The challenges of first organizing and then taking a primary or prep school on a school trip abroad can at first seem overpowering. The prep work is time-consuming and arduous, the difficulty of taking kids through the airport is real and the worry that accommodation or activities might not fit required safety standards is constantly in the back of the mind of any trip leader. However it is not all doom and gloom, and most challenges can be planned for and overcome by working with quality language trip providers, and there are even more positive reasons than challenges that more than justify the workload. Here are 10 TOP reasons why it is worth it:

1 A change of scene



Young people are at their most energetic stage of life and need new and intriguing stimulation. Taking a group abroad and getting them learning in a completely new place is the perfect way to reward them after a year’s hard study; and if learning can incorporate activities like visiting new cities, sampling foreign cuisine or kayaking in the Atlantic Ocean, so much the better! Get students engaged and energised so they can return to their studies next year with a fresh perspective and new dedication. A trip abroad can both act as a motivator to the kids in lead up and a fantastic memory afterwards.

2 Forging new connections

In a new environment, outside of the classroom, students have the chance to build stronger friendships with each other than they would normally have cause to do — travelling together, sharing dormitories and participating in exciting activities are all great bonding experiences for young people. Moreover, they will not just create more special bonds with other students, they will also build up their special connection with their own teachers as the shared experience has a unique way of creating mutual empathy.

3 Inspiring a future

Students study foreign languages for different reasons, but actually seeing a language like Spanish in action in its native country can be enough to inspire a lifetime of passion for foreign languages. Prep school students aren’t necessarily thinking much about their futures in secondary and tertiary education and beyond, but what if an inspiring trip abroad is the key to unlocking a student’s love of a foreign language and leads to further visits, modern language A-levels, a degree and an entire career? You never know what formative experience at prep school could shape an entire lifetime.

4 Fun for you

Never doubt just how much fun it can be to lead an expedition abroad! A bonding experience like travel always forges stronger connections between students and teachers, and aside from that you’ll get plenty out of the trip on your own terms: with exotic food to sample, exciting new cities to explore and, if you come to Spain, constant sunshine. A well organized trip abroad can be rewarding for hard-working teaching staff.

5 Cuisine

Churros in Cadiz

Students enjoy Spanish food!

Spanish food is renowned the world over, with tapas (small sharing plates) being particularly popular. From satisfying tortillas and patatas bravas for hungry stomachs, to the deliciously refreshing gazpacho and salmorejo so popular during the sunny summer months, there’s plenty here for even the pickiest of eaters to enjoy – and you never know what they’ll soon be asking their parents to cook up when they get home! Learning about different food is important to opening young student’s minds.


6 Investing in students

An advantage for any school  is being able to say on a prospectus that it takes its students abroad during the summer to study foreign languages; a special cutting edge for a primary school as not many have the confidence to do so. This is a perfect way to show parents exactly how much you care about students experiencing the real world of the language and becoming committed and invested future citizens of the world.

7 Begin a new tradition

Building a firm working relationship with a language school abroad can be the start of a long and happy partnership. A trip abroad can become a staple of the school year, something that young students and their parents look forward to as a major event in the school calendar. A successful trip abroad, and the stories and pictures that come from it, can even act as motivation for younger kids and their parents if they know they will get to the tour themselves when they are, for example, in year 5-6. 

8 Their place in the world

Very little can better help a student (or indeed anyone) understand their own place in the world than travel. To see how the citizens of nations half a continent away bear themselves and live in ways both similar to and different from one’s own country is to see better the diversity and unity of the world, and the opportunities there are to engage with such a world in the future. It is highly beneficial to start students with this “openness” at a young age.

9 Real language exposure

Wonderful Andalusian Scenery

Wonderful Andalusia

Seeing a language in its natural environment is the key to getting students to think of it as an important and useful skill for the modern world, instead of simply a subject to be memorised from textbooks. And all the textbooks in the world can’t show students how a modern language sounds spoken by natives, sung on the radio or graffitied on walls. Bring your students abroad and they’ll see just how potent language really is.

