• Spain
    • Bilbao
Academic Year, Fall, Spring, Summer
Subject Areas
Business Communications Cultural Studies Finance History International Business Political Science Sociology Women's Studies
Need-based funding, Merit-based funding, General grants/scholarships
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Apartment Host Family
Apr 08, 2024
Apr 17, 2024
19 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

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.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

LGBTQIA+ Support

There are LGBTQIA+ friends, colleagues, and allies throughout the world. However, cultural understanding of gender identity and sexuality does vary from country to country. USAC has compiled a lot of resources to help you through that learning process.

Accessibility Support

USAC is dedicated to working closely with students with disabilities to ensure the best study abroad experience possible. You may request reasonable accommodations after your initial application is complete. We routinely receive requests for scheduling, material, and environmental accommodations for the classroom setting, which may include assistive technology, scribes and readers, printed material, and interpretation.



Environmentally-conscious students choose USAC because many of our programs are held in some of the most sustainable countries in the world. There are options to take coursework in sustainability and the environment, as well as field trips and studies where students can leave a lasting impact on their host country.

Program 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

Program Reviews

4.91 Rating
based on 45 reviews
  • 5 rating 91.11%
  • 4 rating 8.89%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.5
  • Support 5
  • Fun 4.65
  • Housing 4.65
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 8 of 45 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Do it!

Studying abroad in the Basque Country of Spain was an enriching experience that surpassed all my expectations. Immersed in vibrant culture, I explored festivals, indulged in local cuisine, and engaged in academia that offered unique insights. The region's breathtaking landscapes provided the perfect backdrop for adventure, while interactions with locals and fellow students enriched my global perspective. Overall, it was a transformative journey that I'd highly recommend to anyone seeking an unforgettable study abroad experience.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Reflecting on my semester abroad, there are a few things I might consider changing to enhance the experience further:

Exploration: I would prioritize exploring more off-the-beaten-path destinations within the Basque Country and neighboring regions. While I enjoyed popular tourist spots, venturing into lesser-known areas would provide a deeper understanding of local culture and traditions.
Language Learning: I would dedicate more time to improving my proficiency in the Basque or Spanish language before and during the semester. Enhanced language skills would facilitate deeper connections with locals and enrich my overall experience.
Networking: I would actively seek out opportunities to network with professionals in my field of interest within the Basque Country. Building connections with local professionals could lead to valuable insights, internships, or future career opportunities.
Cultural Immersion: I would engage more deeply in cultural activities and events, such as traditional dance performances, cooking classes, or volunteer opportunities. Immersing myself further in the local culture would provide a more authentic and enriching experience.
Budgeting: I would create a more detailed budget and financial plan to manage expenses effectively throughout the semester. This would allow me to make the most of my time abroad without worrying about finances.
Overall, while my semester abroad was incredibly rewarding, making these adjustments could have enhanced the experience even further.
  • Food
  • Language immersion
  • surfing
  • Rainy winter
  • Academic differences
  • Adjustment period
9 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An unforgettable and life-changing experience!

Studying abroad will not only be unforgettable, but it has shaped a change in my life that I will never not be grateful for. Within my experience, I was completely immersed in the culture as I had chosen to stay with a host family. Aside from my family, I attended a campus that was historic to the area of Bilbao where my program studied, so everyday I was able to experience the townspeople and even mingle with them on my own terms, creating life-long friendships. This was my first time going anywhere outside of the United States, expanding my view in the world and assuring that the fears I once had before leaving, were only there because of the vast changes that have been made in my life since. These changes were only for the better though. I have had dreams of traveling since I was young, and as a surfer it meant the world to me to get to surf outside of the USA. Since studying in Bilbao I have made that dream come true. I feel like I have conquered what I thought was impossible way before I expected to be able to, which taught me to never stop striving for my goals because you never know how things will work out for you, but you can trust that everything will. I lived in Gexto, a beach town outside of the city Bilbao. Here in the north of Spain, it was challenging because of the Basque language being so popular aside from Spanish that people speak due to the region they’re from and born in. This taught me to be open minded to learning the differences of peoples culture and not just basing them off of which continent they came from. I learned the appreciation to see everyone in a more unique light, and that there can also be similarities found in people no matter where we come from. It also taught me a lot about my home country and how the rest of the world views us. Most importantly I learned a deeper sense of gratitude for where I come from and the place I belong to. I will always cherish that Spain was once a home but now apart of my life forever.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
In order to have a full experience, I believe it’s important to stay open-minded that everything is going to be completely different than what you’re used to. If you can learn to accept things will not always go the way that you plan, then you will be capable of enjoying your time no matter the circumstance. Things can never be perfect but you can stay in control of your perception and the way you allow things to affect you.
  • Seeing new things everyday
  • Creating life long friendships and memories
  • Never having a boring day
  • Homesickness
  • Feeling misunderstood or out of place
  • Not being able to live up to all I expected I could
11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

If you’re on the fence you should definitely do it!

