Last Updated: January 03, 2022
Life and Living in Spain
Spain is one of the popular study destinations for international students due to the high-quality education and easy-going culture that the country has. Students who live here will find that the country has innumerable traditions and other historically connected festivals that they will be able to learn from. The country has over 76 universities that are both privately and publicly funded in which students will be able to enroll for the specialized and generic courses they provide.
The country offers plenty of entertainment options for students especially because it is a popular tourist destination. Students will also find that living costs in the country depend entirely on the lifestyle they choose to live and that if they are to find the perfect accommodation and shopping options, living can be affordable. Entertainment options here will include visiting tourist spots like museums, galleries, zoos, gardens, bars, pubs, nightclubs, etc. all of which are offered at affordable rates and most of which are student-budget friendly.
Languages in Spain
The most commonly spoken and official language of Spain is Spanish with almost 99% of the population well-versed in this language. Students who move to this country will have to study Spanish at least at a basic level to be able to settle in the country and blend with the local crowd. The other languages spoken are Catalan, Valencian, and Galician but this is by no more than 4% of the population.
English is commonly understood by most of the residents in the country since it is introduced in the school education system in the country as a second language. At the same time, English is also popular in the country due to the 11-million English speaking residents. Though English is widely known, locals often prefer international students that take an effort in immersing themselves in the language of the country rather than those relying only on English.
Cost of Things in Spain
The cost of living in Spain is considered to be affordable especially by student standards as long as they do not focus on living in major cities like Barcelona and Madrid. The location in which the candidate has chosen to live, the shopping and schooling options, etc. contribute to the overall cost of living that the student will incur. Housing, like most other countries, is the most expensive part of living in Spain which is mitigated by sharing apartments or taking dormitories in shared spaces. The cost of living in the country is estimated to be around €600 if one does not calculate the rent.
Living expenses in the country will mainly be inclusive of groceries, shopping, entertainment, and accommodation. Clothing and food are relatively less expensive in the country when compared to other countries in Europe. Students will be able to buy clothing not only from shopping malls but also from departmental stores and other open outlets.
Accommodation and Utility Expenses
Accommodation expenses that are the highest among all other expenses range between €500 to €640 depending on the distance of the living space from the center. Students tend to opt for cheaper accommodation options while living in the country especially since accommodation expenses can be at par with all the other expenses combined in worst-case scenarios. The accommodation expenses also considerably reduce the farther one moves away from the city center and also in popular student localities that are found close to the university one has enrolled in.
Utility expenses for a single person in the country are estimated to be around €114 per month which will also be subject to vary according to the lifestyle the student has.
Students who plan to dine out often will be able to find proper meals within the range of €6 to €20 and they will be able to considerably reduce expenses if they prepare their own meals. Grocery is affordable in supermarkets like Mercadona, Lidl, Supercor, Aldi, etc.
The price for grocery items in the country is-
- Milk- €0.78 per liter
- Cheese- €9.75 per kg
- Apples- €1.73 per kg
- Tomatoes- €1.64 per kg
- Potatoes- €1.15 per kg
- Wine- €5 per bottle
- Onions- €1.18 per kg
The main ways in which one can travel within Spain include trains, local buses, and taxis. The public transport system is relied on by students. The cost of a one-way ticket in local transport is around €1.45 and students will be able to get a monthly pass for the same for €40.
The currency that is used in Spain is the euro which is denoted as €. The banknotes available in this currency are for the denotations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500. There are eight coins in this currency called cents with 100 cents making up €1. The denotations for cents come in 1, 2, 5,10, 20, and 50. The value of 1 euro is equal to $1.13.
Things to Do in Spain
Spain is a popular destination for both tourists and international students due to the scenic locations and historical sites that the country is home to. They will be able to explore and learn about the architecture involved in the heritage sites and also involve themselves in water activities like snorkeling, diving, and fishing. The country is also known for the plenty of festivals that they conduct year after year which is based on their traditions and history. Students will also be able to indulge in the eventful nightlife the country provides. Spain has plenty of nightclubs, pubs, and bars where students will be able to spend their leisure time with their friends.
Places to Visit in Spain
While most of the cities in the country are must-see places especially for tourists and international students, there are a few cities that encompass the feel of the country more than others. The main places to visit in the cities include museums, parks, gardens, galleries, etc. At the same time, they will be able to spend most of their time on the sunny beaches that Spain is known for. A few of the cities that one must visit while in Spain include-
- Barcelona- This city of Spain is known for the beaches in La Costa Brava that are mostly visited by tourists in summer. Students will also be able to visit the Romanesque churches, modern architecture, and other art spaces like La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Casa Mila, La Rambla, etc.
