This city is Bilbao, the largest city in the Basque Country, an area within Spain where the inhabitants speak the unique language of Basque. It is also the most economically and industrially active section of this area, with almost as many construction agencies and commercial conglomerates as Madrid or Barcelona, rivaling the likes of America's own Silicon Valley and Wall Street. And considering that the Basque area experienced a massive boom during the industrial revolution, that is truly saying something, and makes this city ideal for any economic or business major searching for real-world experience.

But this special little treasure is perfect for more than just financially-minded students. From the Nervion River to the gulf of the North Atlantic Ocean, this major seaport enjoys a sparkling setting on the water, and offers a sprawling urban environment with a decidedly classic feel. While the city rests on water, it rises high into the clouds with its two major mountain ranges - Pagasarri and Artxanda - which surround 'the hole' from the north and south and give it its year-round mild climate.

Don't think studying in Bilbao will leave you out in the country, though. The city not only displays an impressive skyline, but it inhabits more than 350,000 people within its borders, and more than 940,000 people in the Greater Bilbao Basque area. The city is also in the process of a massive urban renewal, looking to move beyond its industrial heritage to become the tourist attraction it so deserves to be.

Recent additions to the city include new museums like the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, useful public transportation such as a Paris-esque Metro system and an expanded port area offering sea-side shopping and dining. The Fine Arts Museum, already one of Spain's most popular and important art galleries, has also recently been refurbished, and other old buildings are being restored while new buildings are constructed as modern architectural marvels. The Basque word for Bilbao - Bilbo - may be a character in a timeless J.R.R. Tolkien novel, but modern-day Bilbao is more like Bond than Bilbo, and as such, the city served as the opening setting for the 1999 James Bond film The World is Not Enough.

The Bilbao of today is a student's paradise. Language majors can study both Spanish and Basque, art majors can enjoy some of the most important galleries in the city, economic majors can learn from the thriving business practices, etc., etc. Not only does it offer great educational opportunities, but the city is located on a river between two mountain ranges, and enjoys constantly mild temperatures. It is looking to expand and improve in every conceivable way, and it was already spectacular. Really, how can a student pass up this wonderful opportunity?

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