5 Best Locations To Study Spanish Abroad

April 16, 2022
By Sophia Williams
Emily Levine

The 5 Best Locations For Spanish Study Abroad Programs

There’s nothing better than total immersion to improve your new language skills. If your goal is to become fluent in the language you’re learning, nothing compares to surrounding yourself in that language 24/7. It’s no wonder study abroad programs are so popular with students hoping to travel and experience the language they are learning in real life.

For those people lucky enough to be in this position, the first and most important question is where to go. This depends on which language you’re learning, which also determines how many choices you have. For some, this will be a very straightforward decision, as certain languages are only spoken in a single country or region; if you’re learning Japanese, you head to Japan. However, other languages like English, French, or Spanish are commonly spoken more widely across a number of countries and continents around the world.

If you hope to study Spanish abroad, you’re in luck! Spanish is the official language of more than 20 countries around the world, mostly in the Americas and Europe. Let’s take a look at some of the best places to explore while practicing your Spanish language skills.

Barcelona, Spain


Barcelona is a popular travel choice for good reason: it’s one of the largest and most vibrant cities in the world, and the birthplace of the Spanish language. Located in the Catalonia region in northeastern Spain, visitors can immerse themselves in Catalonian culture and hear both Spanish and Catalan spoken in the city's many shops, restaurants, and museums.

Barcelona is a very international city, drawing tourists and expats from all over the world. The city is famous for its Gaudi architecture, including the world-famous La Sagrada Familia basilica, which is still being built 140 years after construction began! The city also hosts a huge array of shops and restaurants along the famous La Rambla street, convenient public transport, and the beautiful Barceloneta Beach. For those looking to get out of the city, Barcelona is a great entry point into the Catalonian region and a hub for the rest of Europe.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Known by some as the “Paris of the Americas,” Buenos Aires is a South American city with a distinctly European feel. The architecture makes visitors feel like they’re strolling along a Parisian boulevard, and the cafe culture and devotion to great food and wine echo the finest brasseries of France. However, Buenos Aires embraces its own distinct South American character as the home of tango, and residents are often seen sipping locally grown mate tea rather than cafe au lait.

Literature lovers recognize Buenos Aires as the home of Argentine writers Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar. Foodies enjoy some of the best steaks in the world, along with amazing international cuisine and very affordable and increasingly popular Argentine and Chilean wines. Buenos Aires is a vibrant, international city with something for everyone, especially those who want to practice Spanish and learn tango.

Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City, Mexico

At the northern end of Latin America, we find the largest Spanish speaking city in the world. Mexico City is famous for its tacos, tequila, and festivals like Dia De Los Muertos. The famous home of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Khalo, Rivera’s murals are found in the Palacio Nacional and Khalo’s house can be visited in the neighborhood of Coyoacan. Just outside the city is the Teotihuacán complex including the famous Pyramid Of The Sun, the third largest ancient pyramid in the world.

Mexico City is also famous for its nightlife, with districts such as Condesa and Zona Rosa offering all the drinking, dancing and food you could hope for. Mexico City attracts visitors from all over the world, but as a neighbor to the US, it is particularly popular with American students looking to improve their Spanish. Mexico City is an easy 4-hour flight from Los Angeles and there are many flights every day into Mexico City’s international airport. This also means that Mexico City has a large number of homestay options and study abroad courses to choose from.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

For those looking to get away from the big cities and back to nature, there’s no better choice than the Galapagos Islands. While they are part of Ecuador, the Galapagos are located 1000 km off the mainland coast. Despite its remote location, the local language is Spanish, and you may be surprised to learn that there are a number of study abroad programs to choose from in this farflung haven.

The Galapagos are perhaps most famous as one of the locations visited by Charles Darwin while sailing aboard the HMS Beagle. The local wildlife had a resounding impact on the formation of Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection. Today, those interested in ecology and biology can visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to see the tortoise breeding center and learn about the islands’ fascinating ecology and history. Nature lovers can also snorkel with sea lions, see penguins in their natural environment, and visit giant tortoises on the beach. If you love exploring our natural world and practicing Spanish, the Galapagos Islands are a perfect place for you to study abroad!

Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru

Another international city in Latin America, Peru is world-famous for its unique cuisine and as the main entry point into the Andes Mountains. Coastal Lima boasts fresh seafood and amazing locally grown beef. It’s no wonder that Peruvian food is famous throughout Latin America and the rest of the world, from ceviche and sopa criolla to lomo saltado and the famous pisco sour cocktail.

The Andes Mountains are the longest continental mountain range in the entire world, and Lima is home to the Andean Community. Many adventurous visitors to Lima often hike the Inca Trail or visit Machu Picchu, the 15th century Incan citadel. From the food and nightlife of Lima to the biodiverse rainforest and Incan culture, Peru has something for everyone. There are many study abroad programs for students looking to study Spanish in Lima or Peru’s other largest city, Cusco.

Spanish Is A Global Language

One of the most beneficial facets of studying Spanish is that it is used in so many countries all over the world. If you’re interested in supplementing your Spanish studies with a study abroad program, you have no end of options to pick from. If you have the opportunity, travel the world and advance your language skills in one of these wonderful Spanish-speaking cities!

If you can’t swing a study abroad this semester, check out these other tips for improving Spanish fluency without leaving home!
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