Spain is one of the most popular countries in the world to study abroad in, and for many good reasons. Pristinely situated with coastlines along the Atlantic and Mediterranean, the country boasts a thriving modern culture, beautiful scenery, and a historically central role in the development of global affairs. The native Spanish language is one of the most widely spoken in the world, and highly sought after fluency to have. Equally fun, culturally enriching, and historically fascinating, spending multiple years pursuing a degree abroad in Spain will possibly be the best decision of your academic career.
Madrid is Spain’s capital, the largest city in the country, and the third largest city in the European Union. It is also home to a handful of the country’s top ranked universities, including the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. The political and economic center of Spain, Madrid is a beautiful city speckled with historical architecture, modern entertainments, and a never ending supply of culturally immersive opportunity.
Barcelona, capital of the autonomous region of Catalonia, is another popular destination to study abroad in Spain. The country’s second largest city is beautifully located on the Mediterranean coast and offers a sublime combination of buzzing culture and relaxed temperament. Top Spanish universities such as Universitat de Barcelona and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona are also located in this prized cultural gem of the Mediterranean.
Other cities which are popular destinations to study abroad in Spain include Seville, Valencia, Cordoba, and Granada. All boast their own distinctive cultural flavor, as well as reputable universities through which to earn your degree abroad.
You may also want to look into pursuing a degree in a smaller Spanish city, away from the hustle and bustle.
Earning a full degree abroad in Spain will provide you with the luxury of pursuing whatever area of study you are interested in, as degree programs in Spain cover almost every major. While you are studying in Spain, consider taking advantage of your cultural surroundings and international setting by pursuing a degree in Spanish Language and Culture, International Business, or European Union Studies. However, whatever your area of interest – Engineering, Art, Economics – you will be able to find a degree program at a Spanish university.
Classes are generally instructed in Spanish, though many universities also offer a respectable selection of English-taught degrees and courses. Be aware that certain regions of Northern Spain speak dialects, such as Basque and Catalan, more commonly than Spanish, although most universities will still use Spanish as the medium of instruction.
Most universities in Spain are public schools which receive state funding, as opposed to private institutions. Admission into a Spanish university is typically more competitive at large public universities, so consider pursuing options through smaller universities or those partnered with international education programs if you aren’t up for as big of a challenge. There are also many design-focused programs and institutions located throughout Spain.
Bachelor’s Degrees (título de grado) typically require three years of study at a Spanish university, while Master’s Degrees (título de master)can require four to six years for completion. Academic semesters in Spain tend to run from October to February and February to June, with breaks for Christmas, Easter, and a Summer vacation.
Scholarships & Costs
The good news is that Spain is one of the less expensive countries in Western Europe to live and study abroad in, and college tuition prices tend to reflect this. Tuition at public universities is generally set around 1,000 euro per year plus fees, and at private universities can run anywhere from 5,000 to 12,000 euro per year. Prices may also vary also according to the competitiveness of your degree track (more popular majors such as business economics may be more expensive to pursue than engineering or applied science).
Keep in mind that pursuing a degree abroad anywhere in the world is likely to be somewhat expensive due to the costs of international flights, fees, and increased tuition for international students. Yet, education in Spain remains fairly affordable, which is part of the reason it is such a popular study abroad destination for students from around the world.
There are many domestic and international scholarship opportunities offered to students who want to complete a degree through study abroad in Spain. Browse GoAbroad’s Scholarship Directory for more information on the large variety of scholarships and financial aid opportunities available for study abroad in Spain.
Accommodations & Visas
Pursuing a full degree in Spain will provide students with access to a variety of accommodation options. Students can live in student dormitories for the first semester, or even first year or two, as this is a great way to immerse in student life and become friends with native Spaniards. Later in their degree program, students may want to live in an apartment, either independently or with roommates. Obviously housing costs vary greatly by location, but expect costs of independent living to generally be less expensive outside of the major cities.
International students will also need to organize a student visa in order to attend degree programs in Spain. Visa applications will usually require students to produce a criminal background check to gain permission for any extended stay, and students will also need to exchange their visa for a residency permit upon arrival. Most host universities or degree programs in Spain will help guide students through the visa process. Students can also check out GoAbroad’s Spanish to locate a Spanish embassy or consulate in their home country, where they can inquire visa requirements.
Benefits & Challenges
Earning a full degree in Spain is a serious commitment. For at least three years you will be uprooting and immersing yourself in the culture, history, and language of an entirely new country. Yet if you take the leap, Spain can be one of the most rewarding destinations to study in the world. Along with mastering a new language, which is one of the most widely spoken and valued in the world, you will also come to know intimately a nation which has greatly influenced the developmental history of Europe and much of the world. But more importantly your time studying abroad in Spain will be fun, challenging, and life-changing.