathedral of Sevilla houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus and is the largest Catholic Cathedral building in the world. Sevilla is the artistic and cultural capital of southern Spain. Walking around Sevilla, you will experience a lively and fun-loving city. If you travel to Spain, you cannot miss Sevilla! We will also visit Cordoba which a very important Moorish city. There we will visit "La Mezquita" an immense mosque which later became a Catholic church after the conquest of Cordoba by the Catholics. We will also have an opportunity to explore Cordoba's streets, such as the historic Jewish neighborhood.

BARCELONA (custom groups only)

Barcelona is a city rich in culture and history. Originally founded by the Romans it is now the vibrant capital city of Catalonia and the second largest city in Spain. Barcelona is a port city resting right on the Mediterranean and has great beaches that can be enjoyed for most of the year. You will explore the streets of the city and experience all of the major sites. This includes winding through the ancient streets of the “Old City” (the historical core), strolling Las Ramblas boulevard, seeing the works of Antoni Gaudi and getting to visit the soccer stadium where FC Barcelona plays.

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES

Cultural activities are an important part of your experience. You will learn so much by going to classes but you’ll learn just as much, if not more, outside of the classroom. These activities are designed to enhance your experience and show you more of what the site has to offer! Your director will announce the weekly cultural activities every week during your meetings. For summer programs there are 3 cultural activities a week. During semester programs they are more spread out and there are 1 to 2 cultural activities included a week.  Cultural activities can include:

  • Flamenco Performance
  • Cathedral Tours
  • Granada City Tour
  • Festivals
  • Museum Visits
  • Movie Night (in Spanish)
  • Tea Houses
  • Spanish Cuisine Tasting Classes
  • Dance Class
  • Hiking
  • Zipline

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Arriving to an airport overseas is arriving into the unknown but do not worry, one of your program directors will be there waiting for you when you arrive! If for whatever reason, you do not meet your director, use the phone numbers given to you to contact them. Please stay at the airport terminal until we find you.

Please note that flights from the US to Spain will be overnight. This means that you will need to plan to depart from the US the day before your program start date, so that you arrive to Spain on the program start date. You will depart from Spain on your program end date, and will land in the US the same day.

You may not arrive or depart by bus or train, unless you are age 18 or older before your program start date

  • For all Sol Abroad programs you will fly into Granada (GRX) (see sections below).

If you have ANY questions about travel logistics please contact our office before making a purchase.

GRANADA AIRPORT (GRX)

For our standard programs you will fly into the Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport (GRX) which is roughly 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) from the city centre of Granada. It is a very small airport, easy to navigate and hosts just one terminal building and a single runway. Despite everyone’s best planning, flight delays, bad weather, and other unforeseen circumstances can impact your meeting with your director at the airport. If for whatever reason, you do not meet your director, just use the phone numbers given to you to contact them. Please stay at the airport until we find you.

- You will be given a customs form and an immigration form to fill out on your flight to Spain. For your address in Spain you can write your host family address in Granada. Be sure to have your printed round-trip flight itinerary and passport in hand.

- Once you arrive, proceed to immigration (migración)/customs (aduana).

- If you are staying for more than 90 days (Gap Year or Semester programs only), you will show them the page of your Passport in which your Student Visa has been sealed.

- If your stay is less than 90 days, hand them your passport with the front page open.

- Wait in line for your passport to be reviewed and stamped.

- Once you pass through the customs booth you will follow the signs and proceed to luggage claim (equipaje).

- You will come to an exit with sliding doors.

- There is a small roped off area and on the other side you will see many people waiting.

- Look for someone with the Sol Abroad sign.

- If you do not see the sign right away just walk into the waiting area and look for the sign. Do not leave the airport without us!

Booking Your Flight:

We suggest you book your flight through our student travel partners. For any flight assistance please contact the travel partners directly via their 1-800 number or email that is listed on their website.

1) StudentUniverse: https://www.studentuniverse.com/travel-services/solabroad
- For students under 16 you can't book directly on the StudentUniverse website but you can book through our rep, Candice Chen. To do so, you can reach her via email at candice.chen@studentuniverse.com or direct line at (617) 321-3107.

2) STA Travel: http://www.statravel.com/solutions/sol-abroad.htm
- STA does not have an age restriction for online bookings. The only age restriction is that student tickets must be for travelers 12 years or older, and no age specification on regular non-student tickets. However, participants may be considered unaccompanied minors when boarding, depending on their age and the airline as they all have different rules.
- Be sure to look into their "book now pay later" program!)

