Reasons to Complete an Undergraduate Degree in Spain

I’ve previously posted about some undergraduate degrees that are offered in Spain in English. If you are interested in reading those posts, they are located here and here.

Studying in Spain is a good option for many individuals. If you are considering going abroad to complete a degree, then let me tell you a few reasons why studying in Spain could be right for you.

1. Affordability

We have all probably heard about how affordable college is many European countries.  Although studying in Spain is not free, the cost to attend university is no more than 2,000 euros a year, if you are attending a public institution. For private universities, the costs can vary, but even then, they can still be affordable options.

You do have to worry about the costs of other items while studying abroad, such as the overall cost of living, but it is still very affordable! Excluding the larger cities in Spain (like Barcelona and Madrid), rent would most likely be a lot cheaper than you are used to. It can also be very cost-effective to buy groceries in Spain, especially if you are buying more organic foods than pre-packaged foods.

Often times, it is more affordable to study and live in Spain, then simply paying your tuition at an American university.

Also, for Americans, while holding a student visa, you are able to work up to 20 hours a week while living in Spain. Getting a job could help cover any costs that may arise.

2. Options to Study in English

If you do not speak Spanish, you are not out of luck for being able to complete a degree in Spain. Even if you do speak Spanish, and want to complete the majority of your course in English, that is an option too.

There are some undergraduate offerings available to complete a degree in only English, or at least, primarily in English.

3. Learning Spanish

But remember, if you are not completing a degree that is taught in English, you will have the opportunity to learn Spanish (or even, the chance to learn Galician, Catalan, or Basque languages!)

By living in an environment where you are constantly exposed to another language, you will learn it rather quickly. This will allow you to become fluent, or very close to fluent, in another language by the time you complete your undergraduate degree.

4. Unique Experience

Studying in Spain would be an unique experience. You could not compare it to what you would receive from an American degree.

You will have the chance to make friends and networking connections from all over the world. You make a home away from home in a new country. You have a cool tidbit to add to your resume. How awesome would it be to explain to a potential employer that you completed your degree in Spain?

Plus, the experience causes you to be much more independent. You will have the opportunity to be living alone for the first time, but in a whole new country. This really forces you to be much more independent, because your family cannot quickly come over to help everything that goes wrong. It helps you learn to solve problems independently, which is a great trait to have!

5. Permanent Residency

After living in Spain on a student visa for 3 years (and doing the same course of study), you will have the opportunity to extend your student visa to being able to reside and work full-time in Spain.

If you see a future in Spain, then you should totally jump on the opportunity to complete an undergraduate degree in the county.

Hopefully, you are a bit more convinced to complete your degree in Spain. Can you think of any more reasons to obtain your undergraduate degree in Spain? I would love to hear some of your reasons in the comments section below.

7 Common Words and Phrases Used in Spain

When you are first arriving to your term abroad in Spain, you may become quickly overwhelmed. Everyone is speaking fast, you hear words you do not completely understand, and it is difficult to keep up with basic conversation.

Trust me, this feeling is normal. I remember being confused with my first conversation with my landlady, when she asked me if I had a “bolí.” She then tried “bolígrafo” and I still did not understand. Eventually, she described it as a “pencil with ink” and it finally made sense. Bolígrafo. I had only learned the word “pluma” in school.

At first, I thought I had no clue about Spanish, but that was not the case. I did know Spanish, a lot of it, in fact. Yet, I was learning words and phrases more commonly used in Mexico. First step when going to Spain, learn typical words and phrases of the country.

1. Vale: One common Spanish word I learned before heading abroad was, of course, vale. I was instructed by professors that I would hear this word a lot, and I did. Upon landing in Spain, it was one of the first words I heard. Well, understood.

Vale is an interjection, which most closely means “okay” or “all right.”

2. Me cae gordo: I heard this phrase a lot during my time in Spain, and the only word I could really pick out  was “gordo,” meaning fat in English. I thought, why is everyone calling people fat?