10 Holiday time

Finally, any good school trip abroad will factor in plenty of time for students to simply enjoy themselves in an educational setting, be that time on the beach, enjoying each other’s company or visiting historical places like the port from Columbus set sail to the Americas. The more students associate learning with enjoyment and cultural enrichment, the more eager they’ll be to throw themselves back into their studies when they get back and face the year ahead.

A school trip abroad — to learn a language in its natural environment, to experience the sights and sounds of another place entirely, and to see the world from a different perspective — can truly be a highlight of a young prep school student’s year. It can be something they look back on for many years afterwards with a smile and fond memories; and in some cases it can be the catalyst for some later life decision like studying a language at university so that they can be like their fun teacher who took them abroad to Spain all those years ago. 🙂

Douglas Haines and Inge Hol are a British/Dutch couple who run Spark Spanish a school trip provider based in Spain which offers bespoke residential primary school tours for both independent and state schools.

Douglas and Inge

Douglas and Inge own and run Spark Spanish with a family feel.

Hello everybody!

During my three-week work and study Spanish experience in Spain, I didn’t just want to get some work experience but also wanted to combine that with getting to know the Spanish culture. Therefore, I decided to stay with a host family, which turned out to be a wonderful decision!


Living with a Spanish family has lots of advantages, for example always having  someone around you, who you could spend time with. When I arrived, I didn’t know anybody, so I was really glad to have such a nice host family and especially, having a host sister, who is my age. So instead of sitting  at home all day on my first day, we went to the beach and by doing that, I also got familiar with El Puerto de Santa María.

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Another great thing is experiencing real “Spanish” life for the three weeks I’m here. The food, the routines and the complete lifestyle are totally different to what I was used to, back home. Personally, I don’t think there’s a better way of experiencing and getting to know a foreign culture. Also, due to my host family being locals, they show me around and I get to see lots of places without being worried                                                                                          about getting lost or missing out some nice                                                                                      places!

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The probably best thing about living with a Spanish family is that it’s an easy way of improving your Spanish, because you are speaking and hearing it basically all the time, you are with them! Besides that, you’re also picking up phrases without really learning the vocabulary, like you would in school.

These points are basically the first that came to my mind, when thinking about the great advantages you have, whilst staying with a spanish family!

Hope this post inspired you to think about going abroad!

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El Puerto de Santa María is a beautiful beach town in the south of Spain, in the province of Andalucía. Considering whether you should visit or spend your summer here studying Spanish, here are 5 reasons why you totally should.


  1. Beautiful beaches

El Puerto de Santa María is home to 22 kilometres of coastline, 16 of which are beaches. In the summer, they are literally filled with people from morning till late. Some of the renowned ones are La Puntilla, Valdelagrana, Muralla, Santa Catalina and Levante. Playa de La Puntilla is the most popular beach by far in this town due to its proximity to the city centre (only 15 mins on foot) and it’s where our students often find themselves relaxing after lessons.


We organised a welcome drink for all new students in the second week of July. Location: Casa Pepe restaurant in Puerto Sherry on the beach of Muralla.


  1. The famous port

The name of El Puerto de Santa María suggests it is a port city and it has been famous for allegedly being the port that Christopher Columbus has departed for his second trip to the Americas!


  1. Friendly locals

In our previous blog about ‘How to choose the best language school in Spain’, I mentioned that very few locals speak English. However, they are really friendly (especially with some drinks) and you definitely learn a thing or two that most tourists won’t know about El Puerto!


  1. Buzzing nightlife

Spain is famous for its long nightlife that extends to the early hours of the morning and El Puerto is no exception. You will find the locals eating dinner at 10 PM and start their nights out at midnight. The day is long here in El Puerto and in the summer, it is buzzing with people all evenings during the week. Every day from 10 PM until 2 AM, for two months in the summer, you can find a night market along the river (near La Cristalera bar) where locals set up shops to sell souvenirs and other lovely products from Spain. It’s definitely worth checking out!


