Spain is home to the 2010 World Cup champions and is a student travel wonderland. This country goes all out for everything under el sol: Their passion for food, art, and architecture is what makes it a truly remarkable place to visit.
Spain: Early Upset
Spain is considered to be one of the best teams in the world, was a favorite to win this year's World Cup. Having won the last World Cup and the 2008 and 2012 Euro Tournaments, La Furia Roja is already the first team to win 3 straight continent-level tournaments and is looking to be the first team to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil did it in 1958 and 1962.
FIFA Ranking: #1
Population: 46 million
Capital and Largest City: Madrid
National Dish: Spanish cuisine is very regional, which means there is great variety, but in general it is heavily influenced by seafood and the country's Mediterranean roots. The most well-known dish is probably Paella, which stems from the Valencia and Catalonia regions. Tapas are extremely important to the culture, with each region having it's own take on the small-plate custom.
Historic Sites: The Alhambra is part fortress, part palace, and part garden built on a plateau overlooking the city of Granada in southern Spain. Other great sites include the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona and The Prado Museum and Palacio Real, both in Madrid.
Why it's good for student travel: Other than it being a great place for Spanish language classes to practice their conversation skills, visiting Spain will expose your students to thousands of years of art, culture, and architecture. Your students can stroll the streets of Barcelona and take in the architecture of Anotoni Gaudi, including buildings, parks, and the breathtaking Sagrada Familia, his last and most ambitious work (in progress). Students can experience art flowing through the streets around Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol in the nation's capital, Madrid. By exploring the Spanish Kingdom you will open your students up to a new found appreciation of art and history.
Did you know: If a Spaniard says "a mediodía" he does not mean at "noon" but rather at lunchtime (Spanish lunchtime – 2:00pm!).
Team Nickname: "La Furia Roja," which translates as "The Red Fury." Spain's nickname comes from two sources: "La Roja," like other team nicknames, comes from the color of the team's uniforms, while "La Furia" describes its "direct, aggressive, spirited style" of play in the 1920s, a "fury" on the pitch.
Best Player: Andres Iniesta. His midfield play is essential to Spain's style of attack, and his abilities as a playmaker are legendary.
2010 Finish: Champion
Current Results: L vs Netherlands (1-5), L vs Chile (0-2)
Next Up: Australia (6/23)
Image: ESPN/ Cristiano Siqueira