Spain: Bilbao & Getxo - International Business and Spanish Studies

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About

USAC welcomes students to come study abroad in Bilbao/Getxo, Spain at the University of the Basque Country! Located to the north of Spain, Bilbao is nothing short of a modern city labeled a cutting edge banking and service center, with attractions including world class museums, galleries, music halls, and not to mention its first rate public transportation. San Sebastian offers a unique view into the diversity of Spain and a truly multicultural experience with over a third of the city speaking both Spanish and Basque.

Coursework at the University of the Basque Country includes Engineering, International Business, Spanish/Culture studies and Spanish/Basque language. The Bilbao/Getxo program is geared towards those looking to pursue a bilingual and/or an international business career.

Highlights
  • Live in a dynamic, cosmopolitan city on Spain’s northern coast, one hour from the border with France and with connections to major European cities
  • Enjoy many opportunities for inexpensive outdoor activities such as surfing, horseback riding, hiking, and cycling
  • Intern in management consulting firms, publishing companies, NGOs, the Guggenheim Museum, and more
  • Join our teaching assistantship program to gain work experience at local schools while earning money
  • Study International Business, which may be taken separately or in conjunction with language studies

Questions & Answers

Reviews

99%
based on 28 reviews
  • Academics 8.4
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 8.9
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 15 of 28
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Marlo
10/10

Amazing Immersive Experience in Bilbao!

Before studying abroad, I thought that I wanted to go to a city that spoke English, or somewhere that was touristy so that it would be easy for me to get by without learning the language. Once I arrived in Bilbao, I realized how grateful I was that I did not follow through with that first idea. I knew almost no Spanish before studying in Bilbao, but after my first few weeks of Spanish class there I could easily communicate with locals because of how helpful my professors were. This experience even inspired me to add a Spanish minor once I returned home. Bilbao is a beautiful city with very kind people, and even after traveling to other cities on the weekends I would always be excited to return home to Bilbao. The USAC staff at Universidad del Pais Vasco are extremely helpful and will assist you with anything you might need while you are abroad. I could not be more thankful to have chosen Bilbao as my city to Study Abroad in!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Anthony
10/10

The Time of my Life

Everything about this program, from the initial application to the very last day in Spain, was absolutely phenomenal. The USAC staff, both in the US and on-site in Bilbao, are super nice and very helpful. The program sets you up with the basics and provides plenty of advice and guidance while still allowing you the freedom to venture on your own and study abroad the way you want to study abroad. You can have as much independence from the other students and staff as you want, or you can be fully immersed in the program offerings. With that being said, there is an excellent excursion included in the price that allows you to tour parts of the area and learn about the culture and history. In addition, there are many smaller activities (such as touring the local bullring) that occur on an almost weekly basis. Bilbao and the Basque Country is an absolutely amazing area of Spain and along with the assistance, support, and fun offerings from USAC, makes for the perfect study abroad experience.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Christie
9/10

A life changing summer

Studying abroad was a dream of mine since high school, and USAC helped achieve that. I had always heard great things about USAC and I looked forward to the day I would get to apply and see what it was really like. Bilbao is located in the Basque Country of Spain and is full of culture! I loved every minute I got to spend in downtown Bilbao and on the beaches of Getxo. The food was amazing and the on-site USAC staff was always there if we needed help. I chose to stay with a host family, and in my opinion, I got the best one. I had a host mom and a dog that we would walk by the beach every night after dinner. My host mom took great care of me and even encouraged me to go out on the weekends and explore more of Spain. She improved my Spanish skills and now I am more confident than ever to speak Spanish to anyone. There were so many great activities to take part in and USAC did a wonderful job of making sure every student was prepared. I never felt alone or lost, because there was always someone there to direct me if I needed it. The town was also extremely safe and clean. I made friends that I will have for a lifetime and I miss them everyday. If studying abroad is on your bucket list, don't hesitate to apply with USAC! It will give you everything you've imagined and more. Thank you USAC for an unforgettable experience!

How can this program be improved?
More USAC organized activities on site like beach volleyball days or tours of other towns nearby.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Derek
10/10

Summer in Bilbao

I had an absolutely incredible time studying abroad in Bilbao and am looking forward to the opportunity to return some day. I was able to take a Spanish class, which lead to the addition of a Spanish minor, an Operations Management class that meant I did not have to take that back at my home university and a surfing class. The professors for my classes were fantastic and the opportunity to leave class and go out on the street to cafes, restaurants and bars and interact directly with locals made my Spanish speaking skills grow immensely. Bilbao and Getxo(nearby suburb where I lived) are both gorgeous and not very touristy so it is easy to truly immerse yourself in the culture. I highly recommend exploring all parts of the city and surrounding areas as around every corner and over every mountain is something new and amazing. This program gives the best of both worlds as classes are located in the middle of a large city while housing is in a nearby beach town suburb. I was able to walk to two different beaches within 15 minutes of my apartment that I shared with two other American students. Studying in Bilbao was easily the greatest choice I made throughout my college career and I recommend everyone do the same.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Julia
10/10

Study Abroad in Bilbao!