Handwritten mugs in Spanish!


Our students enjoying un chupito gratis (a free shot) after ordering a bunch of tapas! Yes it’s a thing in El Puerto.

Now that you know why we love El Puerto, head onto our Spanish course page to learn more about the types of courses we offer at Spark, from General Spanish course, summer camps, to work and study experience. Adventure awaits you here!

Are you a complete beginner in Spanish? Or you already know a bit of Spanish but want to really advance your speaking skills? There is no better way to learn Spanish than by immersing yourselves in the Spanish culture.

Whether you are a first timer in a language school abroad or a returner looking for something different, here are the top 6 things to consider when choosing a school in Spain to study Spanish.


  1. Where is the school located?

Big and small cities alike, there is no bigger hassle than having to take three trains and a half hour walk to find your school. This is why we think Spark Spanish is brilliant, as it is located in El Puerto de Santa Maria, a beautiful coastal city in southern Spain that is only 10 minutes away by train from Jerez airport, where there is an international airport with frequent flights to and from other cities in Europe on a daily basis.

Train from Jerez airports are frequent daily and from the train station of El Puerto de Santa Maria, it is only a short taxi trip to Spark and there will always be taxis waiting outside the station, so you can’t really get lost getting here!

See How to get from Jerez to El Puerto by the main means of transport!


      2. How big is the class size?

Never had the chance to speak in your previous Spanish classrooms? Other students were more superior making you nervous in communicating in Spanish? Your teacher spoke too fast? We know the feeling.

When it comes to the most effective way to learn, nothing beats a small classroom with fewer students. You will have more chance to practice your speaking and your teacher can pay much more attention to your development. At Spark, all Spanish classes usually only have 4-6 students (maximum 9), which means everyone here gets personalised attention from the teacher and plenty of time to digest new materials. And everyone is of the same level, which surely helps too.

I have spoken more Spanish in the past week at Spark than I have in my entire 3 years of studying so far and I love it. Check out more details on what a typical day looks like on our website here and another blog here (coming soon).


In one of our classes with Gema (a Spanish teacher)

  1. Can you practice Spanish outside of the classroom?

There is no point learning Spanish then going away from the class speaking your native language again, even though we understand you probably just need a break from those intense hours of thinking in Spanish.

If you want to immerse fully in the Spanish culture where you can practice what you learn in the classroom, pick a small town where nearly everyone only speaks Spanish. In El Puerto de Santa Maria, you will find yourselves many opportunities to sharp up your skills by ordering food, asking for directions or recommendations in Spanish, because guess what, not a lot of people speak English here.

I had ordered my meals at a tapas restaurant and had a casual conversation with un camarero (a bartender) completely in Spanish only in my first week of being here, and it was such a great feeling!


  1. Are there many options for accommodation?

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to where to stay, therefore the best school will offer a variety of options for accommodation. At Spark, we understand individual privacy and/or your wanting to immerse in the Spanish culture.

That is why there are a number of options in terms of accommodation for you to choose from, ranging from single and double rooms in Sparkville, the school residence, where many of other students also stay; homestay with Spanish families, renting your own apartment or even campsite on the beach!


  1. Does the school offer cultural activities?

Not many people choose a language school not wanting to learn more about the culture, specifically speaking the traditional food, historical sites or getting to know what life is like for a Spaniard.

If you are looking for a school that offers rich extra-curricular activities outside of the classroom, Spark is totally where you should consider. After standard lesson hours of 10AM – 2PM, almost every afternoon there are some cultural activities, ranging from cooking classes of traditional Spanish food, day trips to the beach or other nearby cities (Cádiz, Seville, Jerez, Gibraltar), Flamenco shows, or simply get-to-know drinks and going out for tapas with all the students! You won’t have to worry about what to do after classes!


Our student in clase de conina (cooking class) with our teacher/ instructor Elena!


