Over 200,000 International Students in Spanish Universities

Spain Europe International Studies Statistics by Erudera News Feb 26, 2024

Madrid, Spain

The number of international students in Spanish higher education institutions exceeded 200,000 in the 2021/22 academic year.

This is 50,000 more than the previous year, specifically 2020/21, when 175,382 international students enrolled in universities in the country.

Of the total 224,080 international students at universities, the majority (170,220) pursued degree programs while the remaining 53,860 were Erasmus students, Erudera.com reports.

Most international students in Spain during the 2021/22 academic year hailed from Italy (22,688), followed by 19,519 from France, 19,351 from Columbia, 17,854 from Ecuador and 12,525 students from China.

Spain also attracted a large number of students from the following countries:

  • Germany - 10,063 students
  • Romania - 8,919 students
  • US - 7,717 students
  • Morocco - 7,456 students
  • Peru - 7,377 students
  • Mexico - 7,291 students
  • Chile - 5,395 students
  • Portugal - 4,614 students
  • Venezuela - 3,941 students
  • Brazil - 3,813 students
  • Argentina - 3,777 students

The number of German students in Spanish universities has doubled, from just 5,496 in 2020/21 to over 10,000 in 2021/22. Similarly, the number of Columbian students experienced an increase from 16,535 students in 2020/21.

Differently, the number of students from Ecuador has dropped to the fourth position among countries sending the highest number of students in Spain.

Following a drop to the 16th spot, the number of students from the United States has gradually increased to 7,717, which is an annual rise of over 190 percent.

Spain’s popularity as a destination has grown mainly because of the academic exchanges through Erasmus+. A rising number of European students are choosing Spain as their destination under the Erasmus+ exchange program.

Among exchange students in 2021/22, 10,134 came from Italy, 6,738 from France, and 776 from Columbia.

Madrid remains the top choice for international students, with universities in the city enrolling a total of 46,223. The highest number of international students in Madrid was recorded in the 2018/19 academic year, when 44,000 attended universities.

The second most preferred destination for international students is Cataluña, hosting 43,787, followed by Andalucía, with 25,472 students in 2021/22, up from 18,954 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

International students from countries outside the EU/EEA or Switzerland must apply for a visa to study in Spain. On the other hand, American citizens planning to study in Spain will need a student visa only if their program lasts more than 90 days.

© Giuseppe Buccola | Unsplash

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