My semester abroad with USAC in the amazing city of Bilbao, Spain is one that I would recommend to any student. I loved living in the small, quaint town of Algorta with a wonderful host family and commuting to the beautiful and vivacious city of Bilbao. I attended school in UPV which is in the center of the city and the USAC staff made all of us feel so welcome and oriented to their home. The USAC course offering was perfect for continuing my degree while abroad; I was able to take a bunch of Spanish courses towards my minor within one track that chronologically made sense and improved my skills. I got to then immediately put the learned material to test on the streets and in my homestay. I also had a very engaging International Marketing class that contributed to my experience. Beyond the classroom, USAC helped to set up an internship opportunity for me as well as excursions and cultural field trips.
There is plenty to do and see in Bilbao with beaches, mountains, old and new city, and an abundance of nightlife, I never got bored. When I did want to get away for the weekend, the airport in Bilbao was very manageable and offered me great travel opportunities. Northern Spain, particularly the Basque region is extremely unique and now, very close to my heart.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Emily
10/10

USAC Bilbao, Spain

I lived Bilbao. It’s a great place if you like the city but also beaches and mountains. This coast is one of the most beautiful places i’ve ever been and the staff is really great. My teacher became a mom away from home and answered any questions we had. There are also tons of nearby towns that are beautiful and easily accessible. Bilbao is one of my favorite places and if I could study there again I would!

How can this program be improved?
I wish we could have paid rent through the program because it was hard to take out all the rent and carry it around as cash.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jennifer
10/10

The Center of Culture

When I started searching for a place to study abroad in Spain, I had no idea what Bilbao was or where it was at. Thank goodness I stumbled across this hidden gem! From the ease of travel to other cities in Europe to the diverse culture in the city, there is no other place I would have rather stayed.

This program is great for anyone that’s on a mission to graduate on time and still get time to study abroad. I took Spanish classes that counted toward my Spanish minor as well as classes that counted toward my business major, all while staying on track to graduate. On top of my core classes I took a surfing class which was more fun than I ever could have imagined and a great way to get out of my comfort zone! I regret not taking the culture class which provides field trips around the Basque Country, so I would recommend that to any student planning to go through this program.

I appreciated the opportunity to live in an apartment with other students from the program instead of living with a host family (also an option) since I was nervous about being in a new country. My first apartment wasn’t ideal, but with the help of the amazing staff I was able to move somewhere more suitable which made my experience much more enjoyable.

I use the skills I learned abroad every day, including the ability to talk to people I don’t know at all and being more understanding of people in America that don’t speak English since the people in Spain were so friendly when I stumbled through their language.

Overall it was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone looking to go to Spain.

Yes, I recommend this program
Stanley
10/10

USAC Bilbao Review

The program was absolutely amazing. I was a trip of a lifetime to meet new people and explore a new culture. I would love to do it again if I were still a student.
The class that I took was called operations programming and it was taught by a professor who taught at the University of California - Poly Tech
The program allowed us to go to class in the morning and then have the rest of the day to explore the area and relax. The program also hosted a group excursion where we all spent a day exploring areas of Bilbao and being outdoors.

How can this program be improved?
Maybe transportation from the airport? We had a bit of trouble communicating.
Yes, I recommend this program
Jenny DeWitt Go Overseas Headshot
Jenny
10/10

Aupa Athletic!

Are you ready for the time of your life? If so, go to Bilbao! I studied abroad there Spring semester (January-May) of 2015. I lived in Algorta, Getxo, and studied at Universidad Del Pais Vasco in Bilbao. The schooling was definitely challenging because I took 5 classes, 3 business, 1 GE, and 1 Spanish. One of my biggest suggestions is to take the "Unique Basque Language and Culture" class. It was by far the best decision I made. We were exposed to so much culture, learned the language of the locals, tried amazing cuisine, and took 7 field trips in the Basque Country. The teachers were great and the USAC staff were very welcoming and helpful.

The other students in my program became some of my closest friends and I still see them at least once a year. I got to travel a lot while abroad, but I didn't start my traveling until a few weeks in. I suggest doing this so that you give yourself a chance to adjust to life there and make it feel like home before venturing out to new countries.

