December 5, 2023

In 2021/22, Spain hosted a total of 224,080 international students, including those participating in exchange programs, which is just under 50,000 more than the previous year, when 175,382 students enrolled in the country.

Italy and France took first and second place in the table of data published by the Spanish Ministry of Universities. For the first time, Italy sent over 22,000 students, of which 22,688.

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

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

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

The figures reflect a massive increase in interest from Europe, despite easier movement in the 2021/22 academic year following the pandemic.

In 10th place, Peru’s numbers were steady at 7,377, but Mexico and Chile were both dropped from the top 10 sending countries, making way for the US.

“US numbers up again, sending 7,717 students – up over 190%”

After falling to 16th in the table in 2020/21, the US numbers climbed back up, sending 7,717 students, up more than 190% year-on-year.

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

Despite producing one of the largest cohorts of international students in the world, China’s student numbers in Spain have remained stable, only growing by around 700 year-on-year, sending 12,525 students at the latest figures. It remained the fifth most popular source country.

When it comes to where students in Spain are going, Madrid remains the most popular destination, with a record 46,223 international students attending its universities, surpassing its previous record of 44,000 in 2018/19.

Catalonia is still the second most popular destination and will welcome 43,787 international students to the region in the latest cohort. Andalucia will also make the most of student numbers, climbing from 18,954 to 25,472 in 2021/22 from the pandemic.

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