Spain is a comfortably exotic destination for students who want to study abroad. You’ll learn another language and culture, but you’re not going off to the other side of the world. Many think they’ll be spending their days on sunny beaches or historic towns. However, it is very different from back home and it takes much more than signing up for a programme and brushing up on Spanish to be successful. Here are 4 things you should know before studying abroad in Spain.
Get in Tune with the News
Start reading Spanish language papers and watching the news before you arrive. First, this helps you improve your Spanish comprehension. Second, you’ll know what locals are talking about. Consider reading Spanish language social media. Learn what various hashtags are being used and what they mean.
Choose the Right Accommodation
While you’ll find plenty of tips on how to make the most of the nightlife, that doesn’t matter if you don’t keep yourself safe or enjoy where you stay each night. The solution is to choose the right accommodation.
If you want to enjoy the same level of comfort you would back home, luxury accommodation is your best bet. You can find luxury student accommodation in Spain through a service like Collegiate AC. They maintain luxury accommodation in Valencia, Madrid and Barcelona. More importantly, they have concierge services and high-tech security that provides peace of mind. You can work out in the gym instead of jogging on foreign streets. If you aren’t sure if you want to go out, enjoy their in-house cinema. The common rooms make it easy to make friends with people staying there.
Plan How You’ll Pay for Everything
In many Spanish towns, restaurants, bars and markets only take cash. Then there’s the fact that you may have trouble finding a working ATM that accepts your debit card. This means you need to always carry some cash with you, and you’ll need more if you plan on buying something. However, you don’t want to carry too much because pickpocketing is a problem in Spain. Take steps to protect your belongings.
Consider getting a debit and credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. The credit card is handy for emergencies and backup travel expenses. Keep your backup credit card in your room in case the one you carry day to day is stolen.
Don’t Expect Everyone to Speak the Same Language
Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in the world. However, not everyone in Spain speaks Spanish. Three quarters of the population speak Spanish natively. The rest speak Basque, Catalan or another language. And you’ll run into people who speak Portuguese since it is literally next door. However, you’ll always make friends when you try to learn the local language. People will respect you for trying to learn, especially if you’ve already learned a few phrases. Always learn as much of the local language before you arrive. Take it to the next level by signing up for a language exchange program. These are designed to boost your fluency.
Whether you’re going to stay in Barcelona or Basque country, get ready before you study abroad in Spain. You’ll be able to set the right expectations and adapt yourself faster to your new home.