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Where to study abroad? Valencia, Barcelona, or Sevilla?

Where to study abroad? Valencia, Barcelona, or Sevilla?

May 14th, 2008, 06:30 AM
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Where to study abroad? Valencia, Barcelona, or Sevilla?

Hi! I will be studying abroad next spring for four months in Spain as a junior in college. I know I want to go to Spain since I am learning to speak Spanish, but I don't know which city I want to study in. I'm trying to decide between Valencia, Barcelona, and Sevilla. Has anyone been to any of these cities and could give me advice?
shamrock14 is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 06:59 AM
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I would choose Barcelona. It is cosmopolitan and you could learn Catalan as well. There is also easier access to other European cities which you will do as is the wont of all students.

Seville is a beautiful city however.

Valencia would be my last choice, even though they are trying very hard to become a mor important city.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 07:04 AM
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Aduchamp, in Valencia they are not trying to become "a more important city". They actually are the third more important in Spain. They're trying to become more touristy !!! I don't really know if that's good LOL
kenderina is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 07:08 AM
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Answering shamrock14, I would choose Barcelona from these three Cosmopolitan, with hundreds of flights to wherever you think in Europe and not very rushed despite being a big city.

I really would prefer Salamanca over those three for a Spanish course.
kenderina is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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Thank you for the advice so far! My only worry with Barcelona is the dialect (or language in itself) Catalan. I am wanting to become fluent in Spanish after the four months of studying (since I'm in my 6th year of taking Spanish classes in the US), and I am afraid if I go to Barcelona then I won't learn as much Spanish as Catalan.

I was pretty set on Valencia, but then became unsure from mixed reviews of the city. Has anyone been there and either loved it or hated it?

shamrock14 is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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Don't know if Granada is an option, but both my kids did a home stay study abroad there and loved it.
Barblab is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 10:41 AM
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I live 1 hour drive north of Valencia so I've been there...many times

The city is great, lots of ambiance, students (three big universities), culture, food, nightlife...and the beach We also speak Catalan (well, a dialect called Valenciano) but in Valencia city itself you don't hear it as much as in Barcelona you hear catalan.
I really think you would have a great time there, I said Barcelona before because travelling to Europe is cheaper from there, although there are a good range of flights also from Valencia's airport.
I like it because it's a big city with all the services but it's not big enough to make you feel "lost".
kenderina is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 10:44 AM
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I agree with Kenderina's advice to study in Salamanca, a true university town, if studies are your priority. Now, if you want to study and play, then Barcelona is your town. You don't have to learn Catalan, Spanish will do.
Treesa is online now  
May 14th, 2008, 10:55 AM
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A semester in Barcelona would be SO MUCH FUN!
missypie is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 03:27 PM
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Is that Valencia (City) itself or a locale in the Comunitat de Valencia that extends as far as Alicante? As kenderina says, people in Valencia speak with one another in Valenciano, but they would speak to you in Castellano.

kenderina also writes: "I really would prefer Salamanca over those three for a Spanish course." and I can't disagree with that. In Castilla la Vieja you should learn Castellano puro. Aragon should also be a good place to learn (i.e., Zaragoza).

In Sevilla, you run into another problem: indigenous people 'swallow their S's.' So you might come back speaking Andaluz.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 04:29 PM
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tribi is offline  
May 14th, 2008, 06:19 PM
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If I go to Valencia, I'll be going to Valencia the City. I have heard Salamanca's awesome, but I was afraid it would be too small (I'm looking for a big city!) Thank you for all the advice and keep it coming, this is really helping me decide, as I've never been to Spain so have never actually been in any of the cities.
shamrock14 is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 05:06 AM
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If you are looking for a big city , then I would go to Madrid or Barcelona. However, as far as "atmosphere" goes , Salamanca would get my vote.
cruiseluv is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 05:51 AM
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what is it you want from a big city? lots of theater and concerts? musuems?

valencia does have so much more than most people realize. it is spread out over a large area, and if weather is important to you, it beats your other two options hands down.museums galore.. and a variety of activities most places donīt offer.

there was another thread about this recently.

i studied in salamanca.. great place.

but definitely not a big city, but that is what i liked about it.

i prefer the small towns in spain to the bustle and traffic of madrid and barcelona.(depending on where you live a good part of the day is spent getting places and back).

lincasanova is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 06:05 AM
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Salamanca is not a big city...but definitely it is not "too small", not a quiet place for students, I mean, too much nightlife and parties LOL
kenderina is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 06:48 AM
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My votes are for:

1. Granada...Out of the way as far as Spanish learning and not suffering from a glut of international students like Salamanca or Sevilla.

2. Madrid..for its city atmospere.

3. Sevilla/Salamanca..but too many internationals for the size of the cities.

4. Barcelona...the catalan issue is a distraction.
holakjs is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 06:53 AM
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I also studied in Granada on two occasions (one 2-month trip and one 6-month trip) and would thoroughly recommend it.
Big enough but not too big, excellent university and language schools, great student life but, as has been mentioned, not completely overrun by foreign students.

