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  • Writer's pictureGEARE Executive Board

Navigating Spain: Essential Resources for GEARE Students

It's no surprise that Spain ranks among one the top destinations for GEARE students to work and study abroad. With its rich cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, and renowned countless opportunities for engineering majors, Spain offers an unparalleled opportunity for both personal and academic growth. Despite the benefits, navigating life in a new country like Spain undoubtedly comes with a new set of challenges. This guide aims to provide essential resources tailored specifically for GEARE students embarking on their adventures in Spain, drawing from the experiences of past students who have successfully studied and/or worked abroad in this captivating country.


Communication is key regardless of where you are in the world, but it is especially important while abroad – having a reliable phone service is essential. Take the time to research different mobile phone providers to find the best options for international students before traveling to Spain. Depending on your provider, consider purchasing a prepaid SIM card once arriving and/or exploring different affordable phone plans offered by local providers; if you do plan on purchasing a foreign SIM card, ensure that your phone is not tied to a specific carrier before leaving the U.S. to avoid any potential issues.

In addition to exploring different mobile phone providers and phone plans, remember to take advantage of various communication apps when connected to WiFi, like WhatsApp, to stay connected with family and friends back home.


When it comes to finances in Spain, GEARE students should be mindful of credit card foreign transaction fees. Try to opt for credit cards with low or no foreign transaction fees, if possible, to avoid any additional fees, and notify your bank of your travel plans beforehand to prevent any card issues. 

Consider exchanging currency at your bank before departure for better rates and smoother transitions upon arrival. If not possible, there are platforms designed to help you transfer money internationally at the lowest cost, like TransferWise. By planning ahead, you can make the most of your finances while studying abroad in Spain.


Ensuring access to necessary medications is crucial for a smooth transition abroad. Before departing for Spain, research the regulations regarding bringing medications into the country. It's essential to carry prescriptions for any medication you require. Additionally, consider consulting online platforms like TravelHealthPro for specific health advice related to Spain. Familiarize yourself with Spanish healthcare options to address any medical needs that may arise during your stay.


Getting around in Spain is relatively easy thanks to its extensive public transportation network. Research local transportation options in the area you will study/work abroad in, such as buses, trains, and metros, in the area you will be staying to familiarize yourself with routes, schedules, and fare structures. Public transport apps like Moovit and Google Maps can help you navigate the transportation system efficiently. Consider investing in a transportation card for discounted fares if you plan to use public transport frequently during your stay.

Additional Travel Tips

Here are a couple of additional travel tips to consider before traveling to Spain, courtesy of past alumni:

  • Community Engagement: Joining local clubs, student organizations, or cultural exchange programs can help you immerse yourself in Spanish culture, make friends, and build a support network. Additionally, joining these organizations can greatly improve your language skills in an informal setting. A common example of an activity past GEARE students loved participating in are recreational sports teams, like volleyball or bowling.

  • Cultural Adaptation: Take the time to familiarize yourself with Spanish customs, traditions, and etiquette in your area before traveling to avoid cultural misunderstandings. Each region and city of Spain offers a different perspective with its own unique cultures and traditions. Embrace the local culture and always be open to exploring new experiences.

Preparation Checklist & Other Considerations

To ease any nerves you may have, use this checklist to ensure you have all of the essentials based on the resources discussed in this article:

  • Consider your cell phone

  • Pre-plan finances

  • Bring medications and related documents

  • Plan transportation

  • Explore community engagement opportunities  

  • Research local cultures

Additionally, here are a few other things you may want to consider bringing not discussed in this article:

  • Valid passport and visa documents

  • Health insurance coverage

  • Adequate clothing and personal items for the climate

  • Copies of important documents (passport, visa, academic transcripts)

  • International plug adapters and chargers

  • Emergency contact information

  • Local currency or access to funds

Therefore, studying and/or working abroad in Spain with GEARE is an enriching experience that offers countless opportunities for growth and discovery. By utilizing essential resources and adequately preparing for your journey, you can make the most of your time in Spain. Embrace the adventure, immerse yourself in Spanish culture, and enjoy every moment of your GEARE experience in this vibrant and welcoming country.

Margie Heritage

First Year Engineering ‘27


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