MONEY

Spain is part of the European Union and as such uses the euro €. To find the most up-to-date conversion please visit XE. We suggest that you travel with a credit or debit card. You could also bring some cash that you can exchange at the Madrid airport. Whenever you exchange money you will need your passport. On the Madrid excursion there is an ATM right around the corner from the hotel.

ATMS

ATMs are fairly common throughout Spain. Call your bank before you leave to let them know you are using the card outside of the country and the dates you will be gone. Also, check with your bank beforehand to see if there are any international charges for pulling cash overseas. You can only take out a maximum of 300 euros per day at the ATMs in Spain.

CREDIT CARDS

Credit cards are widely accepted in Spain. Check with your credit card company beforehand to see if there are any extra international charges and to let them know that you are traveling overseas. There is a foreign currency conversion fee and it is usually from 1% to 3%. Capital One is the only credit card at the moment that charges no foreign currency conversion fee.

TRAVELER’S CHECKS

Please do not bring Traveler's Checks. They are increasing difficult to cash - especially when the individual is under 18.

SPENDING MONEY

You will want to bring some extra spending money with you. We suggest  $150-200 per week depending on spending habits.  This money is for souvenirs, shopping, meals that aren’t included, or extra activities that you may decide to do during excursions.

LOST OR STOLEN CASH OR CREDIT CARDS

If you were ever in an emergency situation that you needed money (such as if you lost your wallet) just let your onsite director know! We will definitely assist you financially until your situation can be resolved.

 

ELECTRICITY

Spain uses 220 V AC at 50 Hz, the same as the rest of Europe. However, there are 125 or 110 V AC sockets, even within the same building. Plugs have two round pins so if you bring any electrical items from the US you will need to bring an adapter plug. These can be bought at travel or outdoor stores or in the airport. They are more difficult to buy once in Spain. Be wary of plugging electrical items in from the US—check to make sure the item can handle the different electrical current. Hairdryers brought from the US, for example, often short out. We recommend you buy a hair dryer or straighter upon arrival. Most new electronics, such as digital cameras, and laptops are of the 110 V AC – 240 V AC range. If the electrical plug they use has a small box on the cord then you have the built-in converter.

COMMUNICATION

EMAIL

Internet cafés are very common in Granada and can be found on almost every corner. Also, the language school and the University of Granada have computers available for student use. Keeping in contact with friends and family is a great way to share your experience. Just remember, though, it can take away from your Spanish learning. Attempt to write as little as possible in English while you are there. 

WIFI

All of the homestays have WiFi. You will also find WiFi at the language school or university.

MAIL

Stamps are bought at stores called estancos, which are easily recognized by the big brown and yellow signs. Your director will point these out. Stamps are the same price as at the post office, but it is much more convenient to purchase them at an estanco. "Los Correos" is the name of the postal service in Spain. Mail from the USA is not reliable. We do not suggest that families to send mail to Spain.

PHONES

LAND LINES

You can make local phone calls and receive all phone calls from your host family’s home phone. Out of courtesy please let your family know when you use the phone. You will need a phone card to make an international call from their home phone. You can purchase calling cards in Spain as you need them. When talking with friends and family in the States we suggest calling collect and then having your friends and family call you back at the host family’s house. Rates are cheaper this way.

VOIP

Another option is VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). Skype is a great system and one you can use in Internet cafés. Skype

CELL PHONES

Having a cell phone while in Spain is a personal preference. Cell phones can be very useful to communicate with the other students in your group, your directors, and friends and family back home. Most students prefer to have a cell phone.

US CELL PHONES

Always call your US provider first to see what options they have for using your phone in Spain. If you are not prepared, costs of using your US cell phone in Spain can sometimes be very high. If someone tries to call your US cell with a Spanish cell phone they will be charged an international call rate. The owner of the cell phone is charged when receiving calls and the rate varies depending on where the call was made from. Also, when making a call from a land line the rate differs between calling another land line and calling a cell phone (charge is slightly higher).

CELLHIRE (cellphone rental service)

One option you may consider is renting a local in-country cell phone. Sol Abroad provides our students with an international cell phone rental option with a local Spanish number. The cell phones are rented through Cellhire, based in Dallas, TX.

Should you choose this option Sol only covers the rental fee for the basic Nokia phone. Should you choose any other product that Cellhire offers (such as a SIM card, hotspot or smartphone) - you are responsible for those fees. Sol either covers the Basic Nokia Smartphone Rental ($19 rental) OR the shipping/setup cost ($19) if you choose another product.

