WANT to know why people study in Granada, Spain? Ruben is a Marketing graduate who has studied in Spain and Scotland. We've asked him what is (and isn't) so great about Granada. You can read his other My Student City article here.
STUDENT WORLD ONLINE: What do you love about Granada?
RUBEN: The city itself is beautiful – it is a delight walking around the city centre, the Albayzín, and, of course, going to the Alhambra, one of the most wonderful places you can visit anywhere in the world! Besides, the “feel” of the city is perfect for all students: the University of Granada has many students (there are different areas within the city with faculties and university buildings) and in Granada you could practically meet people from anywhere!
It has been said that Granada is the first destination of Erasmus students in Spain (yes, that is, before even Madrid and Barcelona), and people absolutely love it. Granada is basically a city for students and, as such, it has many places where to eat (did you think tapas?) and drink.
SWO: Did you feel differently when you first arrived?
R: Not really. When I first arrived I used to live in a private student hall and people (all of them, of course, students) were very welcoming. Same thing happened with my classmates, though there is a catch here: all of them were Spanish and that made it easier as I am Spanish as well. But do not worry, even if you are a foreigner, you will meet people easily and have a great group of friends. Just bear in mind to try to speak Spanish to maintain conversations with Spanish native people, so you can improve your language skills!
SWO: Is there anything you don’t like about Granada?
R: The weather can be tricky. In winter, you will most certainly feel cold (Sierra Nevada is very close to the city of Granada, so you could take advantage of that and go to ski or snowboard!), and in summer it can get too warm. But spring is usually a very nice time, and even if it is very cold or very warm you will certainly enjoy it!
SWO: Is it easy to get around Granada?
R: It will become a bit easier when the new subway/tram (mostly tram) system starts working in the city. However, the buses can take you almost anywhere around Granada (though if you are going to certain faculties in the morning it is possible that there will be too many people on the bus!) or you can just walk! According to people from Granada, everything is in a “10 minute distance” whenever you ask – most of the times it is not, but Granada is not such a big city so you could walk anywhere.
SWO: What is there to see and do in Granada?
R: If you come to Granada, I would recommend you to see the Alhambra. It is stunning and beautiful and I am sure you will enjoy walking around it and seeing its buildings and the gardens of Generalife. Close to the Alhambra, you will find el Paseo de los Tristes, the Albayzín (a neighbourhood with narrow streets typical from Granada), and you can even go to the mountains if you keep walking for not too long! In the city centre, you should visit the Cathedral and some of the plazas around, as well as the street called “Pedro Antonio” where you will find many bars, pubs, and places to eat.
SWO: Good shops?
R: If you want to buy food and you are a student, probably you will end up being a lot in Mercadona or Dia – you will find some supermarkets from these chains around the city. If what you want is to go shopping for, for example, clothes, the street Mesones and around it is a good choice, but there are also some malls, such as Neptuno, where you will find both food and clothes.
SWO: Good places to eat?
R: Everyone knows tapas. And in Granada it is taken to the next level. Practically anywhere you go, if you ask for a drink (Coke, beer, even wine) you will get a free tapa! This could be of your choice but in many cases it will depend on the ones they have prepared for the day and on if it is your first, second, third, etc. drink. Eating out in bars is basically another way of going out with your friends either at night or for lunch, and, considering tapas are usually big (I recommend you visit a place called Ecu, for example, but you can find good places to eat all around the city), with two or three drinks and tapas you will have had lunch/dinner for 4/6 euros! Obviously, you can go to a restaurant where things are different and a bit more expensive – some of these are La Mafia and Gondoliére.
SWO: Good places to drink?
R: You can drink in the places mentioned earlier, or go to some of the clubs or pubs in the city. Many pubs are in the “Pedro Antonio” area, and, as for clubs, Mae West is the most well-known in Granada. If you are a foreign student, however, you will probably end up going to El Camborio, which is cheap and situated in the Albayzín. Other places you could go to are, for example, Vogue or Booga.
SWO: Good places to relax and hang out?
R: You can relax around the many places in Calle Elvira, where many people go to have tea and smoke shisha. Also, if there is nice weather, you could visit El Mirador de San Nicolás, with stunning views of the city (especially the Alhambra). If you just want to hang out, practically any bar will offer you a nice atmosphere!
SWO: What is the area like?
R: Granada is full of students. There are obviously locals, but the city in many cases works to serve students and to make things easier and cheaper for them. The city is beautiful, it is in the south of Spain (Andalusia), the coast is not too far away (around 45 minutes) and in winter you will see snow in Sierra Nevada, which is next to the city!
SWO: What is the university like?
R: The University of Granada has many buildings all around the city – campuses of Cartuja, Fuentenueva and city centre. In my own experience, the faculty of Law is beautiful as compared to any other I have been to (also, it is the oldest one in the university) but all of them have their own charm! And every faculty has its own library for you to study!
SWO: Do you live on campus?
R: Very close to campus, in the city centre. Usually just a 5 or 10 minute walk away from the university.
SWO: How much is the monthly rent?
R: The monthly rent is around €200 to €250, in my experience, depending on the part of the city where you live (more expensive if you lived in the city centre as I used to).
SWO: How much is a cinema ticket, a two-mile cab ride, and a 1kg bag of rice?
R: A cinema ticket is around €8, a two-mile cab ride could be around €5, depending on the time of the day and if you called the cab beforehand or not, and a 1kg bag of rice could cost you 50 cents or less.
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