FAQ

We tried to answer some of the most common questions students or parents may have about summer immersion in Spain. If you don’t see the answer your are looking for you here,  you may contact us anytime.

What levels of classes are available for the summer immersion programs?

We work with the six levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Basic (A1 & A2), Independent (B1 & B2) and Proficient (C1 & C2). Each of these levels is divided into sub-levels to more adeptly place you with a group at your level.

What level will I be placed in?

We determine the make-up of the group according to the students’ abilities. The first day of the course begins with a test to determine the proper level. If you are a beginner, you may start without testing.

Do I need to study for the placement test?

No. Don’t stress over this. Teachers are very capable and will notice if you belong in a different level once classes are underway. Regardless of where you begin, we expect to help you significantly advance your Spanish-speaking abilities.

Will there be other students at my level?

Most high school students are somewhere between Novice (A1) and Upper Intermediate (B2). However, we may divide the groups into sub-levels so students are with peers who have similar skills.

Is there an age limit for attending?

Chispa gives preference to 14-to 18-year-old students. The activities in the afternoons and weekends are most suited to this age group, and exceptions for students outside this age range would be on a case-by-case basis.

Will students be in class with English speakers?

Although the schools have students from throughout Europe, classes are based on language skill and as such you may find yourself with other English speakers. Nevertheless, class time is in Spanish only, and students are encouraged to help one another make the most of this immersion by only speaking Spanish to one another.

What can you tell me about the families chosen for home stays?

Families are vetted by the local schools. Your host families are often parents and many have children the same age as the students they host. Some have grown children out of the house or young children still at home. Often families take in multiple students so you may share a room with someone from another country. Spaniards primarily live in condominiums so living quarters are smaller than you may be accustomed to. After your return home, you may realize that you’d like to stay in touch with the family and maintain a life-long relationship.

Who can help with issues while in Spain?

Chispa. Part of our value proposition is that we are very familiar with Spain and how to resolve issues that may come up there. Issues are bound to come up. We will keep you posted, as appropriate, and make sure that neither you nor your child need to worry about any issues that may arise.

What kind of certificate will I get upon completing the course?

After completing the course, you will receive a certificate that records the level you have taken, hours, and course goals.

How much Spanish will I learn in an summer immersion program?

It varies from person to person, but if you take full advantage of your home stay and immerse yourself as much as possible, you will see significant progress from the course even as a beginner. Be prepared to come home excited about your experience and wanting to return the next year to advance further.

I’m a beginner. Will my classes be in English?

All of our classes are taught in Spanish, even for the complete beginner. Our teachers are experts in the material they teach and they know how to make themselves understood in Spanish. This method achieves fast and real results. Beginner classes start with basic communication like introducing yourself and asking for things. In the afternoons you’ll practice as you interact with other students and in the community. Although now you may think you can’t understand or speak, you’ll be amazed how quickly you learn to communicate.

How should I pack?

In Spain summer happens at the same time as in the U.S.A. Madrid will be hot during June and July with temperatures around 76º. When we get to the coast, temperatures will be milder and you’ll probably need a jacket or light sweater for the evenings. During the Pre-trip Orientation Meeting we will go over all the information you need for your trip.

You may find follow this link on international teen travel for other tips.

What happens after the program?

Summer immersion students are often captivated by their experience and wish to return until they’ve mastered the language. You can do this through Chispa and you may even be able to stay with the same host family in future years, or stay with another and enhance your network!

What’s unique about Chispa?

  • The program directors are involved not only in the creation of the programs, but in the running of the program from Spain, and will be with you during your stay in Spain. They know the country inside-out and manage the day-to-day operations.
  • The program incorporates home stays with language immersion and cultural immersion; no one else combines these elements.
  • The program is run by a management team familiar with both Spanish and American customs and cultures. They’ve built this program to make this an easier experience for teens going abroad.
  • Students will meet before departure to discuss questions and to get to know Chispa people well before the trip.
  • Students will have a chaperon throughout the program – to resolve issues that may come up.

How do we get around in Spain?

We will arrive in Madrid and have arranged transportation to the hotel or student apartment. Travel within Madrid may include walking and public transportation. From Madrid to our destination we will travel by coach or high-speed train. When in Santander, students may travel to/from school by foot, bicycle, or bus.

Why the Santander region?

We’ve chosen cities that are small enough for students to feel comfortable exploring and moving around on their own and yet large enough to offer plenty of attractions, beach and entertainment. We’re certain that students will like the combination. It’s also noteworthy that residents of the area speak Castilian Spanish with a neutral accent, perhaps most similar to how Mid-westerners in the US speak American English with a neutral accent.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact us.