Spain is situated in south-western Europe and occupies
almost the entire Iberian Peninsula.
It has a population of 47.190.493 inhabitants.
Its government structure is a parliamentary monarchy.
Its anthem is The royal march. Spain's national anthem is
one of the oldest in Europe and its origins are unknown.
Spain is divided into 17 regions and two territorial divisions.
MADRID: The capital and largest city in Spain. It has got approximately 3.3 million
people and in Madrid metropolitan area there is a population of 6.5 million. It is the
third-largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin.
BARCELONA: The capital of Catalonia the second largest city in Spain, after Madrid,
with a population of 1,621,537. It is also the largest Spanish city in the Mediterranean
sea. It is located on the north-east Mediterranean coast between the rivers Llobregat and
INTERESTING PLACES WORTH VISITING
SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
Santiago de Compostela is located in the north-west of Spain, in Galicia. With its
Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque buildings, the Old Town of Santiago is one of the
world's most beautiful urban areas. The oldest monuments are grouped around the tomb
of St James and the cathedral. Lots of pilgrims go there to see the tomb of the apostle
Saint James the Greater, Santiago.
It is one of Spain’s major tourist attractions. Alhambra means Red Female because the
building reflects the colour of red clay. It was built as a small fortress in the 9th century
and later became the emir’s palace. When the Catholic Monarchs reconquered Granada
in 1492, Christian rulers started to use it.
Spanish is spoken by more than 400 million people around the world and it is one of the
most important languages in business and in the cultural scene.
In some places the word Castilian Spanish is used to refer to standard Spanish. That is
because of the region of Castille. In fact, Spanish originated in northern Spain as a
continuation of spoken Latin. In Spain there are a lot of dialects but we can’t confuse
these with other languages in Spain. For example, Extremaduran or Andalucian would
be dialects and Catalonian and Basque would be different languages.
It very difficult to choose only two famous people in Spain because there are a lot of
people who are good at doing specific things, so we would highlight some well-known
people in different areas:
Pedro Almodóvar is one of the best film directors in Spain. In 2012, his film “The Skin
I live in” received four “Goya awards” and also won an Oscar for “All about my
Pablo Picasso was a Spanish sculptor and painter and he is also known for co-founding
the Cubist movement. His best works were “Guernica”, “Las señoritas de Avignon”
Diego Velázquez was a Spanish painter, one of the most important painters of the
Spanish Golden Age. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque
period, important as a portrait artist. One of his most known works is “Las Meninas”
-We can find some well known writers:
Miguel de Cervantes: He was a novelist, poet and playwright and considered to be the
greatest in Spanish literature and universally known for writing Don Quixote.
Antonio Machado: He was a Spanish poet and one of the leading figures of the Spanish
literary movement known as Generación del 98. He was born in Seville and in his
poetry career, there are three stages:“Soledades”(1899-1907), “Campos de Castilla”
(1907-1917), “Nuevas canciones” (1917-1930)
Federico García Lorca: He was a Spanish poet. Nowadays he is the most
widely read Spanish poet of all time. His major works were: “Impressions
and Landscapes” (1918), “Book of poems” (1921), “Poem of Deep Song”;
written in 1921 but unpublished until 1931. He was murdered in the Spanish
LEGEND OF LA SERRANA DE LA VERA
It is a widely spread legend from Extremadura about a woman who was
cheated by her lover. As he refused to marry her, she ran away, broken-
hearted, to live in the mountains. “La serrana” hid in a cave and every man who passed
by her was seduced and murdered. It happened to all men except one who managed to
escape and report it to the authorities. Eventually, she was sentenced to death.
TERTIARY EDUCATION IN SPAIN
Most relevant universities in Spain
According to “El Mundo”, a Spanish newspaper, ranking about universities in Spain,
the best ones are:
1. Universidad Complutense de Madrid
The Complutense University of Madrid
is a public research university located in
Madrid, and one of the oldest universities
in the world (1293). The university
enrolls over 86,000 students. Alumni
include renowned philosophers (Jose
Ortega y Gasset, Ignatius of Loyola,),
writers (Federico García Lorca, Antonio
de Nebrija, Pedro Calderón de la Barca),
scientists (Santiago Ramón y Cajal,
2. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid:
It´s a Spanish University, located in Madrid. It was founded in 1971 as the result of
merging different Technical Schools of Engineering and Architecture(18th century).
According to the annual university ranking conducted by El Mundo, the Technical
University of Madrid ranks as the top technical university in Spain, and second overall.
