Top Ten Reasons to Study Abroad in Spain

Expanded from our original top ten reasons to study abroad article, this article focuses on the top ten reasons to study abroad in Spain. Not sure if Spain is right for you? Here are ten reasons to say "si!"

1. Discover drama.

From the stomping heels of flamenco dancers to the twirling red capes of the bullfighters, Spain knows drama. It isn't just limited to the familiar cliches either--consider the daring foams of chef Ferran Adriá, the films of Pedro Almodóvar and the dripping architecture of Gaudí's church in Barcelona. If life feels drab and dull, a little Spain can set you right.

Top Ten Reasons to Study Abroad in Spain - Beautiful Guadi Architecture

2. Speak español.

Spanish ranks in the top three most commonly spoken languages in the world, along with Chinese and English. As Spain is home base for Spanish, where better to learn it?

3. Learn to say "qué rica".

Start your day with cafe con leche and a pastry from the local panadería. For lunch, try tortilla española (an egg and potato dish). Dinner is a late night affair in Spain, but tapas bridge the gap. These small dishes of deliciousness--mixed olives, serrano ham, manchego cheese--are a great accompaniment to a glass of Rioja wine. Still awake? Make it paella for dinner.

4. Explore the peninsula.

Spain is an interesting place to study because it has such variety within its borders. It boasts a complicated history, from Moorish rule to Catholic empire to bloody Civil War. And it is marked by strong regional identities, from sunny Andalucia in the south to the mountainous Basque area up north.

Top Ten Reasons to Study Abroad in Spain - A Seaside Tower on the Wall of Tossa de Mar

5. Take it (relatively) easy.

French is peppered with vowels that never seem to get pronounced. Chinese requires learning a whole new system of writing. German words can go on forever. But not Spanish. The alphabet is familiar. Words can be sounded out easily. And the vocabulary has reassuring overlaps with English.

6. Enjoy nap time.

Who doesn't love a culture that appreciates the fine art of the nap? In Spain, it is traditional to allow workers a three hour break at midday for lunch and a nap. But be warned: Government offices and businesses in larger cities are abandoning the siesta, falling into line with E.U. working hours.

7. Don't miss the Prado.

Art lovers will find much to wow them in Spain, including the elongated figures of El Greco, the royal portraits of Velázquez, Goya's astonishingly modern late paintings, Picasso's chilling Guernica and the surrealism of Salvador Dalí.

Top Ten Reasons to Study Abroad in Spain - The Guggenheim at night in Bilbao

8. Head north (or south).

London and Paris are not known for their beautiful weather, unless you enjoy grey skies, a chill in your bones and drizzle. But sunny Spain is a great jumping off point for weekend trips to Europe's cooler climes. And thanks to its unique geographical location, it's just as easy to head south and explore North African destinations, such as Morocco.

9. Increase your resume appeal.

With Spanish the second most-common language in the U.S., companies are always on the lookout for bilingual employees. When competing with similarly skilled applicants back home, fluency in Spanish could tip the scales in your favor.

10. Add zest to your life.

"What I´m going to miss most, but will definitely be taking back with me, is the Spanish zest for life," says Melissa Wells, a student from the University of Maine who studied in Granada with AIFS. "They really do live each day (and night) to the fullest."

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