SpainSpain, a country known for its rich culture and role in shaping the world’s history, is located in the southwestern part of Europe. It shares its borders with France to its northeast, and Portugal on its western side. Spain also boasts an excellent quality of life and long life expectancy among its citizens, which could be attributed to its deliciously healthy Mediterranean diet and its lifestyle, which values rest and relaxation.
- Capital City: Madrid
- Area Size: 504,782 sq km
- Official Languages: Castilian Spanish
- Type of Government: Constitutional monarchy with two legislative houses
- Currency: Euro (€)
- Population: 47, 362,000 (2020 estimate)
The country occupies more than 80 percent of the Iberian Peninsula and is made up of 17 self-governing regions, 50 provinces, and two autonomous cities, Ceuta and Melilla.
Why Study in Spain?
Spain is one of the favourite destinations of students when it comes to international education. Not only is Spain one of the most progressive countries in Europe, but its official language is one of the most widely spoken in the world. Students will get a chance to hone their Spanish skills while earning a degree.
Spain has no shortage of attractions and every year it welcomes a throng of international students eager to call this Mediterranean gem home.
Spanish tertiary education is recognized and respected the world over. International students can choose from among Spain’s more than 70 universities distributed across the country. Several of these institutions are mainstays in prominent world university rankings.
- 29 of Spain’s universities ranked in the 2021 QS World University Rankings.
- 50 of Spain’s universities ranked in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2021.
- 40 of Spain’s universities ranked in the 2020 Shanghai University Rankings.
Relatively Low Cost of Living
One of the reasons why some students get discouraged about studying in Europe is the high cost of living. Spain, however, has one of the lowest costs of living in Europe, another reason why many students choose it as their host country.
Food and leisure especially are quite affordable, making a student’s stay in the country more pleasurable. Of course, the price still varies per region, with Madrid and Barcelona being the most expensive.
Affordable Tuition Fees
Another attractive feature about studying in Spain is its surprisingly affordable cost of education. The state subsidizes the majority of the cost of education in the country. So, despite being located in Europe, and despite its reputation for world-class education, Spain has one of the cheapest tuition fees on the continent.
Safe and Tolerant Society
Those looking to study in Spain can rest assured because it is not only one of the safest countries in the world, it is also one of the most tolerant. They can expect to experience a secure and accepting environment that will greatly benefit their overall student experience.
- Spain ranked 38th in the 2020 Global Peace Index.
- Spain is the 4th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage
- Spain is one of the most tolerant countries for Muslims
- Spain is home to one of the biggest Jewish communities in Europe
Stay Back Option
Those who dream of staying in Spain to look for a job after graduation have the option to do so because of a law specific to international students. They have the option to stay for a maximum of one year through a residence permit. Best of all, family members can join them during this duration.
Higher Education Providers
- Public Universities
- Private Universities
- Advanced Artistic Universities
- Advanced vocational training
- Plastic Arts and Design Advanced Vocational Education
- Advanced Vocational Education in Sports
World Ranked Institutions 2021 QS World University Rankings
- Universitat de Barcelona
- Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
- Complutense University of Madrid
Top Courses in Spain Based on World and Europe Rankings
- Agricultural Science
- Food Science and Technology
- Veterinary Sciences
- Sports Science Schools
- Civil Engineering
- Marine Engineering
- Telecommunication Engineering
- Hospitality and Tourism Management
- Electrical Engineering
- Aerospace Engineering
Popular Jobs for Foreign Citizens
- Consultant Jobs
- IT Jobs
- Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
- Tourism and Hospitality Jobs
- Medical Practitioner
- English Teaching Jobs
- Trade Jobs
Top-Paying Jobs in Spain
- Commercial Pilot
- Project Director (engineering)
- ICT Director
Unique Student Experience
Working Part-Time and Internships
Holders of a student visa are eligible to work for up to 20 hours a week. They may also apply for internships related to their field of study.
International students will need to apply for a work permit at the Foreigner’s Office (Oficina de Extranjeros) to get started. For unpaid internships, only a student ID is required.
Students studying in Spain might be surprised by the country’s relaxed attitude about time. Arriving late for social gatherings is considered quite normal. This attitude is in stark contrast to many other European cultures, but Spaniards know how and when to slow down and take their time.
Leisure and Sports
Spain’s love for the laid-back lifestyle does not mean idleness and inactivity. In fact, sports are an integral part of the daily life of Spanish people. Many famous athletes worldwide are of Spanish descent such as Pau Gasol (basketball) and Rafel Nadal (tennis).
Each region has its own favourites depending on the landscape. For example, winter sports including skiing are popular in Catalonia. In Valencia, surfing and scuba diving and other watersports are more popular. Football and basketball are also favourites across the country.
Festivals or fiestas are an inextricable part of the vibrant Spanish culture and they’re celebrated all year round. In fact, each village and town have its own day of celebration and fiestas.
Students, no matter where they are in the country, will get to experience and even participate in an authentic Spanish fiesta during the duration of their stay. Some of the more interesting and prominent festivals in Spain are the following:
- Semana Santa (Holy Week), April 14 to 21
- La Tomatina, Buñol, Valencia, August 28
- Las Fallas Festival, Valencia, March 1-19
- Haro Wine Festival, June 29-30
- Near Death Festival, Neves, July 29
International students applying for a Spanish undergraduate programme, at the minimum, only need a recognized high school certificate. Students can have their high school certificate validated at the Spanish Embassy located in their home country. They will also need to pass an entrance exam to get into their school of choice.
For postgraduate studies, students need a four-year bachelor’s degree or equivalent as a minimum.
Students have to apply for a student’s visa to study in Spain, unless they are citizens of the EU, EEA or Switzerland.
Application is through the Spanish consulate or embassy in their home country. Here are the general requirements needed for a student visa:
- Completed application form
- One passport size colour photo
- Passport (original and photocopy)
- Letter of admission from the university
- Proof of accommodation
- Proof of finance
- Medical insurance
- Flight bookings (if needed)
- Medical certificate (if needed)
- Certificate of no criminal conviction (if needed)
- Authorization letter from parents or guardians (if needed)
- Birth certificate (if needed)
Spain has one of the cheapest tuition fees in Europe; no wonder many students choose it as their higher education destination. Students pay depending on the number of credits they are taking and are required to complete at least 60 credits annually.
Below is the tuition students pay per level, from the cheapest to the most expensive programmes:
- Bachelor’s degree – €8.63 to €39.53 per credit
- Master’s degree – €9.85 to €70.79 per credit
- Doctoral degree – €12.13 to €68.87 per credit
Note that new students also have to pay the following:
- School insurance fees
- Student record
- ID fee
Spain ranks above average in OECD’s Better Life Index when it comes to work-life balance, housing, health status, income and wealth, security, and social connections. Even with this above average quality of life, Spain has one of the lowest cost of living in Europe.
Below are the estimated costs of necessities students need to take note of while studying in Spain.
|Type of Expense||Estimated Cost|
|Accommodation||€400 to €600 per month|
|Food||€7.50 to €10.50 per meal|
|Transportation||€44 a month|
Scholarships and Fundings
Students looking for financial aid to support their education in Spain have various options. Scholarships or grants in Spain are usually offered by the Spanish government or by the schools. There’s Erasmus+ for students from EU member countries, but there are many other scholarships and grants that are global, country-specific, or programme-specific.