Choosing Alicante for my year abroad is one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Situated on Spain’s stunning Costa Blanca, close to Benidorm, Alicante is a very popular holiday destination for many tourists. The town itself is buzzing with many local bars, clubs and restaurants as well as lots of places to go shopping. Santa Bárbara Castle overlooks the whole city and the sea. It is a bit of a hike, but worth it when you get to see the amazing view. It is also well connected by trams and buses, with the airport being bigger than Valencia.
The best part is the beach – clear blue water and white sand. I tend to go straight from uni to the beach, even though it’s October now, the temperature is still 28 degrees! The climate is very humid, and it is sunny and hot all year round.
The university itself is stunning, filled with palm trees and fountains. Every single building looks like a villa holiday home. As I study French and Spanish at Southampton, I am pretty much doing the same here. Interestingly, French lessons are taught in Spanish, with a lot of translation between the two languages, which I already struggle with just translating into English!
One of the culture shocks that I experienced is that in Spain they don’t eat dinner till 10pm, whereas I am used to eating my dinner at 6pm. A typical Spanish dish includes a lot of seafood, paella, ham and meat. Tapas is so appealing, with a lot of cheese and iberic ham.
Compared to Southampton, life in Alicante is very cheap. Most bars and restaurants offer one euro tapas and one euro beer and San Gria (sweet Spanish red wine). Even the bus costs 80 cents one way which is the equivalent of 50p. Coming from London, I was amazed by this.
Even though I have been here for a month, I know time will pass so quickly and before I know it, I will be back in Hartley library for my 4th year. I strongly recommend a year abroad. It gives you the insight to a new culture, customs and language. I have met so many incredible people from all over the world so far.