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The Basque Country

The Basque Country spreads over both sides of the Pyrenees, along the coast of

the Bay of Biscay. Historically it was divided into seven provinces, three in the north

side of the Pyrenees and four in the south. While the three northern provinces

(Lapurdi, Nafarroa Behera and Zuberoa) belong to France and administratively to the

region of Aquitaine, the southern ones belonging to the Spanish territory (Bizkaia,

Gipuzkoa, Araba and Nafarroa), are further divided to form two autonomous communities:

that of the Basque Country, also called “Euskadi”, grouping Bizkaia,

Gipuzkoa and Araba, and that of “Navarra” formed solely by the province of

Nafarroa. (*Names of provinces are given in Basque language)

The autonomous community of the Basque Country (Euskadi) was the first autonomous

community to be formed in Spain in 1979. Euskadi has an area of approx

7.261 square kilometres, 145 Km from East to West and 71 from North to South.

With a population of 2.200.000, the Basque Country is one the smallest autonomous

communities of Spain. Isolated by the mountainous terrain, Basques maintained

their linguistic and cultural uniqueness over the ages.

The present system of government of the autonomous community of

the Basque Country, that has its own Parliament, issues from the Statute

of Autonomy, approved by the Spanish referendum of October 25th

1979. The Basque Government has the responsibility of the following

areas, among others: Education and Culture, Agriculture,

Health, Industry, Income Revenue, Telecommunications and

Technological research.

The Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU) is the

public university of the autonomous community of the Basque Country. The UPV/EHU

is an autonomous institution financially supported by the Basque Government.

Founded in 1968 as “Universidad de Bilbao” it was reorganized under the present

name in 1980. This meant the incorporation of Higher Education Colleges and

Schools of the Araba and Gipuzkoa provinces.

The UPV/EHU is the university of a bilingual society. Its language has throughout

its history identified the Basque Country: EUSKARA, the only pre-indo-European language

still alive in Europe. Teaching at the university is essentially performed in

Spanish at undergraduate level. However, most of the Faculties and Colleges offer, in

addition, substantial teaching in Basque. Undergraduate course work, project work,

and some full post-graduate programmes are also available in English or French.

The university has 3 campuses, named after the province in which they are located:

• Campus of ARABA (Alava), capital city: Vitoria-Gasteiz.

• Campus of BIZKAIA (Vizcaya), capital city: Bilbao

• Campus of GIPUZKOA (Guipúzcoa), capital city: Donostia /San Sebastián.

Some figures: approx. 60.000 graduate students, 4.000 post-graduate students,

3.600 teaching staff and 1000 administrative staff.

3.1. Languages

The Basque Country has two official languages: Basque (Euskara) and Spanish

(Español/Castellano). All citizens of the autonomous community speak Spanish.

Euskara, the original language of the Basques is spoken by between 25 to 30% of the

population, although the situation is different for each province, being Gipuzkoa the

one with a highest percentage. Signs on motorways, airports, government offices

and other official places are given in both languages. Some usual terms in Euskara are:

3.2. Religion

Traditionally Spain is a Catholic country and although there is freedom of worship

since the Constitution of 1978, the Catholic Church has a special status.

3.3. Climate

The climate is mild and humid in the coast around Bilbao or San Sebastián and

continental in the centre around Vitoria. Temperatures are mild all year round, with

frequent rains in spring and autumn. Average temperature in the coast is approx.

10ºC in winter and 22ºC in summer. This climate gives very green mountains, combined

with small valleys and small beaches

3.4. Food

Food is an important part of the culture of the Basque Country and cooking a

usual conversation subject and a good excuse for meeting and celebrating.

Gastronomic associations are very spread all over the country and cooking is a very

respected profession. Breakfast and dinner are normally lighter meals, while lunch or

the meal served in the middle of the day is a more important one. Although this is the

traditional way of eating, habits are changing very rapidly to adapt to new ways of

live. Fish is the cornerstone of Basque Cuisine, since the Basques have fished for centuries

all over the world. Meal times are normally as follows: breakfast from 8.00 to

10.00, lunch from 13.00 to 15.30 and dinner from 21.00 to 23.00.

N.B. The three Campuses of the University have bar, cafeteria and restaurant


3.5.Health and Insurance

The Spanish Health System covers students from the European Union holding an

E-111 document (issued by the Health Authorities of their own countries), according

to the agreements passed within the EU (dentist expenses are not included in the

Spanish Health System). Besides the possession of the E-111 or E-128 students are

strongly recommended to submit a private Insurance covering eventualities in connection

with travelling, stolen goods or third party liability. Students from countries

outside the E.U. must absolutely hold a medical insurance.

3.6. Passport

Students are recommended to travel with a passport. Other documents to establish

identity are valid as well, but passports are excellent identification and travelling

documents. Students from countries outside the European Union require a valid passport

and a visa. Advice can be obtained from Spanish Consulates in home country.

3.7. Currency

From the 1st of January 2002 the currency used in Spain is the EURO. The Peseta

will no longer be in use after February 2002.

3.8. Opening Hours

Banks open always from 8.30 to 14.00 on weekdays and several afternoons each


Students are strongly recommended to open an account upon arrival. A current

or a savings account allows for immediate access to your deposit.

N.B. There are banking facilities on each Campus of the University.

Shops: small and traditional shops open normally from 9/10 to 13.30 and from

16.00 to 19.30. Saturday afternoon is also open most of the year. Bigger shops open

normally from 10.00 to 20.00.

Offices open normally for business from 9.00 to 14.00 and from 16.00 to 19.00;

official institutions, however, open to the public only from 9.00 to 14.00. Some open

also from 15.00 to 17.00 on weekdays.

Post Offices open normally from 8.00 or 9.00 to 14.00. Many offices open all day

long until 20.30 hrs.

3.11. Guide to Accommodation

Before you sign an accommodation agreement or contract, please take into consideration

the following points:

1. NEVER SIGN anything with which you do not agree or do not understand. Get it

checked first.

2. Ask all the QUESTIONS you must BEFORE accepting a tenancy agreement.

3. Make sure that your accommodation priorities are covered before you sign anything.

4. If you cannot accept the terms and conditions of a tenancy agreement DON’T SIGN


5. If accommodation problems arise, don’t carry on regardless. TALK to your landlord,

agent or Accommodation Office about it. Some of the problems may arise due to

basic lack of communication between the parts.

6. Do make sure that you will be able to FULFIL THE CONTRACT once you have signed


7. Do ask for advice from the Accommodation Office.

8. Before asking for accommodation, decide WHO to live with, whether you prefer to

live at a Hall of Residence, a shared flat or with a family.

9. Be careful in choosing the AREA to live in. Choose areas close to your Faculty or

College to minimize the transportation time and costs.

10. Make your accommodation BUDGET taking into consideration that, besides the

Rent, you may also have to consider expenses in electricity, gas, etc.

N.B.See also under “Accommodation” in the Campus Information


Historical Background

The University of the Basque Country/ Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea (UPV/EHU) is the public University of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country. The UPV/EHU is an autonomous institution supported financially by the Basque Government. Founded in 1968 as the Universidad de Bilbao, the UPV/EHU was reorganised under its present name in 1980, incorporating the centres of higher education in the provinces of Alava and Gipuzkoa.

The UPV/EHU is an University that serves a bilingual society. The Basque Country has, throughout its history, been identified by its language, Euskara (Basque), the only pre-Indo-European language still alive in Europe today. Although most courses at the University are offered in Spanish, many Faculties and Colleges also offer courses in Euskara.

The UPV/EHU has three campuses, each named after the Basque province in which it is located. The concept of a campus includes the group of centres located in each province, but not necessarily in the same town:

    * Campus of Alava: Capital Vitoria/Gasteiz

    * Campus of Bizkaia: Capital Bilbao/Bilbo

    * Campus of Gipuzkoa: Capital San Sebastián/Donostia

56.913 students are currently enrolled in the UPV/EHU (1st and 2nd cycle) and 4.000 postgraduate students. There are 3.567 teaching staff and 961 administrative staff.

Academic life is centred in the Faculties, specialised Institutes and University Colleges.

During the 2000-2001 academic year, 69 Postgraduate Degree programmes were taught, in addition to 30 Ph.D. programmes.