For first timers of a language school abroad, the first impression counts. For returner, you want to be at a better place than where you have been. However, a goal for all learners is to leave your school in the summer feeling much more confident about your skills and that you have lived life like a Spaniard. Compare different school, ask questions, see if they fulfil your most important requirements and remember to also have fun in the process!

If you are almost convinced, request more information here and a member of staff will get in touch with you! If I have successfully convinced you, book a course now and start your Spanish adventure!

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Spark´s location in El Puerto de Santa Maria in the Province Cadiz is great during the summer for going to the beach and doing watersports like windsurfing and kiting when the days are hot and long. But what to do when the days “get colder” during fall and the nights are not made for long party nights at the beach anymore? For one who loves being on the road like me there is only answer: Travelling! And who is not curious to see the beautiful and with history stuffed cities and little towns of Andalucía?

In my 8 weeks with Spark I study Spanish every day during the week and work during the afternoons for my Work-Experience-Programme but my free weekends I love to use for getting to know new places and the Andalusian history and using my new learned Spanish in real life.

The towns in the Province of Cádiz are all easily reached and seen during a day trip and especially the cities Jerez de la Frontera and Cádiz are in a 20-min reach of El Puerto de Santa Maria and a must-to-see for everyone studying Spanish here, no matter the length of the stay. Most of the other towns of the province we visited during the cultural events like San Fernando, Sanlúcar and Vejer de la Frontera and were organized by Spark.

But of course, Andalucía has even more to offer than the beautiful region around El Puerto and so my first weekend trip took me to Córdoba in the north of Andalucía, the second most important city. With its small alleys and yards, white painted houses and lovely little patios has the old town a lot to offer. The most famous monument is the Mezquita once built as the main mosque of the Islam and today used as a cathedral it´s the most important foundation of Moorish-religious building in Spain.

My second destination was Seville, the capital of Andalucía, where I went with a group of Au-Pair girls also studying at Spark to a night experiencing not only monuments but also real Spanish night life. Seville is only an 1h 20 train ride from El Puerto de Santa Maria away and therefore a relaxed weekend destination when going with a group. We visited the Catedral de Santa Maria de la Sede, the third biggest church in the world and the Real Alcázar, a king´s palace with beautiful yards, halls and Arabic gardens where (eyes open, all GoT-Fans!) in the moment the new season of Game of Thrones is filmed. On our way to a touristic Flamenco show at night we met a group of Spanish teenagers who were on their way to a Flamenco show themselves. Luckily we chose to accompany them because what we got to see then, in the streets of Seville, was them dancing and singing Flamenco themselves. This continued in one of the local bars and gave us definitely the “real” Flamenco experience.

Together with two friends our next trip was to Granada a week ago. Granada is located at the bottom of the Sierra Nevada and famous for the Alhambra, the most visited monument in Spain. It´s definitely recommended to buy tickets for a visit in advance but since our trip was rather spontaneous and we didn`t want to miss out a visit we got into the line at the entrance at 6:30 in the morning and waited for two hours to get in. Our will and patience was honored because the palace of the Nasrid’s was simply breathtaking and the view across the city and the Sierra Nevada in the rising sun matchless. Also the Generalife, the fascinating park of the kings of Granada next to the Alhambra invites to go for a relaxed walk after the visit. The Muslim quarter  of the city, Albaicín offers a great view on the Alhambra and has a magic flair itself with small alleys and Arabic stores and restaurants.

Andalucía has a lot more to offer, but this should give you a little view on how great El Puerto is not only to study Spanish but also as a basis for travelling here. So why don´t join Spark and experience it yourself?!

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When you are here to study Spanish at Spark you get to enjoy the many benefits of El Puerto de Santa Maria. Many of them are listed in my other 9 reasons to study at Spark but I want to underline that when you come here to learn Spanish, you get to discover a whole new culture you didn´t know anything about before. The city has much to offer: from different interessting cultural sights, like the Castillo de San Marcos or the Plaza de Toros, to many great restaurants and nice bars that offer Spains rich food dishes. These typical Spanish places give you the oppertunity to practice your Spanish. The experiences and skills you gather and learn in only a few weeks here, are uncomparable to every other teaching method at home!

