Attending University in Spain - Can I join a program in the second half/semester of the year?
August 9, 2011 1:20 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to attend an undergrad program for psychology in Spain. I plan to apply directly to the school, not through a U.S. study abroad program. I'm thinking Seville or Madrid. My problem is that I have missed many deadlines for the coming semester in beginning in September. This would be the introductory semester. From what I can find on the websites it appears that the years/semesters are programed pretty specifically unlike U.S. colleges. Does anyone have experience jumping into a Spanish university without starting from the exact beginning of a program? I suppose this may be similar in other European countries. Please feel free to chime in if you have experience in other countries as well. Thanks all!
posted by 4Lnqvv to Education (3 answers total)
I didn't do my undergrad studies in Spain but I have experience with the universities there. Generally the academic programs are much more strictly organized than ones in the US. Almost all the courses are required, you have very few electives, and you don't really have much choice about what order you take the courses in, since everything builds on everything else. That means that I suspect they won't be very flexible about allowing you to start in the middle of the year. If you've missed this year's deadlines completely then you'll have to wait another year. You could still go abroad for part/all of that time though - the "gap year" concept isn't so big in the US, but it's still pretty normal for students in the UK at least.

This is Spain we're talking about, so there's a tiny chance they might be flexible about their deadlines - try to get in touch with them and ask! If the semester starts late in September you *might* still have time (though remember that you need to allow several weeks to obtain your student visa as well).

I think it's really cool that you want to do your undergrad studies abroad! Good luck!
posted by SymphonyNumberNine at 4:17 PM on August 9, 2011

Thanks for the reply SymphonyNumberNine.

Regarding the visa, don't you need to get a letter from the university before you can even apply?

I'm cutting it awfully close for visa and acceptance to the school. Do you know if you can attend on a tourist visa and maybe overstay or leave the EU and return to get a tourist extension? I did this in Argentina for 2 years.
posted by 4Lnqvv at 9:58 AM on August 10, 2011

Yes, you'll need the letter from the university for a student visa application. (You may also need a medical examination stating you're in good health - it was like that when I lived in Spain but that may have changed since then - and getting an appointment for that could take a while as well, depending on your doctor.)

You might be able to start the program on your visa-waiver 90 days and then apply for a student visa in the break between semesters (you'd have to return to the US to do this, normally you can't upgrade a tourist visa from within the country). But you can't just go back and forth - tourist visas are valid for 90 days out of 180, and they'll keep close tabs - plus all neighboring countries are in the Schengen area so going to France, for example, doesn't count as leaving. Please, please, please don't overstay your tourist visa in Europe; they're much stricter about this than I gather South America is, and if you're ever recorded as having overstayed you will have a *lot* of difficulty getting back into any Schengen area country.
posted by SymphonyNumberNine at 10:08 AM on August 10, 2011

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