“Nothing develops intelligence like travel.” - Emile Zola
According to the European Commission, Spain was the most popular destination for Erasmus students.
It’s true that’s Spain is a popular country for a number of reasons.
If you’re interested in studying there, just follow our guide. In this article, we'll be explaining what Erasmus is, how to sign up for it, how long you can stay, the financial assistance available, and what to expect!
What Does Erasmus Mean?
Erasmus is an exchange programme between the 27 member states of the European Union and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland, Croatia, and Turkey.
Spain is the most popular destination, followed by France, Germany, and the UK.
The goal of the programme is to promote international mobility. Thus, higher education becomes a European endeavour and not just a national endeavour. For students, a period of residence abroad can help them find work, develop professional skills, and learn a new language.
Nowadays, international students aren’t the only people who can enjoy the mobility offered from the Erasmus programme. Recently, the Erasmus programme has started offering Erasmus+.
Teachers, workers, university staff, and those changing career can all apply. Each teaching establishment in the programme can welcome students and teachers. This means that there aren’t just universities but also schools, conservatories, and secondary schools.
How Do You Sign Up to an Erasmus Programme in Spain?
First of all, you should head to the international office at your university to find out more about applying. Usually, the deadlines are around March. Some establishments hold an Erasmus meeting towards the start of the academic for those wanting to learn more about studying abroad.
You’ll need a few documents in order to go on Erasmus:
- A cover letter in English and sometimes in Spanish
- An application for an Erasmus scholarship
- A letter of recommendation from teachers
- A transcript of your results
Normally, you’ll need to make three choices in order of preference.
The programme can be quite selective depending on what and where you want to study. There’s a quota for how many students can be welcomes by the university. Similarly, your university may have a limit to the number of Erasmus students they can send.
If you want to study in Spain, the most popular country for Erasmus students, you’re going to have to work hard.
You just won’t enjoy the benefits that an Erasmus student would get. Of course, you’ll often need to pass your current year at university in order to attend.
How Long Does it Take to Apply?
Applying for Erasmus can take some time. It’s better to start preparing as soon as you can. This will also give you the time to improve your Spanish. As we said, the deadlines for applications are often in March.
Do You Need to Speak Spanish to Study in Spain?
Those who speak Spanish well are more likely to get in than those who don’t so don’t skip any classes.
It also will help if you’re studying Spanish or foreign languages at university. Competition is stiff so make sure your grades are good.
Even though you can go on Erasmus in Spain without speaking Spanish, a knowledge of the language will help you stand out.
In some rare cases, you can still go. Some students go on Erasmus without speaking Spanish. Certain subjects don’t require advanced knowledge of the language, after all.
How to Write a Cover Letter for Erasmus
Your cover letter for Erasmus isn’t much different from any other cover letter. You’ll need to put together a few arguments and reasons why you’re a good candidate and it shouldn’t really go over a page.
You’ll need an introduction explaining who you are, what you’ve studied, why you should be chosen, and a conclusion.
You should stress your willingness to improve your Spanish, immerse yourself in a new environment, and learn new skills.
How Long Can You Spend on Erasmus?
An Erasmus scholarship allows you to spend between 3 and 12 months studying abroad.
You can spend a semester abroad but you’ll learn a lot more staying there for the whole academic year. Keep in mind that an academic year is only really 9 months if you don’t stay over the summer.
If you head off for a semester, you’ll only spend 4 months there. This is quite a short amount of time to try and immerse yourself in the local culture, even if you try really hard.
What Assistance is There for Erasmus Students?
The Erasmus programme allows British and European students to head to European universities for less.
You can apply for an Erasmus grant which is only for those on the programme. You should ask for your grant through your university. The amount depends on the countries involved.
There are also other types of financing available that you can ask for more information from your university.
There are plenty of different types available for all types of different students so make sure you find out if any apply to you.
What Is Erasmus in Spain Like?
Classes in Spain aren’t like they are in the UK. You won’t necessarily be a giant lecture hall messing about on your computer while your tutor reads from a PowerPoint.
Classes in Spain are less formal than those in the UK. The classroom will rarely be in complete silence and you’ll be able to call your teachers by their first name. Students are happy to talk and aren’t afraid of being wrong. There’s a lot of debate and discussion. There are a lot of spoken exams rather than long dissertations.
There’s a lot more flexibility in terms of deadlines and word limits, too. “One of the teachers was surprised at how many students apologised for submitting work late. They told them that they wouldn’t lose marks for work submitted days or even weeks late” explains one Erasmus student at the University of Valencia.
It’s not uncommon for students to head out late and drag themselves into class at half past eight in the morning. It’s also when a siesta can be useful.
If you’re heading to Spain to study, you’ll learn a new way to talk to people, express your opinions, and actively participate in the learning process. Spanish culture is rich and diverse. Prepare to be surprised.
If you start to feel homesick, don’t forget that all the other Erasmus students are in the same boat. Just like any other exchange student, each international student has left their home country, joined a different education system, and is studying their discipline in another language.
If you feel like you're still struggling with the language, don't forget that you can enrol of language courses both within and outside of the university you're attending.
Additionally, there are plenty of other ways to study and improve your language skills in Spain. You can study abroad as part of an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in either the arts, humanities, or sciences, attend an international university with lessons in English and improve your Spanish outside of class, etc.
So are you ready to go on Erasmus in Spain?
If you want to improve your Spanish before you go, you can always get help from one of the private tutors on Superprof. The platform helps students to find private tutors in a huge range of subjects including Spanish.
There are three main types of tutorials available: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.
While face-to-face tutorials tend to be the most costly per hour, they're also the most cost-effective. This is because your tutor has planned a bespoke class for you and you're the only student in the tutorial.
Online tutorials are conducted over webcam using a programme such as Skype. These tend to be cheaper than the face-to-face tutorials as the tutor doesn't have to worry about travelling to their student or providing them with certain physical resources.
Group tutorials are more like your traditional classes at school but usually with fewer students in the class. Since the cost of the tutorial is shared between all the attendees, you can expect to pay less per hour. However, you'll also get less individual attention from your tutor.
Have a look at the profiles of the different tutors on the platform and remember that many of them will offer free tutoring for the first hour so you can see if you get along and if their teaching approaches are right for you!