Nestled on the southeastern coast of Spain, Alicante overlooks the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. With its sunny climate, beautiful beaches, tall mountains, and rich culture and nightlife, it has become one of the most popular destinations in Spain. The area enjoys hot summers and the sunniest winters in all of Europe. Boasting an average year-round high of 72°F and low temperature of 56°F with over 3,000 hours of sunshine annually, Alicante’s sandy beaches can be enjoyed most of the year. Alicante’s broad, four-mile-long beach of San Juan is considered one of the finest in all of Spain due to its size, services, and upkeep. Sunbathing, swimming, windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and more are available. Entertainment and nightlife is rich and extensive in Alicante. Students are sure to find many cozy cafés and entertaining night spots throughout the city, and the Old Quarter of town, El Barrio, is overflowing with popular cafés set amongst traditional architecture. Alicante’s port, El Puerto, is the most modern area of leisure and entertainment, with restaurants and night spots overlooking the Mediterranean. The city hosts festivals nearly every month.
Bilbao is located in the north of Spain near the French border and has an international airport with direct flights to most large cities in Europe. Both Bilbao and Getxo (where most of the housing placements are located) are situated in an area of beautiful green mountains that face the ocean, making it possible to hike in the morning and go swimming in the afternoon. Close by, there are several picturesque coastal towns with great beaches that are easily accessible by public transportation. Bilbao is the poster city for successful urban renewal and the spectacular Guggenheim Museum of Art has ushered in an era of international tourism to the area; in urban renewal circles, the use of a revitalized cultural sector to kick start the renewal of a city’s economy is known as the “Bilbao effect.” Bilbao is home to some of the world’s most renowned architecture including: Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum, the Euskalduna Music Hall and Convention Centre, Norman Foster’s Underground, Calatrava’s Bilbao airport, and other projects by architects such as Arata Isozaki and Cesar Pelli. Additionally, the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation has given its approval to expand around Urdaibai's Natural Reserve area. Bilbao is the largest city in the Basque Country with a population of approximately 350,000; the greater Bilbao region has just under 1,000,000 inhabitants. Bilbao was recently recognized by the Eurostat report as one of the top three safest areas in the EU. It is an extremely walkable city with a great transportation system that is efficient and safe. The city includes many pedestrian areas, including the old quarter with shops, restaurants, and coffee houses. There is also a bike path along the riverfront and through the main street of town. Getxo is a charming, coastal community popular for its beaches, lively nightlife, and diverse cultural activities. It is well connected to downtown Bilbao by subway (20-25 minutes away). Getxo is a relatively young town—80% of the population is below the age of 60—and it is not touristy, maximizing the opportunity for students to meet local peers. Getxo is known for its numerous outdoor activities and cultural events including: surfing, canoeing, hiking, rollerblading, paragliding, music festivals, a medieval market, and much more.
Unnamed Road, Lugareño, Cuba
The La Habana summer program offers an unparalleled opportunity to visit this enchanting island and legendary city to learn about its culture and society. It will also provide a unique occasion for understanding—firsthand—the multiple layers of history that make Cuba significant in North America and in Latin America. The courses will examine not only the history of former Spanish colonies, but also the twentieth-century, during which Cuba played a significant geopolitical role. The Habana summer program will give you the opportunity to experience the past, present, and future realities of Cuban society and its fusion of Spanish, African, and American flavors to create a rich culture of its own. The La Habana program consists of one 5-week session offering academic coursework in history, society, politics, and culture studies. Many of these courses include enticing field trips offering hands-on experience with the subject matter, such as Old Habana, Matanzas, Pinar del Río, a tobacco factory, and Varadero Beach. The session begins with several days of orientation and lectures in Costa Rica before departure for Cuba. The courses for the La Habana program focus on the history and society of Cuba, with particular attention focused on exploring the impact of slavery and Cuba's African roots on its culture and religions, as well as the present-day political and economic factors Cuba faces in its future. If you are interested in studying Spanish language in preparation for several weeks in Cuba, the first summer session in Costa Rica can be paired with the La Habana summer session for intensive language study.