Spain Study Abroad Country Profile

Spain Overview

Spain is a confluence of the various cultures and traditions of Southern Europe and Northern Africa. The influence of many religions and ethnicities is evident throughout Spain, from the traditional flamenco dance brought to Andalucia by the gypsies, to the bullfighting that was originally brought to Spain by the Greeks and Phoenecians, where it was later picked up by the Moors, who turned it into the ritualistic and timeless tradition that it is today. From Spain’s historical cities to its pastoral countryside and vibrant southern reaches, there is something for everyone here. Picturesque mountain ranges and medieval towns are just some of the other treasures waiting to be discovered.

Cultural Highlights

Spain is unique because of the sheer extent to which other cultures and traditions have come to shape its national identities. Of course, taking in a flamenco performance and witnessing a bullfight are must-dos, but what else does Spain have to offer? Or, really, what doesn’t Spain have to offer?

It has historic and modern architecture alike, cathedrals, Gothic and Roman churches, centuries old universities, world-class museums like the Prado, and everything from hole-in-the-wall cafes to Michelin-rated restaurants. The gastronomic culture in Spain is very important – famous feasts, often accompanied by other traditions like bullfighting, are held all over the country throughout the year. Football (soccer) is very popular in Spain, and FC Barcelona has a major national and international following. Take in a La Liga game in Barcelona or play with friends.

Popular Fields of Study

Spain is a popular destination for those interested in learning Spanish. Whether you are just starting out with the language or practicing your skills, being immersed in Spanish culture will help you improve your skills. Iberian studies is another popular Spain study abroad topic of study here. Art majors and art history buffs will find refuge in Spain’s phenomenal museums, and theologians can study the influence of Christianity and Islam on various aspects of Spanish life and culture. There are opportunities to study Catalan, one of Spain’s other official languages (there are four in total).

Why Study Abroad in Spain?

Spain has many unique advantages as a study abroad destination. Here are ten reasons why you should consider studying abroad in Spain.

1. Learn Spanish

Spain is a great choice if you want to learn Spanish, especially if you are in one of Spain’s urban areas. Spain is fantastic for new learners or those with previous Spanish experience.

2. Watch A Soccer Game

See a world class soccer game surrounded by other die-hard fans. Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Europe, seating nearly 100,000 people.

3. Fantastic Museums

Spain’s museums are some of the finest in the world. There are a variety of museums throughout the country, though art museums like the Prado are probably the most famous.

4. Barcelona

Barcelona contains many points of interest, and it is great for sightseeing. Notable attractions include La Seu Cathedral, a magnificent Gothic cathedral, and the Casa Mila, one of the most memorable works by Antoni Gaudi.

5. The Running Of The Bulls

Though it isn’t advised that you participate in the actual event, the running of the bulls in Pamplona happens during the lively nine-day festival of San Fermin.

6. Beaches

Spain has over 5,000 miles of coastline, many of which are to the south along the Mediterranean. Enjoy a long weekend at any of Spain’s fantastic beaches.

7. Passport To Europe

Spain is a great starting point for other European adventures, either during a break in your semester or after your Spain study abroad program has concluded.

8. Morocco

Day and weekend trips to Morocco, in northern Africa, are popular with students. You will get to see more during a long weekend. Enjoy the views of Southern Spain and the Strait of Gibraltar from the ferry.

9. Food

From sangria to tapas and paella, sample a wide variety of traditional and modernized dishes in any of Spain’s fantastic restaurants.

10. Friendly People

Spanish people are friendly and generally accepting of a wide variety of lifestyles. Don’t hesitate to practice your Spanish with the locals you'll encounter every day.

Spain Study Abroad Statistics

Spain Country Ranking: 3

(based on total outbound U.S. students)
  • % of U.S. students: 10.7%
  • Total US Students 2005/06: 21,881
  • Total US Students 2006/07: 24,055
  • Yearly 2006/07 Trend: 9.7%
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