As I am nearing the end of the semester, I realized I’ve talked about all my travels and experiences, but not where I’ve been living for the last 3 months: Salamanca, Spain. I have one week left here and it’s bittersweet to reflect on what I love and am going to miss about this city (our closing ceremony is in a few days :,). I initially chose Salamanca for its historical aspect, as well as that it was not a big Spanish city, and I am happy with my decision. Note: there is no airport so for all travel we have to train to Madrid before flying out
For cultural immersion and the language, you can go about it depending on your housing. If you’re homestay, you get integrated through speaking Spanish with your host family and having typical home-cooked meals. If you’re in the dorms, you can get integrated by meeting local students and joining university clubs. IES Abroad hosts intercambios that can help make this happen. More pros about IES Abroad Salamanca are that the IES Abroad program is on the smaller side, allowing more personal bonds, you can explore most of the city in a short amount of time and feel like you’ve covered everything, establishing a routine is easier without feeling overwhelmed, and you get to know and recognize the city pretty quickly.
Getting to know Salamanca
For me, I was really keen on exploring the city, so I would go for many walks after class to find a new part of the city that I hadn’t seen before. I wouldn’t check the time or maps, I’d just walk until I reached a new side of the river, I’d sit and enjoy the nature and sunset, and then I’d head back a way to the dorms that I’d recognize. If you choose Salamanca, take advantage of nature and river walks, especially during the spring. It's a great energizer and a way to balance your emotions.
I was also so focused on traveling and sightseeing other places that I forgot Salamanca has many attractions as well. I’ve enjoyed walking through and trying new places by Plaza Mayor, visiting Casa Lis, Sunday Rastro, entering the Cathedral and doing the tower climb, relaxing in the many parks and gardens, getting snacks at the bakery market by the dorms, etc.
Before I head out, I shall list my recommendations for my Spanish home away from home:
To do work:
- Casa de las Conchas library
- Biblioteca Abraham Zacut
- La Portuguesa Cafe
- Salamanca Coffee
- Starbucks in Plaza Mayor
- The IES Abroad center itself
- La Portuguesa Cafe
- Salamanca Coffee
- La Tahona de la Abuela
- Santa Gloria Coffee and Bakery
- A Mesa Puesta (right across from IES, they serve my favorite patatas bravas)
- Goiko Grill
- Tierra (like Chipotle)
- Super Donner Kebab (close to the dorms)
- Empanadas Malvón
- 269 Gastro Vegan (has vegan options)
- La Tertulia Venezolana
- Hola India
- Umami (Gelato)
- all these places have vegetarian options
Parks and Gardens:
- Huerto de Calixto y Melibea
- Jardin de la Merced
- Mirador Paseo San Vicente
- Parque Río Tormes
- Parque de los Jerónimos
- Parque de los Jesuitas
- Parque Botánico Huerta Otea
There are many more places from each category around the city, these are just the ones I visited and enjoyed!
Side note: If you get a Spanish SIM card, it will be with Orange, so here are some tips to not feel scammed by their plan:
- Always talk to the worker expert downstairs before recharging (next bullets are why)
- Before each monthly payment, ask how many GBs you’ve consumed so if it’s less than what you’re paying, you can opt for a less expensive monthly plan
- Ex: paying 20€ for 100GB, but only consuming 35GB, then change to only paying 15€ a month for 50GB.
- Never pay for two months at once, because it will still run out after a month (for whatever reason) and you will have to pay again (so being charged twice)
- Ex: paying 40€ for two months, each with 100GB, but after four weeks your data is out and you need to pay again, so you have to drop another 20€ on a month you prepaid
- Another way to avoid being charged twice is before each payment, go check with the worker downstairs that your plan is recharging every month
- I paid my 20€ plan one month, but since I owed them 1€ (I had no idea), I technically only paid 19€, meaning my plan didn’t recharge for the month (since it only works in intervals of 5€), and in a few hours I was out of data again (ridiculous, but anyways)
Always always always go to the worker downstairs because they can check the details of your account, and once your answers are sorted, you can go back upstairs to recharge whatever amount you’d like.
I have attached a message screenshot of what the recharge message should look like, if you don’t receive it within a few minutes of paying, there is something wrong. Do not leave until you resolve it or you may have to pay the charge all over again.
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Hi! My name is Alexandra Carrillo and I am a 2nd year at my university. I am studying International Relations and Spanish with emphases in politics and security and Latin American literature. I am from the USA and México and I often travel between the two. My hobbies include embroidering, painting, and reading (my favorite genres are romance and history). A fun fact about me is that I have a twin sister who goes to the same university as me (we are fraternal and people still mix us up!). I look forward to documenting my journey abroad and the people and places I'll meet along the way!