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Studying in Spain

Students' Experiences of Spain

Why study in Spain?

One of the biggest reasons students choose to study abroad is the opportunity to learn another language, and in this regard, you can’t beat Spain. With the national dialect the second most spoken language in the world, it’s certainly a good one to master and an ability to do so will likely enhance your CV significantly.

  • Spain is the most popular destination for students on the Erasmus exchange programme, which allows them to spend a year away from their home university in a foreign country.
  • Spain has 76 universities, with about two-third of these state-funded while the remainder are private institutions.
  • While the majority of courses in Spanish universities are taught in Spanish, there are also a number of courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate level in English.

Entry and visa regulations

EU students do not require a visa to study in Spain, but they must apply for a residence permit from the Central Registry Office for Foreigners within three months of arrival.

  • To apply as an undergraduate student, you will first need to contact the Spanish National University for Distance Education in order to have your documents validated and confirm any special requirements that apply to your home country. You can then apply directly to the university of your choice.
  • Officially the cut-off date for applying to universities in Spain for autumn admission is in June, but it’s a good idea to apply much earlier as an international student due to the validation procedure.
  • At postgraduate level, students should go directly to their chosen institution.

Funding your study

Fees for tuition at public universities are set by education bodies at a regional level, so these vary around the country.

  • In all areas, however, the costs are much lower than in the UK, ranging from about £400 to £1,000 per year. Private universities are much more expensive.
  • There are very few scholarship opportunities for foreign students in Spain. Student loans are generally not available to international students who’ve moved to the country to study.
  • Many students work part-time while studying and no extra permission is needed to do so, but it will be harder to find work if you don’t have adequate Spanish skills.
  • Universities usually offer some accommodation, either on or off campus, and some also help arrange homestays with local families for students wishing to improve their language skills. Flat-sharing is also common among students and many stay in hostels or use sofa-surfing sites when they first arrive in Spain and then seek more permanent housing.

The cost of consumer goods and services in Spain is below average in comparison with other European countries.

Typical costs in Spain (GBP, March 2015) include:

  • Apartment rent, 1 bedroom: £259 - £346 per month
  • Meal, inexpensive restaurant: £7.12
  • Meal at McDonalds: £4.98
  • Domestic beer (0.5 litre draught): £1.42
  • Imported beer (0.33 litre bottle): £1.92
  • Cappuccino: £1.14
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle): £1.22
  • Water (0.33 litre bottle): £0.85
  • Loaf of bread: £0.67
  • Cigarettes: £3.38
  • One-way ticket local transport: £1.00
  • Cinema ticket: £5.34

Health and safety

  • Spain is generally a safe country, but pickpocketing and bag-snatching can be a problem in many larger cities in Spain, especially Barcelona, and passport theft is a particular concern. Avoid carrying valuables around and be alert to your surroundings. 
  • UK students with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be entitled to access free healthcare in Spain in the same way as a local resident. Spain also has many private health providers, along with health centres that provide both state-funded and private treatment. Make sure you clarify you are being offered treatment on a state-funded basis and present your EHIC card at the first opportunity.
  • You’ll have to pay 40 per cent of the cost of any prescriptions you get from a state-funded healthcare provider.

Helpful links

International Rankings

University Rankings 2017–18

University QS
QS World University Rankings 2017–18

Global university rankings compiled annually by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS). QS ranks institutions by the following key indicators; academic peer review, faculty student ratio, citations per faculty, recruiter review, international orientation.

See the QS World University Rankings here, and more on making sense of international rankings here.

THE
THE World University Rankings 2017–18

Global university rankings compiled annually by the Times Higher Education (THE). THE ranks institutions by performance in the following categories; Industry Income, Teaching, Research and Citations.

See THE World University Rankings here, and more on making sense of international rankings here.

The University of Barcelona 166 174
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid 186 301-350
University of Navarra 270 301-350

Business School Rankings 2017

Business School Financial Times
Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2017

Global MBA rankings compiled annually by the Financial Times. MBA programmes are ranked by a number of key indicators including salary increase, value for money, career progression. Note this ranking only applies to each business school’s full-time MBA programme.

The Economist
The Economist Which MBA? Ranking 2017

Global MBA rankings compiled annually by The Economist. MBA programmes are ranked by the following categories; career opportunities, personal development, salary increase and potential to network. Note this ranking only applies to each business school’s full-time MBA programme.

Forbes International
Forbes Best International Business Schools 2017

Ranking of business schools outside of the US compiled by Forbes magazine. MBA programmes are ranked solely by return on investment. Note this ranking only applies to each business school’s full-time MBA programme.

Accreditation
AACBS
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

More about the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation here.

AMBA
Association of MBA

More about the Association of MBA (AMBA) accreditation here.

EQUIS
European Quality Improvement System

More about the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) accreditation here.

ESADE Business School 17 54 - Y Y Y
IESE Business School 10 8 - Y Y Y