Top Reasons to Study Abroad in Salamanca
While most prospective study abroad students in Spain are convinced that they should study in Madrid or Barcelona, I would like to challenge them to think outside of the most popular cities in Spain.
Instead, they should consider studying abroad in Salamanca, which was one of my most rewarding experiences as an undergraduate student.
Some of you may be wondering, where is Salamanca? Salamanca is located in the western part of Spain, close to the border of Portugal, in the Spanish region, Castilla y Leon. It is considered a medium-size city with around 170,000 residents.
Why Should You Study in Salamanca...
I have thought of several reasons I enjoyed studying abroad in Salamanca, and have captured thoughts from my wonderful classmates from the University of Michigan who lived in Salamanca with me during the summer of 2011.
- It is the home of the University of Salamanca, the oldest university in Europe, founded in 1218. The campus combines architecture form the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles, and proclaimed itself the “Mother of Virtues, of Sciences and of the Arts.”
- The city campus creates an atmosphere that is ideal for students, with a diverse student population from around the world and affordable studying and entertainment options (coffee shops, meeting plazas, historical sites, nightlife, etc.). One of my favorite legends is to locate the Lucky Frog carved into one of the university buildings, which will give you good luck throughout your studies at the university!
- It was declared the World Heritage City by UNESCO in 2002 as a European City of Culture. Everywhere you walk, you will find music, art, and dance performances. It is also known to be a City of Festivals, including Dia de los Reyes Magos, Semana Santa, Corpus Christi, and Feria de Salamanca.
My Spanish host mom and I attended a jazz concert at Casa Lis
It is the ideal place to learn and practice speaking Spanish. You will be able to speak traditional Spanish, less influenced by general European culture or tourism than in Madrid or Barcelona. View Spanish language courses in Spain.
Given its medium size, it is walkable, manageable to navigate and therefore feels safe. This is perfect for those who like to walk or run around the city and those who want to experience nightlife and feel safe.
- There are ideal meeting places for friends. La Plaza Mayor is one of my favorites in Spain, with beautiful architecture, exquisite restaurants, and exciting bars. My classmates and I especially enjoyed La Croissanteria Paris, Chocolateria Valor, and La Chupeteria.
Enjoying lunch with my University of Michigan classmates
- It is within close proximity to other popular travel destinations, such as Madrid, Northern Spain, Southern Spain, Portugal, and the Atlantic Coast. While studying in Salamanca, I was able to travel many weekends to Pamplona, San Sebastian, Toledo, Avila, Seville, Granada, Madrid, and Barcelona.
Like all places in Spain, Salamanca provides amazing rebajas (deals) for shopping during the summer. I will also never forget the delicious tapas that you I received with each drink purchase. And of course, the relaxing afternoons of siestas and family time were unforgettable. They reminded me to enjoy each day and appreciate the new friends I met throughout the trip.
My experience in Salamanca gave me a true taste of the traditional Spanish culture and instilled un amor para Espana that I will always cherish. If you would like to learn more about my experience in Salamanca, feel free to post questions or comments!
By Brittany VanderBeek