The UPM is part of the TIME network, which groups fifty engineering schools
3. Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona
The “Universitat Autonoma” de Barcelona also known as UAB is a public university
mostly located near the city of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. it consists of 57
departments in the experimental, life, social and human sciences, spread among 13
faculties/schools. All these centers together award a total of 85 qualifications in the
form of first degrees, diplomas, and engineering degrees. UAB has more than 40,000
students and more than 3,600 academic and research staff. The UAB is a pioneering
institution in terms of fostering research
4. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
The Autonomous University of Madrid is one of the top universities of Spain and
commonly known by its Spanish initials UAM or as "la Autónoma". UAM is a Spanish
public university established in 1968. UAM has been one of Spain's most prominent
higher education institutions, being ranked first amongst Spanish universities by the El
Mundo University Supplement (known as "Las 50 Carreras"), by The Times Higher
Education Supplement, and by the Academic Ranking of World Universities.
5. Universidad de Barcelona
The University of Barcelona (Catalan: Universitat de Barcelona) is a public university
located in the city of Barcelona, Catalonia in Spain. With 75 undergraduate programs,
353 graduate programs and 96 doctorate programs to over 63,700 students, UB was
considered to be the best University in Spain in the 2011 QS World University
Rankings. In 2010, according to University Ranking by Academic Performance
(URAP), it is the best university in Spain and 83rd university in the world.
Universidad de Salamanca
The University of Salamanca is a Spanish higher education
institution, located in the town of Salamanca, west of Madrid,
in the autonomous community of Castilla and León. It was
founded in 1134 and given the Royal charter of foundation
by King Alfonso IX. It is the oldest founded university in
Spain and the third oldest European university in continuous
operations. It is the top-ranked university in Spain based on
the number of students coming from other regions.
It is also
known for its Spanish courses for non-native speakers, which
attract more than two thousand foreign students each year
Most demanded degrees:
1. Master in Business Administration (ADE)
3. Fine Art
4. Library science
Access to university.
You need to meet the following requirements:
1- Bachillerato Certificate (equivalent to Upper Secondary certificate)
2- PAU (University Entrance Exam):
a) Compulsory exams (foreign language, Spanish, History and Philosophy)
b) Optional exams (depending on the subjects chosen)
6/14 Bachillerato marks
4/14 Compulsory PAU exams
4/14 Optional PAU exams
The Erasmus programme involves pursuing studies in another European University and
promotes training placements in companies or organizations from an EU country.
During this period, the student doesn’t have to pay the tuition fees in the host institution
(accommodation, the trip …) because the student receives a grant for these expenses,
although it is not a very big one. There are two types of mobility programs: mobility for
mobility for work experience. It’s usually required to have an important knowledge of
Spanish. In most universities classes are mainly taught in Spanish, B1 Level is advised
at least, but UCM, for example, offers a free Spanish Language Course for levels under
C-1 to students who apply for it
HOW A FOREIGN STUDENT CAN GET INTO A SPANISH UNIVERSITY
You must have studied in the European Union or one of these countries: Andorra,
Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland or China, but you can also study in our
universities by having the European Baccalaureate diploma or the International
Baccalaureate Diploma. On the other hand, you can also take the PAU entrance test to
improve your marks. If you don’t meet these requirements you must pass a test arranged
by the UNED (Distance Learning National University).
The recognition of foreign certificates, diplomas or studies for non-university education
involves the declaration of their equivalence with the current certificates in the Spanish
educational system. In the case of university degrees, this may involve recognition of
the equivalence of degrees and diplomas gained abroad or partial validation of studies
DISABILITY IN SPAIN
In the mid 1900’s, people with disabilities were segregated from mainstream society
and confined in mental institutions. Fortunately, things have changed dramatically and
now there is a concern about their situation.
Throughout the 20th century, they still were separated from the others, and, often,
rejected. Even the terms used to refer to them were cruel and inappropriate, but, luckily,
at the end of the 20th century other terms started to be used. Social awareness and the
development of associations composed of parents and disabled people also contributed
to normalization and integration.
On the other hand, there are still some problems, such as in rural areas, or when they
have to ask for a sign language interpreter or the expenses families have to face because
there isn’t enough funding for disabled people.
If we talk about employment, sometimes there’s a lack of concern. It is, because they
don’t really know that disability. There are workplaces or jobs where they don’t want to
admit people with disabilities or maybe just be responsible for them. But not everything
is so negative; there are a lot of employers who hire people with disabilities and benefit
from a range of grants and other funding.
