Study in Andorra

Have you ever heard about Andorra- a country? Do your friend or relative shared his or her interest to visit or study in Andorra? Are you curious to know more about the country? All the details like the education system, lifestyle, geography, cost of living, etc can be obtained from below.

Country Overview

Principality of Andorra is commonly known as Andorra. Another name of this country is “Principality of the Valleys of Andorra”. It is a landlocked, sovereign microstate located on the Iberian Peninsula, in the eastern Pyrenees. This country is bordered by Spain in the south and France in the North. The term “Principality” got connected with it because it is country that co-ruled by Co-princes- the Catholic Bishop of Urgell in Spain and the President of the Republic of France.
Andorra is on the 6th position among the smallest nations in Europe with an area of about 468 square kilometers. The population of this country is not more than 85,000. It is the 16th smallest country in the whole world by the area it occupies whereas it is the 11th smallest country by the population. Andorra La Vella is the capital and the largest city of the country. Andorra La Vella is also the highest capital city in Europe having the elevation of around 1,023 meters above the sea level.
The official language of the country is Catalan but French, Spanish and Portuguese are also commonly spoken. Although it is not a member of the European Union, the official currency is euro.
The Law and Judiciary system of Andorra includes Magistrates Court, the High Court of Andorra, the Criminal Law Court, and the last is the Constitutional Court. The High Court has 5 judges each appointed by the different entity. One of the judges is appointed by the Syndic General, one each by the Co-Princes, one by the Head of The Government and one by the judges and Magistrates.

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About Andorra

The education standard is high in Andorra and the attendance in one of the three systems is compulsory for the kids of age between 6 to 16 years. Please note that Homeschooling is not allowed in Andorra. Some subjects are common in all the three systems- Maths, Arts, History, Science, Social Studies, IT, and Language which includes English, French, Spain, Catalan, and Portuguese.

French Education System-50% of the children attend Schools with French system and they enroll at the age of 6 years. The basic classes included are literature, music, French language, mathematics, arts, etc. After every year, one further subject is added in the curriculum and once the upper secondary school gets completed, the students receive the diploma which allows them for higher education.

Spanish education System-the Spanish education system has 3 different levels as mentioned below-
  1. Primary education which is available for children of the age group of 3 to 6 years.

  2. Basic general education or EGB which is available for students between 6 to 12 years of age.

  3. Baccalaureate program for the students of 12 to 18 years of age.

Once these 3 stages get completes, students can choose to go for higher studies as per their interest.

Andorran Education System-The main language in Andorran schools are Catalan and this system is mainly preferred by the families which are neither from Spain nor from France. After finishing the secondary school, the students get a certificate which is required to continue their studies in Andorra. They are also allowed to pursue further studies in any other European country.

Private schools

There are some private schools also in Andorra and students can get enrolled in the same by paying the one-off fee of EURO 750 and then the parents need to pay around 670 Euro every month. This fee excludes the costs of transport and meals for which they have to pay separately.

Tertiary education and Universities

This level of education is having 4 years duration in most of the cases. Most of the students interested in pursuing university-based studies prefer to move to Spain or France. Toulouse and Barcelona are the two main university destinations for Andorrans.
The most famous university in Andorra is “The University d’Andorra”. It is not so old but gradually developing and has gained the reputation as it is having departments like Management, Nursing, and Computer Science. The university also has a virtual studies center for online studies.
Another famous university is “The University de les Valls”. It is a private university and specialized in Dentistry. Universitat Oberta la Salle is another private university which offers many masters programs in the field of business and computing through long distance.

Quick Facts

  1. The official name if Andorra is “Principality of Andorra/ Principality of the Valleys of Andorra”.

  2. The capital of the country is “Andorra La Vella”.

  3. The total area of the country is 467.63 square kilometers.

  4. The official language is Catalan and this is the only country in the world to have it as an official language.

  5. The total population is around 77,281 as per the data collected in the year 2016.

  6. The calling code for Andorra is +376.

  7. The IS 3166 code is "AD" and the internet TLD is .ad.

  8. The country is a parliamentary co-principality with the Catholic Bishop of Urgell and President of France as Co-Princes.

