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Study in Spain

Five Quick Points about Spain
  1. Among top ten study abroad destinations in world
  2. Fascinating southern European culture and society
  3. Spanish is a world language, and learning it gives access to Latin America
  4. Beautiful geographical contrasts – white beaches and snow-covered mountains
  5. Increasing emphasis on interdisciplinary studies

Spain, with a total area of 504,750 square kilometers, occupies 85% of the Iberian Peninsula in the southwest of Europe, bordering the Mediterranean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean. The Pyrenees Mountains (north) border France and Andorra; Portugal lies to the west and (British) Gibraltar is a small peninsula in the South. The capital city is Madrid. Mainland Spain is the second highest country in Europe and experiences three climatic types: continental (temperate clear, hot summers; cold winters), maritime (more moderate cloudy summers; cool partly cloudy winters along the coast) and Mediterranean (hot, dry summers; cool, wet winters). Droughts can be an issue for Spain.

Spain, originally inhabited by Celts, Iberians, and Basques, eventually became part of the Roman Empire. It incurred several invasions until the 16th century, when it amassed tremendous wealth and power and a vast colonial empire with its conquest of Mexico and Peru. But in 1588, Spain lost its naval supremacy due to a defeat by England, and it rapidly declined into a second-rate power. The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) led to Spain’s loss of Belgium, Luxembourg, Milan, Sardinia, and Naples. Its colonial empire (Americas and Philippines) vanished in wars and revolutions in 18th and 19th centuries.
The population of Spain is around 41 million with a median age of 41 years. Population density is lower than that of most European countries with 77% of the population residing in urban areas. The official language is Castilian Spanish (74%) with three official regional languages: Catalan (17%), (Galician 7%), and Basque (2%).
The Spanish are a composite of Mediterranean and Nordic ancestry. Both Catholicism and socialism are strong influences. The family and extended family network play an important role in Spanish society.
Spain historically has strong cultural and religious traditions including festivals, flamenco music, and dance, and public architecture with Moorish features Spain has a leisurely outdoor lifestyle, sunshine, lively towns and cities, and friendly people. Informal social gatherings in bars, cafés, restaurants, and at work are a big part of Spanish life.

Since joining the European Union (EU) in 1986, Spain has opened its economy to investment and trade, modernized its industrial base, improved infrastructure, and revised economic legislation to conform to EU guidelines. Main trading partners include France, Germany, Italy, and Great Britain. Spain’s principal exports are machinery, motor vehicles, wine, fruit and other food products, and pharmaceuticals; its tourism industry is among the largest in the world. The currency is the Euro.
Spain is a constitutional monarchy with a democratic parliamentary form of government. The king is the head of state. The government consists of Executive (president), Legislature (Congress of Deputies), and Senate. There are 47 peninsula provinces. The cost of living in Spain varies greatly by area, with the cost being much higher in the urban centers (e.g., Madrid, Valencia, and Barcelona) than in the rural Spanish villages and towns. Living costs for a student could range from €850–€1,300 per month for food, accommodation, and other general living expenses.
Spain has an essentially two-tier education system for schooling: compulsory (primary and secondary to 16 years) and post-compulsory (secondary and middle grade vocational). Tertiary and higher education consists of upper-grade vocational training and university. Both public and private institutions provide higher education.
International students who are not from EU countries or from countries with bilateral agreements with Spain regarding university access.
In terms of the application process, international students do not apply directly to a specific Spanish university; rather, they apply to a central applications office called the Spanish National University for Distance Education (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, or UNED). This office sends students to the university and studies that best suit the particular student and the system. Visas are granted for the duration of study. Student visas are renewable. Once in Spain, students must apply for authorization to stay for the specified time at the Foreign Office or central Police Station (comisaría) where they will be studying. Work may be allowed if it doesn’t interfere with study.