Courses in Spain

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Population: 45,000,000
Academic Year: Runs from December to December
*= Approx. total

Study in Spain

The Spanish university system dates back to the Middle Ages. The oldest among Spanish Universities is Salamanca, founded in 1218. The present system, however, is actually descendant of the 19th century liberal university, inspired by the centralized French model. In the last years, it has experienced its greatest growth in history, while at the same time advancing towards a self-governing and descentralized system.

Higher education is provided by both public and private institutions. Universities are divided into departamentos, facultades universitarias, escuelas tecnicas superiores, escuelas universitarias, institutos universitarios, and other centres, notably the colegios universitarios.

The institutions offer official master programmes and non official master programmes. Official masterprogrammes are recognized and accredited by the Spanish government and allow for a PHD afterward. The non official masters are not recognized by the government. Non official masters are provided by the so-called fundacio's or foundations.

The Ministry of Education with the departments of higher education in the universities coordinates the activities of state and private institutions and proposes the main lines of educational policy. The Consejo de Universidades sets up guidelines for the creation of universities, centres and institutes. It can also propose measures concerning advanced postgraduate studies, the defining of qualifications to be officially recognized throughout the country and standards governing the creation of university departments. The legislation on university autonomy provides for administrative, academic and financial autonomy.

The Ley de Reforma Universitaria (LRU) gave rise to a renewal of the existing plans of study, presently intermediate degrees (three years) and superior degrees (five years, six for medicine) which are being replaced by two different types of studies: those of the single cycle, which will run for three years and are directly professional; and those of three cycles in some cases, receiving diplomas which are professionally valid; the B.A.'s (always with various specialties) and the doctorate (two years and a final thesis).
In certain studies, the student will be able to pass from the short cycle to the bachelor's degree with a new major after a course of transition. In addition to the doctorate, in many faculties, such as medicine, there are areas for specialization and at present, there are many types of master's degrees for graduates in law and economics.

The basic unit of plans of study include required subjects grouped in courses that the students will have to follow consecutively and elective courses. The courses taken may be mainstream courses (at 30% of the total in the first cycle or 25% in the second), which are those that the University Councils declare obligatory; or electives, chosen freely by the student (at least 10% of the total).

There are 59 universities in Spain, including several Catholic and private institutions of higher education.

Entrance Requirements

Admission to faculties, advanced technical schools and university colleges is based on the Prueba de Aptitud para a la Universidad (national university entrance exam). The exam is held each June. Because of the huge demand for higher education in Spain and the limited number of places, students with low score may not be admitted to the school of their choice, or even gain university entrance at all.

Master's Degrees in Business

Several universities and business schools, such as the Escuela Superior de Administracion y Direccion de Empresas (ESADE), currently offer master's programs in business administration. There are several bilingual and English-language programs, and some business degrees are being offered jointly with the traditional licenciado. Although some of these programs are not formally recognized by the Ministry of Education, many enjoy solid international reputations.

Practical Information

Business hours

Generally, Spaniards work Monday to Friday from about 9am to 2pm and then again from 4.30pm or 5pm for another three hours. Shops and travel agencies are usually open similar hours on Saturday as well, although many skip the evening session. The further south you go, the longer the afternoon break tends to be, with shops and the like staying closed until 6pm or so.

Big supermarkets and department stores, such as the nationwide El Corte Inglés chain, open from about 10am to 10pm Monday to Saturday. Shops in tourist resorts sometimes open on Sunday too.

Many government offices dont bother opening in the afternoon, any day of the year. In summer, offices tend to go on to horario intensivo, which means they can start as early as 7am and finish up for the day by 2pm.

Museums all have their own opening hours: major ones tend to open for something like normal Spanish business hours (with or without the afternoon break), but often have their weekly closing day on Monday.

Pharmacies have a wide variety of opening hours. The standard hours follow those of other shops. In the bigger centres you will find several that open 24 hours a day. Some have extended hours, say 8am to 10pm, usually on a rota basis. To find out where late-opening pharmacies are in the cities and bigger towns, pick up the local paper.

