Case Studies is an ongoing series on Scholar Escolar where foreigners who have taken the graduate school plunge in Spain share their experiences. Today’s case study focuses on Lauren, from the US, who did a Master’s in Digital Marketing Management in Málaga.
Place of Origin: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Time in Spain: About 2.5 years (since September 2015)
Master’s in Digital Marketing Management, Universidad de Málaga (1.5 years)
B.A. in Business Management with a minor in Spanish from the University of Georgia
Before coming to Spain, I worked as an Inventory Analyst at The Home Depot headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. After two and a half years there, I decided to take the leap and move to Spain in order to perfect my Spanish language skills.
During my first year in Spain, I worked as a language assistant in a small, 10,000 person town in Almería. I was lucky to be invited to live with a host family after my first month of living there and, through my interaction with them, significantly improved my Spanish.
Although I loved speaking the language, I did not like my job. I decided to pursue a Master’s degree order to apply my Spanish skills to the business world. During my second year in Spain, I worked as a language assistant in Malaga from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and took classes at the university from 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. It was a big sacrifice but worth it in the end. This year, I am teaching English online with VIPKid and finishing my thesis.
What made you decide to go to graduate school in Spain?
I decided to pursue a graduate degree because I am not interested in teaching long-term. My goal has always been to combine my passion for the language with my business background. Studying a marketing degree in Spanish was the perfect way to reach my goal.
Cost was a huge factor in my decision. I did not want to spend $60,000+ on a MBA in the United States. As I work in business, not academia, I believe that, in some ways, a Master’s degree is just another qualification on a resume. It doesn’t matter very much where you get it as long as you have one.
Getting a degree here was also a way to show Spanish employers that I am committed to working in Spain and that I have a strong enough level of Spanish to be able to work in my second language.
Why did you pick that particular program?
I picked my program based on a variety of factors including location, cost and personal interest. My program also required an internship, which was useful because gaining some professional work experience here was important to me.
What was the application process like?
What language(s) were the classes in?
All of the classes were in Spanish. Having an upper intermediate level of Spanish and passing the DELE B2 exam was required in order to apply.
How much was tuition? What about cost of living?
The program cost around €2,000 (about $2,500) total.
Living in Malaga is fairly cheap. A room in a shared apartment costs about€250-300/month. I was able to make ends meet on the €700 I was paid monthly as a language assistant, though I recommend having an income of at least €1,000/month in order to live more comfortably.
Would you recommend your program?
Yes, I recommend my program. I learned a lot and improved my Spanish level (from B2 to C1). Almost all of my classmates are now working in the marketing field.
One thing I would warn future students about is how hard it can be to get a job in Spain. Most internships are unpaid or very poorly paid (between €300-600/month). Due to the differences in the cost of living, etc. an entry level job in Spain can pay between €1,000- 1,500/month. You won’t be rich but you’ll be comfortable.
What are you doing now?
I defend my thesis in a few weeks and, assuming all goes well, I will have officially completed my Master’s degree by the end of this month (March 2018). I am currently looking for jobs in Spain as well as in the United States.
Any final words of wisdom or caution?
At the beginning, it can be overwhelming especially if your level of Spanish isn’t that great. But for me, getting a Master’s degree here was worth all the late nights and stress.
Thanks Lauren! If you would like to know more about this degree program or her experiences, you can find Lauren on LinkedIn.
If you have gone to graduate school in Spain (or know somebody who did) and would like to have your story included in the Case Studies series, let me know! Previous contributors include a Master’s degree in Secondary School Education and International Relations.