"Fortune favors the audacious." - Erasmus
Over 350,000 international students took part in the Erasmus programme in 2017-2018. The most popular country is France and Spain is second.
There are plenty of agreements between British and Spanish universities allowing an international student to study in Spain.
If you're confused about enrollment, now sure when the deadline is, or are just asking yourself “why study abroad?”, here are the steps for spending a year abroad in Spain as part of your degree.
The Requirements for Studying in Spain
British students can study and live abroad in other countries in the European Union without the need for a visa. You’ll just need your passport.
This includes Spain. You won’t need a visa there, either.
There are a few conditions:
- Enrol in a university (or another establishment) to study or do an internship or work placement.
- Have sufficient resources to survive in the country.
- Have health insurance
Taking Care of Yourself as a Student in Spain
You can get an EHIC for European Countries. However, it is advised that you get insurance, anyway.
The EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) means that healthcare fees will be covered. You can find travel and health insurance on plenty of websites and through British insurance companies.
The card is free and valid for up to five years. It means that your medical care will be the same as that of a Spanish citizen. However, not everything costs the same as in the UK. This why health insurance and travel insurance is important.
It’s recommended that you go to public hospitals or a centro de salud so that you don’t get charged a fortune for healthcare.
This is applicable for anyone staying less than three months. If you’re staying beyond that, you should get Spanish health insurance.
Check Your Eligibility for Studying in Spain
To head to Spain, you’ll need to get a credencial de acceso proving the validity of your A Levels from the Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia (UNED).
You can do this online by creating an account. Once you’ve created your online account, you can fill your application.
You then need to complete an online document. This is in Spanish so make sure you’re not skipping any of your Spanish classes. There are two fields that may cause problems.
- Provincia de Nacimiento: Region of birth.
- Tipo Recogida: Collection type. If you’re not able to pick it up in Madrid, you probably want Envío por correo al domicilio indicado.
There are three types of fields:
- Ciencias y Tecnología (Science and Technology)
- Humanidades y Ciencias sociales (Humanities and Social Sciences)
- Artes – artes plásticas imagen y diseño; o artes escénicas, música y danza (Arts).
You’ll then get a score out of 10 based on your A Level results. This will be an average of your results and is for Spanish universities. This is why you want to make sure you’ve got good grades.
In fact, competition for places in Spanish universities is high. You need to usually apply before July.
If you’ve already studied in the UK, you can continue your studies in Spain thanks to the Erasmus programme. You can get your degree converted by the Spanish Ministry of Education and enrol in the course of your choice.
To get the credencial de acceso you’ll have to pay €105 so make sure you’ve correctly filled out the form. Don’t forget to print out your proof of payment.
You’ll send your application in the post to the UNED with the following documents:
- Two signed copies of the forms.
- A copy of your proof of payment.
- A photocopy of your A Levels
- A transcript of your results
- A photocopy of your identity card (front and back)
Make sure that your photocopies are certified by the Spanish embassy. To do this, you’ll need to make sure that you bring the photocopies and the originals.
However, you can send the application before you get your A Level results. You just need to send the results later on.
Heading to Spain Thanks to Erasmus+
If you want to head to Spain during your studies, you can go on Erasmus and get an Erasmus grant. This can come out to between €120 and €150 per month.
What if you don’t get the Erasmus grant?
There are also other types of financial assistance available to students to study abroad. Whether you're studying economics, language and culture, science, humanities, etc., there are scholarships available for the best and brightest.
Check with your university for the other types of bursaries, grants, and financial aid available to you.
Tuition fees in Spain are as follows:
- Degree (grado) in a public university: between €535 and €1,280 per academic year.
- Degree (grado) in a private university: between €5,335 and €12,805 per academic year.
- Master’s degree: between €995 and €1,920 per academic year.
You should pay a visit to the international office at your university. Generally, if you want to apply (before March), you’ll need to send:
- A cover letter
- A letter of recommendation from teachers
- A transcript of your results
In some cases, you’ll be required to do a language test. Make sure you find out what the exam or test involves and prepare yourself.
You will also need to complete an Erasmus study contract which outlines the course you’re going to do and the corresponding ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) credits. You’ll need this to validate your UK degree when you come back.
You’ll need to give all the necessary documents to the international office.
For Stays Greater than 3 Months, Register with the Local Authorities
While you don’t need a visa to stay longer than 3 months, you should register with the local police or town hall.
This will include your name, address, and the date you register. This proves that you have the right to live in the country. You’ll be given it immediately and it doesn’t run out. This means you won’t need to renew it.
However, you do need to change it if you change your address.
Here are the documents that you’ll need:
- Your ID or passport
- Proof of enrolment
- Proof of means
- Proof of health insurance
In Spain, this costs €11. Make sure you have it on you at all times as you can be fined for not carrying the proof.
This will allow you to get a Foreigner Identification Number (NIE). You can request this at either the police station or the immigration office.
Your NIE will be needed to open a bank account in Spain, get a phone contract or internet, get travel cards, or water or electricity.
Getting your NIE can take a long time, especially in the bigger cities. If you know that you’re going to spend longer than 3 months in Spain, it's recommended you start the process as soon as possible.
If you want to stay in Spain longer than planned, you’ll need to prove that you’re still enrolled at the university, still have the necessary means and health insurance. If this isn’t the case, you could be sent back at the border.
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So are you ready to start studying in Spain?
If you're still feeling a bit lost, most universities have a study abroad office where you can prepare for your departure and speak to an advisor.
Whether you're an undergraduate, postgraduate, just doing some language courses for a semester, there are plenty of advantages to studying abroad for a limited period as an exchange student or getting your entire education abroad.
If you just need to brush up on your language skills, you can also do intensive language study in many Spanish cities including Seville, Granada, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, etc. Spending just a summer abroad shows that you're willing to go abroad, for one, and you can also get academic credit for your degree with some of these short courses.
International study is much easier since you won't need a student visa and many employers are now looking for alumni with intercultural and international experience.
There's never been a better time to go abroad, hang out on Spanish campuses, and get an international education.
If you need to brush up on your Spanish, you can get help from the private tutors on Superprof. You can search by subject and location and there are three types of tutorials available: face-to-face, online, and group. Don't forget that most tutors offer the first hour of tutoring for free so you can see if you get along and if their teaching approaches are right for you.