The educational system in Spain is called LOGSE (Ley Orgánica de Ordenación General del Sistema Educativo de España), meaning the General Law of the Educational System. Public education is compulsory and free for children between the ages of 6 and 16. During the 2 years of Baccalaureate, students can choose from 5 branches, the one they are passionate about: Arts, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Social Sciences and Humanities.
Until Spain was included in the European Higher Education Area, we could not really speak about the current higher education scheme. Spain now has the same general Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree scheme as many other places. Universities and colleges in Spain can work with specific fields, such as business schools, medical or technical institutions.
University studies are divided into cycles, and each course has a number of credits, through the system recognized at European level. The first stage of university studies lasts 3 years, after which students receive the Bachelor’s degree, which gives them the right to either move on to the next stage, the Master’s Degree, or to practice in the chosen field. In some fields, this bachelor’s degree is not enough to obtain the official degree (architect, engineer) so students are required to continue their university studies for another 2 years. The last stage of university studies is PhD (doctoral programs), in which the emphasis is on research, and access is given by a commission of doctoral students and especially a master’s degree.
The culture of Spain differs from region to region, with varying cuisines, traditions and even languages. You will read Catalan in Barcelona, enjoy the North African feel of Granada, or learn about the ancient Spain in Madrid. International students coming to study in Spain have many vibrant student cities to pick from, including Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao and Valencia.
Study in Spain in English
Providing English language teaching programs is Spain’s internalization strategy aimed at attracting more international students, which is why there are many areas of study available in English. However, we must not forget that Spanish is the third most spoken language in the world. Although you can choose from a wide variety of programs to learn in English in Spain, before and while you are there, you might want to brush up your language skills. That will make communicating with locals much simpler, as it doesn’t hurt to learn at least a few words in the regional lingo for those regions.
COSTS, FEES AND FUNDING
In Spain, the fees differ depending on the university, the language in which you will follow the study program (English or Spanish) and the field of study. Thus, the fees start from 3,400 euros and reach up to 14,000 euros per year (Dentistry). However, there are scholarships of up to 30% of the tuition fee. At master level, the fees are between 3,000 and 9,000 euros for programs in Spanish, respectively between 4,000 and 13,000 for those in English, depending on the chosen field of study. Also, depending on the university, there may be scholarships between 15-30% of the tuition fee.
Accommodation in Spain is cheaper than many other European countries, but some of the apartments are unfurnished so you may need to buy your own furniture. Eating out is inexpensive if you stick to neighborhood restaurants and local pubs, while public transit is abundant in major cities but limited in smaller ones.
What qualifications do you need to study in Spain?
Undergraduate studies in Spain are regulated by the Lisbon Convention, but if you are a European Union student who has finished school in your home country, you will still be eligible for higher education in Spain. Non-EU candidates would need to pass the Selectividad, which is the Spanish university entrance test. This includes text comprehension exams, the history of Spain and a foreign language exam.
English language tests – Spanish universities will consider a wide variety of English language exams, including the IELTS academic exam and the TOEFL iBT.
Student visa – You may need to request a student visa if your chosen program in Spain is full-time and lasts for longer than six months (Type D). If you have received an offer from a university, you can go to a Spanish consulate or embassy in your home country to apply for a visa. You will also need to receive a student residence permit from the nearest Foreign Office within 30 days of arriving in Spain.
OUR TIPS FOR A COMFORTABLE STUDENT LIFE IN SPAIN
Host families: We honestly recommend staying with a host family. Many programs require host families to provide breakfast and lunch, which will help you save some money. If your goal is to become fluent in Spanish or Catalan, your host family greatly help you with that. Moreover, you may request having a roommate with you at your host family, in case you and your friend are going to study together in Spain.
For Madrid lovers and students: Do not forget to check out one of the best clubs in Madrid, 100 Montaditos. We also recommend all the museums, sights around Puerta del Sol, and Tapas.
Socializing: Be social and never turn down invitations. Make sure you plan out the places you would
HOW TO LEARN SPANISH
Immerse yourself in the Spanish culture by surrounding yourself with natives. Listen to your new playlist with Spanish music whenever you have some free time. Reading articles (like El Pais) very helpful, and you advance you can even try a short novel. Watch shows and movies, and we suggest El Internado on Netflix. But Grand Hotel, Mar Adentro and Poniente are also good to start with. Moreover, you can follow the Spanish show Extr@ on YouTube . Do not forget about apps that connect you with people speaking your targeted language, such as HelloTalk.
These being said, life as a student in Spain is an adventure like no other. You will definitely make many friends here, because even though Spanish students work hard, they always make time for fun. Make sure to take an afternoon nap if you decide to head out at night – most clubs don’t even open until after midnight and your peer will want to party until dawn! So, do you want to take your friends and party at that bar in Madrid?