Spain vs France: Which is the Better Study-Abroad Destination in 2024?

10 minute read

Students often need clarification while choosing their study-abroad destination. The confusion can be far greater if they are faced with two equally amazing options, like Spain and France. The education system in both countries is highly regarded for its excellence and quality. In this blog, we will do a Spain vs France comparison. We compare these nations based on several aspects and award +2 points to the one which is better in a specific aspect. Towards the end of this blog, we will compute the total scores of both countries and the one with the highest score will be deemed a better study-abroad destination. 

Parameters SpainFrance 
Area506,030 KM²551,695 KM²
CurrencyThe Euro (€)Euro (€)
Total Higher Education Providers86Over 3,500 Public and Private Institutes
Total Indian Students Studying1,50010,000
Average Cost of Living€689.4 – €2,430.9€918.2 – €3,273.8
Average Cost of Studying€800 to €1,200 Per Year€600 – €800 / Month
Popular Job SectorsLaw, Data Science, Real Estate, Food Industry, Clothing Industry, Information and Communications Technology, and Business DevelopmentPharmacy, Psychology, Radiology, Architecture, Journalism, and Healthcare. 
Permitted Part-Time Working Hours20 Hours Per Week / 4 Hours Per Day20 Hours Per Week

Top-Ranked Universities: Spain vs France

You must choose a good university to pursue your education to ensure a safe and secure career. Hence, we will compare Spain and France based on their top universities. 

Universities in Spain

Here are some of the top-ranked universities in Spain:

Top Universities in SpainQS World University Rankings 2024Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona=149201–250
Universitat de Barcelona=164=152
Complutense University of Madrid=171501–600
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid=199351–400
University of Navarra280301–350
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona)=310201–250
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M)=319801–1000
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC)354601–800
University of Granada403501–600
IE University428201–300

Universities in France

The table given below lists some of the best French universities:

Top Universities in FranceQS World University Rankings 2024Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024
Université PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres)24 47
Ecole Polytechnique38
Sorbonne University5975
Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon184
Ecole des Ponts ParisTech192 401–500
Université de Paris236
Sciences Po Paris319501–600
Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne328801–1000
ENS Paris-Saclay7158

Which Country is Better?

The above tables show that universities in France are ranked higher than those in Spain. Hence, we will award +2 points to France in this round of Spain vs France. 

top-ranked universities

Also Read: Spain Study Visa

Admission Requirements

In this section, we will compare Spain and France based on their ease of admission requirements. The admission criteria in both countries are explained in detail below. 

Admission Requirements for Spain

The admission requirements for universities in Spain are given below:

  • You need to have completed your high school education if you are applying for a bachelor’s course and an undergraduate degree if you are applying for a postgraduate program. 
  • In the PCE exams you attend, you are required to score a minimum grade of 5 in the general core subject.
  • You must also score a minimum of 90-100 on TOEFL and 6.5 on IELTS. 
  • Moreover, you have to provide the following documents during your admission process:
  1. A valid passport, 
  2. Medical insurance, 
  3. A valid student visa, 
  4. Travel insurance, and
  5. Proof of sufficient funds to cover your living costs during your studies. 

Admission Requirements for France

The eligibility criteria for admission to the universities in France are provided below: 

  • The applicants have to ensure that they are at least 18 years old before applying to the university they want to enrol in. 
  • Moreover, students need to obtain a short-stay visa in case they participate in a training program that continues for less than a duration of three months. 
  • Candidates will be provided a temporary long-stay visa if their training course concludes post three months or six months, and they are not required to do any further paperwork when they finally come to France. 
  • Students must provide a long-stay visa, which is equivalent to a residency permit if their training continues for over six months. 
  • The students also have to submit the documents mentioned below: 
  1. Two passport-size photos,
  2. Evidence of monetary means for covering all expenses during the period of study,
  3. If you have enrolled in a course taught in French, you will need a proficiency certificate for the French language,
  4. Documents that state the arrangement for accommodation during your studies,
  5. Air flight reservation/ticket with the date of departure,
  6. A valid passport and copies of your previous visas if any,
  7. A visa application form for a France study visa,
  8. If applicable, proof of civil status,
  9. Evidence of payment of Visa fees,
  10. Medical insurance can cost around 30,000 Euros yearly, and
  11. An official Letter of Acceptance/Enrolment from the University in France. 

