LIFESTYLE AND SCHEDULES
If you want to study in Spain you should know that Spanish lifestyle is different from other European countries, it is less stressing and much influenced by the weather. Spanish are welcoming and friendly and usually keep good mood even if circumstances are not positive.
In general, life is going on outdoors and social life is very important. Friends and relatives are usually very close and they are part of the daily routine. In fact, those connections between people are so close that usually they greet each other kissing or hugging.
It is very important to take into account Spanish lifestyle if you want to study in Spain, because it is very different from other European countries.
Students can choose to study full time from Monday until Friday or half time just some days in the week in shifts. The morning shift starts at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 14:00 p.m. and the afternoon shift starts at 16:00 p.m. and ends at 21:00 p.m.
Because of this kind of schedule you will be always able to take a nap (siesta), normally after lunch; between 15:30 p.m. and 17:00 p.m. This tradition is not frequent among workers who have a daily 8 hour shift. Just some students, kids, elderly people and people who work in morning shifts can do it.
In Spain, breakfast, lunch and dinner are usually taken later than in other European countries:
- BREAKFAST is normally between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. and it is the least important meal of the day. It is traditional to have coffee and toasts or pastries.
- LUNCH is usually between 13h and 15h and is it the most important meal of the day. If we go to a restaurant to have lunch we will find a menu composed of two dishes and a dessert.
- DINNER is normally between 21h and 22:30h. It is light and composed of one dish with salad or fries and a dessert.
If you would like to go to a bar or a restaurant you should take into account the schedules mentioned before otherwise kitchens can be closed. Usually establishments close once per week on Sundays or Mondays.
Working hours in Spain has become more standardized taking into account schedules of the main malls, opening from Monday until Saturday from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. and sometimes also on Sundays. However, there are still some small shops opening from 10:00h. until 14:00h and from 17:30h until 20:30h.
There are also establishments open 24h, especially in the big cities. You can buy almost any kind of product anytime, though they are a bit more expensive.
If you need to do some paperwork you have to do it in the morning because public administrations and banks are usually opening from 9:00h until 14:00h from Monday until Fridays.
Nightlife in Spain is very active, especially if you are studying. You can find bars and clubs opened any day of the week. The most typical day to go out for university students are Thursdays, when bars make many special offers, discounts and even parties just for students.
You should take into account that people go out late in Spain, in general from 22h. The working hours of cocktail bars are from 23h until 3h. and clubs usually open from 24h until 6h.
In conclusion, if you study in Spain you will enjoy the best life quality as far as you adapt to Spanish lifestyle.
COST OF LIVING
The official currency in Spain is Euro, so if you come from the European Union it will be easy to compare prices.
If you want to study in Spain you should know that the cost of living is very variable and depends on the city. Madrid and Barcelona are the most expensive cities to live in because the accommodation is very expensive.
In those cities mentioned before, the average price for a single room in a shared flat is around 300€ and 500€ monthly but in the other cities the prices can be even half cheaper. In addition, the prices of residences and residence halls are even higher (going up to 600€ and 800€ monthly).
We should take into account that the cost of living also depends very much on the student’s lifestyle.
A student usually spend approximately 900€ monthly.
Those are some common prices you can find in Spain:
- Coffee: 1,25€
- Bar of bread: 0,60€
- Soft drink or beer: 2€
- Sandwich: 3,50€
- Set menu: 10€
- Single underground or bus ticket: 1,50€-2,00€
- Monthly transport ticket for young people: 40€
- Cinema ticket: 7€
- Club ticket: 10€
- Monthly internet fee: 35€
There are discounts for students in many establishments like cinemas, shops or restaurants. If you want to get discounts, it is necessary to have a student card (you can get it in your university) or youth card (you can order it online).
University fees depend on the degree, the city and if the university is public or private. Health degrees are usually more expensive because there are many practical subjects during the studies.
In general, if the university is public the fees to study in Spain are around 2000€ and 3000€ per year; and if it is private the fees are between 6.000€ and 15.000€.
In Spain there is a big network of transports which provides fast and comfortable transportation inside and outside the city, therefore if you study in Spain it will be easy to reach any place desired.
Those are the main means of transport in Spain:
It is getting very popular the public bike service in the cities. This low cost mean of transport supports the idea of reducing the pollution in the big cities.
It is very useful for short distances because there are many bicycle parkings in the city where a bicycle can be taken and given back afterwards. This is definitely a good option if you study in Spain.
This service is available in Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, Sevilla and Zaragoza.
There is a huge bus network in Spain connecting the whole country and the interior of the cities as well.
In the cities there are buses going frequently and suggest comfortable schedules for people. Night buses are also very popular.
You can find accurate information about timetables and itineraries in the bus stops. The information is updated frequently and they are shown in digital panels close to the bus stations.
