Have you considered studying abroad in England but just can’t face the thought of the grey weather? Are you tempted by the Spanish climate and seaside but don’t speak a lick of Spanish? Well, have you heard of a little place called Gibraltar? A teeny tiny nation jutting out from the Iberian peninsula in the south of Spain, Gibraltar is a vestige of Britain in a Mediterranean climate. On a clear day, you can see all the way across to Africa, some days you can spot dolphins frolicking offshore, and pretty much every day you can see Europe’s only free-running monkeys. Safe to say, study abroad in Gibraltar is an unforgettable experience.
Choosing where to study in Gibraltar is easy: you can choose to study in the city of Gibraltar or...the city of Gibraltar. Don’t let the narrow choice of locations put you off though. Gibraltar packs a lot into this one little piece of land, and international students will never get bored.
There is a distinct British air around Gibraltar, perhaps because of the fish-and-chip shops and atmospheric seaside hotels that look like they belong in 1970s coastal England. There is also a noticeable disconnect from modern Britain though, with Gibraltar being separated from the United Kingdom by more than just distance. Gibraltar is like a sunnier slice of Britain that has been left behind in the 20th century, with its red pillar boxes and afternoon-teas. This is half the charm though, and you will find yourself celebrating like a local (i.e. decked out in red and white) on Gibraltar National Day.
Dominated by “the rock,” a limestone ridge jutting up fiercely towards the blue sky, and surrounded by pleasant waters, Gibraltar lacks for nothing in the natural beauty stakes. You can hike and swim to your heart’s content, and finish every day off with fresh seafood and Mediterranean sunsets.
Studying Abroad in Gibraltar
The University of Gibraltar is the hub of study abroad education in Gibraltar. With comprehensive courses available and ample support for international students, this university makes the transition to life in Gibraltar seamless.
The Gibraltar University opened in September 2015, and was the first institution to offer full-time tertiary education in Gibraltar. As such, studying abroad in Gibraltar means being a part of exciting educational development in a unique location. The school year follow the same term dates as the UK, so it is easy to find a study abroad program in Gibraltar for a fall, spring, or summer semester. You can also choose to attend Gibraltar College or other Gibraltar schools for higher education.
Although the language of Gibraltar is English, its proximity to Spain makes Gibraltar a great place to study Spanish. European studies is also a popular choice, as is history and political science. Surrounded on three sides by the sea, Gibraltar is also a great place to study marine biology.
Scholarships & Costs
The local currency in Gibraltar is the mighty pound, which can make living there expensive for international students. The cost of living in Gibraltar tends to be high, especially when it comes to rent and utilities. Usually accommodation is included in your program fees though, so unless you choose to find an apartment independently you won’t have to worry too much. The cost of things like entertainment and eating in restaurants is comparable to other countries in Europe. Gibraltar is a VAT free jurisdiction, which means that some goods, like perfume and alcohol, can be cheaper than other places in Europe.
To help offset the cost of studying in Gibraltar, it is always a good idea to check out the GoAbroad Scholarship Directory. There are a range of different financial aid options offered for students going abroad, it is just a matter of finding one applicable to your individual situation.
Accommodations & Visas
As you study in Gibraltar, most students are typically housed in apartments or student dorms with other international students. This arrangement is a handy way to make new friends, and be inspired by other like-minded travelers. You can expect to find all of the amenities you are accustomed to in Gibraltar, and you will enjoy a good standard of living.
As a British Overseas Territory, the visa system in Gibraltar is essentially the same as that of the UK. Students from within the European Union will not need a visa to study in Gibraltar. If you are from a non-EU country, you will need to apply for a student visa. The best source of information for student visas in Gibraltar is the GoAbroad Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
With a sunny climate, cultural diversity, and a prime location, there is not a lot to dislike about studying in Gibraltar. One of the main benefits of studying in this little British enclave is the number of travel opportunities you can take advantage of. Set smack between two continents, from Gibraltar you can discover Africa or explore more of Europe. A short ferry ride will take you to the souks of Morocco, while a short border hop will take you into Spain, and on to the rest of Europe. If you don’t actually feel like traveling to either of these places, you can simply climb the Upper Rock and gaze out across the sea to Morocco, or back to Spain.
The only challenge students might face while studying abroad in Gibraltar is the limited course options. Gibraltar doesn’t have the number of well-established educational institutes, or range of courses available in other European locations. Sadly, if your major isn’t offered, there aren’t really any alternatives and you will have to look for a study abroad program elsewhere.
If you are having trouble choosing between locations for your study abroad program, go with a place that brings together a little bit of everything. Conveniently English-speaking, with a sunny Mediterranean climate, and a stone’s throw from Africa, Gibraltar is an under-the-radar destination that will not cease to surprise you.