API offers study abroad programs for those who want to take their gap year in Spain in five different locations (Barcelona, Granada, Madrid, Salamanca, and Seville), spanning the country regionally, culturally, and linguistically. Most locations offer courses in Spanish in a variety of disciplines such as Hispanic and cultural studies, business, and communications. Spanish courses are taught at all levels, from the beginning to the bilingual level. Internships (for credit and not for credit) are available in Salamanca and Seville.
If you are coming to Spain for the first time, be warned: this is a country that fast becomes an addiction. You’ll be hooked by the celebration of some local fiesta, or the amazing nightlife in Madrid, by the Moorish monuments of Andalucía, by Basque cooking or the wild landscapes and birds of prey of Extremadura. And by then, of course, you will have noticed that there is not just one Spain but many. Indeed, Spaniards often speak of Las Españas (the Spains) and they even talk of the capital in the plural – Los Madriles, the Madrids.
This regionalism is an obsession, and perhaps the most significant change to the country over recent decades has been the creation of seventeen autonomías – autonomous regions – with their own governments, budgets, and cultural ministries. The old days of a unified nation, governed with a firm hand from Madrid, seem to have gone forever, as the separate kingdoms that made up the original Spanish state reassert themselves. And the differences are evident wherever you look: in language, culture and artistic traditions, in landscapes and cityscapes, attitudes and politics.