Multicultural environment, top higher education system, lavish beaches, laid back lifestyle, and delicious food make Spain a popular study abroad destination for students from all around.
Although Spain is a little bit underrated in comparison to other popular study-abroad destinations in Europe (e.g. Germany, France, Ireland, Sweden, Netherlands, etc.), it’s gaining popularity slowly among Indian students. In 2019, around 1.2 lakh international students moved to Spain for education, out of which an estimated 4,500 are from India (source: The Indian Express).
In this post, we will have an overview of the study in Spain for Indian and international students.
Study in Spain for Indian and International Students
Co-authored by David Anderson
Why Study in Spain?
Spain draws tens of thousands of students each year, from Europe, Latin American, and North America. There are many reasons to study abroad, and Spain ticks many of those boxes, thanks to – amongst other things – its rich history and warm climate.
Beyond the climate, Spain’s lifestyle may be an even greater draw, having been named the healthiest country in the world. Visitors love Spain’s cafes, cuisine, the outdoor lifestyle, and nightlife. Whether you go for a short-term course or a full degree, you can enjoy Spain’s quality of life. A Western European lifestyle with Mediterranean culture is worth considering!
Top Courses to Study in Spain
For fluent Spanish speakers, the fields that you can study have few limitations. Law is a popular field, including International Law, International Criminal Law, and Law and the European Union. As the national capital, Madrid is the best place for these types of Law courses.
Barcelona is another popular study destination, thanks to its rich culture. It offers attractive programs in Art and Design as well as the Humanities, from literature and philosophy to art.
Spain’s strength in the area of tourism makes it an excellent place to study Hospitality Management. Business is always a popular field for international students.
Additionally, Spain is also a great destination to study Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences. Catalonia is the most dynamic biotech hub in Spain and one of the most active ones in Europe.
The Catalan biotech sector is currently in rapid growth, due to a solid scientific base together with the recent creation of industry-driven government instruments and policies. The current trend of the young Catalan biotech sector is to grow up from the base, at a rate of more than 10 companies per year. Read the top biotech-pharma hubs in the world.
A large percentage of students studying in Spain travel to work on their language fluency, often as semester programs. Many of the top universities offer these programs, such as the University of Alicante’s Centro Superior de Idiomas and the University of Virginia’s program in Valencia.
Language of Instruction
Spanish (Castilian) is the primary language in all parts of Spain, but many areas speak regional languages, such as Catalán (Catalonian) or Basque. The old universities in Spain still teach almost all of their course content in Spanish. Note that Catalán is very prevalent in universities in and around Barcelona).
Best Traditional Universities in Spain for International Students
These universities are among the most established and highest ranked in Spain.
- University of Granada (Universidad de Granada) is the 4th-largest university in Spain and has a rich tradition. Located in one of Europe’s most historic cities, it hosts a large international population each year.
- Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona) is a relatively new university, UPF has been listed among Europe’s best universities for its research and teaching excellence. UPF works with several study-abroad providers for semester-long programs. These organizations package student services for accommodation, excursions, and other support. They hold classes in Catalán, English, and Spanish.
- University of Salamanca (Universidad de Salamanca) – imagine a university with a history of more than 800 years. Salamanca is a small city but is famous for its university.
- Pablo de Olavide University (Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Seville) – Newer than most of Spain’s traditional universities, UPO offers a range of courses from Humanities to STEM. Located on the outskirts of fascinating Seville, it offers classes in Spanish and English. UPO works with study abroad providers for semester-long short courses.
- University of Valencia (Universitat de Valencia) – dating back to 1499, U.V. is a comprehensive university in Spain’s 3rd city. It offers classes in the local Valencian language, Spanish and English.
- Complutense University of Madrid (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) lies at the heart of Spain’s capital and has drawn serious international students for decades. This campus has been ranked as one of the top 100 universities in the world. It provides a chance to study amongst the history and culture of Madrid.
