Cultural Immersion in Spain

Salamanca, El Escorial, Toledo and Madrid

DATES: Saturday, March 10 - Monday, March 19

LEAD TRIP CHAPERONE: Señora Josephine Nicholson -

TOUR COMPANY: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Spain is a vibrant country that combines the spirit of its various rulers over the centuries from the Phoenicians and Romans to the Moors and Christians. It is an exciting country with a rich history, impressive art and architecture, and a vast landscape of mountains, deserts, and wonderful beaches. From the pounding rhythms of the flamenco to the food that brings people together, Spanish culture is defined by a deep passion for life that is contagious. We will arrive in Madrid and have the opportunity to do some sightseeing in route, starting with a trip to El Escorial. This is a massive monastery/palace commissioned by Philip II. During our visit, we will explore the Royal Apartments and the Pantheon of the Kings which contains the mortal remains of all the Spanish monarchs. We will also visit many other attractions.  We’ll arrive in Salamanca and meet our host families with whom we will be staying for six nights. The university city of Salamanca is one of the friendliest cities in Spain. It is known as the heart of the Castillian language, the purest form of Spanish, and is one of the oldest centers of learning in Europe. The students will have the opportunity to take Spanish Culture and Spain Today classes at the University of Salamanca which has wonderful sandstone artwork, bursting with images of mythical heroes, religious scenes and coats of arms.

We will have the opportunity to prepare traditional foods with direction from local chefs. We will also have the opportunity to interact with students from a local Spanish school as they discuss what life is like for students in Spain. We will spend time at the Museo de Salamanca and explore The Art Nouveau and Art Déco Museum admiring great archeology, fine arts and ethnologies. We’ll travel from Salamanca to the historic city of Toledo, the capital of La Mancha, which is a cultural fusion of Christian, Arab, and Jewish traditions from the Middle Ages with numerous churches, museums, mosques, synagogues, and artistic treasures. The city has definitely earned its World Heritage Site designation. We will visit the Iglesia de Santo Tomé, where we will view El Greco’s masterpiece, The Burial of the Count of Orgaz and other attractions. We’ll come back to Spain's capital city of Madrid which lies at the heart of the country. Despite its modern and cosmopolitan culture, the city has preserved its traditional architecture and charm. This is a city of great monuments and great art, all against the backdrop of a rich culture. We will walk through the Plaza de España and will see the monument to Cervantes. We will spend time in the Plaza Mayor, Madrid's most famous square, explore the Prado, one of the world’s finest art museums and the Puerta del Sol, one of Madrid's busiest and most historic squares. We will enjoy a Flamenco show, and other activities such as tapas dinner, walks and shopping.



Josephine Nicholson

Alison Basdekis
Chair of the MHS Trip Committee


List of 10 items.

  • Detailed (Tentative) Trip Itinerary

    Saturday March 1o, 2018
    New York JFK  Airport
    Meet at JFK Airport (note: students need to arrange to meet at JFK Airport; students may decide to organize to depart as a group from MHS)
    Sunday, March 11
    arrive Madrid, Madrid–Barajas Airport
    El Escorial
    Ground transportation to Salamanca.
    Arrive Madrid - El Escorial - Salamanca
    Arrive in Salamanca homestay (6 nights)
    Monday, March 12
    Orientation session which will include a health and safety walkthrough.
    Spanish Culture and Current Spain classes Salamanca Tour
    Tuesday, March 13
    Culture and Current Spain classes at the University of Salamanca.
    Students exchange from local Spanish school.
    Wednesday, March 14
    Culture and Current Spain classes.
    General Archive of the Spanish Civil War
    Cooking class.
    Thursday, March 15
    Culture and Current Spain classes
    University of Salamanca tour.
    Museo de Salamanca
    Friday, March 16
    Culture and Current Spain classes.
    The Art Nouveau and Art Déco Museum
    Saturday, March 17
    Salamanca to Toledo
    Salamanca - Toledo (1 night)

    Toledo tour
    Sunday, March 18
    Toledo -  Madrid (1 night)
    Madrid tour
    Plaza de España
    The Plaza Mayor
    The Prado museum
    Flamenco show
    Monday, March 19
    Madrid/New York JFK Airport
    Final breakfast and walk through the plaza.
    Departure from Madrid
  • Minimum number of MHS students for the trip to run

    10 (The cost of the trip will decrease, if more students sign up. Maximum number of students is 16.)
  • Housing/Accommodations

    Housing and three meals a day will be provided by the host families during the 6 nights homestay in Salamanca. Students join the host for meals at the host's usual dining hour.  The host will do at least one load of laundry for the participant once. Fresh bed linens will be provided.  Participants are required to bring their own towel. A minimum of two students will be staying at each host family. Accommodation in three and four star hotels in Madrid and Toledo in twin or triple rooms with private facilities guaranteed throughout.
  • Transportation

    We will meet at New York’s JFK Airport, travel together by plane and use ground transportation while in Madrid, El Escorial, Salamanca and Toledo.  Families need to provide their own transportation to and from New York, JFK Airport.
  • Costs payable to MHS

    Total cost per student: $3544 per student, based on 10 students 
  • Insurance

    The cost of the trip includes trip cancellation insurance and limited emergency medical coverage through TripMate, an international travel insurance company. Detailed materials will be sent to all families.
  • Timeline of Payments

    • Payment #1 (October 10, 2017) families would need to make the first non-refundable* initial deposit of $ 1200
    • Payment #2 (November 10, 2017) Non-refundable* payment of  $1200
    • Payment #3  December 10, 2017) Non-refundable* payment of $1144.
    *see exceptions in TripMate insurance policy
  • This fee includes

    • Round trip airfare with a major carrier on scheduled flights and guaranteed dates
    • All airport taxes and fuel surcharges (which will not change after time of enrollment for any participant)
    • Accommodation in three and four star hotels in Madrid and Toledo in twin or triple rooms with private facilities guaranteed throughout
    • Homestay accommodation in Salamanca (minimum of two students per home)
    • Breakfast at hotels, dinners in local restaurants on days 2 & 9
    • Breakfast, lunch and dinner included during homestay
    • A full-time International Studies Abroad Resident Director to accompany the group 24 hours a day from arrival to departure
    • The expertise and perspective of local guides during the tour
    • All excursions, cultural activities and (several pre-booked) admissions as per the itinerary
    • Transportation by private coach for airport transfers and touring
    • TripMate travel insurance, and international travel insurance company - This comprehensive policy includes limited health, property and cancellation coverage
    • International Medical & Emergency Insurance Included during the program term
  • What is NOT included

    • Transportation to and from the airport. This has been generously provided by parents in the past. If parents are unable to volunteer, we will need to charge a fee to pay for a van to pick us up at both locations.
    • Special travel arrangements:  If your child will not be flying with us to Spain or you plan to have your child fly back from another destination, these arrangements need to be made by you and cannot interrupt the trip itinerary.
    • Lunches on day 8 & 9, dinner on day 8 or beverages with meals
    • Visas (if required)
    • Any fees that might be imposed by the airlines at the airport for checked baggage
    • It is recommended that students bring additional money to use for personal expenses, souvenirs, etc., and for the two lunches and one dinner not included $130 -  $250 USD. 
  • Application

    The application can be completed here.
492 Holmes Road • Pittsfield, MA 01201  (413) 443-6401

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