Spain has become one of the top study abroad destinations in the world. Students are drawn to study abroad in 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.
Spanish 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. Immersing yourself further into the culture in the by learning Spanish in Spain will surely enhance your time spent in this vibrant country. Influenced by surrounding European and north African cultures, Spain exemplifies the emergence of these two continents.Photo credits: Dennis van den Worm.
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.
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.
Madrid's central location makes it a great travel hub for visiting other parts of Spain. Join Madrid residents and attend vibrant football matches or hang out in cozy tapas bars.
This coastal city is an attractive destination for international students. Residents of Barcelona, while speaking Catalan, are also fluent in Spanish.
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.
If housing isn't included with your program, you could opt to live with a host family, the local student dorms provided by your university, or get a shared student house with other locals or study abroad students. Once way to find furnished student housing in Spain is through UniPlaces.
While in Spain, it's best to come with an unlocked phone (if your normal phone isn't already unlocked for international use, contact your cell phone provider to do so now) and get a local SIM card to use during your study abroad trip. Most locals and study abroad students alike will use a pay-as-you-go plan, rather than a contract plan like we're used to in the States. Read more details on cell phone plans in Europe.
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!).
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!
Students should budget about $4,700 - $6,000 for a semester in Spain to cover personal expenses, transportation, food, housing, and books.
Scholarships for study abroad in Spain
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 looking at the following scholarships.
- UniPlaces offers a scholarship for student housing while studying in Spain. Study abroad rent-free.
- API offers a variety of scholarships for those participating in their programs - including a few great options in Spain!
- CC-CS scholarship fund offers multiple scholarships, celebrating diversity or rewarding academic excellence for alumni and program participants.
- ISA sponsors the Dr. Carlos Castañeda Memorial Scholarships for students participating in an ISA program in a Spanish-speaking country.
- As a non-profit, the various USAC study abroad scholarship opportunities aim for students to gain international experience -- without breaking the bank.
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships