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The Just Student Jobs Country guide for gap year travel in Europe - Spain


Where to Go - Europe (exc UK)

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Spain

Population: 39,996,671

Literacy rate: 97%

Life expectancy at birth: male – 75.32 yrs, female – 82.49 yrs

Infant mortality rate: 4.99 deaths/1,000 live births

Population growth rate: 0.11%

GDP growth rate: 3.6%

GDP per capita: £11,600

Unemployment: 16%

Inflation: 2.3%

TI index: 7.0

Climate: temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast

Time: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).

Websites: Tourist info etc. www.spain.info

Not only one of the stronger European economies, but also home to one of the most dynamic publishing industries in Europe. Spain still retains a lot of charm, in spite of its aggressive entrepreneurs. Economic development has led to some imbalances in wealth, but in general even the poor are benefiting.

There are many contrasts within the country; the Basque region (north) does not wish to be associated with Spain and the separatist terrorist organisation ETA is once again active. Beware of terrorist activity in big cities. The north-west is poor and backward, the east is really another country – the Catalans have their own language and are sober, hard-working people who look down on the Madrileños as a bunch of lazy sybarites. The centre is the hub and home of government and administration. The climate is Madrid is described as “six months of ‘inverno’ (winter) and six months of ‘inferno’ (very hot indeed). And it does get hot. The custom of the siesta is maintained for very practical reasons. Everything opens early in the morning, closes around lunch-time and opens again around 16:00. Evening meals are taken at around 22:00. This avoids having to work in the hottest part of the day and breaks up the working day into two convenient parts. It is an outstandingly civilized institution.

Barcelona is worth visiting just for itself. This is the home of the architect Gaudí and his work (particularly the church of the Sagrada Família) and was a centre of commerce when Venice was an important trading city. Traditions run deep. Walk down Las Ramblas on a Sunday morning and marvel at the diversity of the human animal. Try out the various wonderful restaurants in the old quarter. There are even Catalan language courses, if you feel ambitious. Strangely, the Basques like to boast that their language is unlearnable. It is actually a member of the Finno-Ugric family and just plain difficult.

Overall, a delightful country with a language that is a cinch to learn. Food and drink marvellous if one stays away from the more blatant tourist areas – you need to go to Spain for fish & chips? This is a wine-drinking country, and the wines and sherries (from the town of Jerez – hence sherry) range from the so-so to the truly magnificent. There is good beer, but the wine merits investigation.

Entry requirements

EU nationals can get a residency permit by presenting a copy of their contract. Non-EU nationals may need up to two years to get a permit.

Vaccinations

Nothing special here.

Getting Around

Click here for further information on great value bus travel with Busabout

Gap Year Programmes

Click here to find gap year programmes and placements in Spain



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