I soon found out, through this phrase and others, that it is troublesome translating directly.  “Me cae gordo” means that someone is bothering you or you do not like a particular person.

3. Chaval: this word was confusing to me at first because I heard it in a variety of instances.

You can use chaval to describe someone who is naive and does not have a lot of experience. To me, it seems like something a baby boomer would use to describe a milennal. Y’know, those darn chavales.

Also, it is also used as a way to say “dude” amongst younger people in Spain. Another way to say “dude” (which confused me profusely) follows.

4. Tío/tía: I heard teenagers talking on the street, and every other word, I heard a tío or tía. Why are they calling each other uncle and aunt? Surely, they must mean something different in this case.

While these words do meant uncle and aunt when used formally, they mean dude informally.

Like vale, this is a very important word to add to your vocabulary.

5. Ser la leche: you will hear a lot of phrases related to milk while you are in Spain. This one is the most common. While it literally means “to be the milk,” it has a much more complex meaning.

It can either mean one of two extremes, “that’s awesome” or “that’s disgusting.”

6. Mono: I wondered why everyone was throwing the word “monkey” in the middle of their sentences, and simply put, they were not. Mono means cute or adorable in Spain.

Qué mono, ¿no?

7. Guay: I knew every possible way of saying “cool” everywhere besides, y’know, Spain. Quickly, I discovered the words I was using to say cool, awesome, great, etc., that I had learned from my Spanish classes were no longer cool in Spain.

In Spain, you use guay.

I hope you enjoyed this quick, little list of common Spanish words and phrases. I keep thinking of more to add, but decided I will split it up into future posts.

Do you have any funny stories from hearing certain Spanish words and phrases for the first time? I would love to hear your experiences with Castilian Spanish (and so I do not feel like the only one who was completely clueless with it, haha.)

Hasta luego!


6 Words to Master the Murcian Accent

I was honestly convinced that I didn’t know any Spanish when I first arrived to Murcia for my semester. However, I was also living in Murcia, a region known for its interesting (to say the least) accent. As for how the Murcian accent is interpreted, take a look at this tweet below:

In addition to having a very difficult accent to understand, there are also a lot of words that are unique to Murcian Spanish. I am going to list a few words that I heard and learned about during my time in Murcia.

1. Acho: one word that I was told I would hear a lot of in Murcia before going abroad was this one. I honestly heard it at least once everyday.

I heard it so often walking down the streets to university, particularly paired with “tío/a” (dude).

What does acho even mean though? There really is no meaning, but I have interpreted the word as a way to call to someone’s attention.

Murcians are so associated with saying acho, that they took it upon themselves to make a “pataticas fritas” (also, a super Murcian way of saying potato chips) brand called Acho.

2. Bonico: in the Whatsapp group for my classes, I would all too often see this word surface in the chat. I had absolutely no idea what it meant for awhile, but knew that it had to have meant something positive. My classmates always used the word in response to something good happening or a picture of a cute dog.

I later came to out that this word means nice, friendly, or cute.

It actually turned out to be one of my favorite Murcian word and was one of few that I adopted into my everyday vocabulary. It seems to be used across other parts of Spain, as well. If you are interested words that are commonly used throughout Spain, check out my blog post on that here!

3. Pijo: this one is a bit confusing to explain, because there are so. many. different ways this word can be used. This word can be used for just about anything.

By itself, it can be used to emphasis something, show indifference, express quantity or speed.

When “pijo” is combined with other words, it can mean something totally different.

Confusing? I remember my mentor who had gone to Murcia the year before me, telling me about the words I heard. She had no idea how to explain this one. After hearing it for myself, I do not either.

It is just one of those words you just have to hear for yourself to understand, or at least, pretend like you do. This one is also used in other parts of Spain, but sometimes, has a way different meaning.

4. Chico: you are probably thinking, is this not already a word in Spanish? You are right. It typically means “boy,” but of course, Murcians tend to use this word a little bit differently. What else would you expect with good ol’ murciano?

