I am currently studying Spanish; where can I go for my year abroad?
I am starting to plan my year abroad and am considering the various places I can go to. Are there any restrictions on which Spanish-speaking countries I can visit? Are there any that people would particularly recommend, or would advise that I avoid? I don't want to go anywhere too dangerous or expensive. Any help would be appreciated!
This question was asked on 15th July 2014 and has been read 2804 times.
The most obvious answer to this question - for somewhere Spanish-speaking, relatively safe and inexpensive - is Spain! It may seem a bit dull compared to Latin America, but Spain itself is so diverse that it's anything but boring - and that's before you include the Balearic or Canary Islands. There is something there for everyone, whether you are interested in sun, sea and sand, or fancy somewhere a bit greener and wetter. Many Spanish cities are relatively small and are a nice compromise between getting a sense of the 'real Spain' and getting bored in a tiny town! Spain is generally cheap at the moment (although it will of course be more expensive in cities than in suburbs/small towns), and being in Europe means that you can fly home easily, plus it's easy and cheap to go on weekend adventures to France or Italy!
Having said that, once you have forked out for the flights, Latin America is extremely cheap to live and can be an incredible place to spend a year, as can Central America. Because of the great variety of countries (and locations within those countries), it's worth doing some detailed research before you choose a location, as you will have a completely different impression of L.A. depending on where you end up.
Don't worry if you're feeling a little overwhelmed. Spanish speakers are lucky because there is SO much choice when it comes to location, so try and think of it as a benefit! My advice would be to make a list of the most important things to you about where you spend your year abroad (for example, how close you want to be to home, how much your budget will be, whether you want to be somewhere cosmopolitan or somewhere more remote) and use that list to help you narrow down your options.
For more information and inspiration, check out ThirdYearAbroad.com's TYA Spanish section. There are loads of useful articles and insider guides to help you choose!
I studied at the University of Valencia, in Spain. I loved it! It was just like being in Cardiff: the bilingualism, regional accents, food and drinks. It's quite a small, compact city on the beach. The weather is amazing! This is where it's NOT like Cardiff...
It's really cheap, great places to eat, loads of things to do and places to see, pretty well connected with other towns in the region and other larger cities further afield.
There are loads of ERASMUS students (it's one of the top destinations for UK ERASMUS students) so you can practice other languages and join active clubs and societies.
They have a great bike sharing scheme, the university offers very well priced language courses, the modules are interesting and the university is extremely well organised, in as much as they have an ERASMUS specific timetable = easier subjects, marking to reflect your language skills and flexible exam dates.
I absolutely loved it!
I went to Melilla, a small Spanish territory on the north coast of Morocco. There is also another Spanish territory called Ceuta, which is also surrounded by Morocco, but is further west, closer to Gibraltar.
It was interesting because there was a mix of languages (Spanish, Arabic and French), cultures (Spanish, Moroccan and West African) and religions (Catholic, Evangelical, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu). Travel, accommodation and food in Morocco were cheap so I was able to walk across the border and have cheap weekend breaks in many different places. However, it is quite small, travel to the Spanish mainland is quite expensive and I did feel quite isolated at times.
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