At the dawn of the end of my Erasmus stay and of my degree, I have to make an assessment of 3 years of learning, and one semester abroad. Why did I chose Granada to open a new chapter of my life? And why you should choose Granada too?
You have to know I wanted to study in Spain at any cost. When I entered my AFL – applied foreign languages – degree, I only wanted one thing: to become an interpreter. Almost 3 years after, I look back at this goal with nostalgia because I’m not so quite sure now. To be honest, I’m sure of anything. I know that I aspire to work with languages, maybe internationally, it’s what I live for and to what lead my studies.
So I chose Spain. When I wanted wholeheartedly to become an interpreter, I searched for some master degree and they all advised to spend at least a year in a county of our first language (England) and at least six months in a country of our second language (Spanish for me). My plan was all mapped out: I would spend a semester abroad in Spain then I would take a gap year in an English-speaking country before trying my luck for a master…
Spain is the country welcoming the highest number of Erasmus students in Europe… Within Spain, Granada is the city welcoming the most of them. Lot of wins under its belt. But it was not the Andalusian charms or the Erasmus community that made me choose Granada, it was its prestigious colleges! The University of Granada (or UGR for the inner circle) was once again awarded the first place of the rankings, in the translation and interpreting field. My goal! (or so it was) A meeting with former students finished to convince me: they were all under the spell of the city.
Besides this level of excellence, Granada has everything to please, and I fell in love with it. It feels like home now, I walk down the sunny small streets – called callejones – with a huge smile on my face. I never felt as safe as I feel right now in Granada. Of course, shit happens but it’s not the feeling you get in Granada. No scandals, no shocking front pages in newspapers… You can walk by night freely and it feels good because I can’t say the same thing about France, unfortunately.
The city is breath-taking, it a true melting pot because people come from everywhere around the world. Al-Andalus monuments emphasize that feeling: a mix between Muslim and Christian history… You can get an Erasmus feeling of course, but the atmosphere remains typical and traditional, which is what I looked for: I would never have chosen Madrid or Barcelona, even if both are charming cities. But Granada feels picturesque and truer. It’s rather far away from France but near other countries! Starting with Portugal by bus or Morocco by boat, both within reach for such a small price…
Let’s talk about prices indeed! Of the city and of trips… Granada – and the rest of the Andalusia, I’m sure – are the cheapest destinations for an Erasmus. I would develop the budget for a whole semester later, but the quality of the way of life in Granada can’t be find anywhere else (or at least anywhere in the destinations offered by my faculty): I can eat generously for 20 euros a week and rent a room in a flatshare for 200 a month…
The final point we will talk about is I think the most important: I will not elaborate on the climatic situation, sun cream will become your friend, but I will try to speak more about the welcoming inhabitants. There are gruff characters everywhere but people from Granada and Andalusia seem so welcoming and openminded! Nobody will give you a strange look if you have piercing, tattoos, or dyed hair. You can see street artists all over the city. People are friendly, tactile and tend to be closer than in France: whereas it is professors, you will get familiar with them, salespeople that will call you “guapa” or “chica”. In Granada, people speak loudly, laugh loudly, live loudly.
If everything above didn’t convince you yet, I hope that you will be seduced by the Andalusian accent, which tend to seem a bit special at first – « what? the lu’ is the luz? I am an Erasmu’ student? I should say Gracia’ instead of gracias? – but it’s not as complicated to understand as it seems. You will be surprised and adopt it yourself! Or is it Granada adopting you?
Today I can say that I really like the interpreting classes without knowing if I’m strong enough to be an interpreter. Education seems to be a lovely path too, but I need to look more into eat. A gap year is still considered, but my stay in an English-speaking country is a bit more complicated. I will go where the wind takes me.