Chico in this case means “pequeño,” or small. Once you think about it, saying chico to describe something small does make a lot of sense, which is unlike other Murcian words. I am looking at you, pijo.

5. Fuste: if something does not make much sense to you or is not all that funny, you use the word “fuste” to express this feeling.

Fuste is a noun, so you use it in instances such as: “¡Qué poco fuste tiene ese chiste!” At first I thought it was a tú verb in past-tense, but nope!

6. Chuminá: another way to express an annoyance, but more murciano. How else would is you would say something bothers you?

Of course, the above list is not exhaustive. There are so many “palabras murcianas,” I could not even begin to possibly list them all.

If you have ever been to Murcia, what are some of your favorite Murcian words? Or, if you have gone to other regions of Spain, what are some unique words of that region? I would love to hear your responses.

5 Must-Visit World Heritage Cities in Spain

As someone who studies art history and Spanish, Spain has always been a place of interest for me in terms of cultural heritage. The country is filled with magnificent cities that hold so much cultural history. The art and architecture of Spain, as a result, is a delightful mix of the major cultures that were once active in Spain’s history. The following list will highlight five Spanish cities that are considered “World Heritage Cities.” They may not been at the top of your “must-visit” list before going abroad, but I certainly hope this adds a few places to your list.

Image result for segovia spain

Photo credit: WikiImages, The Roman Aquaduct of Segovia


Segovia, a city located northwest of Madrid is known for the Roman aqueduct that runs through the heart of the city, shown in the photo above.  In addition to this, centuries of history relating to Segovia’s blend of cultures resulted in the beautiful architecture and monuments which are found in this city.

Must see places:

Alcázar of Segovia – a Moorish castle that overlooks the Spanish plains below.

Aqueduct of Segovia – one of the most well-perserved Roman aqueducts alongside the Pont du Gard in France.

Image result for toledo spainPhoto credit: WikiImages, Overlooking the Cityscape of Toledo


Toledo is a magnificent city set upon a hill above the plains of central Spain. This walled medieval city is known as the “city of three cultures,” as there are many Moorish, Jewish, and Christian monuments found within the city’s walls. There is definitely a strong cultural history in Toledo. If you’re interested in studying abroad in Toledo and are a University of Minnesota student, definitely check out my post on the Learning Abroad Center’s program in Toledo here.

Must see places:

Cristo de la Luz
– a former mosque later transformed into a Romanesque style Christian church.

Synagogue of El Transito – a well-preserved, fourteenth-century Jewish synagogue.

El Greco Museum – an art museum dedicated to the Spanish painter El Greco who spent the majority of his life in Toledo.

Image result for santiago de compostela

Photo credit:, View of Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compestela is a city situated in far northwestern Spain; it is known for being the final stop of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. This is a very well preserved historical city, filled with an interesting religious and cultural history.  If you want to learn more about this city’s fascinating history, definitely check it out. Santiago de Compostela is filled to the brim with museums, most relating to the city’s art and religious history.

Must see places:

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela – this is a grand cathedral from the 11th-century and is marked as a World Hertiage site.

Praza do Obradoiro – the main plaza in Santiago de Compostela’s old town.

Museum of Pilgrimage and Santiago – a museum dedicated to sharing the history of Santiago de Compostela and its purpose in the pilgrimage route of Camino de Santiago.
Image result

Photo credit: WikiImages, Aerial view of the city of Jaén 


Most people have not heard of Jaén, but it is a great Spanish city. The city is located in southern Spain; if you enjoy other cities from the Andalusia region, it will be perfect place to visit. Jaén is mixed with Moorish and Christian cultural history, which you will be able to see from the architecture throughout. In addition to all of this cultural history, Jaén is the world capital for olive oil.

Must see places:

Villardompardo Palace – a palace built in the 16th-century that was later discovered to have concealed 11th-century Arab baths.

Alcázar of Jaén – a Moorish castle standing upon a mountain-top that overlooks the city.

