Comparing Spanish-Speaking Programs

by Heidi Specht on April 2, 2019

Comparing Spanish-Speaking Programs

by Heidi Specht on April 2, 2019

For someone wanting to learn Spanish, Arcadia has a variety of diverse study abroad options: Chile in South America, Cuba in North America in the Caribbean, and Spain in Europe. As a Spanish major, I decided to try all three programs before I graduated. I’m a junior, and so far, I have made it to two out of the three.

A lot of people have asked me how I knew which program to choose, and which one is best for them. So for all you Spanish/International Studies majors out there—or those who want to improve their Spanish language skills—here are the differences between Arcadia’s Chile and Spain programs.

Blogger Heidi Specht in Chile

Chile: You can take classes with other Americans in English or Spanish, or with Chileans in Spanish.

Spain: You are limited to taking classes with Americans, but still get to choose whether you want to take them in English or Spanish.


Chile: You can take classes in almost any field, but most of the offered classes are humanities-based: art, literature, politics, and culture.

Spain: The classes offered are very similar to Chile, but if you choose the Barcelona program, you can also study at ESCI-UPF, the world-renowned International Business school.


Chile: You must live in a home stay, but Arcadia lets you give your preferences as to what kind of home situation you prefer (siblings, pets, food, limited English or fluent, etc.)

Spain: You can choose to live in a home stay or an apartment with other international students.


Chile: You can travel to other countries in South America, like Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil, but it can get expensive if you don’t plan in advance.

Spain: You can travel throughout Europe, and it’s very cheap to do so.


Chile: Is great if you are into outdoor activities, like hiking or surfing. There is so much beautiful nature to explore! And Valparaíso is right on the Pacific Ocean, which makes for an amazing morning commute to class.

Spain: In Spain, you’ll find centuries of history, which is great for those interested in architecture.

Both programs have given me completely different experiences, and it is hard to say which one is necessarily “better.” But if I had to categorize them, I would say this: for a more independent, challenging study abroad semester, choose Chile. And if your goal is to travel extensively, choose Spain. And if neither of these countries seem like your best fit, try looking into the Cuba program. After all, the opportunities are limitless.

Heidi develops a home away from home with her host family in Chile.

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