The Mole Diaries: Málaga (Volume 2)
Loes studies BA Hispanic Studies and Linguistics at Queen Mary University of London. She is currently on her year abroad studying at the Universidad de Málaga. This is her guide to the city!
The idea of having to search for a flat in a city or country you don’t know can be daunting. But don’t worry. Most students moving to Málaga for their year (or semester) abroad come to Málaga a few days early and stay in a hostel while searching for accommodation. There is no need to take the risk of booking accommodation online without viewing it as there are plenty of rooms available in the city.
The easiest place to find a room in Málaga is the internet; there are various Facebook groups which serve as noticeboards and there are also a few websites where people advertise rooms, such as Easy Piso. The university also offers a database of landlords but you need to sign up for this and it can take a while for them to get back to you.
As a student in Málaga the best place to live is in the historical centre. Anything in the proximity of Calle Larios, Plaza de la Merced and the revamped Soho neighbourhood is ideal for students as this is where most shops, restaurants and clubs are. Even if you will be studying at the Teatinos campus of the university, located outside of the centre, you are better off living in the centre. Teatinos is not a very lively neighboorhoud and it is only a 20 minute bus ride away from the centre. For easy access to bus 11, which goes to the university, you are best off living close to the Alameda Principal.
You should be able to get a decent single room in Málaga for about €250 per month. Don’t be surprised if the landlord asks you to pay your rent in cash – this is very normal in Spain.
The Universidad de Málaga has two main campuses, one in Teatinos, a neighbourhood in the suburbs, and one in El Ejido, which is located in the centre. From my experience (I studied Filología Hispánica) university in Spain is very different from in the UK.
In their first two years, all the students in one bachelor take the same courses and, for me, this made it feel a bit like being back at high school. Most subjects are primarily exam based, and there is very little essay writing. The studying frequently consists of memorising the concepts taught in class and reproducing these on the exam.
Another difference is that the university doesn’t have a Student Union like UK universities, or societies, except for sports ones. If you want to socialise outside of university you can take part in various Erasmus activities but these are not organised by the university. If you want to make friends with the locals you will have to make more of an effort.
Most of the historic centre of Málaga is pedestrianised and you can get everywhere easily on foot. If you live in the centre you are only about a 20 minute walk away from La Malagueta beach. If you do need to use the bus, for example because you are studying in Teatinos, you can get a monthly student bus card which costs about €28 and gives you unlimited travel on the city buses. If you need to get from the airport to the city centre or vice versa you have the options of taking a taxi (about €20 one way), the airport bus (€3 one way) or the Cercanías train (about €2 one way).
If you want to travel to other cities, the main bus station and the train station María Zambrano are about a 20 minute walk away from the city centre.
4. Restaurants and Nightlife
As a student, the Plaza de la Merced is one of the places where you will be spending a lot of time. This plaza is full of cheap bars and restaurants which are popular with students.
Most clubs can be found in the streets behind Plaza Constitución, of which Ánden, Sala Gold, Toulouse and Sala Wenge are some of the most popular ones. Most night clubs play a lot of Reggaeton and other popular music but there is something to cater for everyone’s taste. Unlike in the UK, the clubs in Málaga don’t fill up until about 2am and the party goes on until 6 or 7 in the morning.
Although Málaga is not a very large city there is plenty to see!
Málaga is known for its large number of museums. Picasso was born in the city so the Museo Picasso is a definite must see. In the port area you will find the newly opened Centre Pompidou, a department of the famous Parisian museum.
The city also has a rich history which is reflected in the presence of a Roman Theatre as well as an Arabic Alcazaba.
Outside Málaga there is also plenty to see. I highly recommend using your free time on weekends to take trips to places like Nerja, Ronda and El Chorro, or cities like Seville and Granada which are a bit further afield but perfect for a weekend trip.
If you would like to know more about Málaga or my own Year Abroad experience you can have a look on my blog, where I will be publishing a few more posts about this topic.