OverviewClick to Open
Flex your language learning muscles and taste buds in sunny Madrid
Immerse yourself in the Spanish language and lifestyle. You may not sit down for dinner before 10 p.m., but you'll soon realize it is worth the wait! From local specialties like Jamón, fried pig ears or pickled anchovies to traditional dishes, Madrid boasts one of the most dynamic restaurant scenes to sample Spain's culinary traditions.
This program was designed for serious foodies! You will receive between 15-20 hours of language learning per week coupled with activities focused around Spanish gastronomy. Spain is a culinary powerhouse and is known the world over to be the best Mediterranean cuisine has to offer. Experience what makes Spanish cooking so unique and special. Combine your language learning with food tastings, cooking workshops, activities with local chefs and artisans. This adventure will take you on a journey you won't forget!
Most mornings will be spent in intensive, interactive Spanish classes at the Tandem Language Institute. Outside the classroom, there’s plenty to see and do. Walk to open air markets and world-class museums. Tour medieval mansions and royal palaces. Hang out with friends in the city’s many parks and cafés.
CIEE Gap Year Abroad programs are focused on supporting participants in acquiring knowledge and developing skills to live in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world. In addition to developing your language skills and gaining a better understanding of the local culture, you will take part in our Global Competence Course. This online course will allow you to connect and collaborate in real-time with our entire cohort of Gap participants worldwide, through interactive workshops and discussions. Reflect on your own cultural biases, share insights about your experience and learn about topics ranging from cultural identity and leadership styles to how to work and live sustainably or develop communication skills.
During your gap experience, you’ll stay with a welcoming Spanish homestay in Madrid. Together you’ll shop at local markets, prepare and share meals, and practice your Spanish while learning local customs and living typical everyday family life. On weekends and evenings participants will spend time exploring different neighborhoods, meeting up with friends, taking a day trip to explore a nearby town or nature reserve. Make the most of this amazing opportunity!
15-20 hours per week of Spanish language learning designed to improve real world language skill
Build a strong foundation in the core components of intercultural learning. Come home with an improved sense of self and awareness of what shapes others
Earn a Certificate of Learning in Spanish
of alumni said their language skills improved96%
said they learned to interact with different cultural backgrounds94%
said their level of independence increased89%
Location & CultureClick to Open
Relax in lush public gardens, and view royal palaces and world-class art.
What will you find in Madrid? The largest royal palace in Western Europe. Botanical gardens with more than 5,000 species of live plants. Two of the best soccer clubs in the world.
Contemporary spaces hosting the latest avant-garde theatre shows and exhibitions. Art galleries showcasing the best international artists today. The Paseo del Arte (Art Walk), featuring more than a dozen stunning landmarks, including the world-class Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofía museums – all with their share of priceless masterpieces.
Interested in history? Discover the striking 17th and 18th century Baroque style in the city’s many churches. Visit the Temple of Debod, a second-century Egyptian temple donated to Spain during the construction of the great Aswan Dam. Need a rest? Relax in the beautiful Retiro Park gardens, just one of the city’s many vast and well-manicured public greens. Feel like getting out of the city? There’s hiking and skiing in the mountains just 45 minutes away.
Home to 3.2 million people, Madrid is a vibrant center of what many say is Europe’s most passionate country. A wide variety of adventures await.
Daily LifeClick to Open
A succesful Gap experience achieves the right balance between structured language instruction, practice in the community and cultural activties to be fully immersed in the local culture.
Here's how a typical week goes on a CIEE Gap Language & Culture program:
- 15-20 hours of interactive language learning at a language school
- 1 hour of the CIEE Global Competence Course (online with our global gap community)
- 2 cultural activities
- Free time to explore and have fun!
Weekends are for group excursions (two per 6-week block) or personal travel and exploration.
*If Covid-19 homestay requirements cannot be met participants will be placed in a CIEE-vetted dormitory or apartment. Confirmation will be communicated to participants in advance.
Local CIEE Center staff available 24/7
ActivitiesClick to Open
- Learn about the influence of regionality in Spanish cuisine. Participate in a cooking workshop where you will learn to make Spanish dishes, such as paella, Spanish tortilla de patatas, gazpacho, and a typical Spanish dessert such as crema catalana or tarta de Santiago!
- Visit the modern Mercado de San Miguel and contrast that against traditional "local" markets like Mercado de la Paz all while learning about the importance of food markets in Spain and sampling a variety of specialities!
- Take a guided tour of the Museo Nacional del Prado, Spain’s national art museum, located in central Madrid. It features one of the world's finest collections of European art, dating from the 12th century to the early 20th, including works by Spanish masters Velázquez and Goya.
Sample Day Trips
- Journey up a steep river gorge to Toledo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site once known as the “city of three cultures” – a place where Christians, Muslims, and Jews coexisted in peace. Visit the Jewish quarter and Alcázar and get a rare glimpse of distinct and diverse architecture – a mosque, synagogue, Gothic cathedral, and monastery – all in one setting.
- In Segovia, you’ll visit an ancient Roman city, touring the aqueduct, a fairytale-style castle, and Romanesque churches in the Old Town.
Please note this list of activities is based on past programs and subject to change at CIEE's discretion to both adapt to local circumstances and participant feedback. Our goal when revising itineraries is always to enhance your experience. Every activity is designed to provide you with a deep immersion in your topic, local culture and sights. Get ready for maximum fun!
Eligibility & FeesClick to Open
Eligibility & Fees
- High school graduates in good academic standing.
- Students must demonstrate, through the application and interview process, flexibility and maturity.
- Students must be 17 years or older at the time of their departure.
- No previous language experience required.
Apply for one or two 6-week blocks. Combining blocks in two different locations is not yet available.
Program fee includes iNext travel insurance. Full inclusions are found online.