Because Spain is one of the top 3 study abroad destinations in Spain it is no surprise that study abroad programs in Spain come in all shapes and sizes – You can study business in Spain, take courses in social sciences or the arts, study abroad in Spain to learn Spanish, or participate in a study abroad program in Spain that allows you to learn Spanish and take courses in other academic areas.
If the different academic subjects offered by study abroad programs in Spain are the shapes, than short-term study abroad and long-term study abroad are your sizes.
What is a Short-Term Study Abroad Program in Spain?
Short-term study abroad programs are generally defined as study abroad programs that last from just a week or ten days to a month.
What is a Long-Term Study Abroad Program in Spain?
Long-term study abroad programs are programs that last much more than a month. Most people define short-term study abroad as a month or less in Spain. This suggests that any study abroad program lasting more than a month is a “long-term” study abroad program.
Long-term study abroad in Spain – and the long-term study abroad programs that bring real benefit to students – really begin at the 4 to 5 month mark. “Semesters” abroad can range from as few as two and a half months to as long as 4 and a half months.
To get the most out of your study abroad program in Spain, it is important to spend as much time as you can studying abroad in Spain – long semesters abroad in Spain, 2 trimesters abroad in Spain – or even better, 3 trimesters in Spain or an academic year studying abroad in Spain.
Which is best for you – short-term study abroad in Spain or long-term study abroad in Spain?
Advantages of Long-Term Study Abroad in Spain
– Long-term study abroad in Spain makes it possible to obtain the highest possible level of language competency in Spanish – the level that your future employers need and are really looking for.
– Long-term study abroad in Spain enables you to obtain the highest possible level of cultural understanding.
Obtaining a level of cultural understanding that will set you apart from the pack and benefit you personally and professionally is a process that takes time. It is a result not only of study abroad in Spain, but is a talent fostered by the accumulation of cultural interactions and experiences abroad.
– Long-term study abroad gives makes it possible to establish more meaningful, in-depth, and lasting friendships with both Spanish students and other international students.
Friendships abroad are, among other things, an arena in which ideas and knowledge are transmitted and shared.
– Long-term study abroad makes it possible understand Spanish contemporary Spanish society in greater depth – its social and political values and its current political, economic, and social challenges, for example, in a way that short-term study abroad cannot.
– Long-term study abroad enables you to learn how to really adapt to a foreign culture and how to interact and communicate effectively within it. This is, in effect, a skill or talent which will help you when you find yourself in other foreign cultures. It is a part of cultural sensitivity.
– Long-term study abroad does not have to be expensive. Affordable study abroad programs and other options exist that provide excellent future benefits
Advantages of Short-Term Study Abroad in Spain
– If you are unsure about where to study abroad, a short-term study abroad program in Spain allows you to test the waters without committing yourself to an in-depth study abroad program.
– Short-term study abroad programs are eye-openers – they briefly expose you to a foreign culture and give you a quick look at what you could learn and how you could benefit from an in-depth study abroad program in Spain.
– Short-term study abroad programs are appropriate options for US students with the most demanding academic schedules and for whom the benefit of long-term study abroad does not outweigh the benefit of interrupting their course studies – pre-med and engineering students, for example, or students with double-majors.
If you recognize the importance of Spanish in the world, both domestically in the US and in the international arena, and you understand the competitive advantage that fluency in Spanish and cultural understanding bring to your resume, job prospects, and prospects for job advancement, you should seriously consider long-term study abroad in Spain. Fluency in Spanish and cultural understanding will give you a competitive advantage in international business, international relations, and careers in international law, not to mention the ability to interact with the ever-growing Spanish-speaking market in the US.
Short-term study abroad is an option you should consider if a heavy academic course load or other responsibilities keep you from the benefits of long-term study abroad. Short-term study abroad programs are an option for study abroad students with limited budgets.(There are, however, there are affordable long-term study abroad programs and study abroad options in Spain available to cost-conscious students.)
But – if you can choose either, choose long-term study abroad in Spain! The rewards and benefits of long-term study abroad will be worth it!