Country Overview

Spain is a country of fascinating diversity, visible in its people, its countryside, and its profound history. The variety of cultures that have influenced Spain are vast, including the Romans, Moors, Phoenicians, and Gypsies. With such a deep history behind the Iberian Peninsula, each region of Spain could easily be considered an independent country. The green landscapes of the north present a marked contrast to the mountainous and arid landscapes of the south. The foods of Spain are equally varied, and provide yet another exciting aspect to your experience. Tapas are a typical example of the gastronomic culture. Spaniards treasure outings with friends that include ordering multiple plates of food that can be shared amongst the group. Olives, cheeses, meats, and seafood are popular items used in tapas. Any educational trip to Spain signifies an array of experiences as one travels from one city to the next. While living and studying in Spain, you will learn about the diversity of cultures the country offers. Equally interesting, you will be able to make connections between Spain and the lasting imprint it has made on the United States. Come experience the fascination and intrigue that Spain has to offer.

Fast Facts

Population: 45.5 million

Population of Granada: 250,000

Area: 505,000 sq. km

GDP per person: $25,750

Adult literacy: 97.9%

Number of languages spoken: 14

Time Zone: UTC/GMT +1 hour (7 hours ahead of Central US)

Geographic Location: Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest of France. Terrain in Spain - large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees mountain range in north. Terrain in Granada - Elevation is 559 meters (1,834 feet). Located where the Sierra Nevada Mountains meet a fertile plain known as El Vega. Behind the city are steep mountains and in front lies the flat agricultural plain.

Highest Point: El Mulhacén 3,481 m, or 11,418 ft. (tallest peak on the Iberian Peninsula), Tenerife 3,718 m, or 12, 195 ft. (in the Canary Islands, tallest peak in Spanish-owned territory)

People: Spain is generally very mono-cultural in comparison to most other developed countries. During the years of Francisco Franco (the dictatorship) there was very little immigration. 95% of the population is white and Catholic. For centuries Spain was host to Arabic culture and this has left many strong imprints both genetically and culturally.Spanish in Spain: In Spain you they use “vosotros”, which is an informal plural tense. Do not worry if you don’t know vosotros! You will learn about it on the program and it is one of the fun aspects of studying abroad in Spain! Also, “c” and “z” are pronounced like a “th”. Some people call it a lisp but it is not. Linguistically, it makes a lot of sense – it is to distinguish these letters from an “s”. In Latin America “c” and “z” became to be pronounced like an “s” – the phenomena known as “seseo”. Each region of Spain has its own accent. In Andalucía you will often hear people cut off the “s” on the end of words. “más o menos” will sound like “mah o menoh”. This is the same phenomena you find in Caribbean Spanish. There are many similarities between Caribbean Spanish and the Spanish of Andalucía.

Climate: Temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast. In January there are lots of blue skies and it is warm during the day but cold at night. There are occasional frosts. During the spring and fall the temperature is very pleasant in Granada with warm and sunny days. June, July, and August months are hot, but fortunately Granada has a dry heat with no humidity, which makes the temperatures comfortable. Mornings are cool and spring-like and evenings can be cool and breezy, sometimes requiring a light sweater in the summer. There is very little rainfall in Granada.

Holidays:

Jan 1st

Año Nuevo (New Year's Day)
Jan 6th
Día de los Tres Reyes (12th night, when Christmas presents are given)
 Mar 19th

San José (Father's Day)

Floating Viernes Santo (Good Friday)
Floating Día de Pascúa (Easter Sunday)
May 1st Día del Trabajo (Labor Day) 
Jun 24th San Juan (St. John's Day)
Jun Corpus Christi
Jun 29th San Pedro y San Pablo (St. Peter & St. Paul)
Jul 25th Santiago (St. James, patron saint of Spain)
Aug 15th Asunción (Assumption)
Oct 12th Día de la Hispanidad (Columbus Day)
Nov 1st Todos los Santos (All Saints Day)
Dec 6th Día de la Constitución (Constitution Day)
Dec 8th Imaculada Concepción (Immaculate Conception)
Dec 25th Navidad (Christmas Day)