Which Country is Better?

The admission requirements in both Spain and France are straightforward. Hence, we will award +2 points to both countries in this round of Spain vs France. 

Tuition Fees

You should also factor in the tuition fees in your preferred destination before you plan to study there. So, we have shown below the average tuition fees you can expect to pay in Spain and France. 

Tuition Fees in Spain

As per the websites of the Spanish universities, the average annual costs of tuition in the country are as follows: 

Study Program Average Annual Tuition Fee
Undergraduate €750 – €2,500
Postgraduate€1,000 – €3,500

Tuition Fees in France

The average tuition fees according to the French universities are shown in the table given below:

Study Program Average Annual Tuition Fee
Undergraduate €600 – €30,000
Doctoral€380 – €30,000

Which Country is Better?

The tuition fees in Spain are mostly lower than in France. Hence, we will grant +2 points to Spain in this round of Spain vs France. 

tuition fees

Also Read: Education System in Spain

Living Expenses

Another important factor that determines if a country is suitable for you or not is its cost of living. Hence, we will discuss here the living expenses in Spain and France. 

Cost of Living in Spain

According to Numbeo, the living costs in Spain are as follows:

Monthly Rent €694.44 to €1,538.34
Average Apartment Price (Price per Square Metre)€1,995.84 to €3,390.71
Average Cost of an Inexpensive Restaurant Meal €12.00
Average Transportation Cost (Monthly)€31.30
Average Cost of Utility (Monthly)€177.31

Cost of Living in France

The cost of living in France as per the Numbeo is given in the table below: 

Monthly Rent €589.50 – €1,408.42
Average Apartment Price (Price per Square Metre)€4,231.83 – €5,813.26
Average Cost of an Inexpensive Restaurant Meal €15
Average Transportation Cost (Monthly)€61.37 
Average Cost of Utility (Monthly)€229.03

Which Country is Better?

The cost of living is mostly lower in Spain than in France. Hence, we will award +2 points to Spain in this round of Spain vs France. 

living expenses

Work Permit and PR

If you plan to find employment and settle abroad after finishing your studies, then you must factor in the ease of obtaining a work permit and PR in your preferred destination. So, let’s see the process of receiving a work permit and PR in Spain and France. 

Work Permit in Spain

Here is how a Spanish work permit is granted:

Eligibility Requirements for a Work Permit in Spain:

Here are the requirements to obtain a work permit in Spain:

  • Two recent passport-sized coloured photographs on a white background with 80% face cover on a matt or semi-matt finished paper (35mm x 45mm),
  • Original work permit/training permit obtained by the Spain-based employer,
  • Original Passport with a validity of more than six months and a minimum of three blank pages for visa stamp (Attach all your old passports if any), 
  • Personal ITR for the last 3 years,
  • Pay slips,
  • Original Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) issued by the Regional,
  • Bank Statement for the last six months,
  • Passport Office, and
  • Travel insurance.

Process for a Spain Work Permit:

You need to first secure a job if you want to obtain a Spanish work visa. This is because your employer finishes a majority of the Work Visa Application Process on your behalf and they must commence by applying for authorisation from the Single Desk for Immigration at their local Prefettura. Your local embassy will award you an entry visa, which typically takes less than thirty days. 

PR in Spain

To obtain the Spanish Permanent Residency, you must have lived lawfully in Spain for five years. You can apply for Permanent Residency and receive the right to remain in the nation as a permanent resident.

