Study Abroad in Spain
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Spain, officially the Kingdom of Spain (Spanish: Reino de España,
España), is a country located in Southern Europe, with two small exclaves in North Africa (both bordering Morocco). Spain is a democracy which is organized as a parliamentary monarchy. It is a developed country with the ninth-largest economy in the
world. It is the largest of the three sovereign nations that make up the Iberian Peninsula—the others are Portugal and the microstate of Andorra.
At 194,884 mi² (504,782 km²), Spain is the world's 51st-largest country
(after Thailand). It is comparable in size to Turkmenistan, and somewhat
larger than the US state of California.
Spain's population density, at 87.8/km² (220/sq. mile), is lower than that of most Western European countries and its distribution along the country is very unequal. With the exception of the region surrounding the capital, Madrid, the most populated areas lie around the coast.
The population of Spain doubled during the twentieth century, due to the spectacular demographic boom by the 60's and early 70's. Then, after the birth rate plunged in the 80's and Spain's population became stalled, a new population increase started based initially in the return of many Spanish who emigrated to other European countries during the 70's and, more recently, it has been boosted by the large figures of foreign immigrants, mostly from Latin America (38.75% of them), Eastern Europe (16.33%), Maghreb (14.99%) and Sub-Saharan Africa
(4.08%). Also some important pockets of population coming from other countries in the European Union are found (20.77% of the foreign residents), specially along the Mediterranean
coasts and Balearic islands, where many choose to live their retirement or even
telework. There has also been a steady influx of English, French, German, and Dutch immigrants since the 70's as
well. However, the pattern of growth was extremely uneven due to large-scale internal migration from the rural interior to the industrial cities during the 60's and 70's. No fewer than eleven of Spain's fifty provinces saw an absolute decline in population over the century.
Due to Spain's own geographical situation which allows only its northern part to be in the way of the Jet Stream's typical path and due to its own orographic conditions, its climate is extremely diverse. It can be roughly divided in the following areas:
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- The Northern and Eastern Mediterranean coast (Catalonia, Northern half of the Land of Valencia and the Balearic islands): Warm to hot summers with relatively mild to cool winters. Precipitation averaging 600mm (23.6 in) a year. These show an average Mediterranean
- The South East Mediterranean coast (Alicante, Murcia and Almería): Hot summers and mild to cool winters. Very dry, virtually sub-desertic, rainfall as low as 150mm (5.9 in) a year in the Cabo de Gata which is reported to be the driest place in Europe. These areas qualify mostly as Semiarid climate in terms of
- Southern Mediterranean coast (Málaga and Granada's coastal areas): Warm summers, very mild winters. Average yearly temperatures close to 20 degrees Celsius (68°F) and wet. Close to Subtropical
- The Guadalquivir valley (Seville, Cordoba): Very hot and dry summers and mild winters. Relatively dry climate.
- South West Atlantic coast (Cadiz, Huelva): Pleasant summers, very mild and temperate winters. Relatively wet climate.
- The inner land plateau (Madrid, Valladolid, Toledo) and the Ebro Valley (Zaragoza): Cold winters (depending mostly on altitude) and hot summers, close to the Continental climate. Relatively dry weather (400-600mm or 15.7 - 23.6 in per
- Northern Atlantic coast or "Green Spain" (Galicia, Asturias, Coastal Basque country): A very wet climate (averaging 1000mm. or 39.4 in a year, some spots over 1200mm. or 47.2 in), with mild summers and mild to cool winters. These show mostly an Oceanic
- The Pyrenees: overall wet weather with cool summers and cold winters, the highest part of it has an Alpine climate.
- The Canary Islands: Subtropical climate in terms of temperature, being these mild and stable (18 °C to 24 °C; 64 °F to 75 °F) throughout the year. Desertic in the Eastern islands and moister in the westernmost ones.
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