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Kate's blog: Uni life in Spain vs. England...

By kateblogger 26 Oct 2016

I grew up in Spain, so I can tell you first hand that life there is very different to life in the UK.

I'm not just talking about the cultural differences, or how hard it was moving from the Valley of the Sun on the Costa del Sol back to wet and rainy England, university life is pretty different too.

Universities in Spain and most other European countries are so much cheaper. So cheap that you don't actually need to take out a loan to pay your tuition fees! There are also a lot of scholarships, bursaries and what they call 'loans, available, which most people are eligible for, but you don't have to pay any of it back and can actually spend the money on whatever you want. I spent mine on a gap year! Imagine spending the money you received from Student Finance UK on a trip to Australia.

Student accommodation and halls of residence aren't a massive thing in Spain and if you went to school in Spain, the chances of you attending a university in a different town are rather slim. Everyone just seems to want to stay at home. Most of my friends still live at home with their parents and will continue to do so until they graduate, and their parents drive them 40 minutes each way to university each day. I'm pretty sure my family would tell me to practice jogging or find me the latest bus timetable if I asked them to do that.

If you do end up living in halls, you're in for a pleasant surprise. Not only is it so much cheaper, but it's also all inclusive. You get cleaners, all your meals made for you... Oh, to live like that and not find yourself outside at 3am in your pajamas after someone set the fire alarm off. Not to mention how cheap the cost of living is in Spain.

Applying to a university in Spain is not a lengthy process, but it is a weird one. If you apply to study Medicine in the UK, you have to do it almost a year in advance, and then you obviously find out months in advance if you've been accepted onto your course. I know someone that found out she had got into university at midnight on the day her classes were due to start. Why didn't they let her know in advance?! How was she supposed to go to The Range or Asda and buy unnecessary things like a doormat or glowsticks?

Most classes in Spain are theory-based lectures, there are no seminars and very few labs or practicals, but everything is a lot less formal. Lecturers are like your friends and make an effort to learn everyone's names, but there are no powerpoint presentations and no chance of a free iPad, like those who are doing Science based courses at Greenwich received, you'll be greeted with a blackboard and chalk.

Class in Spain is a lot more lively. During my lectures, if a lecturer asks a question, they are met with nervous silence and everyone looks at their feet in the hope of not being called on. There, most people are fighting to have a go and the class turns into a debate.

There may not be Freshers week there, but you won't exactly be home at 3am after a night out either. Most clubs are only just getting busy at this time. You'll be finishing dinner at about 1am, going to a club until about 6am and then heading out for breakfast. You might want to look in a mirror first if you plan on then heading straight to lectures.

You definitely go from one extreme to the other with Spanish and English universities, but I wouldn't change either opportunity for the world.

The weather in Spain is obviously an added bonus...


culture, Bloggers

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