Research is one of the cornerstones of the UPV/EHU. During the last few years its importance has been reflected in the huge increase in economic and human resources devoted to research. The main sources of funding for the research projects carried out by the various Departments and Institutes of the UPV/EHU include the Spanish Ministry of Education, the Basque Government, the European Union, the University budget and commercial and industrial contracts.

The Vice-Rectorate for Research and International Relations coordinates and controls research programmes carried out both in and outside the University through the Research Support Section.

University-Enterprise relations within the field of R&D are established through the Innovation Transference Office (OTRI). This office also manages R&D projects included in the EU Framework Programme. This office depends on the Vice-Rectorate for University Enterprise Relations. This Vice-Rectorate manages agreements and has closed contacts with the enterprises.

The UPV/EHU has its own Publications Department with more than 1.000 texts in Spanish, Basque and English and 32 journals. (

The UPV/EHU is firmly committed to broadening its European and International dimension. In recent years, the University has developed an important number of student exchange programmes. The UPV/EHU is an active participant in the SOCRATES Programme. New projects are being developed with countries beyond Europe as well. The University has a special relationship with several Latin American universities which participate in the Inter-university Cooperation and ALFA Programmes.

The International Relations Office deals with all matters concerning the establishment and strengthening of relations with universities, institutions and associations all around the world. For more information please contact the International Relations Office (See address above.)

The University tries to combine its commitments to both international and local communities. The UPV/EHU and Eusko Ikaskuntza/Sociedad de Estudios Vascos (Society of Basque Studies) are currently carrying out a joint programme of Basque Studies and Promotion of Scientific Culture, JAKITEZ.

Bilbao - Study Abroad / Erasmus Made Easier

The International Relations Office would like to thank all the Faculties, Departments, and Centres at the University of the Basque Country for their efforts in providing material for this package. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this package, but the University of the Basque Country can accept no responsability for any errors or omissions. The most recent data has been used. However, research and education are continuosly on the move; data can change quickly and become outdated in no time.

This Information Package has a two-fold purpose. In a strict sense, it is meant to offer all of the information concerning the University which might be useful to foreign students interested in carrying out part of their studies in the Basque Country. In a broader sense, the guide is meant to be a clearer and more efficient design for a course work plan used in studies abroad, and as a result, encourage student mobility. We hope that the effort taken will help to strengthen and widen the valuable ties established between European Universities in recent years through ERASMUS programmes, and even help to spread ties beyond the scope of Europe.

The European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is based on mutual trust between participating educational institutions and is characterised by: availability of information on courses offered by universities; agreement between the university of origin and the university of destination of international students; the use of transferable credits for evaluating what each course is academically worth; and guaranteeing recognition in the student's University of origin. In an academic study year each ECTS student is supposed to undertake a full academic workload of 60 credits. Therefore, in a semester, a student must carry a workload of 30 credits and in an academic term (or trimester), 20 credits.

In this guide each and every one of the courses available at the University of the Basque Country has been quantified in the above terms. The Vice-Recorate for Research and International Relations has taken on the task of collecting and editing the information offered by 13 Faculties, 12 University Colleges and 1 Higher Technical School, which he wishes to thank for their inestimable help and positive attitude. A huge effort has been made to guarantee that the information offered in the guide is accurate. The descriptions are not totally homogeneous in form and content. The differences in organization and structure of the different Faculties and Colleges, some of which are currently immersed in the process of renovating their course work plans, will inevitably be reflected in this catalogue. This modification will affect largely to the number of subjects students will have to take throughout an academic year. Students should contact the faculty ECTS coordinators to encertain that courses she/he wishes to attend are available also in 1999-00. Despite possible imperfections, we hope that this publication is of use to other European Educational Institutions, and fundamentally of use to students.

 SEARCH FOR ACCOMMODATION IN BILBAO (web page in Spanish and Basque)
 Search for Houses - Flats - Apartments to let in Bilbao 
 Search for accommodation in shared houses (find a room  in Bilbao)


 Search for New and Secondhand property for sale in Bilbao


Other links:

accommodation in san sebastian

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 accomodation in vitoria