  9. An interesting fact about the country is it does not have any armed forces other than a small ceremonial army and the responsibility to save and protect the country is of France and Spain.

  10. They have a law that head of each house should keep a rifle.

  11. The budget of the military in this country depends upon the voluntary donations.

  12. Andorra is having the large production of Tobacco and the problem of cigarette smuggling has become a tradition now.

  13. There is no national bank in the whole country and even does not have its own currency.

  14. Skiing is a popular game or sport in the country and lots of tourists come for visitors every year. Grand Valira and Vallnord are the popular area for ski in Andorra.

  15. The smallest city of the country is Arinsal with only 1,555 of population.

  16. Andorrans in Andorra are a minority as there are hardly 1/3rd of the whole population is of Andorrans.

  17. Andorra does not have an airport and the purpose is fulfilled by the airports located in France and Spain.

  18. The schools are build by authorities in Andorra but the salary for teachers is managed by Spain and France.

  19. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study in 2013, Andorra had the highest life expectancy in the world at 81 years.

Admission Process in Andorra

For taking admissions in Andorra University, interest candidates can apply through their online portal. All the details can be obtained from there only as they vary depending upon the course you select for admission. The list of required documents can also be obtained from there but please note that all the supporting documents must be translated into Catalan if they are not originally written or types in French, Spanish, English or Portuguese. All the documents must be attested or verified by the awarding institution of your native country.
One can go for bachelors or postgraduate degree in the fields including Language and Culture, Engineering, Arts and Humanities, Medicine and Health, Business and social sciences and Science and technology.
Although the hostel facility is available it is not guaranteed and if you do not get the accommodation, you can contact the university’s international student service for the same.

Student Visa Application Process

Andorra is an economical country for both studying and living. The reasonable cost of living makes it a target destination for many international students. A decent university to pursue higher studies in Andorra for an international student is “University of Andorra”.
Students who want to study in Andorra need to obtain a student visa for the same. For this, the Schengen visa is required because Andorra is located between France and Spain. So, one has to enter through any of these countries hence the visa must be issued either of the countries of the entrance. US citizens can enter the country without the visa for the duration of up to 90 days as tourist or business purposes. In such a case, the visa should be valid for at least 3 months beyond the period of stay.
Regarding the process to obtain a Schengen student visa, students are advised to contact their local Andorra embassy to get the specific information and requirements as it varies from one country to another.
Please note that students must have double or multiple entry Schengen visas as this will only enable them to enter Andorra. Students from outside European countries need to apply for a student immigration permit after arriving in Andorra. They can contact the “International Student Service” of the university for the same.
Following is the list of documents required to get the student permit:-
  1. An official admission letter or acceptance letter from the University.

  2. Evidence of the payment of tuition fee. It can be a receipt or a payment advice.

  3. A Bank statement of the account with enough funds as a proof that you are capable of bearing your own expenses during the course in Andorra.

  4. A medical insurance is very important.

  5. A traveling passport.

All these documents are also required while applying for Schengen visa.
The validity of Schengen visa is 90 days or 3 months and if the duration of your course is longer than this, then you need to apply for residence permit. This permit will allow you to move freely to other Schengen member countries also. The Schengen area includes 25 European countries including Denmark, Austria, France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Greece, Norway, Ireland, Switzerland, etc.
For visa, the applicants need to fill the application form carefully and submit the same with all other supporting documents to the country’s Andorran consulate or Embassy. After submitting the application, it takes around 4 to 8 weeks to get the approved visa. This time span may vary depending upon the native country, the reason to travel, documents verification, etc. So, it is advised to apply for the student visa at least 1 month prior to your travel dates.

