“I would sooner be a foreigner in Spain than in most countries. How easy it is to make friends in Spain!”

– George Orwell


The name for the city of Madrid, which has been the capital of Spain since the 1600s, comes from the Arabic word, “magerit,” meaning, “place of many streams.” The Manzanares River flows from central Spain through Madrid and holds a good deal of historic and artistic significance despite its rather small size. Starting out as a citadel for the Moors, the city has overlooked or contained part of the river since the 9th century and has been the subject of many pieces of art, particularly for the 18th and 19th century painter Francisco de Goya.

The influence of soccer throughout Spain is extremely strong; it is the national sport, drawing a large percentage of the population to stadiums, and an even greater amount watch fútbol games on television weekly. Early in their youth, Spanish children learn the ins and outs of soccer, and it is not uncommon to see a spur-of-the-moment game starting nearby as one walks down the street. As this sport is so ingrained in the lives of the Spanish people, it would be difficult to find a better place to refine skills and see professionals in action. ISL’s Sports without Borders volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in training sessions with certified Spanish coaches through Show Me Madrid and serve with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) along the way.

Communities We Serve

ISL partners with Show Me Madrid to participate with three local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that aid with extracurricular activities for children, assist homeless and underprivileged populations, and help minoritized groups in the Madrid area. See the specifics about our Sports Without Borders Spain partnership with Show Me Madrid here.


Volunteers arrive for service in Spain via the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport. After going through customs and picking up their luggage, volunteers are met by their team leader and transported to team housing.


Our volunteers have the opportunity to take fútbol training lessons from professionally certified coaches, participate in a paella cook-off, take guitar lessons, and even learn to dance flamenco!


ISL has strict housing standards for cleanliness, safety and comfort.  Each volunteer shares a room and shower facilities, but has their own bed.  Housing locations are selected according to proximity to program sites.  ISL staff members stay with volunteers and are always available 24/7.

  • Volunteers will be housed dorm-style.
  • Internet is available.
  • Laundry services are provided at least once a week for a small charge.
  • If food or drug stores aren’t nearby, Team Leaders make sure volunteers are transported to shopping areas periodically or as needed.
  • Breakfast is provided each day.
  • Accommodations have air conditioning.
  • Volunteers will have access to common areas.

Meet the Staff

Mario Polo
Program Coordinator, Show Me Madrid

Mario is the founder of Show Me Madrid, an educational program which allows foreign students to authentically experience Madrid and get immersed in Spanish culture. He grew up between the US and Spain and is a national of both countries. He knows both countries very well, and his bicultural upbringing left him with the desire to learn and experience new cultures. He decided to go… Read more

Programs with upcoming Spain Teams

1 teams found

#SPN616SWB9 - Sports Without Borders Team in Spain from Jun 16, 2018 to Jun 24, 2018 for $1995

Volunteers will be working in ISL partner communities to participate in soccer programs and games. While in Spain they will also have the opportunity to learn valuable skills and explore the cultural landscape in a meaningful way.

Just 4 more volunteers to make this trip a 'go'!