Five Reasons To Study Abroad in Spain

by Jordan Luke

There are countless reasons why Spain is a wonderful destination to study abroad. From the soulful sounds and sights of Flamenco music and dance, to the rich taste and smell of tapas, Spain is a beautiful country, filled with passion, and provides an adventure for all senses.

Sevilla, Spain
Sevilla, Spain: a scenic place to study abroad. Photo by Kaitlin Powers

Here are the five best reasons you should consider studying abroad in Spain:

Soccer. Whether they’re cheering for the world-famous Real Madrid or FC Barcelona, or are die-hard fans of a smaller local club, Spaniards are intense about fútbol. Perhaps it’s because they breed so much pure talent. Winners of the latest World Cup in 2010 and the past two EuroCup Championships, Spaniards are natural fútbol prodigies. If you’re considering studying abroad in Spain, it’s a great idea to time your trip with one of the big soccer tournaments. Most cities have large viewing parties where you’ll want to be decked out in red and gold, chanting along with the shouts of “¡Qué viva España!

The Siesta. Spaniards have a beautiful view of time. They are laid-back, relaxed people who take time to stop and enjoy the little things in life, and don’t view punctuality as something essential for daily survival. It is not uncommon for a profesora to show up for class later than her students, or for businesses to frequently close for breaks. Spaniards take their time enjoying life. This is best reflected in their practice of the siesta, a daily rest period that occurs during a normal lunch hour. Schools, businesses, and shops close down in the early afternoon, generally between the hours of one to four, for people to go home, eat a large lunch, and nap. It’s a cultural practice that most visitors adore.

The Fiesta. Spain plays host to some of the world’s most intriguing festivals in the world. If you want a front-row seat to an event familiar around the world, take a trip in early July to Pamplona for the Fiesta de San Fermín, better known as the Running of the Bulls. Head farther south to Valencia in March for Las Fallas de San José. This festival honors the patron saint of carpenters, and each year gigantic ninots are built — cartoonish figurines of politicians or celebrities. Some are several stories high, and on display throughout the festival. At the end, all ninots but one favorite are burned.

If you want to experience Spain in a crazy hands-on way, on the last Wednesday of every August, the eastern town of Buñol presents La Tomatina, where nearly 100,000 pounds of tomatoes are brought in from all over Spain to provide the ammo for the world’s most epic food fight.

The World Is At Your Fingertips. Spain lies on the outer edge of Europe and is only a short plane, boat, or bus ride from some of Europe’s most sought-after destinations. Travel within Spain is cheap, as is travel abroad once you are there. France and Portugal are easily accessible for weekend trips, as is Northern Africa. Soaking up the Spanish vistas is one of the perks of studying abroad in Spain, but a quick and affordable trip outside the country is easily yours for the taking.

Somewhere For Everyone. Spain boasts a vast variety of cities and towns that are more than ideal for studying abroad. If you want to experience a large international city that moves quickly but still has that Spanish charm, Barcelona or Madrid are for you. If you’re craving a step back into history with a slower, southern pace, studying abroad in Sevilla or Granada will be right up your alley.

Also of note are the smaller Spanish towns that give visitors raw insight into the beauty of authentic Spanish life, such as Toldeo, Alcalá de Henares, or Pamplona. Regardless of the size, age, or look of the place you choose to study abroad in Spain, it will surely captivate you.