Image resultPhoto credit: WikiImages, Lovely View of Salamanca City


Salamanca is located in northwestern Spain and is known as the “golden city” of the country. The foundation of this city dates back to the Celtic era. Salamanca is known for its rich cultural history, as well as being the location of the country’s first university, the University of Salamanca. The city is loaded with wonderful architecture from several style periods. If you love architecture and its history, this is definitely an awe-inspiring place to be.

Must see places:

Escuelas Menores – a beautiful cloister near to the historic University of Salamanca, where the Cielo of Salamanca is also nearby – a painted ceiling of the night sky constellations from the Middle Ages.

New and Old Cathedrals of Salamanca – unlike most Spanish cities, Salamanca has two cathedrals and both are incredible places in terms of style.


[This post has been adapted from the information provided’s list of destinations of historical World Heritage cities in Spain. For more ideas places to visit while in Spain, check out’s website and Facebook page.]

Art Museums to Visit in Spain

Spain is full of culture heritage, throughout the whole of the country. You will never be bored while living and studying in Spain, as there is a historical monument to admire or a museum to wander through, always within walking distance.

The following list will include the most obvious and commonly visited Spanish museums, but also, the ones you might not think of straight away.

1. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain
This is one of the most famous Spanish art museums, since it specifically is the main Spanish national art museum and located in the capital city of Madrid. El Prado contains one of the greatest and finest collections of European art in the world; the museum itself has art dating from 12th to the 20th centuries and holds several masterpieces. The best-known work on display is Diego Velazquez’s Las Meninas, though there are also many other paintings from master artists such as Francisco de Goya, El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, and more.

Interior of Museo Nacional del Prado

2. Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain
The Museum of Fine Arts in Bilbao houses a comprehensive collection of art from 12th century to the present. There are not only paintings from masters from in Spain and throughout Europe, but the museum also contains art originating from the Basque Country, as well. The museum’s extensive collection contains over 10,000 works, such as 1,500 paintings, 400 sculptures, and more than 6,500 works on paper. These works are spread over 33 rooms, ordered chronologically.

3. Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
This incredible museum is in the magnificent Palau (yes, palace!) Nacional of Montjuïc, which was originally made for the International Exhibition of 1929. In addition to this, the museum contains several masterpieces from the 11th to 20th centuries. Their most important and prize collection in the museum is their collection of art from the Romanesque period, most noted by the the series of mural paintings it includes.

I stopped by this museum when I was in Barcelona. During the first Sunday of the month, the entry was free. If you are in Barcelona during this time, take advantage of the free entry to MNAC. The museum is quite expansive, and you will probably not be able to get through everything in a single day, but it is worth entering free.

4. Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, Cuenca, Spain
This museum of modern art is located in the city of Cuenca. Although the collection here is much smaller than the previously mentioned museums, its primary focus is on Spanish abstract art from the 1950s to the 1960s and provides a decently-sized collection of  around 1,500 paintings and sculpture.

800px-Museo_de_Arte_Abstracto_CuencaInterior of the Spanish Abstract Art Museum in Cuenca

5. Museo de Bellas Artes de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain
Finally, the Museum of Fine Arts in Sevilla contains a collection ranging from the Medieval period to the early 20th-century. One of the largest series in their collection is from works from the Golden Age of Sevillian painting in the 17th century, or the Baroque period, which includes works from artists such as Murillo, Francisco de Herrera and Zurbarán. Even though the museum primarily focuses on that of Baroque art, it has been adding a greater variety of art to the collection since the 20th-century.

Where on this list are you most interested visiting? Or, if you have a favorite museum that is not on this list, what is it? I would like to hear what you think.

Advantages to Studying Abroad in the Summer

Summer programs are excellent ways to study abroad in a country for a short period of time, though still becoming well-immersed in the language of the country or cultural studies.

Study abroad for a semester or an academic year may not be possible for everyone, depending on a number of factors. One factor could be your major, where there may certain courses you have to take at your home university that only offered during the academic year. If that is the case for you, then a study away program during the summer may be the best option for you.