- Seville- This city has cathedrals, plazas, and even three UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are most visited by tourists and locals alike. Students will be able to visit the Plaza de Espana, Parque de Maria Luisa, Barrio Santa Cruz, Torre del Oro, etc. while they are in this city.
- Madrid- This is the capital city of Spain and contains historic buildings and food markets that students will be able to visit when they are in the city. Students will be able to bask in the sunny blue skies that the city always has along with the art museums and nightclubs if they wish to. They will be able to see the Museo Nacional del Prado, El Retiro Park, Plaza Mayor, etc. in the city.
Cuisines to Relish While in Spain
Spanish cuisine is known for its use of olive oil, oregano, thyme, garlic, and rosemary. The style of cooking in Spain involves a lot of vegetable sauces and herbs and usually entails meat dishes. The meat used in dishes includes chicken, pork, lamb, and veal. The cuisine changes in nature from city to city and often brings in a blend that is unique to the traditions of the said city. Students who live in Spain will be able to explore the cuisines in different parts of the country as part of their travel. A few of the must-try dishes in Spain are-
- Paella Valenciana- This is one of the most sought-after dishes in the country. It is made with rabbit, chicken, or seafood with the best of the dish available in the city of Valencia. The dish is mostly baked with vegetables, wine, spices, and saffron with saffron being the most important ingredient for the crust.
- Gazpacho- This is an Andalusian soup with tomato as its main ingredient. Other ingredients include red peppers, garlic, olive oil, etc. The soup is known for being served cold and is best found in the city of Seville. The dish is served along with bread.
- Jamon- This is one of the staple dishes of Spain and is best understood as cured ham. Ham is salted and hung to dry and preserved for winter. The meat is cured to a point where it melts in the mouth and is best had with bread. The dish is to be tried in Madrid for the best taste.
Festivals to Attend While in Spain
Spain conducts over 896 festivals every year with most of the festivals based on music. The country loves scenes of vibrant colors and uniqueness which makes the festivals have a unique touch that relies on their age-old traditions. Most of the festivals are conducted between the months of June and August which are also the months with high tourist influx. A few of the must-see festivals in the country are-
- La Tomatina Festival- This festival is held in Valencia and is one of the most popular festivals in Spain where locals and tourists gather to smash and throw tomatoes at one another. This 70-year-old festival is usually held in the month of August.
- Gracia Festival- This is a summer festival conducted in August where people gather in Barcelona and splash colors all around to decorate the space. It is a competition where the best decoration will win. The festival also includes acrobat performances and fireworks which resemble a carnival more than a festival.
- Sonar Barcelona Festival- This is a music festival that is conducted in the month of June. Famous DJs and artists gather in the city of Barcelona and perform for both locals and tourists who mostly start booking their tickets months before the festival.
Commuting to Places in Spain
The best way of traveling in Spain is to use the railroads which connect the major cities in the country. The long-distance trains mostly run at high speed and students will be able to travel across the country within a few hours. While some people prefer driving their own vehicles in the country, this is often not ideal due to the fuel prices and the restrictions that private vehicles have in the city center especially when driven by tourists and non-locals. The modern transportation infrastructure in the country allows students to take buses, trams, and trains.
While trains and trams connect most of the cities, students will have to take taxis or buses to the city center in order to take them. They will also be able to share ride cabs in the country to reach the city center before they take the train.
Entertainment Options for Students in Spain
Students will be able to find options to party and indulge in touristy activities while they are in the country. They will be able to explore the different cities in the country during their free days. Visiting the cities will include visiting the different museums, art galleries, churches, and other historical sites that are popular. Students will also be able to spend their time on the beaches if they live close to the Mediterranean beaches of the country. They will also be able to indulge in the different cuisines the country has to offer which will entail traveling to the places where the dishes are best made.
They will also be able to attend the numerous festivals that are held throughout the year and learn about the traditions and customs that led to these festivals. Students will also be able to explore the nightlife that Spain is known for and visit the different pubs and bars where they can find affordable food and drinks on a student budget.
Safety Concerns for International Students in Spain
Spain is considered to be one of the safest countries in Europe with violent crime being extremely rare. International students will be able to feel at ease while living in the country due to the approach locals have toward them and also because of the number of tourists that are there in the country at all times of the year. But at the same time, students should keep their belongings safe during their journeys since theft is common in the country. It is also ideal for students to stay away from dark alleys and areas if they are walking alone at night to avoid pickpocketing.
They will also be safest if they keep emergency numbers handy in case they come across any trouble during their travel or their stay in the country. The emergency number they can save is 112 irrespective of the city they live in. This line will connect them to the police, fire brigade, and even the ambulance based on the service they require.