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International mobility highlighting Spain’s appeal


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07 November 2018

As higher education continues to be an increasingly global business, a number of European markets are seeing a major boost in international enrolments. Spain, one of Europe’s largest markets with over 1.5m students, which includes 98,741 international students in the 2016/2017 academic year, has become an attractive global destination for international students for a number of compelling reasons.

Firstly, both Barcelona and Madrid are highly rated in the QS World University Rankings as two of the best European student cities due to their leisure options, the standard of living and culture. Secondly, the country also has a wide variety of quality courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students, with some of the best business schools in Europe, including IE Business School in Madrid, as well as IESE Business School and ESADE Business School in Barcelona.

The total number of international students grew by 10.2% between 2016 and 2017, with the largest percentage of international students arriving from other European countries (43% of the total), followed by Latin America and the Caribbean. Moreover, the growth of students from Asia and Australasia is increasing rapidly, accounting for 13% of total students. Student enrolment from outside of Spain is expected to continue to rise in the future due to Asian countries becoming the largest outbound markets of international students globally.

A rise in the number of domestic and international students against the limited availability of student accommodation is driving the development of new high-quality projects by existing and new operators, to benefit from providing for the shortfall in demand.

According to JLL Research, current pipeline developments in top University cities around Spain will add an additional 10,000 beds to the existing market stock by 2020. This includes GSA’s investments under development, which account for 855 beds and a further 3,752 in the potential pipeline. On completion, the Spanish investment portfolio will total 2,234 beds in 2019.


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