Summer programs are offered in 3 to 4-week sections, and they often bear 3 semester credits per section. So, if you were to do 3 sections, you would be able to bring back 9 credits to your home university.

Course offerings for summer programs in Spain will be intensive language courses or general courses on Spanish culture, going across humanities and social sciences divisions. If you have a few general education courses left to take, especially that pesky second-language requirement, then studying abroad in the summer may be beneficial.

Summer programs can also be excellent for Spanish majors or minors. Summer-term programs are an great way to get you acclimated living abroad and to prepare you for a semester or year abroad in the future. They are also a good way to improve your Spanish quickly, in a more intensive environment then you would receive at your home university.

Semester and year-long programs are higher in cost because longer-term programs tend to offer more college credit. The more credits, the more costly the program will become. Summer-term programs are great for not spending a lot of money, while also being able to go abroad and gain new knowledge in Spanish language and culture you would not otherwise get. If financial reasons are preventing you from going abroad for a semester or year, I would consider a few sections during the summer.

I hope this guide helped you gain some interest in summer program options. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.

For those who are considering a summer program or those who have gone abroad during the summer before, what encouraged you to do this sort of program? Did you enjoy studying abroad in the summer months?

Finding the Perfect Study Abroad Program

Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most, so finding the perfect type of program is essential. There are a variety of exchange types, and I hope this guide will help you discover which one would be perfect for you.

Direct Exchange

If you are looking to do a direct exchange programs, ISEP offers the most options for undergraduate students, whether in Spain or across the world. A direct exchange program allows you to study directly in a university abroad. Often, they require you to already have studied the official language of the country for at least 5 semesters at university-level. It is recommended that you have at least with a B1 (intermediate) level of Spanish if you are wanting to do an exchange in Spain.

Direct exchange in Spain is especially great for students who are majoring or minoring in Spanish Language and Literature, and they are looking to put a capstone on their studies. It is a great way to become more comfortable speaking the language. This can be quite an intensive type of study abroad program, and it requires a lot of focus and studying. If you are looking for the challenge though, there are more than enough benefits doing direct exchange.

This option is also great for those who have their degree offered in English in a Spanish university. I have seen universities with degrees such as engineering or business administration instructed in English. This can be a great way to study abroad in Spain, even if you are not studying Spanish in university.

By doing direct study, you will have to become accustomed to the Spanish university system.


Learning Center Programs

You can find “learning center” programs are offered by ISA and CIEE. I would say that these programs are great for everyone. They have learning center program options for those at all Spanish language levels, as well as those who are not studying Spanish at all.

Learning center programs are not directly study in a Spanish university, even though the center may be supported by a Spanish university. They are specifically catered to international students.

Courses in Spanish

In learning center programs, courses are offered in either Spanish or English. If you are a Spanish major or minor, learning center programs are wonderful, as they provide intensive language and culture courses in Spanish. This is great for students who are looking to take Spanish courses for major or minor credits, but are not quite ready to leap in direct university studies.

The level of Spanish needed for courses can vary. Students will typically take a Spanish level test to determine which courses they would be most successful in prior to arrival.

Learning center programs, in general, are great because the courses are structured like American university courses, where you have several assignments throughout the course and two or more exams that make up the final grade.

Courses in English

There are also learning center programs where all the courses are offered in English. If you are looking to study abroad in Spain, but are not studying Spanish, then these courses can be the most beneficial. This could be a great way to complete outstanding general education requirements, but being able to complete these courses outside of your home university.

If you have a major or minor in addition to Spanish, such as history, art history, political science, economics, then courses in English at a learning center can be beneficial. It allows you to combine both of your areas of study together, by being able to take a class regarding the history of Spanish or Spanish business.


If you are interested in studying abroad, which type of program would you most like to go abroad on and why? For students who have been abroad before, what kind of program did you do your studies with, and what did you like or dislike about it? I would love to hear your responses in the comments section below.

