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Study in Salamanca, Spain

Study in Salamanca, Spain

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The Plaza Mayor in Salamanca

Situated in northwestern Spain, the city of Salamanca is located in the Autonomous Community of Castile and Leon and is the capital of the Province of Salamanca.  In 1988, the “old town” portion of the city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO—the cultural arm of the United Nations.

Salamanca has a population of approximately 230,000, making it the second-most populated urban area in the community of Castile and Leon, trailing only the city of Valladolid (415,000) in that category. It is located approximately 120 miles west of Madrid—the Spanish capital—and 50 miles east of the Portuguese border.

Salamanca is one of the most influential university cities in Spain and supplies some 16 percent of the country’s market for the teaching of the Spanish language. The city attracts thousands of international students each year, creating an environment that is very culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse.  The University of Salamanca, which was founded in 1134, is the oldest university in Spain and the fourth oldest western university.  It was the first university in Europe to be given its status by the Roman Catholic Pope—Pope Alexander IV—who gave universal validity to its degrees. With its 30,000 students, the university, together with Salamanca’s impressive tourism industry, is a primary source of income for the city.

Although not large by any definition, Salamanca offers a wealth of things to do and see. All the buildings in the center of town, including the more modern structures, are made of the stone from Villamayor, which contains a high concentration of iron, giving the city its unique golden hue and fantastic personality.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Salamanca is the Cathedral, designed in the Plateresque style of architecture, which mixes both Gothic and Renaissance elements.
Locals refer to the cathedral as "La Nueva," or the new one, as the old cathedral still exists at its side.

Walking from the Cathedral, down a narrow street known as Calle Calderón, you will arrive at the University quarter.  Here guests will find the aforementioned University of Salamanca, as well as several other noteworthy attractions.  One of these sites is the statue of Fray Luis de Leon, a tribute to the famous poet and professor of the university who was persecuted during the Spanish Inquisition.  After having spent years in prison, he returned to his teaching duties at the university, and as legend would have it, his first words were: "As we mentioned yesterday ...” Other attractions in the University Quarter include the Unamuno Museum; the gorgeous, Renaissance-themed University Hospital; the Old Library, famous for its renowned fresco painting "The Heaven of Salamanca"; the Palacio Anaya; and the 15th century Casa de las Conchas.

Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor is also worth a visit.  This large square, created in the 18th century by the architect Churriguera, is one of the most beautiful in Spain. Plaza Mayor is considered the hub of Salamanca, not only geographically but also culturally. Along the streets that form the square one can find many important monuments, including the church Iglesia de la Purisima; the Monastery of Saint Ursula; the Capuchins Church; the College of the Archbishop of Fonseca; and the Monasterio de los Irlandeses, complete with an outstanding 16th century Renaissance court created by the famed architect Berruguete.

Finally, after seeing the sights and sounds of Salamanca by day, be sure to check out the city’s legendary nightlife.  Throughout the city there are a number of fantastic restaurants, nightclubs and bars, where delicious tapas are served free (usually) with your drink order.  The clubs and discotheques offer just the right atmosphere for (literally) partying the night away, and being that Salamanca is a university town, you’re sure to find just the right place—one that suits both your tastes and your budget.

There are few places in the world that inspire as much beauty, romance and rapture as the Spanish gem of Salamanca. This robust city beats with a passionate heart, prizing happiness and adventure above the mindless drone of industry. The natives may be friendly, but it’s the students that can be found in droves on Salamanca’s streets. They not only receive some of the best education in Europe, but also undertake the most amazing social escapades.
Salamanca is one of Spain’s more preferred destinations for higher education studies, especially in regards to language. The city draws in a huge population of international students because of the wide availability of Spanish-language schools, as well as a huge native population from across Spain. Native Spanish students pursue studies in Salamanca because of its famous university, study abroad programs and after-school activities.
There is one major public university in Salamanca – the aptly named University of Salamanca. There is also a private Catholic university and multiple foreign campuses from European and United States schools. The language-learning schools that litter the city are typically offered to children and adults of all ages, instead of being primarily post-secondary programs. 
Most students, however, choose Salamanca as their educational base because of activities outside of school. After a fantastic meal of authentic, grilled Spanish food or traditional tapas fare, students can enjoy marketplace plazas, stunning cathedrals, beautiful convents and other gorgeous sights (even the universities have some architectural wonders to explore). Live music, bicycling and other activities are also readily available in Salamanca.
Other considerations for future students of Salamanca include:
  • Majority of courses taught in Spanish.
  • Some institutions are religiously affiliated.
  • Extremely safe city.
Major Fields of Study in Salamanca
The University of Salamanca is the fundamental purveyor of diverse studies in the city of Salamanca. It provides nearly every degree course a student could possible conceive. However, there are certain studies that have earned more popularity in Salamanca, due to more widely available courses in those subjects.
Salamanca has long had a reputation for teaching the Spanish language to international students. This claim is well founded; there are at least six Spanish language schools located in the city districts of Salamanca, with more scattering the outskirts. Along with these language studies, there are several other subjects that represent the major fields of study in Salamanca. Basically, Salamanca is well known for providing comprehensive programs in the following areas:
  • Spanish language
  • Engineering
  • Architect ure
Schools of Salamanca
The following list represents the two major universities in Salamanca, along with an example of an international language school. Combined, it displays the types of higher education available to students, along with the most prominent institutions in the city.
  1. The University of Salamanca is the main public university of Salamanca. It is considered on an educational level with universities like Oxford. It offers multiple undergraduate, graduate and doctorate programs in a wide range of subjects, as well as further education and job-training courses.
  2. The Pontifical University of Salamanca is a private, Catholic university with studies focused mainly in architecture, engineering and technology. It offers undergraduate and graduate programs at campuses in Salamanca and Madrid. It also offers exchange programs and summer courses to international students.
  3. Tía Tula is a Spanish language-learning college that combines academic studies with everyday applications. Many students attend studies here if they are hoping to become Spanish teachers, bilingual instructors or business experts with a need for Spanish language skills.