Work Permit in France

Have a look at the process of receiving a work permit in France:

Eligibility Criteria to Get a Work Permit in France

The candidates are required to fulfil the eligibility requirements given below to be deemed eligible for a French Work Visa. 

  • The applicant must have a valid passport in his/her possession. 
  • The applicants need to have been provided with a job proposal in France. 
  • One needs to possess all the necessary documents that are mentioned in the application form. 
  • The candidates are only allowed to work within the scope of specific work time as given in their respective work permits and cannot cross the defined time limit. 
  • One will also be needed to submit the documents mentioned below: 
  1. A duly filled France visa application form,
  2. CV of the employee,
  3. Recent colour photographs,
  4. Copies of all education qualifications,
  5. A valid passport with expiry at least 3 months beyond the intended duration of stay,
  6. A photocopy of the first and last page of the passport,
  7. Company’s appointment letter,
  8. Employer’s reference letter,
  9. Past employment testimonials, and 
  10. A detailed description of the type of work to be performed by the applicant in France

Steps to Apply for a French Work Permit

Follow the steps mentioned below to apply for a France work permit: 

Step 1:  You have to first figure out the kind of permit you are applying for, by the job role and employment duration. 

Step 2: Then, proceed with the completion of your application form for the work permit. 

Step 3: Gather all the necessary documentation that is mandatory for the French work permit.

Step 4: Then, schedule an appointment to give the Biometrics and needed documents at VAC (Visa Application Centre).

Step 5: After this, you have to just wait for the embassy’s decision. 

It takes normally about 5 to 20 working days for the work visa to be processed after you have submitted the required documents to the French Embassy/Consulate.

PR in France

You can be deemed eligible for a France permanent residence permit or French citizenship after five years of staying in the country This period can be shortened in some situations, including marriage to or becoming a parent of a French national. 

Which Country is Better? 

The process of obtaining a work permit and permanent residency is straightforward in the case of both Spain and France. Hence, we will offer +2 points to both countries in this round of Spain vs France. 

Also Read: Part-Time Jobs in France

Average Salaries: Spain vs France

The average annual salary in Spain was €29,113 in 2022 as per Statista. On the other hand, the average salary of a graduate in France is €39,800 per year, according to WeAreDevelopers.

Which Country is Better? 

The above comparison shows that people earn a higher salary in France than in Spain. Hence, we will give +2 points to France in this round of Spain vs France. 

average salaries

Other Major Elements

Let’s look at some other important considerations you should take into account when choosing a study-abroad destination: 


Spain typically experiences a Mediterranean climate, with dry, hot summers and rainy, mild winters. Talking about France, the nation experiences wet winters and dry summers.


Spain is known for providing a very safe environment to its residents and internationals. 

The Spanish government boasts a public alert system for terrorism, and it communicates threat-level changes both online and via local media. Similarly, France is also a very safe country with serious crimes including murder and narcotics being very rare. 

Culture for International Students

Spain has a rich cultural heritage, with numerous galleries, museums, and historical sites to explore. Moreover, students can experience the vibrant local culture via concerts, festivals, and other events. If we talk about France, the locals are very welcoming and friendly to students hailing from foreign countries. 

Also Read: Top Public Universities in France 2024


After calculating the total scores of Spain and France, we find that both Spain and France have scored 8 points, making this contest a draw. So, both countries are equally excellent study-abroad destinations. Spain and France have a track record of providing high standards of education and a good quality of life to students. You should make your choice based on various factors, such as your personal preferences, budget, and goals. 

Study abroad showdown

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Is Spain or France better?

Both Spain and France are renowned study-abroad destinations, offering world-class education and extensive career opportunities.

Is it cheaper to live in France or Spain?

The cost of living in Spain is 26% lower than in France.

Is Spain a beautiful country?

Yes, Spain is a beautiful nation, boasting rich architecture and a huge cultural heritage. 

So, this was all about Spain vs France. Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in foreign nations due to the exposure and career growth they offer. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad

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