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Travel to Italy prior to study abroad in Spain, Study Visa

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Hello,
I was wondering if anyone can confidently inform me about the rules regarding traveling around Europe before beginning a study abroad program with a study visa.

I will be doing an exchange through my master's program in Spain, and am in the nightmare process of attaining a Spanish study visa from the consulate in Miami.

My partner is Italian, and I will be staying in Italy with him for the next 7 weeks as a tourist. Then I will return home for a couple weeks (hopefully to pick up my visa), and will re-enter Europe.

I was planning to fly into Italy in early August and stay with him for another month before starting my program in Barcelona. However, I understand this means that I will be stamped as a tourist, and will not have another opportunity to have my Spanish visa stamped since there are no immigration procedures when traveling between Italy and Spain.

So, do I need to leave the Schengen zone between going from Italy to Spain in order to get the study visa stamped by arriving on an international flight into Spain? To avoid the cost of this, has anyone simply gone to an immigration office purposely when arriving the country of study, to be officially stamped in?

Would it be more advisable to first fly into Spain when I return in early August, get the student visa stamped, spend a few days to get my residency or to establish myself there, and then fly back to Italy to spend the month with him, as part of travel days allotted under my student visa?

I also read something somewhere about only 5 travel days in other Schengen countries being allowed for study visas - I assume this means prior to getting stamped and landing in your study country, and not throughout the entire period of study, because that would be pretty stingy!
If anyone has done anything similar and can inform me, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Thanks,
Megan

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