And, of course, there are some laws related to the disabled people’s situation, such as
LISMI. This is a law, passed on 7th
April 1982, for the Social Integration of
Handicapped People, which claims that all the Spanish companies with a workforce of
over 50 workers must “have a reservation quota for disabled people ".
Its goal, among others, is to stimulate and to promote the disabled labour integration.
In spite of the existence of this law, there were a number of companies that didn’t fulfill
this legal obligation, so new measures had to be taken to implement the law thoroughly.
That way the advantages people from general population have over disabled people are
In terms of education different laws were developed at the beginning of this century to
fight against discrimination and encourage inclusion, which means equal education of
all students in regular classes and appropriate educational classes for every student, so
everyone is accepted and supported.
Breaking down barriers
People with disabilities face many barriers every day – from physical obstacles in
buildings to systemic barriers in employment. However, the most difficult barriers to
overcome are attitudes other people carry regarding people with disabilities.
We can see these attitudinal barriers through pity. People feel sorry for the person with a
disability, which tends to lead to patronizing attitudes. People with disabilities don’t
want pity or charity, just equal opportunity to learn their own way and live
Unlike physical barriers, attitudinal barriers that often lead to discrimination cannot be
overcome simply through laws. The best remedy is familiarity, getting people with and
without disabilities to mingle as co-workers, associates and social acquaintances. In
time, most of the attitudes will give way to comfort, respect and friendship.
Etiquette: What can we do to interact with people with disabilities?
● Listen to the person with the disability. Do not make assumptions about what
that person can or cannot do..
● Extend common courtesies to people with disabilities as you would do with
anyone else. Shake hands or hand over business cards. If the person cannot
shake your hand or grasp your card, they will tell you. Do not be ashamed of
your attempt, however..
● It is okay to feel nervous or uncomfortable around people with disabilities, and
it's ok to admit that. It is human to feel that way at first. When you encounter
these situations, think "person" first instead of disability; you will eventually
Foundations in Spain
One of the main associations in Spain working hard on the representation and defence
of people with disabilities is CERMI. How can CERMI achieve this purpose? They try
to group the entire people with disabilities sector and make social pressure. With this
they have higher strength and representation before the government, this is very
important to achieve the objective of non-discrimination and full citizenship for people
This organization works in the entire Spanish state, but just CERMI can’t cover all so it
is divided into separate platforms and so they can focus on more specific cases. There
are also other associations that support and help CERMI with its functions and
objectives. We can name some of them: Down Extremadura, FEAPS, ONCE (which is
an organization for blind people that runs the most popular charity lotteries in Spain
and its main source of income. Nowadays CERMI groups turn to 7000 associations and
organizations which together represent more than 3.8 million people, 10% of the total
High-skilled people with disabilities. Appropriate and inappropriate terms
Perhaps Stephen Hawking is the best-known person with a disability. He was born in
Oxford and he is one of the most important scientists in human history, he is an English
theoretical physicist and cosmologist.
Hawking has a disease called neuro-muscular dystrophy, an important disability that
made him lose mobility and later the ability to speak..
He has a quality which is perseverance, and as a result of it, he provided new knowledge
to modern science, especially about the universe, the Big Bang theory, and the black
Another high-skilled person with a disability is Teresa Perales, a Spanish professional
swimmer, who has won a total of 22 Paralympic medals (six of those were won at the
2012 London Games).
She is paraplegic, nevertheless, she has been strong enough to become a professional
A person really surprising is Miguel Galindo, a Spanish skier and a ski coach who
teaches and helps blind skiers by telling them how to go on a mountain. It is incredible
because people who don’t have any disability wouldn’t be able to go through a
mountain without seeing anything, so they must have very high developed senses.
There are many other high-skilled people who have become professionals in their field,
and in spite of their disability, they have fulfilled their wish, with determination,
patience and a very high mental strength..
Concerning RESPECTFUL DISABILITY LANGUAGE, it consists of using terms
which don’t cause an offense to disabled people.
The problem is that we don’t know when a word offends a disabled person, because we
don’t pay attention to the meaning behind the word. However, we have to be careful
with our vocabulary, because if we were disabled, we wouldn’t like to be called with
terms that might sound offensive or pejorative.
For example, it is correct to use terms like “disabled”, or “people with disabilities”, but
to talk about people who are not, we shouldn’t use “normal people” or “healthy people”.
That way, we would address to a blind person, using “blind”, but not “dumb” or
Other terms we shouldn’t use are words like “retarded”, “insane”, “deformed” and many
Instead, we should use terms such as “person with learning disability”, “wheelchair
user” or “person with a speech disability”.