If you sign up for the basic phone, you will be responsible for any of the usage charges (rate details located on the SOL-Cellhire webpage). Cellhire also has additional voice and data or data only options (iPhone SIM cards and mobile hotspots) that you can rent at your own expense (as mentioned above). Please contact Cellhire with any questions. This is not a Sol Education Abroad product. We are simply making a recommended service available to you to help with your communication needs while abroad.

INSTRUCTIONS:
1) Simply register online via this website: www.cellhire.com/sol
2) Select your program, and enter the promo code: summer19hs

Should you use this option, the phone will be mailed to your home address prior to departure so please make sure to allow yourself time to get the cell phone before you leave.

For free shipping, you must register at least 2 weeks prior to your departure date.

Please note, when you enroll there is a "Credit Card Authorization" of $1. The Credit Card Authorization is a hold that is placed on a credit card for 3-5 business days and released. It is not a charge and will not appear on your credit card statement at the end of the month. Cellhire takes the authorization to confirm that they are “authorized” to charge the card when the invoice produces at the end of the month. The funds will not be available during that time period. They do not accept debit/check cards. If you attempt to pay by debit or check card, funds will be drafted from your bank account.

Any questions regarding the phones please contact Cellhire directly at:
877 244 7242 OR email education@cellhire.com

HOST FAMILIES

The host family is one of the best parts of your experience in Granada! This will be your greatest and most intimate contact with the culture and people of Spain. Families in Granada are middle-class by Spanish standards. Most people in Spain live in apartments rather than houses. Remember, you may not be the only foreign student in the home. Sometimes families work with other programs and if they have multiple rooms, they may have someone else living there. If this is the case, talk to you director onsite if you have any problems with the housing.

Some suggestions when living with your family:

  • Bring photos of your family/friends/hometown to share.
  • Make sure you let your host family know if you won’t be home for a meal.
  • Spend time with your family. If they invite you to do something take advantage of this. The more time you spend with your family the better your Spanish will get.
  • Be respectful. You are a guest in their home.
  • Utilities are expensive in Spain! Turn off lights when you are not in a room; please be conservative of your water use when taking a shower.
  • Spain has water shortages so please be conscientious of this!

Your director will go over host family rules and regulations more extensively onsite.

HOST FAMILY GIFT

We encourage you to bring a small gift for your host family to present to them when you arrive. A gift is a nice way to break the ice and share some of your local US culture with your Spanish family. Some examples of gifts students have given in the past are family-style board games that don't require a language, local treats (preserves, candies, maple syrup, etc.), a coffee-table photo book of their hometown, dry baking mix (blueberry muffins, biscuits, scones, etc.), or a throw pillow or blanket.

MEALS

You will share all of your meals with your host family. You will eat what they eat! They will accommodate any needs or preferences you may have.  However, please remember that the food will be different to what you are used to eating in the US. Families do not eat much red meat or sea food because although they are middle class, they have a more restricted household budget. Also, many Spaniards are not accustomed to eating a lot of vegetables. Lunch is the main meal and for dinner they will serve you a lighter meal. Dinner is also served much later in Spain than in the US! Dinner time is typically around 8 or 9 PM.

LAUNDRY

Your host family will wash your laundry once a week. Normally, for girls, your family will have you wash your own under garments. Host families in Spain do not use driers. Clothes are air-dried.

A/C

In Spain A/C is not common in private homes. Because of this, we never mention or promise A/C for the homestays. If there is A/C in the home it is usually only in the main living room. During summer months people open their windows throughout the house creating a draft. They may also have fans in the home. Not having A/C is the standard for homes in Spain, just as not having a drier in homes and air-drying clothes is a standard. You will find that businesses and stores typically have A/C. If your homestay does not have a fan in your bedroom and you feel you would like one, please first talk with your program director. You would need to purchase the fan on your own and the homestay may expect you to assist with the utility bill if you plan to use the fan all night. Electricity in Spain is much more expensive than in the US.

TYPICAL DAY

This is an EXAMPLE of a typical weekday. Some classes start earlier or later than listed below.

8:00 AM        Wakeup and have breakfast

8:45 AM        Walk to school

9:00 AM        Classes begin

10:45 AM         Mid-morning break

11:15 AM        Return to class.

