Segovia, UNESCO designated World Heritage of Humanity city (1985), provides its rich and complex history, beautiful landscape and countryside, monumental architecture and warm hospitality to all visitors and program participants. In Segovia students will immerse themselves in Spanish culture, art, history, politics and language. With a population of approximately 55,000 people, Segovia is much less intimidating than Spain's larger cities, is safe, and allows students to get comfortable in a relatively short period of time.
Historic Segovia is perched up on a hill (a limestone elevation), surrounded by its defensive walls, and gazes out at the surrounding Guadarrama mountain range. The city boasts, among other impressive treasures, its awe-inspiring Roman aqueduct, the monumental Alcázar (castle/palace), and Spain's last Gothic Cathedral which presides over the city's Plaza Mayor.
Segovia has an abundance of important churches, monasteries and convents, the medieval Jewish Quarter (the "sefarat" or "Judería") with its narrow streets, synagogue, and cemetery, the mansions of the Quarter of the Nobility, and the Cathedral Minister's Quarters (“Barrio de las Conongías”). Segovia has the most examples (together with Zamora) of Romanesque architecture in all of Spain--over twenty Romanesque churches!!
The views are breathtaking, and the students will feel Segovia's history as they walk under the Aqueduct, up the Calle Real, by St. Michael's Church (where Isabella the Catholic was crowned Queen of Castile), and on past the Cathedral as they make their way to the Alcázar, from one historic end of the old city to the other, all in about 20-30 minutes by foot. Shaped like a ship, the Alcázar is its bow, the Cathedral tower its mainmast, and the Aqueduct is its helm.
Segovia is a short distance from Madrid, no more than one hour by bus, and 20-30 minutes by high-speed train, a distinct advantage for students when they travel independently. Another distinct advantage is that the number of American students studying here is a much smaller percentage of the overall population than occurs in some other Spanish cities, and this lower density aides language acquisition. Finally, Segovia has all of those things associated with urban life: great theater, cinemas, modern libraries, museums, shops, nightclubs, cafés, restaurants and bars.
Segovia, however, is much more than cobblestone streets and historic monuments. Its atmosphere is much more tranquil, inviting the visitor to roam its narrow streets. There is also “green” Segovia, or its green belt (the “Alameda”) which makes its way around the “old” city following the course of the Eresma and Clamores rivers, and unsurprisingly passes by numerous important monuments, such as El Monasterio del Parral, the Casa de la Moneda, the Convento de las Carmelitas Descalzas (its mausoleum contains the remains of its founder, San Juan de la Cruz), and many more. Then there is “gastronomical” Segovia, where one can try the typical dishes of the region, such as "cochinillo" (roast suckling pig), "cordero asado" (roast veal), “judiones de la Granja” (big white beans from La Granja), the "sopa castellana" (Castilian soup), great sausage, “ponche segoviano” (sweet dessert pie), and much much more.
Finally, and more importantly, there are the city's inhabitants --los segovianos--, accustomed to welcoming visitors, and eager for you to appreciate what they love so much about the city.