EXCHANGE STUDENT’S EXPERIENCES

Preparing for your study exchange or for studying your hole university degree abroad can be tough. And sometimes, even if you have looked for all the information you have access to, you get to your destination and find that you had very little information about the place you were going to. Also, apart from vital information for your everyday life, you may come to Spain and find out that some things that you find normal because of your culture or habits are completely different here. Today I want to share with you some different comments about students that came to Pamplona from different parts of the world and also from the same country, Spain. They have talked about habits, useful things they found out here that they wish they knew before, or cultural conventions that were quite of a shock for them.

To start with, I talked to Lorena, a girl from a little town in Murcia, Spain. Culturally, she didn’t find many different things apart from changing her little town life to a bigger city full of university life and events. But the most important thing she wishes she knew before coming is the public transport system. Coming from such a little town she was unfamiliar with the rechargeable cards for buses. So, the first month she payed for the bus a much more expensive price than what she could have payed with the card. So, regarding transport, you should know that in the bus transport from Pamplona there are some cards that you can find in any of the charging point that are spread all over the city. It has a 2€ cost and you can charge it whenever you want, having a much cheaper transport cost.

On the other hand, Julian, from the USA, talked about the shop and establishment timetables. He was surprised by the fact that everything is closed by 8 or 9 p.m. and that it is normal to everyone. He found this as a shock as in the USA there is a consumeristic frenetic schedule of 24/7 for the shops. He found this as a good thing as he doesn’t like the consumeristic-driven culture in that sense but he finds it important for the coming students to know this.

Then I talked to Roberto, an Italian boy in the fourth year of a Business Degree. What surprised him was the university life and student quantity there is in Pamplona. He says he wasn’t brave enough to do this exchange before and he regrets not doing in before as he is surprised how easily he fitted here. And indeed, for any student that is thinking of coming to Spain, Pamplona is one of the most important university cities in the north of Spain. Socially is very well prepared for students from the country or abroad, full of events, parties and activities.

And finally, Joseph from Germany says that he regrets not studying Spanish before coming. He said that many people back in Germany insisted that he should study at least one year of Spanish and he didn’t listen as he was going to study everything in English. When he came here he found out that in the university area everyone had a good English level and out of it all the young people also talked it fluently. But when it came to the shops or talking to older people, he found out that he needed Spanish, and to be honest, Spain is a country that is not characterized by the general level of English so, for those who are thinking to come and live here it is recommended to have at least a basic level of the language. Moreover, lots of countries in Europe have original voice television series or movies in the cinema, but it is important to know that in Spain almost everything is dubbed.

So if you are coming to Pamplona, I hope you find this little tips helpful and know that, apart from these little things we have commented, Pamplona and Spain in general are very welcoming and warm for students that will surely make your time here profitable and fun.

Alai Ormazabal

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