Work permit

Any foreigner who wants to work in Andorra requires a work permit. The types of work permit will vary depending upon the kind of work you want to pursue. The work permit can be for a long duration, for short duration, seasonal, renewable, non-renewable, etc. For long duration work permit, the resident permit is also required.
The holder of work permit needs to leave the country within one month of the expiry of their permit. The duration for the renewable work permit is 6 months and can be extended for one year further after which a temporary residence card may get issues which will be valid for a renewable 2 years. After this duration, if you still want to extend your stay in the country, a 5- year ordinary residence card will be issued and the last one is 10-year privileged residence card.
The work permits are usually obtained by the employers on behalf of the employees. The employer can be a company or an individual.
The requirement for work permit includes recent passport sized photographs, an updated C.V. of the applicant, proof of occupational qualification, a valid passport copy, accommodation details, proofs of the marital status of the applicant, an appointment letter from the employer, and a home police certificate. A medical examination can also be conducted before issuing the work permit for any candidate.
In case of students, they can go for only part-time work that too for the duration of their course only. They need to enclose the letter from their university mentioning about the course details like the duration of the course, nature of the course, etc.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle is something one should know before shifting to any new place. It helps to adjust in a better way and in lesser time. Below mentioned are the details of the lifestyle and culture of Andorrans.

Basic economy-

In earlier times, the economy of the country was mostly based on the breeding of cattle and horses. They grew some tobacco but the agriculture was focusing on the production of potatoes, cereals, and other garden vegetables. But the country always ran the deficit in agriculture production due to the shorter territory, unfavorable climate and rocks. Gradually the agriculture got disappeared completely and only the Tobacco is still surviving and even its production has increased drastically in the last 2 decades.

Cuisine-

The agriculture is almost nil in the country, the main diet is based on meat and some fish in Andorra. Escudella is the common winter dish in both rural and urban areas. It is a kind of soup of chicken, veal, potatoes, and vegetables. The food-related customs vary among different immigrant communities like Indians eat more vegetarian food and the Portuguese love Cod.
The lunch or midday meal is usually eaten at the workplace. Catholic families usually avoid eating meat or any other non-vegetarian food on Fridays.

Society and Family

In Andorran society, all the public activities and tasks are taken care by the men of the families but one can observe some changes in the same due to the commercial orientation of the economy and rapid modification of the economy of the country.
A family is considered as a basic social unit and is very important for them. Most of the businesses are organized through the family with the functions distributed among the members depending upon the capacities, skills, and education. Children below 3 years are placed in child care and they are taking care of by the scholastic institutions. It results in insufficient relationship or bonding between parents and children which is affecting the society.

Healthcare and Medicine-

Andorra has a general hospital in the capital city and other private clinics are located in other parts of the country. They are also following the traditional curing through herbal medicines.

Art-

Although the country does not have any famous artist, it supports the art forms, artistic formations, and creatives. Many conservatories of art and music schools are scattered in the whole country.

Cost of Living for Students

Although the cost of living varies even for any particular country but for Andorra it is considered a very reasonable in comparison to other European countries. The exact expenses cannot be defined but the general cost is described below-

Tuition fee-Tuition fee in the University is not fixed and vary depending upon the level of the course like Bachelor’s, Masters, etc, field selected, mode of the course like regular or through distance learning, etc. For Bachelor level or undergraduate level courses, the average fee is around 750 Euro to 1800 Euro per semester whereas, for a postgraduate level course, it is between 1800 Euro to 3700 Euro.

Groceries and food-Food is the basic requirement and wherever you live, you need food. So it is important to consider the food and eating expenses when he or she is planning to move to a new place. In the case of Andorra, it a small country with very little locally grown and produced food, the prices for grocery is very competitive. Although the prices vary depending on the city and area, the local supermarkets are the first choice to buy the same. The rice can be bought at 1.20 Euro per kg, potatoes are available at the rate of 1.20 per kg, and milk is around 0.84 Euro for one liter and Beef can be bought at the rate of 13.99 per kg. Green vegetables and fruits are available within the cost of 1.25 Euro to 2.00 Euro per kg.
If you are fond of eating outside frequently, the average restaurants are charging around 8 Euro to 15 Euro per person for a large meal which includes 2 dishes and 2 desserts. Some of these restaurants include drinks at the same cost whereas some restaurants may charge extra which depends upon the drink to choose from.
If you want a bit fancy restaurant, this will cost you around 25 to 50 Euro person with 3-course menus.

