Santander, Spain Through the Eyes of an ISA Alum

By Stephanie Novacek, ISA Senior Site Specialist, Spain

An interview with Lauren Fedele: ISA Santander Alum, now ISA High School Advisor!

Santander is nestled in northern Spain, on the shore of the Bay of Biscay. It offers students such an authentic Spanish experience! I conducted an interview with ISA’s own Lauren Fedele, Study Abroad Manager for ISA High school. A little look into what makes Santander so special and how that summer abroad eventually shaped her career at ISA.


Why did you choose to study abroad in Santander?
I always knew I wanted to study abroad in Spain. I had gone on family vacations to Spain before but wanted to experience the culture on my own and for an extended period of time. My university was offering a study abroad program to Santander for the summer that met my financial and academic requirements, so I decided to take part in the program. Santander was a city I had never been to and would provide me with the authentic cultural experience I was looking for.

What makes Santander different from other cities in Spain?
For one thing, Santander is not as “touristy” as some of the other cities, such as Madrid or Barcelona. You don’t hear many languages spoken besides Spanish or confused and lost faces walking around the city center as you do in the more popular cities in Spain. In my opinion, Santander provides a more “local” experience.

While Santander is a lively, urban city, it is small in size and has a slower pace than some of the other metropolitan cities. It is very easy to navigate while also being safe and walkable.

What was one of your favorite things about the city?
Santander is absolutely beautiful! Coming from Texas, it was wonderful to see greenery and the water from the Sea with every step I took. In Santander, when you look out at the horizon you get to see the beautiful blue Cantabria Sea with gorgeous mountains in the background. This view was always comforting to me and helped me navigate my way through the city. The combination of nature with the urban environment is one of my favorite things about Santander.


Why should students choose to study abroad in Santander this summer?
Santander will provide students with a local, urban cultural experience while providing beautiful views and easy access to the beach. Students looking for a fun but a local experience in Spain will find just that in Santander. In the summer, Santander has a lot of fun festivals and activities to do around town. One of my favorites was the festival for San Juan. For this festival, everyone congregates at the beach igniting bonfires, playing music, eating delicious food, and laughing and talking to one another. I met so many wonderful people and had such a fantastic time. I highly recommend!

Also, the weather in Santander is ideal! The weather is sunny but not too hot. Most cities in Spain can get very hot in the summer and since many houses don’t have central air conditioning it can be quite uncomfortable. However, in Santander, being in the North of Spain and by the coast, the weather is beautiful. It’s usually sunny with a nice cool breeze.

How did your time abroad influence your career?
Studying abroad in Santander provided me with a new appreciation and perspective. I grew a lot as a person while studying abroad in regards to my confidence and self-esteem. I had such a wonderful experience. I wanted to encourage other students to embark on a study abroad program as well.

When I graduated college, I knew I wanted to help students grow in their academic pursuits. Therefore, when I found this job at ISA to be a Study Abroad Adviser I knew it would a perfect match. I have highly enjoyed advising and encouraging students to embark in a unique, transformative experience abroad.

Learn more about Study Abroad programs in Santander, Spain by filling out the form below. 

Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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