April 15, 2024

Exploring Architecture Across 10 European Cities at CEU Cardinal Herrera University in Spain


Solveig from Australia 🇦🇺

Campus Image of CEU Cardenal Herrera University
Exploring Architecture Across 10 European Cities at CEU Cardinal Herrera University in Spain


Hello, my name is Solveig. I'm from Australia and Norway, I was born in Singapore and lived there for the first 10 years of my life. I then moved to Dubai and lived there for 6 years. For the past 2 years I have been living in Armenia, I have been studying at an international boarding school known as United World College Dilijan. I recently got accepted into CEU Cardenal Herrera in Valencia, Spain to study Architecture.

My background

I used to study at an English school in Dubai. I went there for six years and followed the GCSE English curriculum. My subjects were business, music, design technology, geography, English, math, and all of the sciences. Now I am studying at UWC Dilijan completing the IB program in May 2024. My HL subjects are geography, English language and literature, and visual arts. My SL subjects are environmental systems and societies (as my science), math AA SL, and Spanish ab initio.

Why Spain

When I was growing up, I went to Spain quite often, because initially my best friend actually lived there, and then my family kind of fell in love with Spain. We visited Barcelona, Madrid, Valencia, and we even walked the Camino through Spain. I've always just loved going to Spain.

I have also lived abroad my whole life, never in Australia or Norway. I don't want to stop traveling yet. I have always wanted to go abroad again for university. I was thinking, Spain is the perfect option. There's such incredible culture and I know some people there. It's so pretty, good weather, beaches, and now I'm learning Spanish. It felt like an ideal option for me.

Why CEU Cardenal Herrera

I chose CEU because I was looking for architecture majors. First of all, I was looking in Europe as well as in Australia, because I was always sure that I didn't want to go to the US because it didn't really fit me. So I never looked at the US. The reason I decided on this university is because there's a course called Archi-trip-ture, which is basically where each semester I go to a different city. During the first semester, I will study the social, economic, and geographical architectural aspects of that city. At the end of each semester, we will go for a week and travel and visit that city. I've grown up traveling and the way I learn is looking at different aspects and perspectives of the world. So putting that into my degree is going to be really interesting from my point of view.

Additionally usually for architecture, it's four years for a bachelor's degree and then two years for a master's degree. But my course is five years long, so as a result I don't have to do the two years of a master's degree, all I need to do is just one year. So no matter what university I go to afterward, I only need to study for one year. I'm thinking of going back to Australia for my master's studies.

University Campus
University Campus

Application process

It was much simpler than the US application process. I saw a lot of my friends applying for the US, a very complicated process with a lot of essays and interviews. The application process to Spain is simpler. I feel like the Spanish application process focuses more on the person you are rather than grades. I had to write a motivational letter explaining why I wanted to go to the university, which was 500 words. I also had to tell them my extracurriculars, but instead of just simply listing them, they asked for my CV, allowing me to give them more information in a more formal manner.

They asked a lot about my services (community engagement) and about my family. They wanted to know how I grew up and my background, which was really interesting, they really loved the fact that I was international. This was the initial stage of the application journey.

I also applied to IE university but decided not to go. They required a logic exam, where you for example had 30 seconds to answer a random question testing your memory and logical thinking.

The last stage of the application process was an interview. For me it was the best interview I've ever done. I have actually done some interviews for other universities because I just wanted to see the options. But for Spain, it was more of a conversation than an interview, which was really fun. I learned so much about architecture because my interviewer was actually the university professor and she opened my eyes and made me excited to go to university and learn more about architecture.

My extracurriculars

Universities in Spain like to see commitment to your extracurricular activities, so I put the ones I’ve been doing for more than a year.

  1. I started playing rugby when I moved to Dubai. So I was playing for 6 years, in and out of school, I was even in the A-team. It was my major activity for a long period of time and influenced me a lot, that is why I decided to place it on my college application. I also added that I have been playing the guitar since I was 10 years old as it is a great hobby of mine that I have progressed in a lot. I used to take exams so I put my accredited level into the CV as well as the fact that it is a hobby in my free time.

In the IB program, you have to engage in CAS (creativity, activity, service) during the two years of study for at least 1h a week from each of the three components. That is why I decided to use them as well during the application process.

  1. I have done a range of CAS’s such as ceramics, badminton, workshops, latino dance, and I played football for a bit. I started and led rugby CAS with my friend. I am currently the leader of the student cafe at my school. For the past two years, I have been participating in the Red Cross, which is my service component.

I have a lot of extracurriculars, but the university also cares about your social life.

  1. I was on the social committee in my first year at the school, which is basically where you plan all the social events such as parties and sports for the student body. In the second year of the school, I joined the sustainable committee, where I am the Head of the Sustainability Curriculum. My team has created a curriculum teaching our school about sustainability, which we lead sessions to our peers and are going to publish and send to all the UWCs around the world to teach young adults about sustainability. So they also care a lot about you as a person and your social life.


I applied with a predicted grade of 35 out of 42, which was above the requirements of my university. I didn’t need to pass any additional exams, such as the SAT for the US.

Help with the application process

Honestly, the resources I had were my friends because I have a friend going to CEU San Pablo, which is the other university in Madrid. I'm going to the one in Valencia (CEU Cardenal Herrera). She is a Spanish friend from Dubai and I asked her about the process and what universities to apply to. I didn't really have any other resources other than a lot of research. I just believe that my university was very, very helpful. If I had any questions, I could always email them and they would always reply or I could call the admissions department and they would always provide me with the answer to my question.

Applying for Financial aid

Well, it's different from the US system because when you're applying for the US, you apply for your degree, but alongside that, you apply for financial aid. In Spain, you have to get into the degree program before you can apply for financial aid. I got accepted to the university and they gave me seven days to accept the offer without knowing the scholarship. So, as of now, I don't have a scholarship. However, I'm applying for the merit scholarship right now. In Spain, my university requires four things. It requires the income of my parents, the last two years of school reports with predicted grades, and teacher comments. It also requires a letter from my mentor about my extracurriculars and my social life and how involved I am in the community. The last thing that it requires, which I found very interesting and I think many other people will, is that I needed a letter of proof of second language fluency. So for me, this has been very difficult as I'm from Australia, and I only speak English fluently (it's my mother tongue). I emailed the university explaining my situation and they asked if I had learned any other languages. I told them that I am studying Spanish in the IB curriculum and they told me that I could get a letter from my Spanish teacher which explains my language level.

There was no enrollment fee however after I accepted the offer to my university, they gave me a week to pay the deposit, which basically confirms that you're in the university.

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from Australia 🇦🇺

Duration of Study

Sep 2024 — Sep 2029



Learn more ->
CEU Cardenal Herrera University

CEU Cardenal Herrera University

Valencia, Spain🇪🇸


✍️ Interview by


Patryk from Poland 🇵🇱

UWC Dilijan student & politics passionate

Learn more ->