Psychology Schools and Programs in Spain
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Psychology Studies in SpainPsychology in Spain is a relatively small field compared to other countries with similar levels of academic achievement and availability. Its first faculty in psychology was opened in 1902, fairly early in the history of the discipline, but psychology has always had far more practitioners in the Germanic countries due to the vagaries of intellectual culture. As a result, non-Spanish students of psychology do not typically think of studying in Spain when they consider their options for studying psychology abroad – Austria, Germany, the UK, and other countries with a more robust history of academic psychology are more common choices.
However, there are several advantages to studying psychology in Spain, perhaps chief among them being the location. In spite of recent turmoil in the EU, Spain still maintains one of the highest quality of life ratings in the world, and is globally renowned for its vibrant culture, mild continental climate, and immense natural beauty. Studying in Spain’s major cities affords easy access to travel all over Europe, along with a highly modern, convenient, and cosmopolitan pace of life. Studying in more rural areas, on the other hand, offers the advantage of peace and quiet for students to focus on their studies and perhaps on exploring the beautiful Spanish countryside during their downtime. Much like any other highly-developed country, Spain is internally diverse, comfortable, and safe.
One of the reasons foreign students tend not to study in Spain is that psychology programs there are nearly always offered in Spanish (or, in some cases, minority languages such as Basque or Catalan). Thus, it is necessary to have a sophisticated prior knowledge of the Spanish language – and not only the language as a whole, but also the specialized academic vocabulary employed by professional psychologists. This is particularly true for graduate programs, which will invariably require students to express and challenge sophisticated psychological ideas with appropriate terminology.
However, students who are native speakers of Spanish (either Spanish nationals or citizens of Latin American countries) will likely find no better place to learn psychology in their native language. The quality of education in psychology is much higher in Spain than it is in the majority of Latin American countries, and Spain has the additional benefit of conferring EU educational privileges on graduates from Spanish institutions. Thus, a student could get his or her degree in Spain and go on to practice in many countries throughout the EU as well as Latin America. On the other hand, a degree from Argentina or Mexico, say, would most likely not be recognized outside of that country. Thus, for those who want to go on to have career opportunities in psychology after they graduate, and who wish to take their classes in Spanish, Spain is an outstanding choice.
The other group of students who may consider studying in Spain is those interested in the emerging field of cross-cultural psychology. Cross-cultural psychologists work on the issues of communication, cooperation, and perception that transcend cultural boundaries, and may be aided in their careers by a first-hand knowledge of cross-cultural transitions. Thus, learning psychology in Spain would be not only an education in the traditional sense, but also a kind of hands-on field work for students in this sub-discipline.