Traveling for One Day in Granada

Granada is one of my favorite cities, and  I absolutely loved visiting it during my study abroad semester in Murcia. I went during a long weekend, and it was quite relaxing to walk around and discover Granada at a slower pace.

If you are a foreign exchange student, you probably would like to take advantage of all the travel opportunities you can outside of class. Though, you will notice that you might be a bit strapped for time, and you are limited to discovering new places on the weekends. This series, I hope, will help study abroad students make successful day trips. Therefore, they can see the most they can of a new city, but keeping note of the limited time frame.

Of course, you do not need to do all of what I have listed below in a single day. If you have more time than a day trip available, then definitely stretch out the itinerary I have below — or, even add a few new items to the list!

Here we go!

Arrival in Granada & Visiting the Alhambra, about 9/10 am
I would recommend eating a quick breakfast before arrival, in order to get to the Alhambra as soon as possible. If you can’t eat on the bus/train, I would recommend stopping by Dulcimena Coffee & Go. It is close to the Alhambra, about a 10-minute walk away, which makes it easy to arrive to the palace after a quick bite to eat. Plus, it helps that the coffee is delicious (with plant-based milk options!) and organic pastries. After a quick breakfast, it is time to head to the Alhambra.

If you have not ever heard of the Alhambra before, it was originally a Moorish citadel built in the 8th-century, later to be renovated in the 13th and 14th centuries into the palace you see today. The palace is wholly magnificent, and one of the greatest tourist destinations throughout Europe. I definitely could not take the Alhambra off my list of must-see places when visiting Granada, it’s one of those places you must-see. Also: I would recommend to buy your tickets in advance if you are able, so you can skip the long line and go straight in after breakfast.

Tip: Don’t skip over the Alhambra or the Generalife (the gardens) too quickly. While you can get through the palace in less than an hour, stop for a moment and take in the absolute beauty of this palace. When I visited, it took about 2 hours to make my way through. Even on a cloudy/drizzly day, the Alhambra was still breathtaking, and I could have easily spent my entire day wandering the halls of this magnificent palace.

Heading Towards the Albaicín & Lunch Break, about 12:30/1 pm
Depending on when you are complete with the tour of the Alhambra, you can make your way towards the Albaicín. After touring the Alhambra, you may feel tired due to all the walking. Unfortunately, you will still have to walk a bit to get to where I recommend you to relax and get a bite to eat, but trust me, it is well worth it. Because afterwards, you will be close to the Albaicín. So, if you need a quick break or something to eat, do stop by the restaurant (if arriving after 12:30, when they open!) Restaurante Marroqui Marrakech.

O-M-G! How I felt about Marroqui Marrakech when my friend and I discovered them. We stayed in Granada for three days, and this restaurant was pretty convenient, since it was right next to our hostel. Plus, with a big craving for falafel, we walked in with only the mission to soothe our falafel cravings, and let me tell you, it was the best falafel we have ever had. Also, the atmosphere of this restaurant is so relaxing. After having such a positive experience the first time around, we returned to eat here every day we were here. Seriously.

Interior of the restaurant: this place was so relaxing with limited lighting and comfy seating.

After a bite to eat, head uphill (I know, it is hard!) to walk around the Albaicín. If you aren’t entirely familiar with the Albaicín, it is an old neighborhood which built on a hill, most notably across from the Alhambra. Do you remember looking out the windows of the Alhambra to look at everything below, and you saw a neighborhood with all white buildings and very winding streets?

You’re heading there!

Ideally, you’ll make it up to the Mirador de San Cristobal, a lookout at the top of the hill. This lookout provides a view over the entire city, but also a wonderful view of the Alhambra. If you are ever wondering where people take selfies in front of the Alhambra, it is here.

View from the Mirador looking on at the Alhambra: I could stand here forever, probably.

