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About Spain

The first settlers on the Peninsula were the Celts and the Iberians. It is said that Hispania (the name the Romans used to describe the Peninsula) is a word of Semitic origin from Hispalis (Seville).In the 15th century, during the reign of the Catholic King and Queen and under their auspice, Columbus discovered the New Continent (America), new boundary of what would be the largest Western empire. The 16th century represents the zenith of Spanish hegemony in the world, a process that would last until the middle of the 17th century.

Why Study In Spain

Higher education in Spain has its origins in the Middle Ages. The University of Salamanca, founded in 1218, is the first University established in Spain. Obviously, history has changed the way the system has worked, and the current system derives from the French model of the 19th century.

However, Spanish Universities have recently gone through important changes that have led to a self-governing and decentralized system. In addition, the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) is forcing Spanish universities to converge into one common system compatible with all European Universities.
The educational policy is controlled by the Ministry of Education together with the departments of higher education in the universities. Within this framework, the Consejo de Universidades outlines the requirements to create new universities, centers and institutes. In addition, it helps regulating advanced graduate studies.

Within the higher education level, Spain has public and private Universities. Universities are organized in Schools (Facultades), and within each School there are different Departments, which specialize in a specific part of the corresponding science. Currently, the Spanish university system comprises 49 public universities, 14 private ones, and 4 Catholic Church universities.

Regarding its content, the Spanish university system displays an equilibrium between scientific disciplines included in the social sciences and humanities (History, Economics, Literature, Philosophy, etc.), and the pure sciences (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, etc). Likewise, within the different Universities we may find scientific disciplines specifically applied to the society. An adequate equilibrium between theory and practice is carefully achieved in disciplines like Architecture, Medicine or Law.

Also, it is becoming very common to see Universities that offer a higher university degree which interlaces academic contents from several scientific disciplines (economics and law, business and Tourism, Languages and Marketing etc). This option generates professionals with a very high level of training, who are very sought after by national and international companies.

Living in Spain

Spanish is one of the most important languages in global communication today. It is the official language in twenty-one countries, and close to four hundred million people around the world speak Spanish.

Spanish is one of the most-used languages among the major international organizations, and its political and diplomatic influence continues to grow. In the business world, the Spanish language provides access to an increasingly expanding market as well as to the most promising emerging economies. Moreover, Spanish is the gateway to a rich and diverse culture, universal in all its expressions.

Spain, a member of the European Union, was the cradle of the Spanish language. It was in Spain where the contributions of the great civilizations Greek, Roman, Arabic joined together to shape the language, and from Spain where Spanish spread throughout the world, becoming an international language.

Today, the Spanish language is a valuable asset, as thousands of people and companies offer services and products based in the language.

It is possible to work on a student visa in Spain, but since the main goal of your stay in Spain is to study, any work you do is regulated with this in mind.
You can work part-time when school is in session, or full-time during school breaks for less than three months. However, this falls into two categories: internships (prácticas see internships under Workers’ Rights here) and working under a special student work visa (called an Autorización Excepcional de Trabajo).

An eligible internship (paid or unpaid) must be part of your university studies and will be supervised by your university. You must be under 30 years old and the internship will have a maximum duration of one year. You don’t need any special permission, as everything is already regulated by an agreement between the university and the employer.

Option two is a special student work visa (Autorización Excepcional de Trabajo). Once a company has agreed to hire you, your future employer must apply for it on your behalf and you cannot work for up to three months while it is being processed.

Otherwise, if you have an employer willing to hire you and you want to transition to a regular work and residence visa while still in Spain, you must have studied legally in Spain for a minimum of three years and have earned passing grades or marks. If not, you must return to your home country to have the visa processed as would any other normal work and residence visa.

Understanding the Education System

During the last few years there has been a surge in organizations and institutions oriented towards post-degree studies and continuous education, which has significantly multiplied the diversity of studies and training available.
The variety and specialization of the teaching profiles of each of these organizations makes it difficult to provide an exact classification, although they could be considered as centers for post-degree studies and business schools.

The main characteristics of the studies available in these centers combine:
- A high degree of specialization.
- Demanding academic level.
- Shorter programs (between 8 and 24 months) than the official courses.
- Oriented for the most part towards students that already have a higher education university degree.

Academic Calendar

The Spanish academic year lasts for nine months and is usually divided into three terms of classes, separated by holiday periods, although for academic purposes, universities tend to use semsters (the first from October to February and the second from February to June). Class start at the end of September or the beginning of October for students on Degree, Diploma or Engineering courses, although the year is structured differently for postgraduates.

The first long holiday periods is at Christmas (from 22nd December until 8th January approximately). Once of the main Christmas festivities is 6th January, the Feast of the Epiphany, when presents are exchanged and family events held. 6th January, the of the Three Kings, is a national public holiday.

The Easter holidays normally last for one week (between March and April) and the summer holidays start in June, lasting almost three months (except for students who have failed, or not taken, certain exams and who have to re-sit these in September, prior to starting the new academic year).

There are also what are commonly known as "bridges" (puentes, which are mini-breaks which occur when a public holiday falls on a Thursday, Friday or Monday, leading to people taking a long weekend. You must also take into account public holidays and festivities at local level.

As regards classes, there are normally two sessions: morning (with classes starting at 8am and running through to 2 pm, approximately), and afternoon/evening (from 4pm until 9pm approximately), although you may have classes both in the morning and the afternoon.

Some universities, in particular those with a large student body, offer the chance to choose morning or afternoon timetables, whereas at others there is no choice. In some cases (if you prefer a certain tutor, or have requirements for employment reasons, for example) you may have the option of attending a class outside the timetable desiganted upon registration. In these cases you need to complete the necessary procedures with the university and must obtain your tutor's approval.

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Region Southern Europe
Currency Euro (EUR)
Surface Area 505992
Sq. Km.
Population 44904000
Population Density 88.7 / square kilometre
Capital City Madrid
GDP (million current US$) 1464090
GDP per capita (current US$) 32605.1
CPI: Consumer Price Index 125
Temperature °C (min/max) 9.7/19.5
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