Spain is not just famous for its wonderful beaches and flamenco dancers’. It is an amazing and colorful country with a history etched in Roman ruins, ancient cave drawings, and gothic and renaissance cathedrals. Its uniqueness also lies in its numerous autonomous regions which provide the rich tapestry of different languages, cuisine, culture and art that is the kingdom of Spain.
The decision to go to university there will have a marked impact on your life, enhancing your knowledge and experience, giving you a head start in the job market, the opportunity to be immersed in a wealth of culture, and having fun at the same time. Studying in Spain brings a unique opportunity to gain academic, professional and personal growth in a dynamic and multinational environment.
Why a Degree from Spain?
Spain is one of the most increasingly attractive countries for young people from all over the world to pursue their higher education or postgraduate degree. There are currently more than 75,000 international students enrolled in Spanish universities*, the result of a growing trend in recent years. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, Spain continues to be the third most popular destination for US students, due to its long tradition of welcoming international students and providing a world-class education.
Universities in Spain offer degrees in Spanish or taught entirely in English, given that English is the preferred foreign language of most Spaniards. Spanish is not a mandatory requirement for English-taught degree programs, but many international students choose to take Spanish classes and eventually enroll for an optional module in Spanish to improve their command of the language.
* Source: Spanish Ministry of Education
The fact that Spain attracts people from all parts of the world in addition to having its own diverse history and culture makes it the perfect destination for young people who want to become truly international. Being in contact with different nations and cultures, coupled with the opportunity to learn Spanish, are just two of the reasons why so many students choose to come to Spain.
And a complete learning experience does not only include the academic side of studies: A truly international education is a cross-cultural experience with people from different international backgrounds, languages and cultures. Spain’s longstanding academic tradition means it has a number of accredited education institutions. This tradition of academic excellence combined with constant innovation in education is yet another reason Spain is one of the top destinations for students from all parts of the world.
Higher education recognition
In 1999, Spain signed the Bologna Declaration to join the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), namely a university system to which all officially accredited European universities belong. The Declaration introduced significant changes that made it easier for international students to access higher education programs around Europe. The resulting common education framework encourages convergence in education, employability and mobility within Europe and attracts students, professors and researchers from around the world. This means that pursuing your higher education in Spain will give you a university diploma that is recognized on an international level. As a student, you are allowed to choose optional modules in addition to core subjects and are thus able to tailor your academic experience to suit your own interests and competences to create a unique profile in your chosen field of study and professional development.
There are three different levels of university studies:
- Grado: Bachelor degrees which are usually completed in four years. These degrees tend to be longer than the traditional BA or BSc in Europe because they often include a compulsory year abroad.
- Master: Master’s Degrees completed in one year.
- Doctorado: PhD completed in two years.
Living and studying in Madrid
Madrid is the capital of Spain and as a major hub of the country’s economy, politics, culture and art. It is without doubt the place to be if you want to experience as many aspects of the Spanish lifestyle as possible. Madrid is situated in the heart of Spain which makes it perfect for a number of day trips not too far from the city, or an excellent starting point to travel to the country’s many fascinating towns and cities. And let’s not forget Spanish cuisine – a key factor when it comes to experiencing Spain.
What happens after graduation?
Once you have your university diploma, what next? This is probably the question that most concerns applicants during the university selection process.
Some universities offer internships with partner institutions or businesses worldwide, along with annual career fairs. These provide excellent opportunities to talk with people that work in different areas, exchange experiences, gather information, and obtain better insight into a certain job or sector. Major Spanish multinationals include companies like Banco Santander, Zara, BBVA, and Repsol, to name just a few.
To help students find the right job and make the most of their university experience, universities in Spain organize special career fairs that bring students together with professionals from companies and organizations from different fields of business, and maybe get to know their first employer.
Another way of gaining knowledge and experience is by undertaking an internship in Spain or abroad. Internships are a great way of improving your skills and your understanding of business during your studies, making you more competitive and competent when applying for work after graduation. They can even serve as a fast track to your dream job!
There are all kinds of reasons people decide to come to Spain. Many come for educational or business purposes or just a vacation. But they are all attracted by the same thing: Contact with different nationalities and life experiences, because being in contact with different cultures and meeting new people is a highly effective and fun way of preparing to face the challenges of the globalized world we live in.
Vladimira Stavreva, Communications Department
IE Business School, Madrid