Final Stop: Alcaiceria (Markets of Granada) and Cathedral, about 3:30/4pm

Now, time to begin walking down the winding roads of the Albaicín and start heading towards the marketplace,  Alcaiceria. To arrive to the markets, the walk will be about 20 minutes/2 km. Trust me, your feet will probably hurt by this point (mine do just writing about it). This walk, on the other hand, will be mostly downhill, which makes it feel like it is not a 20-minute walk at all.

Once you get to the markets, do realize that a lot of the shops here offer similar items. Everything is fairly priced, and if you are looking at something long enough, the shop owners will even offer a lower price. At these shops, I primarily bought small trinkets such as magnets or key-chains. I didn’t want to spend a ton of euros (but whoops, still did), and also, I wanted simple gifts to bring back to family and friends, without taking up a huge amount of space in my luggage. Also, I had to buy one of the scarves.

Nearby the markets is the Cathedral of Granada. It does cost a few euros to enter, which I avoided at the end of my trip from spending too much money at the markets. However, it is only 3.5 euros for students and 5 euros for adults. It is also free on Sunday during certain hours. Entering the cathedral  gives you access to a free audio tour, which is helpful for understanding everything you will see inside.


Exterior of the Cathedral of Granada: I regret not paying the 3.5 euros to tour the inside.

If you’re like me and spent too much money at the stops before, or if you are just simply running out of time, then just looking at the exterior of the Cathedral is sufficient. After you are finished wandering through the markets and looking at the Cathedral, it should be around 6/6:30pm. You can stop by a cafe quickly to grab a quick snack before heading to public transport to return home.

If you only have one day to travel, I hope this guide provides you with a good itinerary to discover the city of Granada. While it personally would not be enough time for me, it is possible to see the”must-see” monuments in a day.

For those who have been to Granada, where are your must-see places in this city? And for those who have yet to go, what are you most anticipating?

Differences Between American and Spanish Universities

Today, I am going to discuss the common distinctions between the American and Spanish university systems, so you can feel better prepared for your first day of classes in Spain.

Grading scale

The grading scale is very different. In Spain, your grades can range on a scale from 1-10. “1” being the worst grade, and “10” being the best. Anything beyond a “5” is passing.

Before starting classes, the study abroad coordinator  told us that Spanish professors tend to give harsher grades than we would expect. It is true, even though I passed all my classes, a lot of my final grades seemed low.

When we see a “6” or “7” as our final grade as Americans, we automatically view them as low grades. I know that when I saw these grades, I looked at them as the equivalent of Cs or Ds. They are more so Bs.

To receive a “10” or even a “9” in Spain is quite hard, and they are rarely given out to students. In one of my classes, no one received these grades. To receive such grades, that would mean you have had to retain 90%-100% of the material lectured. It is possible, but not all that common.


Which brings me to my next point, examinations. In American universities, classes typically do not weigh the whole course grade on a single exam. The grade is typically split up among 2-3 exams, essays, work outside of class, presentations, and attendance. A lot goes into making the grade in an American university, which is why the grading scale is so different, as well.

In Spain, attendance was not a requirement for most of my classes. Also, a lot of the grade is centered on one exam, which is taken at the end of the course. One of my exams was worth 100% of the final grade, and the least an exam was weighted when I studied in Spain was 60% (but that was because the other 40% was a final essay).

Course structure

You will also see a difference in how the course is structured. A lot of the courses are lecture-based, and attendance is not mandatory. If you look at your course documents, there is typically a bibliography for non-attendees, so they can study the material taught in class.

While lectures are not uncommon in lower level classes in American universities, attendance is still considered mandatory. Also, lecture-based courses are commonplace at any grade level.

Also, this is not to say you will not have discussion in your classes. I know for my literature classes, on Fridays, half of the class was lecture but the rest of the time was tiny group discussion on interpreting and analyzing poems.


Your classes will probably be cancelled at least once because of a huelga (strike). I know, we have strikes at American universities too. But one major difference: I have never had a class completely cancelled as a result of them. They are also way less common in the United States, or maybe that is just my small-town college, haha.