And its altitude means it doesn't get as hot as places like Seville.
Plus there's skiing and beaches within easy reach.
hanl is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 08:12 AM
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in reply to lincasanova, i guess what i mean by big city is things you referred to: museums, concerts, festivals, public transportation, good nightlife--just lots of different things to do and see, and a big enough city that i always feel like there's someplace new to explore. i live in a very small town (5,500 people) and go to school in a town that has about 80,000 people, and i've never lived in a big, exciting city. that's why i'm looking at barcelona, valencia, and sevilla--since they're the number 2, 3, and 4 biggest cities in spain.

one thing about my tastes is that i love cities with historical, old architecture. i don't mind the modern stuff (that's why i'm still considering barcelona), but if there's no history to the place i wouldn't enjoy it as much.

once again, thanks for the advice so far.
shamrock14 is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 08:32 AM
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If you are serious about Spanish,
and you insist on a big city, then it has to be Madrid. Barcelona and Valencia have their own dialects and issues that way.

Granada is listed for its lack of internationals (compared to Salamanca, Sevilla or Madrid), but its location relative to other interesting sites makes it very attractive.
holakjs is offline  
May 15th, 2008, 09:12 AM
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I have studied Castillian in Valencia and Sevilla - and have spent a few days only in Barcelona. In summary, my inpressions were:

Sevilla: great access to other other interesting cities (Granada, Jerez, the Saca de las Yeguas at Rocio, and loads of others). Labyrinthine old town area where I lived - fun just to walk around in and an acquired skill as time goes on. I quickly became used to a Sevillian way of speaking and felt a connection to anyone else speaking that way in the area. Vosotros is used enormously - and I had a sudden social breakthrough when I started using it even with quasi-strangers - so it still shocks when I hear Mexicans speak to their children in Usted and with with a pronunciation that sounds that of a three-year-old.

Downside: the streets become very empty at night and what is quaint during the daytime can be scary in the dark. The men (many) are annoyingly macho. The various districts (all interesting) are separated by areas also a bit worrisome at night. Then there's the heat - the highest temperatures recorded in Europe. The sails set up over the streets help... try to have an apartment as low as possible - or a rooftop one. You get to know which tapas bars have air conditioning fast - and your first purchase will probably be a "ventilador" Also - as part of the macho game, every local boy has got to have his "novia" and the competition is such that we strangers have to keep hands off - best to befriend other foreigners.

Valencia: I prefer Valencia. The network of pedestrian streets is well lit and active at night. I like "once", the semicircular park around the city, the nearness (a trolley) to the beach, the comparative absence of machismo, AND... as people have Valenciano as their primary language, they generally speak a clear, correct Castillano (Castella') and they speak it "ceceo", though many (to my ear) pronounce the C or Z more like an F. In Sevilla, the majority speak "seseo". After years of facing the divide, I have finally accepted that I am of European origin and do not intend to pretend otherwise - and I use ceceo - though in Valencia I missed the ubiquitous use of vosotros. I do use seseo when I go to Bolivia - reflecting the degree of general education in the countries. On that subject, Andalusians often drop "s" and some final consonants, etc., - and so Andaluz is closer to the language spoken in places like Cuba, Chile, Argentina, (though "y" and "ll" are pronounced like "i" or "yi" - not like the "dj". Use the Argentine "ll"/"y" sounds "marica" to the Sevillians, or like some comic imitation. To Valencians, less focused on "macho" vs. "marica", use of regional eccentricities might be in poor taste, as they are speaking Castillian for our convenience - so don't abuse it. Valencia has many festivals - film, music, etc. Above all, Valencia is un-macho. I even had pleasant evenings in cafes with married women - there's a well-sensed feeling of decorum among normal and educated people and an openness to socialize.

Downside: greater distances to other interesting cities. I spent a few days in Alacant, but it was so hot I couldn't stray far, and the beach promenade was vigorously claimed by Latinos and their numerous children.

Barcelona: I do not know Barcelona well. I was too expensive for me to stay in for more than four days. I do know of a huge immigrant "barri" that can be darned threatening and that the average student should avoid like the plague (which it is). Unfortunately, Lisbon has one I wandered into and would up nearly throwing myself in front of a tax to get out - though he wasn't willing to drive out the way I wandered in!

I did have the sensation in all the old-town area of Barcelona that people are a bit burned out by tourism and irked at the foreigners expecting them to speak Castella' when throughout the Generalitat the official language "of use" is Catala. If you listen to Barcelona TV stations (same true in Valencia) you will hear free use of both languages - but generally in a correct fashion - without mixing. Interviewer poses a question in Catala' - interviewee answers in Castillian, etc.

Merce' Rodoreda wrote some great short stories in Catalan (not to mention her novels) and they're a good introduction to the language. I'm currently reading a novel entitled "La Petita Mort" which is great - the Catalan literary world is in rapid development. I would recommend the French side of Catalunya - Ceret and Amelie-les-Bains, etc.

Andreu is offline  

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