As a general rule restaurants open their kitchens for lunch from 1pm to 4pm and for dinner from 8pm to midnight. The further south you go, the later locals tend to go out to eat. While restaurants in Barcelona may already be busy by 9.30pm, their Madrid counterparts are still half empty at this time. At lunch and dinner you can generally linger quite a while after the kitchen closes. Some, but by no means all, places close one or two days a week. Some also shut for a few weeks annual holiday the most common period for this is during August.

Bars have a wider range of hours. Those that serve as cafés and snack bars can open from about 8am to the early evening. Those that are more nightlife bars may open in the early evening and generally close around 2am to 3am. Some places combine the two roles. As the bars close the clubs open (generally from around midnight or 1am to around 5am or 6am).

Climate

Spain is divided into three climatic zones. The ocean north (Galicia, Cantabria, Basque Country) has a climate characterized by regular rainfall and mild temperatures throughout the year without any excess in the summer. The center of Spain (Castilla y León, Castilla-La Mancha, Aragon) has a continental climate: cold, dry winter, hot summer. On the Mediterranean coast (from Catalonia to Andalusia), winter is mild and summer heat wave is often, especially in Andalusia. Rainfall is concentrated in the spring and fall.

Official Languages

Spanish is the official national language. It is also called Castilian because in the beginning was the language of Castile. The Spanish constitution of December 1978 recognized three regional languages: Catalan, Euskera and Galician. They are the official languages of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, the Basque Country and Galicia. The Valencian is an official language of the Valencian Community since 1982.

Driving

To drive in Spain you must be 18 years. To rent a vehicle you must have 21. Many companies also require a minimum of one or two years in the drivers license. Remember that you must have a credit card when renting a vehicle.

If you are of a member countries of the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, as well as those countries that have adopted the standard license under the Conventions of Geneva or Vienna: only is required your driving license in force. If you come from a country other than the above must possess an International Driving Permit.

Transport

Airports

Spain has several international airports, the most important of Barajas, in Madrid, where you can reach the city by taxi, bus or underground. Other cities with international airports are: Barcelona, Alicante, Bilbao, Malaga, Sevilla, Valencia and Santiago de Compostela.

Plane

The Spanish flagship airline Iberia is covering international and domestic destinations. The vast majority of international companies have flights to major centers of Spain. Other companies that deal with coastal destinations are Spanair and Air Europa.

Car

Spain has a network of more than 150,000 kms of roads. The motorways are well maintained, and cross the country from north to south, and in some it takes a toll on ESP. The speed limit is 120 km / h on motorways, 90 km / h on other roads, and descends to 50 km / h in populated areas.

Train

The railway network is run by the state company RENFE, and connects all regions of the peninsula. The trains have mostly air-conditioned and restaurant car. There are high-speed trains between Madrid and Seville and Madrid and Malaga. There are tourist trains, including express Transcantábrico and Andaluz, which are a good way to discover these regions. The Spanish rail service is one of the cheapest in Europe and has discounts like the Railway Tourist Card, which allows unlimited travel between three and ten days in the period of two months. You can also use the European rail passes. It is recommended to reserve seats for intercity services.

Urban Transport Metro: There are underground networks in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia and Bilbao. Bus: All Spanish cities have excellent bus networks. In some cities have common tickets for different modes of transport. Taxis are found on all large cities, and it is customary to tip of two or three percent.

Culture

Spain is a country with a varied and exciting culture. Spanish culture covers all forms of expressive art, from literature to painting and from music to architecture. From ancient times (with some important samples of cave paintings, like those in Altamira) to present times, culture in Spain has occupied a relevant position. Differences between regions are evident, with representations as different as Andalusian flamenco, Galician bagpipers or Castellers from Catalonia, but they all enrich the cultural heritage.

Every visitor can experience different facets from Spanish culture: communicating with the inhabitants of a small town in Castile, losing stress by experimenting with a relaxed way of life in Andalusian towns in the south, or living in big cosmopolitan cities like Madrid or Barcelona.

Next to the well-known sun and beach tourism, cultural tourism is becoming a consolidated alternative, given the abundance of Spanish museums, monuments, traditions and cultural manifestations. Spain is one of the richest countries in the world concerning monumental heritage, with the biggest number of UNESCO World Heritage declarations. An approximate inventory has shown that the number of important preserved monuments in the country has increased to over 20,000.