BUSINESS ETIQUETTE IN SPAIN
ADDRESSING A PERSON:
In Spain, people have two surnames, composed of their father’s first surname and their
mother’s first surname. Also like in other countries we can have two first names
We usually say Sr (Mr) and Sra (Mrs) before the name or replace the name when we
to an older person, a superior or a stranger only if this is not a young person. In this case
we don’t use Señor or Señora, because we speak in one way or another depending on if
we are in a formal or informal atmosphere.
INFORMAL: (When there is an atmosphere of trust.) friends, family. In this friendly
environment we talk in a relaxed manner, we address people saying “tú” instead of
“usted”, which is very formal and also we use slang, each region has its own way of
speaking and greeting. To greet we can say “hey” or “hola”
FORMAL: We use formal language in more formal situations where we use a precise
vocabulary for example in a job interview, a debate or a ceremony. As opposed to
informal language we use “usted” instead of “tú”
In Spain there aren’t strict rules about what to wear or not. As in all countries, we use an
outfit or another depending on what we will do and where.
In a business: If you want to make a good impression you have to look fashionable. For
business, men should wear a suit with a jacket with or without a tie, even in warm
weather, and women usually wear dresses, blouses and skirts combined with heels.
Parties and celebrations: When we go out we usually get dressed up or try to look our
best. Men wear jeans with trendy shirts and maybe a jacket. In this type of parties it
isn’t common to wear a tie, but there are men who put it on. Women wear dresses, skirts
and also jeans with tight shirts, boots or heels... Women put on make-up themselves and
they usually put on lots of accessories such as necklaces, bracelets, also hair accessories
A middle-aged or old man doesn’t’ wear the same clothes to go to a party as a teenager.
They prefer more comfort and elegance at the same time.
Finally in Spain not everyone wears “Flamenco” dresses. There are many types of
folkloric costumes, each region has its own, and some people might wear these cotumes
on a specific date.
TIME AND PUNCTUALITY
● In Spain the working hours for shops and businesses are regulated by the
government. Shops are usually open in the morning and reopen after lunch until
about 0830. pm, Monday through Friday, and Saturday morning. Large
department stores are open all day. Professional offices usually open from 10 to
2, then from 5 to 8. Banks are open from 9 to 2 pm .
● Most shops and businesses close at lunchtime to rest and take a “siesta” , which
is typical in Spain. The Spanish usually take a “siesta” in summer, because it is
● Lunch is usually served between 2 pm and 4 pm. Dinner generally takes place
at 10 pm.
● The view of time tends to be somewhat flexible. In social situations it is
common to show up late but being on time for business situations is expected.
● But appointments and deadlines tend to be kept and most transportation services
run on time.
● As a general rule, in the south, people tend to be more relaxed about time than in
In most public high schools you do not have to wear uniforms, and students
usually go with casual wear. But in private and government-funded schools
students must wear uniform.
Marks at high schools are given on a scale from 0 to 10 with 10 being the
highest and 5 being the minimum passing grade for a given subject.
Mobile phones are not allowed at schools as a general rule. If you need to make
a phone call, you can use the telephone in the main office. If a teacher sees you
using your mobile in class it can be taken away until your parents come to
MEETING AND GREETING
A kiss on both cheeks. Actually you don’t kiss their cheeks, you just kiss on the air
while you’re touching cheeks. From left side to right side. That’s used between girls and
a woman and a man.
Shaking hands. You shake the right hand, this is used between men, and everyone if it
is a serious situation.
Hug. This happens among friends.
Meeting. In meetings Spaniards would like to check if they can trust you, so they will
ask you about things like your family. You should be honest.
Spanish people love to talk, so you can ask about their family or free time. But you
should be careful with some topics like age or Spanish food, for example. Here in Spain
we are very proud of our cured ham and wine, so maybe speaking badly about that isn’t
a good idea. If you’re a woman probably they will say things like “you look good.”
Then you could say thanks, because in Spain we prefer humble people.
Doing business in Spain is similar to doing business in the rest of Europe.
While many Spaniards kiss on both cheeks when meeting, this is not common in
business relationships. When doing business in Spain handshakes are standard as with
the rest of Europe and a kiss is appropriate
If you are female, don't be surprised if they compliment you and tell you that you look
good. You can compliment them back if you feel like it or just say thanks.
Several people may also try to speak at once and interruptions are not uncommon. If
this happens it should not be interpreted as rude.
More typically, the deals are done at the office, and then after the successful
negotiations, you all go to celebrate at a restaurant.
The Spanish are great conversationalists. This is how they spend their free time.
The Spanish are proud of their food and wine. Don't be surprised if an evening out lasts
until the late hours.
