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Spain, the safe bet for Erasmus+ mobility students

With nearly 9,000 French students welcomed each year, Spain is the leading Erasmus+ destination. Between the cost of living, the weather and the festive atmosphere, the country’s assets are far from negligible.

Asked last fall by L’Etudiant about the specificities of their host country, the students who went on Erasmus+ to Spain were unanimous: “The welcome is warm, it is good to live there and the historic cities are magnificent”, “the weather is nice, the people are happy, it’s a perfect country for students”, “a good ambient mood coupled with a very low cost of living”…

So, viva España? Yes, answer without hesitation Julie, 20, third-year maths student at the University of Lille (59) and Pierre, 22, fifth-year engineering student at Polytech Lille. Since the start of the 2021 school year, both have settled down in this country which gives them an infectious joie de vivre.

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A quirky way of life

It was not the destination of his dreams but ultimately, for Pierre, Spain is almost a revelation. “In my course, international mobility is mandatory. I wanted to go to Quebec. I had made all my wishes for mobility there but with the Covid, it was no longer possible.. So I turned to the remaining destinations, in Europe. I chose to go to Madrid because it looked nice“, says the student-engineer from Lille. And he does not regret anything, quite the contrary.

On study mobility for one semester, the student has already taken the fold of his Spanish life. “My rhythm of life is completely shifted, we eat later at noon and in the evening, that suits me very well. I have a stable schedule with classes only in the afternoon from 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Even though I have a lot of personal work, it gives me time to enjoy it.”

For her part, Julie is a true Spaniard at heart. In college, she discovers a language and then a culture that she particularly likes. “I would like to become a maths teacher and lead classes in Spanish for the European sections in high school, for example. So I knew that I would go there one day.”

It’s done : the student from Lille moved to Malaga last August for an entire year. If Argentina could very well have been his base, the health crisis, the financial cost of the destination and the distance from his family made him take the direction of Spain without hesitation. “My life here is going very well despite the shock of the first day when I told myself that I was really alone. I had no choice but to integrate and everything went very well.

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“The Spanish Inn” version 2021–2022

Listening to them, there is no doubt: “The Spanish inn” remains relevant, 20 years after the release of Cédric Klapisch’s cult film. Even though the plot takes place in Barcelona, ​​the festive atmosphere remains the same. “Spanish people like to be outside a lot, it never feels like it’s late“, assures Pierre. “The Spanish rhythm is quite particular: they rest in the afternoon, are not in a hurry when they walk and go out very easily even without an opportunity. Bars are their place of life“, confirms Julie.

But it’s the weather that wins all the votes : with 2,769 hours of sunshine per year on the clock, only Malta and Portugal can compete in Europe. “It plays on mood and morale,” exclaim the two students.

Add to that a good dose of culture (no less than 49 monuments classified as UNESCO heritage) and an affordable cost of living (on average, 229 euros per month for a 20m² studio), the students are convinced. No one even thinks of citing culinary traditions among the benefits.

In Madrid, there is this international side, but with a lot of French people. It is ideal for meeting people. The Spaniards are also very welcoming, always nice, it’s easy to drink a beer with them”, specifies Pierre, who also multiplies the sports activities to go out. “I think I was able to do more things here than if I had gone in Canada where people go out less.” Julie also takes advantage of her free time to discover Andalusia : she has planned several excursions to Cordoba, Seville or Granada, accompanied by other Erasmus students or not.

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Speaking Spanish, a plus during your Erasmus+

The most difficult for the two Lille residents: find inconvenience to the country. It is ultimately the language that brings them together. Unlike other European countries, English is not really the international language par excellence. The mastery of the language of Shakespeare by the Spaniards is equivalent to that of the French, according to Education First (Swedish company specializing in learning English).

In Madrid, Pierre has the chance to take courses in English. It is also for this reason that he chose to study in the capital. “We can speak English with the other students but not outside.”

Julie, who already had a very good level of Spanish before leaving, also indicates that mastering a few words in Castilian can be essential. “In my class, my lessons are in Spanish and I am the only student in Erasmus. Same in my student residence where there are only Spaniards. However, if I had not mastered a few words, it would have been difficult for me to share the discussions at the table, to exchange, to integrate myself. I think that before leaving for Spain, you must have a correct level in Spanish. To speak is also to understand the culture of the country”she points out.

As you will have understood, all you need to do is learn a few words of Spanish to fully enjoy your stay in Spain.

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