I remember walking into class on the day of a strike, and nobody was there besides other international students. Basically, everyone who had no idea what was happening. The professor walked in and told us to go home, since nobody else would come to class.


For those who have been to a Spanish university, what do you think is the biggest difference between American and Spanish universities? And for those interested in attending a college in Spain, what distinction are you most nervous for?

3 Undergraduate Degrees in Spain Offered in English

After studying in Murcia for a semester, I was already half-way through my undergraduate degree in the U.S., and this is when I  realized that studying in a European university was affordable.

Back in high school, I asked the college prep advisers for advice on attending a university abroad. They responded  that it was “near impossible” to do and also warned me that it would be too expensive. There was not much encouragement or discourse on studying abroad in another country from my high school, and I think a lot of U.S. students around my age experienced a similar lack of encouragement.

Little did I know, studying in another country would have been much less expensive than studying in the U.S. and it definitely was possible to do.

For those that are interested in completing their undergraduate degree abroad, you should take the leap! Thankfully, more and more U.S. students are deciding to do undergrad in Europe, due to more affordable education choices. (And I hope that means college prep advisers are now encouraging this route)

Also: They are also not only degrees in English literature! There are many subjects you can choose to study; anything from humanities to social sciences to sciences/technology.

If you are interested in studying in Spain, in this post I will be writing about a few universities that offer some of their degrees in English.

Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Degree in Business Administration and Economics

At UCM, they offer an undergraduate degree in Business Administration and Economics with a group in English.
In Spain, they divide the students studying the same subject into grupos (groups), so courses will not be overpopulated and in certain degrees, to differentiate the course based on what language it is taught in. Degrees that offer a group in English are called grados bilingües (bilingual degrees). One of the groups for Business Administration and English at UCM imparts 100% in English.
UCM is one of the oldest universities in the world, and consistently ranks as one of the top universities in Spain. The university enrolls over 86,000 students, and also has agreements with over 900 universities abroad, which boasts a large international student community.
For more information on this degree, or the other bilingual degrees offered at UCM, refer to this website.

Universidad de Murcia, Degree in Primary (Elementary) Education

One group for the degree in primary education at Universidad de Murcia offers more than 60% of the required courses in English. This would be great option for you if you are looking for the comfort of taking the majority of your classes in English, but also being open to the option to improve your Spanish. This degree also provides you with student teaching opportunities.
UM is the main public university in the city of Murcia, where 38,000 students are enrolled in courses. This makes it the most populated university in the region of Murcia, as well. Each semester, the university welcomes an average of 500 international students. Universidad de Murcia is the third oldest university in Spain, and if you are a lover for history, this is the place to be.
The university also offers another bilingual degree in Business Administration and Economics. For more information on these degrees, look at their degrees in English webpage.

Universidad de Navarra, Degree in Journalism

Groups for the journalism degree at Universidad de Navarra offer at least 50% of the required courses in English, as well as an option to study abroad for a semester or a full year in an English-speaking university to gain more practical journalism experience in the English language. A Spanish private university, the costs of attending the Universidad de Navarra will be higher than you see at the public universities; yet, you have the option to use U.S. federal aid to fund your degree.
Universidad de Navarra is located in southeastern Pamplona. It is ranked as the best private university in Spain. There are more than 11,000 students attending at all degree levels, and about 10% of them are fellow international students.
There are plenty of bilingual degree opportunities at Universidad de Navarra, at bachelors and masters levels. Most of the degrees with English options come from the departments of Communications and Business.

There are a couple of the universities in Spain which offer undergraduate degrees fully or partially in English. Did you know that there were so many options to choose from, most importantly from a variety of disciplines?

If you are currently enrolled in a bilingual degree in Spain, I would love to hear more about your program in the comments section below. If you would like to complete your degree in Spain, do share the programs that have interested you.

If you like this post, and want to hear about more degree options fully or partially in English that are available in Spain, let me know in the comments below! I would love to continue making posts informing students of the number degree options available.