So, we arrived in Valencia, lets find an apartment. polo y peyrolon, around Blasco Ibanez is apparently where it’s at for the students.
Which is handy, considering it’s next to the Mestalla stadium, home of Valencia Football Club. Needless to say, we went to pretty much every home game!
Finding an apartment wasn’t too hard, but it wasn’t simple either. we initially attempted the old fashioned way of picking a number off a sign from a lamp post advertising ‘piso’ or ‘habitacion’ ‘alquilar’ but eventually realised that arriving in October, we’d pretty much missed the boat on getting a place together that’s sharing with Spanish students, which was the goal to help improve our Spanish.
So, we stumbled into a local ‘inmobiliaria’ (estate agent) right on polo y peyrolon and were delighted to be shown a really simple, but nice 3 bedroom apartment on calle caravaca, which runs across polo y peyrolon, so we’d basically smashed it, aside from the fact that we needed to rent out the third room, but for 500€ for the whole apartment, we weren’t too fussed, the locat was good and the flat was nice, and to be honest, we were tired of being homeless. the only disappointment was having to pay a full month commission to the agent! that was a surprise, the landlord doesn’t pay the agent, just the tenant – crazy. viva españa!
Ok, so we’re in. what’s next – ‘matriculacion’ – lets enrol to uni. one would assume it’s a pretty straightforward process, I hope they’ve improved it by now, but it was quite the ordeal, what with leaving the odd document or ID behind each time, but this was all part of the fun. we enrolled, took a few classes, realised we didn’t actually have to pass a module, so gradually after the first month or so, university became less and less a part of Erasmus life. The beach was too tempting and the nightlife too much fun!
The university does have awesome sports facilities and just off the Blasco Ibanez campus lies a huge ‘polideportivo’ with football pitches, basketball courts, rock climbing and all sorts. so, playing 5-a-side football became a regular treat with local students and a great way to practice your fast talking Spanish!
Internship – The Americas Cup
The Americas Cup was coming to town and they needed volunteers. in short, it’s sailing teams representing their country to challenge for oldest sporting trophy in the world. I was fortunate enough to get a job working with the broadcasting team as a runner, basically with the freedom to go all over the Americas Cup Park, sail in the directors boat as a spotter (looking out for the boats!). help the British film crew communicate with the locals. it was the greatest intern job you could wish for. 10am – 4pm, late enough to enjoy my nights and early enough to head to the beach after work!
So, it wasn’t all work at the Americas Cup, an international sporting event requires many volunteers, so our team was made up of a mix between other Erasmus students and local Spanish students. this really was the greatest way to meet people from all over the world. In the photo below, the nationalities range from Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch to Australian and English.
It’s hard to recommend an internship like this as it’s not a regular event, but if you can find work like this, jump at the chance! not getting paid was not a problem, we were provided uniforms and all 3 daily meals were served free for the staff, plus I got a phone and a car!
It was also pretty cool working on the broadcasting team and understanding the scale of this event.
Valencia as a place to live…
Ok, so, what else… Valencia is an incredible city. honestly, I couldn’t recommend it any higher. for so many reasons, the weather, the beach, the people, the food, the parties, the general atmosphere. Valencia, perfectly blends the old and the new, namely the old barrio del carmen, where you’ll find lovely restaurants and bars.
What is particularly impressive, is the ‘turia’ which is the old river that runs through the whole city, all the way to the beach. you won’t find much water there though, its now the ‘jardins del turia’ since it flooded back in 1957. it is the most beautiful place to take a stroll, filled with parks, cafes, artworks, ponds, fountains, museums, football pitches, an athletics track, and the awesome ‘ciudad de ciencias’ featuring an imax cinema and other great attractions. there’s multiple bridges that cross the turia, so access is from all over the city.
‘hacienda vida en el terrado’ you can’t beat a good bbq, and why not on the roof!
Getting around Valencia
It’s easy – metro, city bike, bus, it’s all really convenient. Once you get to know the city, you realise that you can pretty much walk everywhere! it’s just not that big a city, it’s the perfect size! with the great weather, and our general Erasmus timetable, it’s really nice to walk everywhere and soak up the atmosphere.
There’s so many great bars and clubs to go to in Valencia, but the most fun were always house parties.
So that was the leaving party for my friend Daniel, quite a respectable send off
Valencia, what a city, what a year. now, I’m working on Student Mundial, trying to help other students going on their Erasmus year to have as much fun as I did. Of course, everyone has a different experience and everyone might be looking for something different. Our job at studentmundial.com is to help you find an apartment and flatmates. or even rent our your room if you need to leave your place, or fill a spare room.
if you want to share your Erasmus story, please feel free: firstname.lastname@example.org