Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
14th Nov 2022

Studying in Spain means learning a language and a country at the same time

This special feature is sponsored by FEDELE and Turespaña.

Spain is one of Europe’s premier study destinations. This is true for language learners but also for exchange students – especially those from the United States – and the country is a top destination for Erasmus+ exchanges as well. Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were more than 600,000 foreign students in Spain, with an economic impact measured in the billions of euros.

This surging demand derives in part from the global popularity of the Spanish language. There are nearly 500 million native Spanish speakers worldwide, meaning that Spanish is the second most commonly spoken mother tongue in the world (with only Mandarin able to claim more native speakers). Spanish is also one of the most popular choices for foreign language study (after only English and French) with more than 20 million students enrolled in Spanish language studies worldwide.

Many of those students are motivated to study Spanish for the career opportunities it represents. After all, Spanish-speaking countries account for nearly 7% of global GDP. Spain is the fourth-largest economy in Europe as well as the 14th largest in the world.

But while those economic opportunities are compelling, many students are drawn to Spanish study, and to Spain in particular, by the chance to experience the country's rich culture and history.

Spain is a diverse, safe, and welcoming country. Each region has something special to offer to visitors and students, from the mountains of the north to the Mediterranean coast and the spectacular beaches in the south. The country is reliably found among the world's most-popular travel destinations due to its beautiful landscapes and pleasant climate, but also to the richness of Spanish culture, including its food, music, festivals, and an undeniable zest for life.

Services for students and agents

Every part of Spain is also home to a variety of accredited language schools. Some are found on university campuses, while others are offered by centres accredited by the Instituto Cervantes or by FEDELE, a national federation that brings together six associations of Spanish language schools.

Each of these bodies plays a key role in promoting the Spanish language and delivering high-quality language and culture programmes. The Instituto Cervantes operates both within Spain and abroad, and is also responsible for awarding the globally recognised DELE (Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language). FEDELE is an official partner of the Instituto Cervantes. It works to promote Spain as a study destination, certify Spanish language schools, and provide professional development for Spanish language teachers.

FEDELE also offers an online directory of certified language schools, as well as a virtual campus where students can pursue their language studies online. The FEDELE virtual campus also provides a range of insightful seminars for students and student counsellors on study in Spain, including special sessions on study visas and insurance options for students.

Of particular interest to education agents is FEDELE's Partner Agency System, which offers a range of cross-promotional opportunities, marketing resources, and professional development for agencies and student counsellors actively advising students on study in Spain.

"FEDELE wants to promote quality standards for international exchanges carried out through agencies," explains the federation. "The system offers advice and support as well as an information and consultation service to agencies on aspects of language immersion for students when they come to study in Spain."

A major milestone in 2023

Next year will bring a vivid illustration of the considerable impact that Spain has on global culture as the country commemorates the 50th anniversary of the death of the legendary artist Pablo Picasso.

"Picasso is one of the most important figures of modern art. His expressive, free and multiform style continues to influence contemporary art and debate today," notes a statement from the Spanish government. "The Picasso Celebration 1973-2023 aims to highlight the career of an essentially European artist who has projected throughout the world universal symbols such as Guernica, today a collective emblem of the defence of human rights."

The Casa de Velázquez in Madrid, the inspiration for an especially prolific period in Picasso's career and the site of a major exhibit running from September through November 2023.

Celebration Picasso 1973-2023 will feature a huge programme of fifty exhibitions and events across Europe and North America, including major exhibits in Madrid and Barcelona and also in Picasso's birthplace of Málaga on the famous Costa del Sol.

Casa Natal de Picasso en Málaga, where an exhibition will take place from June 2023 until January 2024.

This is but one example of the deep traditions and values inherent in Spanish culture, and of the rich, immersive experience that awaits students pursuing their language studies in Spain in 2023.

For more on FEDELE's services and supports for education agents, please see the Partner Agency website.

For more on studying Spanish in Spain, please see Turespaña's special online brochure for language students.

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