Studying in Spain is of interest to thousands of students worldwide. Granted, as an international student wishing to study abroad in Spain, you will have plenty of questions, whether related to tuition fees, living costs, accommodation, or even anything university-related. In the following sections, you will find a list of frequently asked questions about studying in Spain, followed by their answers. Keep in mind that if you wish to study in Spain, there is plenty to look forward to, including academic development, personal growth, and merely an outstanding experience.
Here are the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about studying in Spain:
1. Why Should I Choose Spain to Pursue My Degree?
Spain is the ideal combination of quality education, good weather, great outdoors, and affordability. These alone should be among the top reasons to study in Spain as an international student. Plenty of other things are a great plus, including Spain’s unique culture, the opportunity to practice the language first-hand, and the outstanding cuisine full of tasty treats and meals. Above all, Spain is internationally renowned for its teaching, innovation, and research – to which the golden sand beaches are a great addition. (Read more here).
2. Can I Study in Spain in English?
Many higher education institutions in Spain offer courses and programs taught in English, so it is possible to study in Spain in English. You can also find English-taught programs at private or international universities in the country, some of which teach their whole curriculum in English. Many universities in Spain also offer their international students Spanish courses to learn/practice the Spanish language before beginning their studies.
3. Do I Need TOEFL or IELTS for an English-Taught Program?
If you come from a non-English speaking country and plan on enrolling in an English-taught program in Spain, you will likely have to provide proof of English proficiency. Usually, universities might ask you to offer either TOEFL or IELTS as part of your application process. If you come from an English-speaking country or enroll in a Spanish-taught program, you will not be required to prove English proficiency.
4. How Much Money Will I Need to Study in Spain?
Spain is known for its affordability and low tuition fees for international students. Tuition fees in Spain for international students are approximately €2,000 per year at public universities. The fees at public universities in Spain are set by the government and are usually the same across different public universities. On the other hand, private universities set their own fees, meaning they can be much higher than in public universities. Find more information here.
As for the general living costs, international students will need approximately €900 per month to cover their living expenses in Spain, including rent, food, drink, and entertainment. Of course, the monthly costs also depend on the location, since Spanish cities like Barcelona or Madrid are generally known to be more expensive when it comes to rent, for example. All in all, the accommodation type and lifestyle also play an essential role in monthly expenses.
5. Do I Need a Student Visa to Study in Spain?
You will need a student visa to study in Spain if you come from outside the EU/EEA. You will have to apply for a student visa upon admission to enter Spain and pursue your degree. Usually, international students apply for their student visa to Spain after getting admitted to their preferred study program.
6. How Do I Apply for a Student Visa to Spain?
To apply for a long term student visa to Spain (more than six months), you should visit the Spanish embassy/consulate in your home country. You will be required to fill out one or two application forms and provide the following documents:
- Valid passport
- Valid ID
- Two recent passport photographs
- Letter of acceptance from the university
- Health insurance
- Proof of financial resources
7. What Are the Requirements to Study in Spain as an International Student?
The requirements to study in Spain for international students include gaining admission to a study program in Spain (find the admission criteria of Spanish universities in question 14 below), obtaining a student visa, meeting the financial requirements, obtaining health insurance, and finding proper accommodation. As an international student, you should also have your foreign academic qualifications officially recognized in Spain.
8. Will I Be Allowed to Work in Spain as an International Student?
As an international student with a student visa, you can only work in Spain for 20 hours per week, meaning you can only find part-time employment. Many international students work part-time during their studies in Spain to earn an extra income. Students from within the EU/EEA are allowed to work the same number of hours as Spanish students.
9. Do I Need to Open a Spanish Bank Account?
This depends on the time you are going to spend in Spain. If you plan to pursue a full-time degree program in Spain, it would be easier and more affordable if you decided to open a Spanish bank account. Of course, you could also use your home bank account, but opening a bank account in Spain would be cheaper in making payments (rent, utilities) or purchasing electronics or other items.
10. How Do I Open a Spanish Bank Account as an International Student?
You can either open a resident bank account or a non-resident bank account in Spain. The former applies if you are in Spain on a long-term visa, while the latter if you plan on staying in Spain for less than six months. Students on a long-term visa in Spain will obtain an NIE number, which is necessary when opening a resident bank account.
To open a bank account as an international student, you should provide the following documents.
- Your passport.
- Your national identity card (for EU citizens).
- Proof of address in Spain, such as a utility bill (less than three months old).
- Your Spanish NIE number (Foreigners’ Identification Number).
- Proof of employment status (employment contract, student card, or unemployment papers).
Read this article to get more information on banking in Spain.
