La Vida Salmantina

Are you ready to take on Spain this summer? Here’s the first entry in our “Postcards from Salamanca” series, designed to get you ready for an amazing experience.  This post was written by Tom Durigan, and describes his impressions on daily life in Salamanca.

Tom and friends in front of the Catedral Nueva de Salamanca

Living in Spain is an experience like nothing else—it’s better than anything I could have ever imagined.  I have traveled and seen many different cultures from all different parts of the world but the culture here in Spain is unique and life-changing.

This university town is filled with Spanish students from all around Spain and even more international students from the United States, South America, and all over Europe—all flocking to Salamanca to attend the well-known and historic University of Salamanca, founded in 1218. While in class the differences between Spain and the United States are very evident: from day one you are told to refer to your professors by their first names. Class here is also different from home because in Spain your grade is typically determined solely on a midterm, final, and class participation. There are no quizzes or papers to write, the midterms and finals are made up of everything covered in the class and it is your responsibility to know all of the material for the test. The days when you have a midterm or final are tough—so be sure to study!

The differences in classes are noticeable, however the differences in culture and lifestyle of Spain is what makes living

La ciudad dorada

here so amazing! The Spanish culture is one based around socialization and families. The stories of siestas are true, from about 2 to 5 in the afternoon stores are closed and the streets are empty. Once you do finally leave and take to the streets the discoveries are endless and the beauties of the city are unveiled. Wandering the narrow streets, you are greeted by buildings and cathedrals far older than the United States itself. The architecture is mind blowing and the details on the doors are incredible, and then to think that individuals such as Miguel De Unamuno, Cervantes, and Christopher Columbus attended this same university, well that turns your session and your experience into something even more special and unique. While walking and discovering the incredible buildings, if your heart still hasn’t fallen for Salamanca ask someone ¿Dónde está la Plaza Mayor? And be prepared to be amazed.

The Plaza is my favorite place in Salamanca and maybe in all of the world. During the day it is filled with hundreds of people sharing drinks at the numerous cafes or simply sitting in a circle on the ground with friends. The plaza is always the meeting place before you go out and do anything. It’s in the middle of the city and always a perfect location to meet. There are concerts, ceremonies, and processions that all take place within the plaza. Here you can also eat little a wide variety of Spanish appetizers or snacks known as tapas.  Tapas are an awesome alternative to dinner because there are hundreds of different choices, each restaurant has their own unique creation. This tapas dinner is my favorite dinner however it’s very different than in the U.S.A.—you don’t generally order more than one tapa at the same place. Get one and socialize for around 15 minutes or when everyone finishes then you leave and walk down the street or next door and get another one. The numerous different tapas with jamon iberico (cured ham) and seafood are exceptional.

Salamanca is the perfect city to study abroad; the people speak pure Castellano (traditional Spanish), the university is well regarded and historical, the city is beautiful, and it is the university city of Spain causing the streets to be filled with students from all over the world at any hour of the day. La vida salmantina is the perfect lifestyle and I will truly miss this place for years and years until I come back someday.

 

Tom’s favorite spot: the Plaza Mayor!

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Apr 29, 2021 @ 18:30
👋 Hi everyone! I'm Eryn Fleener a senior at DePaul University in Chicago, studying Early Childhood Education. I studied abroad with API Summer 2019 in Florence, Italy! I will be taking over API Instagram tomorrow, make sure you follow along!
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🗞️ 🌏 Breaking news! The world is opening back up and travel will return! Enjoy some good news before the weekend! #studyabroad #apiabroad #ispyapi #internationaltravel #Europe
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A lovely day for a tour of Montparnasse au des années folles and some delicious glace 🍦avec API. There is always something new to discover in Paris! #apiabroad #paris
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