Spaniards do not, on average, speak English as well as a Northern European. Many
companies in Spain have staff with good English language skills, but try to speak
Never touch, hug or back slap a Spaniard you do not know well, unless a friendly
Spaniard touches you first.
Generally, Spaniards stand very close when talking.
Spaniards speak a lot with their hands. In most conversations, hands are waving around
giving emphasis on what is being said. Never mimic them.
It is common to see people hug in public; couples kiss in public, women interlock arms
with men while walking in the street ( del brazo). Public physical contact is considered
normal within certain limits.
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS
In Spain, when you are considered a friend you will be treated in a familiar way and
politeness won’t be necessary and the rules become relaxed, but you must be more
formal with the older generation.
If you don’t say “please” or “thank you”, it is not considered impolite as a general rule.
It is thought unnecessary among family and friends, or in everyday exchanges in shops
When some spanish people are in a pub or in a restaurant, they usually say “jefe” (boss),
“maestro” (master), “campeon” (champion), “niño” (boy) , “máquina” (machine) to get
attention the waiter’s attention.
Spaniards do not physically stand in line (queue), but they have a sixth sense about who
arrived before them and who arrived after them, instantly knowing when it’s their turn.
Make sure to ask who’s last when you arrive, especially because Spaniards aren’t afraid
to complain if someone should “cut in line”. With that said, be prepared to assert
yourself to get served.
ADMINISTERING FIRST AID
Following the Spanish Red Cross advice, in case of emergency it is crucial to adopt the
PAS approach to avoid that lack of knowledge or panic doesn’t let us take correct
emergency actions. In Spanish, P.A.S. stands for protecting (proteger), warning (avisar)
and helping (ayudar).
The first one is to protect, which means that you must move the person out of the road
and protect their spine. Also you should keep calm and put on the reflective
vest. Next, go out of the vehicle and place the warning triangles in the correct
The next step is to help. Alert emergency services by calling 112 to request
the presence of an ambulance and qualified personnel at the site.
If more than one person is there one should attend to the victim and the other
one should call 122 for help.
When calling 122, indicate:
● Whether the victim is unconscious.
● Approximate age
● Exact location
Administering first aid. Different cases:
Check for breathing:
You must check the airways, if there´s no response, you must shout
for help and you must start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation)
Clearing the airway
Initial evaluation. Examination of the mouth, consciousness and
If the victim coughs strongly and is breathing well: encourage him to cough and do not
perform any manoeuvres
If coughing is weak and breathing is difficult, perform manoeuvres to clear
the airway like this:
● Five blows on the back with the heel of the hand (between the
shoulder and blades), with the adult leaning slightly forwards.
● Then perform five abdominal thrusts (Heimlich manoeuvre)
Mouth to mouth ventilation
● Cover the victim’s mouth with your lips.
● Pinch the victim’s nose between the thumb and index finger of the hand that is
on the victim’s forehead, keeping the airway open.
● Breathe your air into the victim’s mouth, making sure that the chest rises. If you
cannot make the chest rise on breathing in air, check that the airway is open
It consists of rhythmic compressions of the chest which make the blood flow towards
the vital organs such as the heart, lungs and brain. We must follow these steps:
● Put the victim on the floor face up. Locate the centre of the chest and place the
heel of one hand on the lower third of the sternum. Place the heel of the other
hand on top of the other hand, interlocking the fingers of both hands together.
● With your arms straight, press the weight of your body, pushing the victim’s
chest down about 4-5 cm.
● The arms should be vertical over the centre of the chest in order to apply the
pressure more easily and the fingers should be raised so as to avoid damaging
Moving an unconscious person
If the victim cannot stand, is unconscious or they are in a room filled with smoke, you
can move the victim:
By crawling while the victim holds onto your shoulders/neck (conscious victim).
By grabbing their shoulders/shirt, cradling their head in your arms and pulling.
By rolling them onto a blanket or sleeping bag and pulling.
It is the body's reaction to a serious injury. It is a general term that describes a
weakening of the
body's systems, especially the cardiovascular system.
How to treat shock:
● Have the victim lie down and be calm. Start with no
● Cover them with a blanket.
● If their face is pale, raise feet. If their face is red, raise
● Monitor his condition and write down what you see:
Take his pulse every five minutes.
Note the breathing pattern: shallow/deep, quick/slow
Check the injury and change dressings or make adjustments as needed.
Look for additional injuries.
● Ask the victim for medical information: medical history, allergies, phone
numbers of people to contact, etc.
● Talk to the victim and reassure him.