11. Do I Need to Know Spanish if my Study Program is in English?
Although it depends on the university, you will not be required to prove English language proficiency if your program is entirely Spanish. However, you will have to provide proof of Spanish language proficiency.
12. Do I Need Health Insurance to Study in Spain?
You will need to purchase health insurance to study in Spain because health insurance is an essential part of the student visa requirements. So, if you need a student visa to enter Spain, you will necessarily require a health insurance policy as well.
13. Can I Stay in Spain After I Finish my Studies?
You can stay in Spain after you finish your studies for up to 12 months on what is known as the ‘job search visa.’ This visa will allow graduates from non-EU countries to stay in Spain for around 12 months and look for a job. After finding a job and securing a work contract, graduates can then apply for a work permit. During these 12 months, you are not allowed to work in Spain. You should apply for this ‘job search visa’ 60 days before your Foreigners Identity Number (NIE) expires or 90 days after its expiration.
14. What Admission Criteria Do Spanish Universities Have?
Each university in Spain will set its admission criteria depending on the program and degree level. For undergraduate programs, if you have a school-leaving certificate from your home country and qualify for higher education in your home country, you are likely eligible for university studies in Spain.
In some instances, you will have to take additional qualifying courses or pass specific exams, which will help you meet the international student’s eligibility requirements. An important aspect is also meeting the language requirements. Depending on the program’s language, you will either have to provide proof of Spanish or English proficiency or both.
15. Is Public Transportation Available in Spain?
Public transportation is quite comprehensive and useful in Spain. It is available through trains, buses, and taxis. Spanish cities like Barcelona, Madrid, and Bilbao have their own metro systems, while other cities have trams that run on a street level. Each municipality or urban area in Spain has its own bus routes within the area, so traveling by bus is also an affordable option within the city.
16. Where Can I Find Accommodation in Spain?
Accommodation in Spain for international students is offered in various forms, including student halls of residence, which are an excellent option for students who want something affordable and close to the campus. However, they are among the most competitive forms of accommodation among students. Other accommodation forms include flatshares (sharing an apartment with roommates) or living with host families. Both can be alternative accommodation options if you are looking for something affordable.
17. Which Are the Cheapest and Most Expensive Cities in Spain?
Some of Spain’s most expensive cities include Barcelona, Madrid, and Zaragoza. On the other hand, some of Spain’s most affordable cities are Córdoba, Santiago de Compostela, Salamanca, and Alicante.
18. How Can I Get a Scholarship to Study in Spain?
Getting a scholarship to study in Spain might be challenging and competitive. However, you should begin well in advance and prepare for the scholarship requirements. Some scholarships you could look into include the Spanish Studies Abroad Merit-Based Scholarship, International Studies Abroad (ISA) Diversity Scholarship, or The Fulbright Program for independent research in Spain.
19. How Many International Students Are There in Spain?
The latest statistics show that out of 1,548,369 students enrolled in the higher education sector in Spain, 194,743 are international students (including students on mobility programs). The international student population in Spain has been increasing in recent years.
20. How To Apply for Degree Recognition in Spain?
You can apply for degree recognition in Spain at The Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport (MECD) through their website or any Spanish embassy/consulate in your home country. You need to provide the following documents:
- Valid passport
- Valid ID
- Degree certificate from your home country
- Proof of fee payment, when applicable
- Proof of Spanish proficiency, when applicable
21. What Do I Need to Study Masters in Spain?
To apply for a master’s program in Spain, you will more or less have to meet the same requirements as you would when applying for a bachelor’s program (such as gain admission and obtain a student visa). Keep in mind that proof of Spanish/English proficiency and degree recognition is usually necessary.
22. How Long Does an Undergraduate Program Take in Spain?
Depending on the program (some take longer than others), it will take an average of 4 years to study for an undergraduate degree in Spain.
23. How Long Does a Master Program Take in Spain?
Studying for a master’s degree will usually take up to two years in Spain. Some master programs are shorter (less than a year).
24. How Do I Apply to Study in Spain?
International students from EU member countries should submit their application through SNUDE, the Spanish National University for Distance Education. Non-EU students should have their high school certificate recognized at the Spanish embassy in their home country first. Non-EU students will also have to pass an entrance exam known as ‘selectividad,’ held in their home country, twice a year. (More information in this article)
25. Are There Any American Universities in Spain?
Spain is home to numerous international universities, among which three are accredited American higher education institutions. More specifically, the following are American universities operating in Spain:
- Schiller International University Madrid Campus
- Saint Louis University Madrid Campus
- The American College in Spain
Read more about American universities in Spain here.