In Their Own Words: Why Granada is the Best Student Town

Raquel Ramírez Cervera is an ISA Site Specialist for Spain and U.S. Liaison for University Relations. Raquel works with students studying abroad in Málaga, Madrid, and Granada.

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Hear in their own words, what students loved most about their experience studying abroad in Granada, Spain.

1. Living with a local Spanish host family

“I live in a homestay, and I LOVE my family. Carolina is my host mom, and she is awesome. She always teases my roommate and I about being “guiris” (foreigners). She has a 17-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old son. Lucia always comes in our room to get our opinion about her outfit or hair and Alejandro is always poking fun at us and making sure we get the little brother treatment.” -Mary Diduch, Fall 2A 2012

2. Authentic Spanish food

“It’s up to you to really experience Spanish food! You’ll try authentic dishes in your homestay or residencia, but there are so many options when it comes to tapas bars and restaurants in the city. They can range from touristy to local, so when you’re choosing a place to eat or grab a drink, you should make it your goal to have the most authentic experience possible.” Lisa Nikolau, Fall 2A 2012

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Photo by ISA student Carolyn Rush

3. The helpful ISA Granada staff

“Studying abroad through ISA will automatically be an amazing experience, there’s no doubt about that. But relocating to another country by yourself can be a bit daunting. The currency’s different, the food’s different, the language is different… and when you’re sick or having a bad day, it’s easy to miss the comforts of home. But if you make it, ISA can be an awesome support group. You’ll meet a lot of people in your study group, and the directors are both hilarious and helpful.” -Lisa Nikolau, Fall 2A 2012

4. The history of Granada manifested throughout the city

“Studying abroad offers a much more fulfilling experience than simply traveling here. Instead of slowly inching into immersion, we have plunged directly into the heart of Granada.  We also quite literally live in the heart of the ancient city.  Most of the thirty or so American kids that are in my program live in El Centro, or The Center, which is one of the oldest and most visited neighborhoods.  The history of the city is uniquely tangible.” -Haley Snyder, Fall 2A 2012

 

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Photo by ISA student Tabita Kokora in Granada, Spain

5. Free tapas

“I also walk past an average of 30 tapas bars everyday.  Granada is uniquely known for offering small, free appetizers complementary with a drink.  It’s a way of promoting business and minimizing drunkenness. A huge focus of the local culture is to be out of the house and with family or friends in bars, cafes, and public parks.  Getting a beer or simply taking a stroll around Granada’s streets is the best way to pass a warm summer night during the week.” Haley Snyder, Fall 2A 2012

6. People who live in Granada focus on what truly matters

“There is not one thing that makes Granada so inviting and wonderful.  It’s the sum of the whole that combines the mysticism of the past, the elements of modernity, and the pride of Andalucía. Spaniards have a proud certainty about them, even if it is just a façade.  They have customs and a rich history that is deeper than the foundations of Granada.  Even in the face of an unsure economy, they focus on food, drink, sleep, tradition, family and friends as the most important things in life. I never want to forget that. Gracias España, for the reminder.” -Haley Snyder, Fall 2A 2012

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Photo by ISA student Megan Stone in Granada, Spain

7. The ancient Albaycin neighborhood

“These days, I don’t mind getting a little lost. The houses are built very close together so that the thin streets and alleyways have plenty of shade to minimize the effects of the hot, southern sun. Cats lazily sleep in the stray patches of sun that filter through small openings in a fence or veranda. The steep hills and uneven road make me feel like a mountain goat traversing a stony hillside.  One wrong footing and you roll an ankle like a big Guiri, tourist, who can’t handle cobblestone. The Arab-Islamic culture is still in the air, a reminder with every waft of incense and hookah smoke that billows from the side streets at the base of the Albaycin.  There are a multitude of teterías, or teashops, with sweet rolls and Arabic food, but also cafés with tapas, sangria pitchers, and cañas of beer.  No matter where you wander in the Albaycín, there will always be a patio to sit at, observe the passing people or at least the views of the city.” -Haley Snyder, Fall 2A 2012