October 23, 2013, by Guest blog
Laid back in Cadiz
Post by Georgia Brooks
I have been in Cádiz, Spain for over a month now for the first half of my Year Abroad, and I finally feel like I belong, in this tiny and laid back little city.
I flew over with two friends from university at the beginning of September and spent the first week in an amazingly social hostel; attending barbeques on the terrace, meeting some amazing travellers, but most importantly going to more viewings for flats than I care to mention!
We had decided to find separate flats so as to widen our social abilities and not to be the group of English girls who stick together and refuse to meet students of other cultures. The aim was simply to live with Spanish speaking people, and get a flat which was within our budget.
Eventually we all found somewhere to live and could finally focus on settling in.
My first impressions have fluctuated between good and bad.
Regarding the other Erasmus students, and the incredibly social nature of Cádiz; how, due to its size, you can’t walk down the street without bumping into someone you know, I love it. I have met people from Kazakhstan, Germany, Belgium, Lithuania, Mexico, Portugal, America and more! Everyone is lovely and as we are all in the same boat, studying and living away from home in a foreign country, the Erasmus scene is great.
In terms of the university and the lectures; half of my lectures I find very interesting and the lecturers speak clearly, however the other half are in a way incomprehensible, and very hard to sit in for two or three hours, a few days a week.
I am trying my hardest but I really do not like the Andalucían accent! Unfortunately it is extremely slurred and hard to understand, and as a language student, accomplishing tasks that should be simple, such as going to the post office, are made a lot harder by this incredible, Southern accent!
A positive note is how blissful it is living near the beach and in a city where, even in mid October, the weather is better than any English summer day!
A lot of free-time is spent on the beach which makes the whole experience feel almost like a holiday, and for a beach-lover like me it is a real luxury to be able to pop to the beach any time I want.
Unfortunately the customer service here in Southern Spain is the worst impression I have received, and I have even been embarrassed by it when friends have visited! The queues in the supermarkets go almost to the back of the stores, and while customers will be waiting in vain to be served, the people supposedly working, sit counting money, or texting, or scowling! It does make me miss the efficiency and professionalism of England; however I suppose it is the classic Spanish tradition to be laid back and to take time over everything they do.
To summarise; being at a university in Spain is an extremely new and exciting experience. Although I feel like I know Cádiz well now, and have settled in to lectures and essay writing in Spainsh, I still need to become accustomed to the ways of the locals, and who knows, maybe I will pick up some bad habits!
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