Choosing to study abroad with the USAC program in Bilbao has proven to be an incredibly rewarding decision. The supportive staff in Bilbao have gone above and beyond to ensure that students feel welcomed and supported throughout their time abroad. From helping with administrative tasks to offering guidance on cultural immersion experiences, the staff's dedication has been instrumental in making the transition to living and studying in a foreign country seamless. Moreover, the opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich Basque culture and explore the diverse landscapes of the region has been both educational and personally fulfilling. Overall, the USAC program in Bilbao offers a fantastic blend of academic excellence, cultural immersion, and supportive guidance, making it an unforgettable and transformative experience for students.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The most unfamiliar thing I ate was Basque cuisine, which introduced me to a whole new world of flavors and culinary traditions. From indulging in pintxos, a variety of intricate tapas, to savoring dishes like bacalao al pil-pil and txangurro, the experience expanded my palate and challenged my taste buds in the best possible way. Basque cuisine's emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients and its unique combination of seafood, meats, and cheeses provided a delicious and unforgettable culinary adventure.
  • Cultural immersion
  • Self discovery
  • Academic enrichment
  • Being away from loved ones
  • Never wanting to leave
  • Financial considerations
19 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable experience

Studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain was an absolute dream come true! From the vibrant culture to the breathtaking landscapes, every moment felt like a picturesque adventure. The university provided top-notch education, immersing me in Spanish language and culture seamlessly. The locals were incredibly welcoming, making me feel like a part of their community from day one. Exploring the charming streets filled with delicious pintxos and lively music became a cherished routine. My time in Bilbao not only enriched my academic knowledge but also left me with unforgettable memories and lifelong friendships. Grateful for this transformative experience!

What was your funniest moment?
Having laughs at the bars with some good friends I made along the trip.
  • Opportunity to travel more
  • Individual growth
  • New experiences
  • Not speaking Spanish made it slightly difficult
  • If you want to have fun you need the funds
  • It can rain a lot
20 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

The Basque Country, A Hidden Gem

Studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain was an incredible and transformative experience that I will cherish forever. From the moment I arrived in this vibrant city, I was immersed in a world of culture, learning, and adventure.

The coursework at my host university was both challenging and enriching. I had the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects, from Spanish literature to local history, which deepened my understanding of the country's rich heritage. The teachers were not only knowledgeable but also passionate about their subjects, making every class engaging and enjoyable.

Living with a host family was a highlight of my time in Bilbao. They welcomed me with open arms, introducing me to their customs and traditions. This immersion in daily life allowed me to practice my Spanish and form lasting connections with locals.

Field trips were a regular part of our curriculum, and they were nothing short of amazing. Exploring the Guggenheim Museum, hiking in the Basque countryside, and savoring pintxos in charming old town Bilbao were some of the many unforgettable experiences.

Traveling around Spain and Europe was a breeze from Bilbao, thanks to its excellent transportation connections. I visited beautiful cities like San Sebastian, Barcelona, and Paris, each offering a unique cultural experience.

The food in Bilbao was a culinary delight. From the mouthwatering paella to the fresh seafood and delectable churros, I couldn't get enough of the local cuisine. The people of Bilbao were warm and welcoming, always eager to share their culture and traditions with me.

The Basque culture is incredibly unique, with its own language, music, and festivals. I had the privilege of participating in local celebrations, such as the Aste Nagusia, which gave me a deeper appreciation for the region's identity.

In summary, my study abroad experience in Bilbao was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure filled with academic growth, cultural immersion, and unforgettable memories. I would highly recommend this destination to anyone seeking a transformative and enriching experience abroad.

  • Food
  • People
  • Location
32 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best 4 Months of My Life

My four months in Bilbao/Getxo were the best four months of my life. The people in my program became my family there and honestly some of them are now my best friends for life. My host family situation was also a dream. I will be going back to Bilbao just to visit them. Every time I came back to Bilbao after traveling, I was so happy to be there. It is the perfect blend of the city with true Spanish and Basque life. The best part of the program is the surfing class. It was such a memorable experience being able to learn how to surf with everyone else. We could not get enough of it. Every chance we had to surf or be at the beach, we were there. The other students in the area are also super welcoming and the people within the community are the same as well. Because I loved my time in Bilbao so much, I am studying abroad with USAC again in Spring 2024. Truly, the only bad part about studying abroad is leaving. It was the saddest moment ever but it also showed how grateful we all were for everything that happened.

  • Close to beaches
  • Clean, fun and alive city
  • Little English in some places
  • Little English in some places
  • Some rain
52 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Bilbao Experience

My experience was very unique because it was my first real semester of college. I had graduated high school and the next year, I was gone to Spain. It was a great choice. I learned more about myself and the Spanish language in those for 4 months than I ever did in high school or community college. If anyone is considering it, they should 100% do it! The USAC staff in Bilbao were absolutely fantastic and so kind. I learned so much and would love to chat with anyone who wants to go! I liked Spain.

  • You learn so much language!
  • The food is amazing.
  • You gain a lot of confidence by being away and talking to people.
  • The staff in the US from USAC were a little hard to deal with.
  • The housing I lived in was not very good.
  • You spend a lot of time alone.
53 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Smaller Cities Can Be Fun Too!

Before coming to Bilbao, I knew basically nothing about it or the Basque region that it is in. It definitely has a different feel than most Spanish cities people know like Madrid or Barcelona. Bilbao has things for everyone with great mountain hikes and tons of beaches to surf on and just lay out when it gets warmer. Most of the social scene is going out to a bar/cafe and getting a drink and a bite to eat most pintxos (which is the Basque version of tapas). I went somewhere almost every weekend and even though Bilbao is a smaller airport I was still able to fly to most major cities direct besides Milan!

  • Most Things are Pretty Cheap
  • Great Transportation System
  • Lots of Outdoor Things to Do
  • Spanish Classes are Very Fast-Paced
  • Hard to Immerse Yourself Since All The Other Students Speak English
  • Hard to Find a Variety of Food that is Not Pintxos
55 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers