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Study in Pamplona, Spain

Study in Pamplona, Spain

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Pamplona in winter

The city of Pamplona, Spain is a typical Spanish city in that it is laden with spectacular history, culture and natural beauty.  The city, which is home to approximately 200,000 permanent residents, was made famous by the award-winning novel The Sun Also Rises, penned by the renowned American author Ernest Hemingway.  Along with Hemingway’s many complimentary descriptions of Pamplona, the book also highlights the city’s illustrious annual (July 7-14th) San Fermin Festival, which includes the well-known Running of the Bulls eventa tradition that consistently attracts thousands of people each year from across the globe.

Located in Northern Spain, Pamplona is the capital of the Navarra region of Spain and is conveniently linked, via an excellent highway system, with the cities of Zaragoza, San Sebastian and Vitoria, each home to international airports that make getting to Pamplona easy and hassle-free.

Known as one of the \"greenest\" cities in Europe, Pamplona is home to an unprecedented number of parks and gardens and is surrounded by natural beauty.  On one side of the city visitors are treated to the gorgeous natural flora along the Arga River, while on the opposite side of the town, the lush Alpine valley of the Pyrenees mountain range affords breathtaking views of the region’s exceptional greenery.

Although known as the historical capital of the Basque Country, Pamplona continues to maintain a very youthful feel, thanks in large part to the city’s diverse university community.  Foreign students and visitors abound in this “college town,” making it very easy to forge new friendships and create memories that will last a lifetime.

The main sights and attractions of Pamplona are dispersed throughout the city’s "old town" quarter, which is divided into three parts: La Navarrerá, the oldest part of the city; and the 12th century neighborhoods of the once rivaling towns of San Cernin and San Nicolás.

The downtown city center of Pamplona is especially enjoyable, a place at which both visitors and locals can enjoy the spectacular architecture of the town and the many unique museums. While the spirit of the old town (where a flurry of constant activity occurs) is most certainly found in the Plaza del Castillo, the remaining stretches of Pamplona's formidable defensive walls, which include the magnificent Romanesque Gothic Cathedral (which has seen many archeological excavations) and the Ciudadela, are also intriguing places that should not be left unexplored.

Although Pamplona has a long and storied history, it was the 11th Century that marked the city’s "golden years"—a time in which the town’s strategic location along the Camino de Santiago (pilgrimage route) brought unparalleled economic development and success and sparked commercial and cultural exchanges with the countries on the other side of the Pyrenees. During the 16th century, Pamplona became a key defensive outpost against France, and by the 18th century the city had become incredibly wealthy with a much improved infrastructure.

As a potential new student or young visitor to Pamplona you’ll be happy to know the city offers a very vibrant nightlife, with revelers often partying until dawn on the weekends.  On most nights, the merriment begins in the old quarter with pintxos (tapas) and drinks, followed by dancing and socializing at the many bars and nightclubs located downtown.  If food is more your thing, the Basque country—and Pamplona in particular—are known for having one of the healthiest and most delicious gastronomies in all of Spain, thanks mainly to the region’s proximity to the local sea, rivers, fertile valleys and mountains.

The most famous celebration in Pamplona is the aforementioned San Fermin Festival, in which thousands of Spaniards and foreign tourists gather together to take part in the famous Running of the Bulls. During this event, the route of gated streets through Pamplona fills with people who daringly sprint in front of the angry bulls as they make their way to the Plaza de Toros (bullring), where matadors ultimately put on a splendid bullfighting display.

Overall, Pamplona has one of the best standards of living in Spain, marked by ample parks and green space, a high level of industry, an excellent education and health system, low crime rate and friendly locals who eagerly welcome the presence of new visitors.

Boisterous, brilliant and known for its bulls, Pamplona is an eclectic city with a fiery, unquenchable spirit. The dramatic pride of this Spanish city runs in the blood of its natives and seeps quickly into visiting travelers. Pamplona’s allure draws even more crowds than just adventure-seeking tourists; it attracts a large student body that perfectly balances academic pursuits with the city’s charming distractions.
When it comes to the total number of institutions within the city, Pamplona doesn’t measure up to some other schools located in Spain. However, this does not affect the quality of those institutions. The main universities – one private and one public – work together to provide Pamplona with comprehensive courses and programs in a variety of higher education subjects. Besides universities, the city also offers post-secondary education in the form of a business school (ESIC Navarra), UNED distance education programs and an international language college.
Some students may be confused by the presence of ‘colegios’ in Pamplona. There are not higher education colleges. For the most part, colegios in Spain cater to children in primary and secondary grades. They almost never offer any further or higher education programs and should not be considered locations for post-secondary studies.
The city’s most famous attraction is certainly not one to be missed – the festival of San Fermín, in which daring students can observe (or join!) the traditional running of the bulls. However, there are also less dangerous pursuits. This includes sightseeing at the local historic cathedrals or visiting the famous, luscious green parks within the city. Traditional Spanish and Basque food is readily available anywhere, but the local paella – a seafood dish – is highly recommended. Students can then cool off the rest of the night at a local bar, including a two hundred year old café.
Other considerations for students studying in Pamplona include:
  • Majority of courses taught in English.
  • Reputation for dirty, filthy city streets.
Major Fields of Study in Pamplona
The higher educational opportunities in the city of Pamplona are considerably slanted towards certain fields of study. The city, not being one of the largest educational locations in France, has limited educational choices- mainly due to lack of schools. While there is still a fairly broad range of studies, there are very few pursuits in areas like fine arts, design, advanced sciences and certain technologies (such as molecular science or biotechnology).
The following list of major fields of study in Pamplona is derived from the number of available courses in Pamplona’s schools, student enrollment and academic ratings. These subjects are the most widely offered, receive the highest amount of student enrollment and the highest ratings according to many national and international standards.

  • Economics
  • Law
  • Humanities and social sciences
  • Business

Schools of Pamplona

The following schools represent most of the higher education opportunities in Pamplona. Aside from these schools, there is also a language school, but this educational facility will only cater to students seeking to learn Spanish.
  1. The University of Navarre is the main private institution in Pamplona. Founded by the Opus Dei sect of the Catholic Church, it is often regarded as one of the top private universities in Spain. It has hugely successful programs in economics and law, and offer’s degrees at a bachelor, master and doctorate level.
  2. The Public University of Navarre, otherwise known as the Universidad Pública de Navarra, is a public institution with a main campus in Pamplona. Its main academic focuses are in business, economics, law, agricultural, engineering and health science and social sciences.
  3. ESIC Navarra is a business school offering undergraduate and international degrees in marketing, management, sales, business, administration, advertising and public relations. Some of their programs focus on business studies regarding certain Spanish cities, like Valencia or Madrid.