Any mention about Spanish culture must emphasize the importance of religion in the history of the country. A good example of the Catholic influences is provided by the abundant mystical elements in Spanish art and literature. However, nowadays, after the reestablishment of democracy in Spain, the Catholic Church has lost its influence, but any visitor will be able to verify the cultural impact that this religion has had.

Spanish culture is being vouched for by an important publishing industry that edits tens of thousands of books annually, and Spanish cinema is becoming a reference in the world, with world-famous directors like Pedro Almodovar, and outstanding film festivals, like the ones in San Sebastian and Valladolid. The music industry earns hundreds of millions of euros annually, and stage theatre stays much alive thanks to important festivals like those of Merida and Almagro. On the other hand, Spanish universities also play a very important role in the cultural diffusion with their summer courses, like the ones in El Escorial, Santander, Salamanca or the International University Menendez Pelayo.

Celebrations and fiestas are highlights of folklore in the Spanish way of life. There exists an evident mixture between Christian and secular traditions. Religious acts, like processions of saints and venerated icons, are a fundamental element of celebrations in thousands of Spanish towns. Secular celebrations are accompanied by folkloric music, dances and songs to liven up the fiestas. Bullfighting is an important part of the Spanish festive tradition, although it is a subject of continuous controversy. The April Fair in Seville, the Fallas of Valencia, or the running of the bulls of San Fermin in Pamplona, are some of the festivities most recognized internationally.

Food

Spanish cuisine is especially interesting because of the quality and variety of its products, part of the healthy Mediterranean diet. The cuisine of Spain is a major tourist attraction. We cannot speak of a specific cuisine of Spain, as it should be done on each regional cuisine that makes up the country. The gastronomy of Spain has some common features and characteristic, such as olive oil liquid gold in both oil and frying. The fried so important in the time of writing prescriptions for hundreds of dishes. The use of garlic and onions as major seasonings in food preparation. The habit of a glass of wine with meals and consumption of bread in them. The habit of eating healthy salads and use the time to take a dessert as a piece of fruit or a dairy product. And do not forget the sweetest moment in which we can find a wide variety of cakes and pastries.

Among the Spanish dishes you can find the famous tortilla de patatas, paella, pisto, the gazpacho, crumbs or embutidos (serrano ham, chorizo, blood sausage) and cheese. You can find dishes with lentils, chickpeas, beans, etc. Stews or soups each region has its own characteristics. Also bread has many ways to be made in each region. But desserts and sweets are quite similar in the different regions of the country. Flan, custard, rice with milk, toast, muffins or donuts are some of the most representative.many ways to be made in each region.

In the chapter of the wine, the variety of wines we can found throughout the Spanish territory is very wide. Each Autonomous Community has several wine regions of interest (Denomination of Origin) that produce wines of great quality and reputation as Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Jerez, ... Penedes and Cava found in Catalonia and Valencia. But other lesser-known regions on the outside also make high quality wines.

Research & Careers in Spain

Career & Working in Spain

Nationals of EU countries, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland may freely work in Spain. If you are offered a contract, your employer will normally steer you through any bureaucracy.

Virtually everyone else is supposed to obtain, from a Spanish consulate in their country of residence, a work permit and, if they plan to stay more than 90 days, a residence visa. These procedures are well nigh impossible unless you have a job contract lined up before you begin them.

Translating and interpreting could be an option if you are fluent in Spanish and a language in demand.

University students or recent graduates might be able to set up an internship with companies in Spain. The Association of International Students for Economics and Commerce (with branches throughout the world, helps member students find internships in related fields.

You can start a job search on the Web, for instance at Think Spain (

Living in Spain

In comparison with other European countries, living costs in Spain are low. Food is relatively cheap and the night life Spain is so famous for its affordability. Accommodation, on the other hand, can be tricky. A one-room apartment may cost you between 500 to 1000 per month, depending on the city, and campus accommodation rates range from 350 to 850.

Flat-sharing remains the best option. Not only is it cheaper, but it is a chance to meet people from around the world. Averaging between 200 to 300 per month (400 max with all gas/electricity bills) flat-sharing is the best option for any student´s budget. You will learn from your flat mates, share many memorable moments, and build an extensive network of lifelong friends.