It is one of the most used mean of transport because it is very modern, economic and fast. You can save time avoiding traffic jams and it is easy to plan your arrival time as well as to reach your destination on time.
There are different types of tickets. There are economic monthly tickets that allow using all the means of public transports in the city; there are touristic tickets for a couple of days, also single tickets.
Free maps of the public transports are offered for the users and in some cities it is possible to borrow a book during the route.
There is an underground in Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla and Valencia. You can find more information in the following links:
In Spain there are short and long distance trains to travel inside the city or to other cities. The railway extends nationally and internationally.
For long distance trips to other cities, there are an economic train called Renfe and high speed train called AVE (a bit more expensive).
More information about destinations and prices online.
Inside some autonomous communities there are also trains called Cercanías connecting the suburbs and the city center. This kind of trains can be found in Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza, Valencia and Murcia.
Likewise underground, Cercanias offer different kind of tickets like single ticket, return tickets, touristic and monthly tickets.
Taxis are a comfortable and safe option because are available at any time, can be ordered by phone or can be taken in the street.
All taxis in Spain are legal and they are working with official rates based on time. There can be some extra fees if the luggage is huge or the destiny is far away from the city center.
All the main Spanish cities have modern airports and many international and national flights are offered. The most active airports are in Madrid and Barcelona.
Some cities have small airports in the suburbs, mainly used by low cost plane companies.
More information about spanish airports.
PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM
If you want to study in Spain you should know that a Spanish public health system has a wide medical coverage and it is considered one of the best in the world by the WHO (World Helath Organization).
It is a free public system that provides medical coverage to the citizens in hospitals and health centres. Basic health care and specialists are included in the public system.
There are many health care centres and hospitals in each city. Those places are very well equipped with modern technology and professional specialists offering high quality assistance.
More information about the health care centres and hospitals.
However, there are some services not included in the public medical coverage like odontology, ophthalmology, physiotherapy or psychology.
That is the reason why a private offer of medical care is suggested where all the treatments not covered by the public medical sevices are offered in those health centres. Many students prefer to contract a private health insurance because the coverage is wider, there are more health centres to choose from and assistance is a way much faster.
If you need to buy medicines, there are pharmacies easily recognizable by a sign of a green cross. Some specific medicines have to be bought with prescription; otherwise the price can be very high or even not sellable.
Regarding vaccination, in Spain it is not necessary to get any vaccine before entering the country, but it is recommended to be vaccinated against tetanus and bring your vaccination record up to date.
The Spanish public health system has agreements with many countries. Those are the main ones:
- European citizens and citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland are covered by the public health system.
Before arriving to Spain, it is necessary to get the European Health Insurance Card in the public institutions of your own country.
Medical assistance will be provided in any hospital or health center just showing your European Health Insurance Card.
It is recommended to have the European Health Insurance Card even if you are already covered by a private insurance because the coverage will be wider.
- Non-European citizens can be covered by the Spanish public health system if there is a specific agreement between the country and Spain. Therefore the existence of agreements should be consulted with the health institutions of the country before the arrival to Spain.
Currently Spanish public health system has agreements with Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Andorra.
- Non-European citizens who do not belong to countries which have an agreement with Spain. A private insurance should be contracted. It is also a requirement to obtain a visa. .
BANK ACCOUNT IN SPAIN
If you come to study to Spain for a long period, it might be needed to open a bank account.
In order to open a bank account in Spain, you must provide the evidence of your status as a resident or non-resident. There are two types of accounts:
- Bank accounts for residents: you must submit your NIE and meet the requirements and conditions demanded by a financial institution.
- Bank accounts for non residents: You must present a non residence certificate issued in any Spanish police station.
This certificate can be requested by the bank for approximate 15€ fee. Apart from the certificate, it is necessary to submit a valid identity card or passport from the country of origin.
It is convenient to contact the destination university because sometimes they have agreements with banks and can suggest special for students under 26 years old.
INTERNET AND MOBILE NETWORKS
If you decide to study in Spain, it is important to know the different communication options you can find in Spain.
Regarding mobile networks, you can contract a flat rate in your country of origin and use it in Spain, although it is more usual to contract this service in Spain especially when you would like to live in Spain for more than a year. You can buy a pre-paid card or make a contract with monthly payments depending on your needs. There are many discounts for students in different network operators and the prices for flat rates vary between 20€ to 30€ (monthly).
Other options to communicate with different countries are programs such as Skype, Google Talk or Whatsapp, etc.
Regarding internet, it is quite easy to have it at home and you can choose from different connections like Dial-Up, the modem, ISDN, ASDL or cable. The installation process can take several days and the internet fee can be around 35€ monthly.
Free internet is provided in public libraries and in different places of the university campus.
There are also several free wifi points in the city such as bus and train stations, malls and bars.
If you do not have a mobile phone or laptop, you can go to internet cafes or call centers where computers are offer to use and rates are quite affordable.