The Universidad de Granada is a great place to study abroad. It is small, authentic, quaint, precious, unique, and fun. It’s only an hour from the beach and an hour from the mountains, so you get the best of both worlds! Here is everything you need to know about studying abroad in Granada, Spain.
Most, if not all students studying here live in a homestay, which is highly recommended. It is the best way to experience a new culture and learn the language firsthand. In the beginning, it might be difficult to get assimilated, especially if your Spanish skills are rusty, but your families will welcome you with open arms! They understand how hard this change can be and are happy to work with you. They are with you for better, and for worse. Most of them are actual parents, so they know how to be comforting and helpful.
Living in a homestay abroad isn’t as terrible as it sounds. Like most college kids, you are all reluctant to give up your freedom, but in this case, you won’t entirely have to. They are host parents, not police officers. Feel free to go out and have fun! Just be respectful of things like noise levels when coming home and letting your host family know where you’re going. A major advantage of living with a host family is the food. You will get three authentic, home cooked Spanish meals a day. Granted, Spaniards don’t eat more than toast for breakfast, but it’s still authentic! Also, they may even do your laundry for you. What’s not to love! When you feel homesick, you still have a family to sit and talk to. There are no downsides to living with a host family. Yes, they may fawn over you a bit too much and ask too many questions, like all parents do, but in the end the experience is priceless. It is a very different type of relationship, but definitely one you will carry with you throughout your time abroad and beyond.
Granada nightlife is awesome. Nights usually start off at one of the many bars or clubs and go until around 4am or later. You can never go wrong wandering down Calle Elvira with your friends looking for a fun bar. It is a young area, so you’re bound to find something going on. There are a lot of hippies on this street, which is interesting, but they’re harmless. Most of the bars on Calle Elvira serve tapas, but if you’re looking for a place that solely serves drinks, try Hamelin. For a more laid back atmosphere, check out Paddy’s Pub, another great spot. There are chupatarias everywhere. Chupatarias are shot bars. The most popular one is Chupataria 69, featuring around 80 different shot combinations for only one euro.
Other popular clubs include: Mae West, El Camborio (in Sacramonte, which is a really cool neighborhood with an awesome view of the Alhambra), Boom Boom Room and Campus.
Granada’s tapas bars are to die for; you simply cannot go wrong no matter where you go. Tapas are still free in Granada - Thank God! Some delicious tapas bars include, Lemonrock, Los Diamontes, La Ceuva and Pan y Vino. There are at least 1-2 tapas bars on each and every street!
You won’t start real semester classes until October, but you end around the same time as a normal semester. How do you ask? 2-hour classes! It sounds horrible, tragic and impossible, but it’s really not. Class doesn’t start until about ten minutes after the scheduled time because Spain time is always 10 minutes late. Then, you will get a break after the first hour for “five” minutes, but it’s always more like fifteen, so these classes go by fast. Classes could be from 8:30am-10:30am, 10:30am-12:30pm, 12:30pm-2:30pm, or 4pm-6pm.
Another great thing about studying in Granada is that you always go home for lunch. There are no Friday classes, unless there is a day of classes that needs to be made up. For example, if there is a holiday on a Monday, the classes will be made up that Friday. This is so helpful when traveling. That one extra day is glorious. Depending on your program and your arrival date, you may have a small Spanish review course before classes begin, which can help you get settled into your new home overseas.
The Alhambra is an absolute must see! It is a huge, breathtaking palace and/or fortress that was first constructed by Muslims and later taken over by the Catholics. Again, depending on your program, it might be included in your trip. If it’s not, book tickets for a tour in advance because it fills up quickly!
There is a lot to do in Granada on a regular day-to-day basis. Shopping on Calle Recogidas or Calle Reyes Catolicos, walking along the river, checking out a Flamenco show, walking to the Albaicin to see the amazing view of the Alhambra, and listening to the music of the gypsies. You should also book an appointment to go to the Arab baths in Plaza Nueva where they will give you a complimentary massage - it’s a must. Don’t forget to go tapas bar hopping, take a visit at the Cathedral and Royal Chapel, and so much more!