Academic Courses and Semesters

in USA

The academic programs in USA are specially recommended for those students who have already had previous experiences in summer courses abroad. Their level of English must allow them to attend an American High School.

There are several options that are offered to study an academic course in the US, depending on the age of the student and the type of school where they would like to enroll. The minimum age that is required to register in an American private school is 13 years, and it is 15 years old if the student wants to register in a public High School. The oldest they can be is 18 years old.

They must however have something in common: the enthusiasm and the desire to participate in an experience that will change their lives and their perspective of the world forever.


Speak and Travel?

Speak and Travel is a small agency that guarantees a deep knowledge of each student that will be transmitted to the American agency as well.  Only small organizations can guarantee an absolute care when the host families are selected.  Only a small agency can transmit directly to the local agents and coordinators in USA all the special details about each student.  Only a very small group of students will be able to participate in the program every year.

The Orientation Sessions will be done in different cities in Spain to make it easy an accessible for everyone.  Students will only have to go to Madrid to the US Embassy for their Visa Appointments.

We are here, near you and accessible to you, available any time you need us.

If your child needs anything, we will make sure we can provide it!

Academic semester

in a Public School

This is a great option for those who do not want to be away from the Spanish School System for an entire year. This option is more demanded every day, but we must count with the flexibility of the schools in Spain. Since the students will not be away for a complete academic year, no convalidation applies. However, the school in Spain must agree with the family the way to finalize the school year in Spain: exams before or after the time abroad, ways to recover the lessons that student missed, etc.

American schools and the Department of State establish the same requirements to be able to participate in the program: student must take all the school tests, GPA above a C grade, 15 years old when semester starts, and volunteer host families.  J1 visa requirements apply.

Students have the chance to enroll in two different semesters (dates vary depending on States)

    •    Fall Semester:  from August till December –  January
•    Spring Semester:  from January till May – June

Academic year J1

in a Public School

This program is, without a doubt, the most extended one among all the students who study an academic year in the US. All students must be at least 14 years old in August and turn 15 before December 31st,  and they can be enroll in 10th, 11th and 12th grade.  Not all schools accept 14 year old students in 10th grade, but we will look for possible enrolments in schools where they are flexible with his rule.  This program is fully regulated by the US Department of State. They regulate all the procedures to be able to obtain the J1 visa (this is the type of visa that is issued to all students that enroll the sponsored program by the Department of State in public schools and volunteer families).

Students are hosted by volunteer families, who will live in any of the chosen States according to each program.  Speak and Travel has a guaranteed number of host families in some States that will be offered to each student when they are ready to enroll the program.  Students will be registered at the closest High School to their homes. They will participate of all the school activities, and they will get involved in their community lives. When the students come back, they will have a very high level of English that will be with them all their lives, and they will be a lot more mature and independent.

Speak and Travel offers two different Academic Year programs for the 2022-2023 School Year, where the State selection and the deadline for host family confirmation make the difference:

  • USA A la Carte
  • School Year in California

Important aspects to consider

The main characteristics of the public school program are:

  • We recommend an early registration to the program.
  • Only one student will be hosted by each family. There could be two in some cases, from different nationalities, but always if it is accepted by the natural families.
  • We will not be able to decline host families that have been accepted by the American agency, and this will never be a reason to cancel the registration.
  • We will always guarantee a host family in any of the chosen States.
  • We highly discourage any family visits during the entire experience, but they can will be authorized by the American agency after December 27th.
  • Students are not allowed to go back to Spain during the vacation periods, so they will stay in the US until the end of the experience.
  • Placements can con confirmed as late as August 31st.  Please keep that in mind when you organize your summer holidays.
  • To be able to enroll in 10th grade, students must be 15 years old by August 1st.  However, Speak and Travel works with several schools that accept enrolment in the needed grade, but all these enrollments must be requested on individual basis.

Programs in

Private Schools

This program is specially recommended for those students who wish to study 9th or 10th grade in the US, but are not 15 years old by August 1st. It is also recommended to those who want to choose the school or the State, but who still want to enjoy a full immersion experience with an American host family, who has been selected with the maximum care. This program also allows the student to return to Spain during the vacation periods, like Christmas or Easter week, and the family visits throughout the year.

