- When your campus tour guide gently informs you that the University campus is the “largest in Spain” – they aren’t kidding. Be prepared to pack gym gear and trainers because if you wake up 5 minutes before your lecture, you’re going to do a 15 mile run to get to class.
P.S. lecturers go round campus on golf buggies and no, students aren’t allowed to use them.
- The siesta is real, and although you might find yourself embracing the culture in the first few weeks, nanna napping your afternoons away after a night down El Barrio, it gets annoying after a while when you want to go shopping between 3pm-6pm and all the shops are closed.
- Everything is closed on Sunday. This conversation will definitely happen on more than one occasion.
A: “Oh crap! I’ve got no food in”
B: “SAME. Shall we go to the supermarket up the road?”
A: “No, it’s closed because it’s Sunday”
B: “PUTA MADRE”
- When you arrive in September, you’ll feel ambitious and you’ll be determined to climb El Castillo de Santa Barbara, despite the tram telling you that it’s 37 degrees today. Don’t. Or if you do, at least pack a few cold beers in an ice box for when you reach the top.
- You might be a little bit shy in lectures and seminars at first but after a few weeks you’ll find yourself, a shameless Brit, asking a Belgian or a German for help in a Spanish lecture. Why not?
- The ERASMUS network in Alicante is fantastic. You are never going to find yourself alone. You will constantly be meeting people from all over the world and you’ll have lots of planned trips around Spain, Portugal and Morocco offered to you. Always wanted a friend from California? You’ll find one here.
- In the first week of University, you’ll get told to sort out your own timetable clashes and you’ll start hate on the infamous Spanish ‘mañana’ where nobody willingly helps you out with anything at all. It will be stressful but try to consider it a development of your independence.
- When on a night out down the strip or El Barrio, you will be given free shots with your drinks (it’s usually caramel vodka – gross… but free). You will also find yourself in a seedy backstreet nightclub doing shots out of a snorkel. This is completely normal.
- In the first week of classes you will probably try out 5 different classes and swap them all because you can’t understand the lecturers accent or you’re the only ERASMUS student in a 4th year Spanish linguistics lecture. It’s okay. You might hope to go to study translation and end up studying 19th century literature simply because the lecturer is easier to understand. It happens.
- You won’t have any half terms. They don’t exist in higher education in Spain. HOWEVER, not all is lost. You will end up having a lot of random days off because of some random Spanish festival that you’ve never heard of and you’ll probably end up joining in the celebrations.
- Alicante is the most beautiful, colourful, vibrant city. You’ll constantly find yourself hopping on and off the tram to Benidorm and other wonderful towns and villages with the prettiest, most serene beaches. If you’re hoping for your year abroad to feel a little like a holiday, Alicante is the city for you.