Adarsh discusses his studying abroad experience in Spain
Hello! My name is Adarsh Shah and I study Modern Language (Spanish) and Business Management. Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, I managed to get out to Valencia for 6 months to study as part of my degree.
One stand out experience of mine was actually getting to Valencia, as I had to travel through Belgium and France due to the Brexit and Coronavirus restrictions, however it made getting to Valencia that much more satisfying! Even though the restrictions put in place by the Valencian government at the beginning of my trip were quite strict, it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
Valencia is a magnificent city, with a mix of a bustling city centre, big student area with cheap bars and restaurants, and a long sandy beach. I originally had planned to go to Santiago in Chile in the second semester, however I chose to make the switch to Valencia under the assumption that South America wouldn’t be safe due to the rising cases over there.
Studying in Valencia was definitely an experience in itself. Amongst the opportunity to meet students from other nationalities and from different ages arguably more easily compared to working abroad, all the lectures were delivered in Spanish, and the lecturers didn’t ‘dumb down’ the level of Spanish or teaching for the Erasmus students, giving us a truly authentic experience. Furthermore, my level of Spanish noticeably improved a lot as a result of this, and so did my confidence when going into shops/ordering at bars. However, whilst my Spanish did improve, I would recommend making some Spanish friends as opposed to just Erasmus. Most of the people on Erasmus either preferred to speak English, or didn’t know any Spanish at all, making it hard to practice Spanish on a social level.
One of the things that stood out about Valencia was its weather and the beach. It was quite nice after lectures to grab some drinks and head to the beach for a couple of hours or so, spending weekends there, and early mornings to see the sunrise, with the temperatures reaching the late 30s in April. The beach parties at night were also one of the highlights, making it a great way to meet new people and enjoy being out especially after the pandemic year.
Whilst at the start I was a little apprehensive about the support I’d receive being in new country all on my own, the University were very consistent with their help and communication throughout my time there, especially when someone stole my phone. They helped guide me through the steps I had to take regarding the insurance claim I had to put through, as well as obtaining a police report to file it as stolen, as well as wondering about my general welfare. All in all, those 6 months were definitely unforgettable, and I wouldn’t change it for anything!