Spain, Cantabria – Yvonne Leith – 2007-2008

Travelling

There are a couple of options to choose from when travelling to Santander.  Ryanair flies from London Stansted to Santander which is normally quite cheap.  The airport is about 15 minutes away from the city centre but there is a bus every half hour.  There is also a ferry from Plymouth to Santander which is more expensive and takes about a day but has the benefit that you can carry as much weight as you want/can. 

Santander doesn´t fly to many other airports in the UK, though it did fly to Liverpool last year so that might change again. 

Accomodation

I sorted out my accomodation through the Universidad de Cantabria.  They sent forms to fill in sometime in May and they gave the option of living in halls of residence or privately owned shared flats.  I chose the flat option and four days before I came out I was sent an email with the phone number and address of a land lady and I had to ring her to arrange my arrival with her.  If the ORI don´t get in touch with you after you´ve sent them your arrival date the best thing to do is to keep emailing or even ring as it can take them a while to get round to things.  It´s quite easy to change flats out here so if you´re not happy with the one you´ve been given so it´s not something to worry about before you come. 

The flats usually cost around €170 – €240.  Location isn´t massively important as Santander is pretty small.  The buses are pretty good and pretty cheap though it is possible to walk most places. 

University

The University is based on one incredibly long road (Avenida de los Castros) with the different faculties housed in different buildings.  The international relations office (ORI) is in the Economics building.  The university is very relaxed and things can take awhile to get done.  Don´t worry about choosing modules for the first few weeks as you don´t have to finalise your choices immediately.  Most economics lectures are scheduled to be two hours long but they generally start fifteen minutes late, have a break in the middle and end early. 

Lectures here are more like school classes than university lectures.  For example, the lecturers will often set work to be done in the next ten minutes and then ask for answers.  Some lecturers speak quite quickly and can be hard to follow, particularly in dictation and it can be helpful to photocopy notes of the Spanish students.  Also if you need to ask the lecturers questions it´s much better to do it in person as they can take about six weeks to respond to emails. 

Other

Santander is pretty small but the nightlife is pretty decent and it´s very easy to stay out til 5 or 6 in the morning.   There aren´t many shops but Bilbao is only an hour and a half away and the shopping there is good.  The nightlife there is also pretty good and they also get some good bands playing there – we saw Bloc Party. 

We also did quite a lot of travelling and went to several places like Zaragoza, Santiago and Cordoba. 

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