My name is Jackie Hall, and I’m currently abroad in Pontevedra, Spain. I have both some specific and some broad advice for you all.
For anyone considering studying at the University of Vigo through ISEP: if you study in Pontevedra, live in Vigo. (Study in Vigo? Live in Vigo. Study in Ourense? Live in Ourense.) The campuses here are far apart and you cannot take courses at different campuses because of it.
Pontevedra is a beautiful city with wonderful views, restaurants, shops, and people, but if you’re looking to be connected to other international students or be active in Erasmus student events, you need to live in Vigo or Ourense. Vigo is a much bigger city with an airport, local bus system, and resources for international students such as yourself. The buses to Pontevedra are frequent during the day and are no problem for commuting to class.
I can’t deny that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here, but it was a major hurdle trying to communicate with the International Relations office at the U of Vigo campus because they were just so far and inaccessible.
Additionally, all the events for international students and parties are in Vigo or Ourense which means if you do live in Pontevedra you have to either leave early in the night, find a place to stay, or not sleep until the morning buses start (which is very much possible with the nightlife here in Spain.)
For people studying in Spain: be prepared to play a lot of waiting games. The Spanish people take their breaks very seriously and will simply not work when they don’t have to. For me, my first month here was spent scrambling trying to set up a bank account, phone plan, classes, and apartments as well as figure out what the heck Erasmus was. I spent many days waiting for emails and calls back.
lf out there, make friends and experience once-in-a-lifetime things. But if you’re in any way introverted like me and need to rest after being so social, studying abroad can be exhausting and taxing. You may experience culture shock, homesickness, and general fatigue that comes with any typical semester of college. So allow yourself the time to rest. It’s okay if you don’t go to one party or squeeze that excursion in because your well-being is important. And if the students at the university you study abroad at socialize in a different language than English, you will need to put in a lot of effort to find connections. You’ll find the right people, and when you do, you’ll have friends for life. So, take care of yourself and allow yourself the space to have these cycles of socializing and resting.
Written by Jackie Hall ’23, guest contributor
Feature image courtesy of SurferToday.com.