1:00 PM        Classes end. Check email, visit shops, write in your journal, hang out with friends

2:30 PM         Lunch with your host family

3:30-6:00 PM        Siesta

7:00 PM         Meet for a cultural activity

ACADEMICS

You will find that the teaching style in other countries is different than what you are used to in the US. If you have any concerns or questions about this when you are in Granada, please ask your director! Our directors are always available for any other assistance you may need concerning the academic component of the program.

IDEA Spanish Language School (Summer I & Custom Programs): Located in the historic Realejo neighborhood (the former Jewish quarter). IDEA is known for its personalized attention to Spanish Language teaching. Focus is on grammar, conversation & cultural topics. Classes are normally from 9:30 AM - 1 PM. There is always a break between classes.

University of Granada (Summer II & III): You will study at the Centro de Lenguas Modernas (CLM), which is the language department for the University of Granada. Classes are typically from 9 AM -1 PM. There is always a break between classes. The language department is located in the heart of historical Granada. There are two buildings. The main building is housed in the old palace of Santa Cruz (16th century) which has been specially restored for teaching purposes. The other building is a restored “Carmen”, or typical Andalucía home that was first used by the Arabic culture hundreds of years ago. It is a beautiful building with a garden-like setting.

SOL DIRECTOR

Your director is there to help you with many aspects of the program! Their main duties include:

  • Orientate and guide the students in Granada
  • Airport transfers
  • Making sure that your accommodations are suitable and that you are happy with your family
  • Make sure that your classes are appropriate
  • Organize cultural activities
  • Organize excursions
  • Support students in finding activities and events that interest them
  • Accompany students to the doctor
  • Your director is available to listen to any comments, suggestions and complaints about the program

Director availability: Your onsite director will be available at your school before & after classes every single day of the first week. After that, your director will normally be available every other day at school and during activities and excursions. Your onsite director will always be available via phone & email.

OFFICE

The Sol Abroad office is located at the following address:

Calle Horno Espadero nº12 bajo B
Código Postal 18005
Granada, Spain
Office Phone: +34-958-88-9596

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Spain is a relatively safe country but the normal precautions should be taken. In the summer you should be wary of sunburn and dehydration.

HOSPITALS

Closest to the University of Granada - Center of Modern Languages (CLM):

Hospital de San Cecilio - Av. Dr. Olóriz 16, 18012 Granada - España
Information: 958-023-000

Closest to IDEA language school:

Hospital La Inmaculada - C/ Dr. Alejandro Otero, 8 18004 Granada - España
Information: 958-250-523

PICKPOCKETS

You should never carry around large amounts of cash, your passport, or credit cards unless you have to! In the crowded touristy areas of Madrid you should be wary of pickpockets. In Granada, you should avoid the gypsies begging in a few of the tourist areas. They will try to read your palm, or give you rosemary. These can be ploys to pick your wallet! Despite our warnings, every summer students get pick pocketed.  Guys, NEVER keep money in your back pocket.

THEFT

Students have gotten digital cameras and laptops stolen in Granada. Never leave things unlocked and try to keep valuable items out of sight when walking around town or if you leave them at your home. Never be too trusting!

UNWANTED ATTENTION

Women should avoid unwanted attention. It is not customary in Spain to smile at people you do not know. Spanish men could interpret this the wrong way. Never walk home alone at night. Cabs are very inexpensive in Spain, whenever in doubt just pay the 3 or 4 euros and take a cab. Avoid walking in large groups of foreigners. Use the buddy system especially at night!

TRAVEL HEALTH INSURANCE

While with Sol Abroad you have the option of using your own health insurance or using the Sol Abroad policy (included in your program price). If your insurance provider DOES cover you internationally, make sure to only use your policy and not ours (insurance companies do not allow you to have two policies). If your insurance provider DOES NOT cover you internationally, make sure you specify this in the form called "Insurance Verification". Sol Abroad’s insurance policy will cover absolutely any medical expenses internationally up to USD $50,000 with MultiNational Underwriters. To verify your coverage, simply call your US insurance provider and tell them that you will be overseas and they will let you know whether or not you are covered internationally and the amount of coverage. Provide your insurance company the exact dates of the program in which you are enrolled. Get the details from them in the event you need to go to the doctor while abroad. If you do use the Sol Abroad insurance please note that pre-existing conditions are not covered, so check with your domestic provider about this before leaving. If you take prescription medication with you make sure that you have a doctor’s prescription in the event that customs officials question you about it. This is rare, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared.