The academics here in Spain are both startlingly different and alarmingly similar. I think that the biggest difference that exists lies in how students are expected to select a major. Espana has their students take an aptitude test and based on that score, they are able to select from a list of majors they are eligible for. This is different compared to schools in America but similar to the way one enlists in the armed forces. The test for that is named the ASVAB. As for the standard workload, the professor will assign a large amount of homework and have them due all at separate times throughout the semester or all due at the end of the course. This of course differs from American schools where the teacher/professor will assign a homework assignment and expect it the next class period.
On average for Spain, it takes four to five years to graduate just like American school systems. Also similar to America on some cases, the student will only take classes directly correlated to their major. This can be compared to trade schools and some colleges. Students also like to participate in sports in their downtime, also very similar to the US but in this case, the popular sport is futbol while the popular sport in America is football. Similar and different. I always thought it was funny that the most popular sports from the two countries share the same phonetic name but are two different sports, neither one inspired by the other.
The students here also elect to either live at home with their parents while going to school(US Commuter Students) or a group of students will get a house together will performing their studies(US Dormitories). The school schedule is slightly different here though, the classes are just like ours but they have a scheduled mandatory siesta period. This is where the entire school system, along with shops will shut down so that people may have lunch with their families. While this can be achieved in America by scheduling your classes around this time, it is not a standard like it is here in Spain. This is by far my favorite custom here but I don't think I would exchange it for what it's like in America; just because I enjoy being productive during the sunlight and I want my classes to be done as early in the day as possible.