Study Abroad in Spain: Bienvenidos!

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Spain has become one of the top study abroad destinations in the world. Students are drawn to study abroad Spain for its unique culture, rich history, and famous nightlife. Many students choose to study abroad in Spain in order to learn Spanish, and the country's proximity to the rest of Europe doesn't hurt! Students flock to study abroad in Spain's two largest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, as well as to many of its smaller ones such as Sevilla and Granada, to absorb a semester or a year's worth of culture, language, and warm weather.

The Spanish language is spoken by over 400 million speakers in 21 different countries - and it all had to start somewhere! Join the ranks of Cortez, Ponce de Leon, and Pizarro and become a modern day Spanish explorer--bounce from museums to cathedrals to castles to the tune of a flamenco guitar as you are bedazzled by this country's diversity. Influenced by surrounding European and north African cultures, Spain exemplifies the emergence of these two continents.

Passeig de Colo
Passeig de Colo
  • Average Cost of Living: USD 13,000-15,000 per year
  • Work Visa: Work permits need to be obtained and your documents (including the EX-1 and EX-5 forms) are to be submitted to the Subdelegacion del Gobierno in the city you are trying to move to and work in. More information here.
  • Popular Destinations: Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Granada
  • Languages: Spanish is the official language, with many other individual languages listed.

In the last ten years the demand for Spanish Language courses worldwide has more than doubled; now, there are nearly 200 million non-native speakers studying Spanish from around the world. Every year, Spain is visited by more than 40 million people, making it the second most visited country in the world and a consistent top 10 ranker as a study abroad destination.

Because of Spain's great popularity, you have many options for your study abroad experience--be sure to find a program that best suits YOUR desires and goals.

1) Language: Rarely will your classrooms in Spain have four walls - instead, studiers of the Spanish language will find that the locale itself provides bountiful opportunities to maximize your language acquisition. If you don't speak a lick of Spanish, fear not! There are a variety of programs for you that host classes in both English and Spanish.

In some regions of Spain people speak an entirely different language/dialect, such as Catalan or Basque in the northern parts of the country. Inform yourself about the local cultures of the destinations in which you are considering studying abroad in. Your decision to study in a larger or a smaller city will also affect your degree of immersion--larger cities will typically offer more familiar comforts of home (including English speakers!).

2) Housing: The type of housing you select while studying abroad will actually play a huge role in the overall experience. You may opt to live in community with other Americans, participate in a homestay with a local Spanish family, choose to live in an apartment with a Spanish university student, etc.

Who knew there were so many options?! Many study abroad program providers will organize a pre-set type of accommodation for you, but it is a growing trend for providers to offer multiple living styles for their students.

ISA Abroad's Barcelona program gives students the option to participate in a variety of living environments, but strongly encourages students to take advantage of home stay opportunities.

Additionally, CEA's Spain program gives students an option to live in "residencia", a living environment designed specifically for international students.

3) Immersion and cultural activities: Program fees may or may not include added cultural activities or small excursions. While some programs encourage these group activities for extensive learning and community building, others hold to the idea that students should be given the independence to see exactly what they want to see.

These activities can range from a day trips to local museums to weekend overnight trips to neighboring cities or countries. API Study Abroad includes multiple excursions in the overall program costs. A fun component to complement any academic studies!

Even though Spain's location and developed public transportation system allows students to opportunity to experience other European countries with ease, don't forget that Spain itself has a bunch of interesting and dynamic cities! Now, the only problem is deciding which one to call home for a semester.

MADRID: The capital of Spain says "!Hola!" to modernity with its bustling businesses, sky scrapers, and lively evening entertainment while beautifully maintaining its roots - home not only to the Spanish royal family and the seat of the Spanish government, the country's largest city is also home to 3.5 million people.

Due to Madrid's central location, it is a great travel hub for travels around Spain. Madrid's residents' verve for life is evident everywhere - from street corners, to football matches, to traffic jams and cozy tapas bars.


BARCELONA: This coastal city is an attractive destination for international students. Residents of Barcelona, while speaking Catalan, are also fluent in Spanish.

SEVILLE: See traditional bull fights in the Plaza de Toros de la Maestranza or dance flamenco in the dance style's birthplace. Seville, as the capital of Andalusia, is situated in Spain's beautiful south lands. The city's stunning architecture is further highlighted by the winding Guadalquivir River that weaves in and out of its historic buildings. Seville is also famous for its festivals, and study abroaders over the spring semester will be delighted to participate in traditional celebrations of Semana Santa (holy week) and La Feria de Abril in April.

Does studying abroad sound fabulous but expensive? While it is true, studying abroad can mean added costs, there are still a variety of ways to offset the extra expenses. If you're not up for opening a lemonade stand, I suggest checking out the following scholarships.

Contributed by Megan Lee

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