Our Founders

Co-founders Ana M. Quintana and Laura Hortal are passionate about Spain, Spanish culture and study abroad. As parents of bilingual and bi-cultural children, they understand, first-hand, the benefits of living and learning abroad and seek to offer these same opportunities to other teens and adults.

“We carry Spain in our hearts.”

Founder Ana M. Quintana

Ana M. Quintana

 Ana M. Quintana was born in the north coast of Spain where she grew up and later moved to the U.S. to finish her studies. Ana and her husband James settled in North Carolina in 1993.  They travel to Spain every year with their three children. Their second son is currently studying in Santander, Spain. Ana loves to travel and has visited countries throughout Europe, Central and South America.

Ana has a business background and is in charge of Chispa‘s day-to-day management. She also leads the summer programs to Spain.

 

Founder Laura Woosley-Hortal

Laura Woosley-Hortal

Laura Hortal is a North Carolina native. She studied abroad in Spain multiple times while completing her Bachelor’s and Masters degrees in Spanish. While in Spain, she met her husband and the couple lived and worked in Madrid before moving to the U.S. to pursue careers in Spanish education.

Laura has taught at the elementary, middle, high school and college-level and has traveled with students all over Spain and to Central America. She travels with her family to Spain each summer, and leads Chispa groups to Spain as well.

“Laura and I met by chance in North Carolina in 2001, and have been friends since. At that time, I had two small children of 7 and 5, and Laura had only her oldest, Alex who was 1-year-old. We would get together and shared interests and plans for our families. We shared a common bond and love for Spain. Since we both had lived in Spain and were raising bilingual children, we knew how important it was for them to grow in a multicultural/multilingual atmosphere. For many years when we could, my husband and I took our children to Spain to spend the summer and visit family. Laura and her husband did the same.

It was then we realized we could offer other students the same opportunities, and give them the experiences our own children had. Living in a foreign country and experiencing different situations: the fun, flavor, variety and people of Spain in a nurturing and safe environment.

It is how strongly we feel about the importance of living in another culture and how experiencing a different language can change a person forever, especially young adults, in a fun country such as Spain”.
-Ana M. Quintana