European interest in Spain soars in new figures

European interest in Spain soars in new figures

Spain’s neighbouring European nations are sending students to the country in record numbers, overtaking the figures coming from South American nations.

Madrid remained the most popular region in Spain for international students. Photo: Pexels

The figures reflect a massive uptick in interest coming from Europe

In the 2021/22, Spain hosted a total of 224,080 international students including those on exchange programs, soaring by just shy of 50,000 from the previous year when 175,382 enrolled in the country

Italy and France took first and second place respectively on the table of data released by Spain’s ministry of universities. Italy sent over 22,000 students for the first time, with 22,688.  

As well as France (19,519) and Italy, Germany also performed well, with numbers climbing from 5,496 to just over 10,000 year-on-year. 

Having been knocked from first place after 2020/21, when it sent 16,535 students, Colombia was still third on the table in 2021/22, with 19,351 students studying in Spain.

Ecuador also dropped one spot to the fourth biggest share of international students, sending 17,854 – still a thousand more students than in 2020/21. 

The figures reflect a massive uptick in interest coming from Europe, despite more ease of movement in the 2021/22 academic year following the pandemic.

In 10th place, Peru’s numbers were steady and climbed to 7,377, but Mexico and Chile were both knocked out of the top 10 biggest sending countries, making way for the US. 

“US numbers soared back up to send 7,717 students – the figure having climbed over 190%”

Having fallen to 16th on the table in 2020/21, US numbers soared back up to send 7,717 students, the figure having climbed over 190% year-on-year. 

On the other side of the Atlantic, while UK student numbers are still hovering at around 3,000, there is hope that a new deal signed by the UK’s ambassador to Spain and the minister of universities concentrating on access and collaboration may help boost numbers. 

Despite producing one of the biggest cohorts of international students in the world, China remained steady in its student numbers to Spain, only climbing by around 700 year-on-year and sending 12,525 students in the most recent figures. It remained the fifth most popular source country. 

In terms of where students are going in Spain, Madrid is still the most popular destination, and has a record 46,223 international students attending its universities, surpassing its previous 2018/19 record of 44,000. 

Cataluña is still the second most popular destination, welcoming 43,787 overseas students to the region in the latest cohort.  Andalucía also makes the most of the student numbers, climbing out of pandemic numbers from 18,954 to 25,472 in 2021/22.

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