There are tons of activities to do around the city, the Guggenheim Museum, Casco Viejo, and Athletic Bilbao (the soccer team). Tickets aren't too expensive, and it's a great experience, I highly suggest going. I lived in an apartment with two Americans in my program and I loved it. I knew a lot of people who stayed with host families and had great experiences as well. I lived only a few blocks from the beach and all apartments are walking distance from at least one grocery store. Everything else was easily accessible by the Metro, which is cheap, efficient, and easy to use.

I could go on and on about my experiences and how much I loved it, but I'll let you experience it for yourself! If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me!

How can this program be improved?
There were only a few suggestions I have for the program, one of them being the location of housing. All student housing was very spread out, some even metro stops away, which made it difficult to meet up, especially on weekends when the metro stopped running at certain times. Maybe if the students who chose to stay in apartments got to be in apartments that were closer together that would provide a different experience. That being said, the apartments were all nice and very safe.

Another suggestion is about course materials. It is nearly impossible to order the course books when you are there because of shipping and customs issues. They suggest you bring them with you, but we only have limited space in suitcases, especially for those who take up to 5 or 6 courses, that adds a lot of weight. This issue might become non-existent as course materials are becoming more digital each year, but something to consider might be having them there available to rent.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Christian
10/10

Best Spring Semester ever

My time in Bilbao was preceded by a semester in Alicante so I already kind of knew what to expect and had some expectations. The program blew away the expectations and met them all and exceeded them by a lot. Amazing city with tons of culture as it's in the Basque country, great food, fun people, and a great nightlife. Housing was located close to the beach and the metro stops for easy transportation. The USAC office and on site staff were a huge help. On site staff helped us with any questions we had and helped us get an internship if we had a high enough language level. I would definitely do this again.

Response from USAC

Hi Christian! Thank you so much for your kind words, we're so glad you enjoyed your time in Spain and that you were able to enjoy two different locations! We appreciate your feedback!

Yes, I recommend this program
Mariah
9/10

Such an Amazing Experience

Something I still talk about almost everyday and it's been two years now.. One of the most amazing experiences to learn someone else's culture in such a unique way. I lived in Bilbao, Spain (in Areeta) for six months with three other Americans in a flat next to the river. I visited over 8 countries while studying abroad, and went to a business institute in the city. (Universidad del Pais Vasco). I studied Spanish and International business. In Bilbao I loved shopping, going to Casco Viejo, finding new mini-markets for fruits and vegatables, and going to specific culture events (such as Bilbao basket games, shows, etc.) I also traveled to Barcelona and San Sebastian in Spain as well, in which I grew to love Spain as a whole. I now work for a travel company upon graduating from college at California State University, Chico. My life goals are to be a videographer related to something in the travel industry. I now work for an Ireland, Scotland and England travel company, taking care of social media marketing as well as photography & videography.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Kendall
10/10

Study Abroad in the Basque Country

First and foremost, the USAC Staff on this program was phenomenal! They were there for the students no matter what and had our best interests at heart.
This program offers great language courses that really challenged me and helped improve my Spanish. Without these courses I highly doubt my language skills would have improved so much.
The location of this program was also wonderful; it mixes the big city of Bilbao with the suburbs of Getxo. I enjoyed being able to spend my semester in a place that had a small town community feel to it. I felt that I learned more about the Basque culture from being in this kind of setting.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Brigitte
10/10

Best experience of my life!

This experience was truly life changing! I recommend anyone and everyone to study abroad and especially in this beautiful city! Nothing beats living out by the beach and getting to experience the city life at the same time.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Danielle
9/10

I love Bilbao

I'm really glad I chose to study abroad in Bilbao. The city truly became my second home. I am so thankful for my host family as they were the best part of my experience. I would definitely recommend this housing option.

I also really appreciate the TABC program. Teaching English helped give me a better direction in what I was doing with my degree. Plus it was nice to get the stipend.

The language classes challenge you but aren't overwhelming. Definitely do the whole track!

How can this program be improved?
I wish we didn't live in Getxo. It was a cool place but living in Bilbao would have been nice.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jaclyn
10/10

Aupa Bilbao!

I grew up in the American West, far away from my family's homeland. I have always been familiar with our history, however, having been reared in the largest Basque community outside of the Basque Country. None of my 21 years of experience, though, could compare to my one semester in Bilbao. It was amazing to walk through the history, language, and culture of my own people while studying castellano and living with my father's cousins in Berango. Bilbao will forever be my second home, and I am thankful to have stayed in such a kind and meaningful place, and I know that all of my friends felt the same. If you wish to feel completely welcomed in a completely foreign atmosphere, leave it to the Basques to usher you in with open arms, feed you, and teach you everything they know.

Yes, I recommend this program

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USAC is a non-profit consortium of U.S. universities that collaborates to offer affordable, academic and authentic study abroad programs. There are abundant opportunities to immerse in the culture, history, and academics of other countries providing...