University of Santiago de Compostela
Setting off to study in Santiago de Compostela in September, I expected it to be the biggest challenge I’d ever faced. Coming home in June, I considered my time there the greatest adventure of my life so far.
Living and studying in Santiago immerses you not only in the Spanish way-of-life, but also in a unique and fiercely proud Galician culture, so it’s doubly rewarding. Santiago is overflowing with history, tradition and life. It’s a city as beautiful in the sun as it is in the rain (which is lucky, since it rains a lot!). Its charm is irresistible – it’s no wonder thousands of tourists and pilgrims constantly flock there.
Academically, the USC offers a great range of interesting and useful modules, taught by knowledgeable and welcoming professors, but don’t be surprised if the majority of your learning takes place outside of the classroom. Without doubt the best part of my experience was the people from all over the world whom I befriended and learned so much from.
My time abroad skyrocketed my confidence in my language skills, strengthened my character, and opened up a world of opportunities I can’t wait to go out and seize.
Catherine (French and Spanish)
University of Valladolid
Valladolid is a hidden gem of the Spanish interior, situated just an hour from Madrid by express-train. The city used to be the capital city of Spain several centuries ago and is conveniently situated for exploring nearby historical and scenic towns such as Segovia, Avila, Toledo and Salamanca that are often neglected by tourists drawn to Spain’s coasts and are well worth a visit.
The low cost of living in Valladolid means that the Erasmus grant goes even further and you can make the most of all this area of Spain has to offer. In terms of nightlife there’s a lively student population and plenty of events organised by the Erasmus Student Network so it’s extremely easy to meet people. It took me a while to get used to the fact that in contrast to St Andrews – many bars and clubs were open until 6 or 7am!
Academically, the idea of taking all of your classes may seem daunting, however the teachers are very friendly and understanding. Achieving high grades is by no means impossible. I really enjoyed the variety of classes in Valladolid and it was fascinating to see how universities are run in Spain although at times the bureaucracy can be a little frustrating. All in all, it was a great cultural, educational and life experience and I’m so happy I made the decision to study abroad in Spain.
Emma (International Relations and Spanish)
As a Modern Languages student, this year appeared to me as a monumental milestone in my degree. It was time to collect the fruits of all of those complex grammar lessons and oral presentations: asking my way around a new city, having instant insight into a new culture, befriending native speakers, picking up on the regional colloquialisms and national quirks – it made it all worth it.
When you’re immersed as you are on your year abroad, your language skills increase at lightning speed: the first lecture on 18th Century Spanish Literature – given by a passionate specialist in her field and potentially the fastest talker I have ever encountered – was challenging to say the least, but before long all of us Erasmus+ students had become naturals. By the end of my year abroad, split between Valladolid and St Petersburg, I was left with an unforgettable experience, friendships from all over the world, extensive knowledge in my field of study – and some killer recipes!
Sophie (Spanish and Russian)