Speak and Travel, together with their partner agency in the US, has prepared a selected list of private schools, with many different prices and conditions. Most schools allow enrollment for a semester or an entire academic year.  The students will have to choose 3 schools out of the list. Once the student has been accepted in the private school, a host family will be searched, who will receive a small compensation for hosting. It is impossible to show a standardized description of these schools, but all of them have something in common: academic excellence.  Some of them have a religious affiliation, others are more liberal, some may require a uniform and others may just have a dress code.. Most of them have a very large list of sports activities, and some schools are specialized in some cultural activities like dance, or theater, or music, etc..

View List of Private Schools for School Year 2022-2023

If you wish to enroll in a particular school or in a particular State, with specific activities, let us know, and we will do our best to find it.



Being able to enroll in an American High School is a great educational opportunity and an enriching experience for any foreign student. They will be able to choose among a large list of academic classes, and they will also be able to participate in all the school activities. Classes are very dynamic and they require the student to participate doing team works and projects. This allows each student to develop their own special abilities.

American Schools know that the education can only be complete if they include other activities besides the academic classes. In the afternoons, most schools offer sports, music, theater, newspaper editions, and much more. Schools usually do not have a uniform, but most have a dress code with certain rules that students must follow.

School year


The convalidation of the school year in USA is always possible, as long as the student follows the requirements of the “Ministerio de Educación” of the Spanish Government.

American Schools will make us register in two classes: American History, and English (Literature). Both classes are also required by the Spanish Government. The student must also take two other classes out of the list of subjects that was published by the  “Ministerio de Educación”. Not all the subjects on this list are offered in all the High Schools in the US, but the list is large, and it will always be possible to find at least two to meet our convalidation requirements.

Speak&Travel will do an academic follow up during the entire academic year and will take care of all the convalidation arrangements after the student is back in Spain.

Sistema Educativo de España  Sistema Educativo de USA

3º de E.S.O. Grado 9

4º de E.S.O. Grado 10

1º de Bachillerato Grado 11

2º de Bachillerato Grado 12

* El curso 3º de E.S.O. no necesita realizar ningún trámite de convalidación ante el Ministerio de Educación.

* Los semestres no son convalidables.

* La convalidación se realiza con las notas obtenidas en el extranjero, por lo tanto, no afecta a la nota media, y el estudiante podrá presentarse a la EBAU por la UNED.


American Agency

We are partners with authorized organizations by the Department of State.  his Organizations are managed by a team of professionals, who guarantees a personalized treatment to each one of our students, and an efficient support in all different situations.  They are small agencies and very select, who only accept a small number of students from different countries around the world every year.

These agencies have a network of coordinators in the different States that we offer, and they are the ones who select our host families and guarantee enrollment in the local High Schools.

The local


The local coordinator is the person that will be close to us when we need them.  They live in the same area and they will be willing to help with the initial adaptation to the school, family and community.  They will also help with any of the problems that may arise.

Local coordinators are in charge of the selection of host families, interviews, visits to their homes to guarantee the proper environment for our students, and they will assist us with our needs during the entire experience.

Local coordinators will provide an orientation session upon student’s arrival, and will join them periodically to do their follow up.  They will also provide all the monthly reports to the agency and the natural families.  These reports will show the student’s academic and personal performance.



El US Department of State prohibits specifically that the volunteer host families receive any kind of financial compensation for hosting international students if they attend a public school. The tax exemption that they receive is so insignificant that many families do not even claim it.

Families are recognized by their huge generosity, and for accepting and treating the students as their own kids. Their only motivation is human relations: they want to develop a family bondage with someone from another country, and they want to contribute to the cultural development of their own children.

Families can be of many different types: any race or religion, with or without children, single parents, etc. They will all have one thing in common: the generosity and the desire to want to enlarge their families, and the huge excitement to host and take care of the students during the entire stay.


  • Request your place

    You must request your personal interview by sending an e-mail to:, or calling (+34) 985 229 632 or (+34) 609 013 418. You will then receive more detailed information about the program.

  • Official test of English

    Once you have made the decision to enroll in one of our programs, the student must take the ELTIS, and official language test that we will provide, and will be done on-line.

  • Contract formalization

    After we have successfully passed these two previous steps, and once the student has been accepted into the program, we will sign the contract and pay to reserve the course. After that, we will start filling in all the necessary documents and applications that are required by the American agency.

  • Last details

    We will then only have to wait until the American Agency sends all the information about our host family and the State that will be our home during the entire course. While we wait, we will make all the arrangements to obtain our visa permit in the American Embassy in Madrid.