TransportThe public transport is easily available throughout the country. Buses are readily available and the tickets can be taken while traveling on the bus itself. Express buses are also available through public transport. These buses are available on all the major routes and cover all the urban and rural communities of the country.
Express buses are the most common and the fastest option for Andorrans to commute. These buses are orange in color and their routes are connecting the urban centers of each district to the capital of the country.
The interurban lines are connecting all the towns on 6 different lines crossing the urban areas. The stops for these are available on the main street routes of the urban centers.
If you want to own a vehicle, the Gasoline is 1.20 Euro per liter and Diesel is 1.00 Euro per liter. People need to pay a Vehicle-related fee of around 150 Euro per year. The Full auto insurance ranges between 600Euros/ year to 2000Euros/ year.

HousingThe prices for accommodation and properties vary slightly depending upon the location you choose to stay. The cost of the property also depends upon the size like the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, availability of parking, etc. The usual rent of housing apartments ranges from 500 Euros to 1500 Euros. If you have a plan to stay in Andorra for an indefinite time, you can think of buying a real estate property. The average price of a two bedroom apartment is around 300,000 Euros. Please note that these prices also vary depending upon the location in the country.

UtilitiesThe utilities includes electricity, mobile expenses, internet, and other community charges like for cleaning, heating, water, etc. In Andorra, you can get the electricity at the rate of around80 to 90 Euros per months. The Internet services are available at 39 Euro per month at 300Mbps. Around 800 Euros you need to pay for miscellaneous community services per year.
So all these things are very reasonable in Andorra and there is a slight variation depending upon the location within the country.

Entertainment expensesEntertainment is a pleasure is a very important part of our life and one has to keep the budget for things wherever he stays. In Andorra, a Gym membership is available at 40Euro per month and this includes pool, Sauna, and diverse classes. The movie tickets cost around 7Euros but please note that they run only English sessions. Bike park or ski season passes are available for residents at the cost of 168 Euro per year.
Apart from these, the alcoholic drinks are also available at competitive rates like local beer at 0.30 to 0.75 Euros per can, Wine at 4-10 Euros per bottle and international beer at 1.00 to 3.00 Euros per bottle. Please note that the prices may vary if bought from a pub or bar and a shop.
This shows that Andorra is cheaper than most of the other European countries like Singapore and Hong Kong.

Documents for University Admissions in Andorra

The document requirement for Andorran visa vary widely depending upon different factors like the purpose of visiting Andorra, the native country of the citizen, duration of visit and type of visa. Below mentioned are the general requirements one should prepare for the application for Andorran visa-
  1. A valid passport or any other travel document as per your native country is required. It must have at least 6 months validity from the date of application.

  2. 2 passport-sized photographs are required which must not be 6 months old.

  3. Travel itinerary but it does not require to confirm traveling tickets but the flight details and accommodation details will solve the purpose.

  4. Details or certificate of medical and travel insurance.

  5. For student visa, an official letter of acceptance or an invitation letter from a university is required.

  6. A proof of the payment of tuition fee to the University of the particular course is mandatory.

  7. Details of accommodation or any supporting document for the same need to be submitted with the application. If you have proof of your financial capability to you’re your accommodation needs in Europe, then this requirement may get exempted.

  8. You also need to enclose the proof of your financial resources that you are able to bear your stay in Europe. The proof can be presented in the form of traveler's cheque, cash in convertible currency, credit cards, cheque books for a foreign currency account or any other form that guarantees the funds in hard currency.

  9. Once all the above-mentioned documents are arranged, fill the application form completely and enclosed all other documents with this form to submit.

Apart from these above-mentioned documents, it is advised to check the exact requirement from the Andorra embassy of your native country as it may vary from one to another country.

Education in Andorra

If we talk about the education system in Andorra, it is compulsory for the kids of 6 to 16 years of age. There are 3 school systems co-exist in the country and they are from France, Spain, and Andorra. The French-language schools in Andorra are subsidized by the French Government partially and the schools near Spain are supported by the Church. The official language- Catalan get introduced at the schools level education under the control of the Roman Catholic Church.
Only around 39% of the children attend Andorran schools, 28% of students attend Spain schools, and 33% of kids go to French schools. The curriculum in Andorran schools is influenced by Spain and even the diplomas are also recognized by Spain. In the case of higher studies, the University of Andorra started in the year 1997 but is having very small enrollments and most of them are for long distance courses through Spain and France universities.

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