Study Spanish at Spark and make a once in a lifetime experience!

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See the other 10 reasons to study Spanish at Spark

While studying Spanish in Spark, you can gather valuable work experiences that will be helpful in any future jobs, if you decide to do the work and study programme. In the mornings there will be classes from 10-2pm and in the afternoons, the work experience goes from 4-7pm. There are numerous different tasks that you might be doing and learning from, like blogging, painting rooms or organizing cultural events. This depends on your interests and skills, and on Sparks needs. Additionally Spark offers you to stay in the Spark residence for free!

Study Spanish at Spark and get a first impression of a working environment!

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See the other 10 reasons to study Spanish at Spark

El Puerto offers many great sights and beaches but additionaly there are many stunning cities in the surrounding of El Puerto. You should deffinatly try to visit Cádiz, Jerez and Sevilla, they are easy and cheap to reach through public transport (only 2,65€ for a boat trip to Cádiz!) and offer a wide span of cultural sights, restaurants and clubs. Often Spark organizes trips to these Citys, cultural events, so you usually have someone with you that knows the best locations and cheapest travel opportunities. These are always great chances to practice Spanish skills and learn more about Spains fascinating History!

Study Spanish at Spark and discover Spains most beautiful cities!

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See the other 10 reasons to study Spanish at Spark


Spark offers terrific opportunities to boost Spanish language skills, since it is located in El Puerto de Santa Maria, which is an Andalusian town where most people only speak Spanish. In the afternoons or evenings, El Puerto has a wide span of different restaurants or bars to practice new gained skills. If it´s just ordering food, visiting tourist attractions or interacting with locals, when you start speaking Spanish on a regular basis, the improvements you make are major. Cultural events, organized by Spark, or trips around El Puerto with new made friends are also possibilities to try out your Spanish!

Develop your Spanish skills at Spark and practice with locals!

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See the other 10 reasons to study Spanish at Spark

Teamwork is everything! At Spark we have an amazing team of teachers and staff members, who bring their passion for their doing, to work everyday. As a student I can say, that learning Spanish here is a great experience because the teachers are funny, skilled and always open for questions. There is a great connection between the staff members, which makes it even more attractive to enter this work atmosphere and gather first work experiences. But also with students the teachers get along excellent so they often join in for cultural events and a good time is guarenteed!

Come to Spark and study Spanish and become a part of this amazing Team!

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See the other 10 reasons to study Spanish at Spark

 Spark is located in El Puerto de Santa Maria, an old port city known for great seafood and its fino del Puerto, a very dry sherry wine. In addition, in El Puerto, the internal Spanish tourism is predominant, so almost all restaurants have a menue full of Spains best food options, but not a problem because Spanish food is deeeeeelicous! There is a great span of different dishes you can choose from, very popular are the different Tapas dishes (the south of Spain is the home of Spanish tapas, so be sure to try those at least once!) or Las Tejas del Puerto, a tasty cookie made here in a family run shop that now even has its own ice cream flavour!

Study Spanish at Spark und try El Puertos wide span of marvelous foods from local Chefs!

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See the other 10 reasons to study Spanish at Spark

Explore, expore, explore! To understand the world a little better, you can learn more about different people and their lifestyle in foreign countries. Spain should be a big stop on your list beause it is completly different from the typical German, American or even Britsh way. It starts with different habits, like when to eat or to go out and goes on with how to spend the evenings together. The Spanish enjoy a more relaxed life and like getting up a little bit later. Dinner they have at arround 10-10:30 pm and they go out to meet friends in bars or clubs at around 11 and dance until the sun rises! These are only a few aspects about the interesting way of living here, to find out more, come study here at Spark and we will show you, through our great offers of cultural events. It is definitely worth a try!

Dive into the Spanish lifestyle while studying Spanish at Spark!

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See the other 10 reasons to study Spanish at Spark