- Universitat de Barcelona
- Autonomous University of Barcelona
- Autonomous University of Madrid
- University of Navarra
- University of Deusto
Best Universities in Spain to study Business in English
In the last thirty years, Spain has had a growth in the number of campuses offering degrees in English, both for local and international students. Here are some of the more renowned business schools in Spain where coursework can be fully in English:
- INSA Business, Marketing and Communication School (Barcelona)
- Universidad Católica de Murcia (UCAM / city of Murcia)
- EU Business School (Barcelona)
- GBSB Global (Madrid and Barcelona)
- ESADE – Ramón Lull University (Barcelona)
- IE Business School (Madrid)
Related Post: Q&A with Amaneesh Kaur, ESADE MBA Alumnus
Best Universities in Spain to Study Hospitality in English
Spain is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. So it is no surprise that good schools in the area of Hospitality and Tourism have developed in recent decades. Check these out if you have an interest in this field:
- Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School (Málaga and Madrid)
- Ostelea Tourism Management School (Barcelona)
- Escuela Universitaria de Turismo y Hostelería (Barcelona)
- HTL International School of Hospitality, Tourism, and Languages (Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia)
Job Market in Spain
Are you part of the European Union or not? That is the crucial question for being eligible for employment, either as a student or afterward. Spain does not have a post-study program for jobs and internships.
In general, the labor market is tight, and employers prefer to hire other Spaniards. And you will need a high level of Spanish and a skill that a level of English also may be valuable to a company.
E.U. citizens can take care of all the steps to allow them to work legally after arrival to Spain.
For non-European Union citizens, you will need to obtain a work permit from a Spanish consulate. At present, this isn’t easy to achieve, so consider Spain to be a study destination and not somewhere to work during or after your studies.
If you have just studied for one year in Spain, because then you can only get a work permit as a highly qualified worker. Getting a regular work permit as a student requires at least 3 years with a student visa in the country.
The situation has improved since Spetember 2018.
Stay-Back and Job Search Visa for Non-EU Students
The job search visa is a residence permit granted to non-EU citizens who have finished their studies in Spain so they can extend their time in the country for one additional year (12 months), time in which they can find a job or start their own company.
This visa is the bridge to getting a work permit. So once you find a job offer, you will need to initiate the work permit application process to be able to work. Even though you cannot work with this visa, it is a required step for being able to do it.
Requirements to Get the Job Search Visa in Spain
- You must have finished your studies. Those need to be a minimum level of 6 that is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree, and it can also be a Masters’s degree (level 7) or a Ph.D. that (level 8). A language course won’t let you get the post-study work visa.
- You need to have health insurance.
- It’s crucial to prove that you are economically independent. That is, that you possess enough economic resources to stay in the country during the time of your job search (12 months).
- Not all universities or schools will work. The exact study and university must be inside a list given by the government.
- Foreign students can apply for this student permit 60 days before your authorization as a student expires or 90 days afterward. And that won’t necessarily match the duration of your studies.
Cost of Study in Spain
Scholarship funds are limited for most nationalities in Spain, although there are some available. Fortunately, the cost of tuition is generally competitive to countries such as the USA, Canada, and the U.K.
Students that take part in the Erasmus program have negligible tuition rates and mostly need to budget for living costs.
Keep in mind that some universities have Bachelor degrees conveyed in three years, while others are over four years. Here is a look at the latest tuition rates (one academic year) at some of the institutions above:
- GBSB €8,750
- ESADE €17,000
- UCAM Murcia €7,000
- EU Business School €13,000
- INSA €7,200
These will give you a sense of the range of some of the private universities. Expect a year’s tuition to be from $9,000 to USD 20,000.
Study abroad programs with universities use package pricing with a semester costing from approximately $12,000 to $15,000 (USD). Make sure to understand what this pricing includes. Often it has homestay housing, excursions, a student services team, and airport transfers.
Short-term language courses can run from approximately €300 to €700 per week. There are many variables involved, like the intensity of the course, class size, and whether accommodation is included.
Spain is an excellent destination for international students who wish to soak up its culture, history, and lifestyle. The range of study options is extensive. When thinking of your options, consider your fluency in Spanish and whether your preferred area of study is offered in English.
Enjoy Spain’s sunshine to learn and prepare yourself for a successful career. Unless you are a citizen of the European Union, don’t expect to stay and work in Spain (in most cases!)
David studied abroad as an undergraduate in Valencia, Spain. He now oversees the recruitment and marketing efforts of all study abroad programs at Spanish Studies Abroad. He has also worked as a freelance consultant for Northeastern University and has 20 years of experience with ELS Educational Services (Berlitz) primarily with international student recruitment.
Acknowledgment: Thanks to Jack Kelly (who happens to be an alumnus of Aston University, my alma mater) for arranging this guest post on Stoodnt.
Featured Image Source: Jeduka