It is no secret that Spain is a European hub for student exchanges and an attractive destination. The experience is unique and exciting. Some universities have adapted their learning processes to meet the needs of their multicultural students, delivering a truly international education. Spains key cities have all the facilities a student could need, and the Spanish approach to life is guaranteed to maximize every student´s social life. Last but not least, the business environment offers excellent career opportunities.

Regulations & Advice

EU member from 1-1-1986

Citizens from the European Union do not need a visa for Spain. With a valid Identification Card or passport, they can stay as long as they want. However, citizens from all other countries will require a visa stamped in their passport if they wish to remain in Spain longer than 90 days.

Regarding Visas, the Spanish Consulate in New York has posted this information in their Web site:

A student visa is mandatory for any foreigner wishing to study in Spain for 3 months or longer. Citizens of other countries can travel to Spain without a visa for tourist or business purposes for up to 90 days, after which time a visa is required. The visa is processed in your country of residence prior to your departure. You cannot get the visa in Spain, and you cannot have it sent to you. The visa is affixed in your passport before you depart your country, and must be presented at the border Officials upon your entry into Spain.

All student visas are valid for a period of 90 days from your entry day into Spain, during which time you must contact the local authorities to acquire a student residency card. This "Spanish Student Residency Card" is then valid for as long as you are enrolled in the program in Spain.

Due to the overwhelming demand for student visas, it is important that you allow enough time for the Consulate to process your visa. On specially busy days at the Consulate, it is occasionally impossible to attend to all the applicants, so it is best to arrive early. Personal appearance is required in order to submit the documentation. We understand that this is difficult for some students. You must present the following documents:

* Passport valid for a minimum of 6 months. Make sure your passport is signed.
* 4 recent pictures, passport size (stapled on each copy of the application)
* Original letter addressed to this Consulate General verifying enrolment as a full-time student in an official University or School in Spain, and verification of full payment of tuition. This is not the letter of acceptance that says: "congratulations you have been accepted....." This must be a separate letter directed to this Consulate General of Spain, verifying your enrolment and payment of tuition.
* Medical certificate. This is a letter typed on your doctor's stationary verifying that you are in good health, free of contagious disease, drug addiction or mental illness. These items must be specified in the letter, and a medical doctor must sign it.

You must also submit one of the following items to guarantee living expenses while in Spain:

* Letter from the study abroad program assuming full financial responsibility for tuition, room and board for the student during his stay in Spain. For many students this information is included on the previously mentioned letter of acceptance.
* An account in a Spanish bank with a minimum balance of 350.00 per month of stay in Spain.
* Proof of having received financial aid or scholarship covering expenses for tuition, room, board, and personal expenses during the stay in Spain (minimum of 350 per month).
* Letter from parents assuming full financial responsibility for at least 350 per month of stay in Spain.

Plan your trip ahead of time! Be advised that answer to your application might take several weeks depending on each case.

About Spain

The Spanish university system dates back to the Middle Ages. The oldest among Spanish Universities is Salamanca, founded in 1218. The present system, however, is actually descendant of the 19th century liberal university, inspired by the centralized French model. In the last years, it has experienced its greatest growth in history, while at the same time advancing towards a self-governing and descentralized system.

Form of Government: Parliamentary Monarchy

Population: 40,548,753 (July 2010 est.)

Capital: Madrid

Area: 505,370 sq km

Largest Cities: Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville

Ethnic Groups: composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types

Religious Affiliations: Roman Catholic 94%, other 6%

Education expenditure as a share of GDP: 4.2% (2005)

Number of years of compulsory schooling: 11

Monetary Unit: Euro

Economy: Exports - machinery, motor vehicles; foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, medicines, other consumer goods. Imports - machinery and equipment, fuels, chemicals, semifinished goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods, measuring and medical control instruments

Major trade partners for exports: France, Germany, Portugal, Italy, UK, US

Major trade partners for imports: Germany, France, Italy, China, UK, Netherlands

Institutes in Spain

1 Short course in Jaén


3 Short courses in Mataró


7 Short courses in Málaga


2 Short courses in Murcia


1 Short course in Zaragoza



anywhere