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HomeStudying in SpainThe Students Have Spoken: Spain Is the Most Popular Study Abroad Destination

The Students Have Spoken: Spain Is the Most Popular Study Abroad Destination

Students who decide to study abroad are also deciding to have the adventure of a lifetime. Studying in a foreign country provides many exciting opportunities, including sampling delicious cuisine, visiting incredible landmarks, learning new languages, adopting the social and cultural norms of their host country, and meeting people from all over the world.

Parque del Retiro in Madrid
Parque del Retiro in Madrid

A recent ranking by higher education search portal educations.com has now revealed that students want to have all of these experiences in Spain! The country was ranked first out of all European countries and second in the world.

Fredrik Högemark, the CIO of educations.com, says, “International students have special considerations when choosing an ideal university and program. We believe that Spanish universities offer an exceptional environment for students around the world to gain a high-quality education in a country that also has so many incredible cultural opportunities.”

In the survey, the 20,000 students from around the world shared their concerns and priorities when choosing where to study abroad. The factors that students voiced the most were used as the rationale behind the ranking. These seven reasons were:

  1. To experience a new culture
  2. To achieve career goals
  3. To have an adventure
  4. To make new friends/widen professional network
  5. To access higher quality teaching
  6. To study for free
  7. To attain a visa

External reports provided the data to score 61 countries around the world on each of the seven factors. The countries were then ranked by their total score, and Spain came out on top! The first choice for students wanting to study in Europe and the second choice after New Zealand worldwide, the exciting country of Spain certainly has a lot to offer students.

Let’s see how it measures up against the seven top reasons students decide to study abroad:

To experience a new culture

Spain certainly has a vivid, exciting culture characterized by its pre-Roman Celtic and Iberian roots. It has the third highest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the world, like the Cave of Altamira, the Historic City of Toledo, and the Alhambra in Granada. Come to Spain to view architectural masterpieces like the church of the Sagrada Família by Antoni Gaudí or gaze at paintings by Picasso or Dalí. When you need a break from all the art, architecture, and history, try a famous Spanish wine or sample delicious tapas!

To achieve career goals

Many students choose to gain valuable work experience while they study, and Spain certainly offers a good variety of options. Nationals of EU countries, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland may freely work in Spain. Everyone else must obtain a work permit and a residence visa if they plan to stay more than 90 days.

Many people choose to teach their language in Spain. For example, teaching English is a popular option that usually require a TEFL or similar qualification. Whether you land a job as a coffeehouse barista or decide to try your hand a teaching, working while you study in Spain usually comes with the benefit of improving your Spanish simultaneously. Learning Spanish opens up many doors professionally: Since 460 million people speak Spanish worldwide, there are many countries you can live and work in.

To have an adventure

Spain is famous for its laid-back lifestyle, fun fiestas, late-night dinners and parties, and postcard-worthy views. If you get tired of the endless restaurants, cafes, dance clubs, and shopping centers in the city (impossible!), you can explore one of the countless nature reserves around the country. If you really need a break from your studies, take the short flight to the Canary Islands and spend a weekend in a holiday paradise!

To make new friends/widen professional network

As with any other study abroad destination, making friends with locals is a key part of the experience! If you enjoy going out and socializing on the weekends, Spain is the place for you. With an endless list of vibrant nightclubs and A-list beach bars, there’s always a chance to meet new people and dance the night away!

If partying isn’t your thing, get involved in clubs or activities you think are fun! Join a cooking class, a gym, or an organization at your new school in Spain.

El Alcazar Castle in Segovia
El Alcazar Castle in Segovia

To access higher quality teaching

Spanish universities are some of the most renowned universities in the world. According to the QS World University Rankings, 27 Spanish universities are among the top schools in the world! Universities in Spain date back to the Middle Ages, and the oldest Spanish university, Salamanca, was founded in 1218! Choose between the largest and best universities in the country, like the University of Barcelona and the University of Madrid, and you’re guaranteed a quality education you can be proud of.

To study for free

Tuition fees in Spain are some of the lowest in Europe, with annual tuition fees falling between €2,000-3,500. Several options are available for students looking for financial help with their Spanish-based studies. These include loans, scholarships (even offered by the Spanish government) and various grants.

To attain a visa

Student visas in Spain are generally easy to get upon acceptance into a Spanish university. Foreign (non-EU) students generally need a long term visa to enter Spain which can be done from a Spanish consulate or embassy in your country of permanent residence. US students do not require a study visa if they plan on being in the country for less than 90 days.

Clearly, Spain checks all of the boxes! It’s not surprising that it’s the number one country in Europe for students who want to study abroad, or number two in the world!



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