Alumni Ambassador Malorie studied abroad in Granada last summer, and like so many others before her, fell in love with this beautiful city, and its unique character and history. She shared with us her ten reasons why you should choose Granada as your study abroad destination.
When you first think of Spain, there is an 80 percent chance you are thinking about Barcelona or Madrid. Two years ago, I was the exact same way. When deciding where I wanted to study abroad, I knew a Spanish speaking country was where I wanted to go. Eventually, I narrowed it down to Spain; however, I only knew of two cities. Through more research and long conversations with my international services office, I decided to go with a city I knew nearly nothing about. In the end it ended up being the best decision I ever made.
Which brings me to the ten reasons why Granada, Spain is the best unknown place to study abroad.
1. La Alhambra
The Alhambra is a Moorish palace located in the mountains, looking down onto Granada from one side the valley to the other. Although it was a tough twenty minutes up a large hill/mountain (depending on how you look at things), the result is worth the travels. However, if you are feeling slightly lazy that day, there is a two euro bus that will take you up. Following an amazing view of all Granada, to simply imagine what was once thriving in this absolutely amazing palace is truly astonishing.
2. Sierra Nevada Mountains
The mountains provide a beautiful backdrop to the city, and they are only a short 25 minute bus ride away. With camping, hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and many other activities awaiting, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
At the majority of places you go, whether you are ordering a soda or a wine, you will receive a small plate of delicious Spanish food. In American terms, you will receive a small appetizer, for free, to go along with your drink.
According to Google, Granada has a population of 237, 540. Coming from a small town, I knew I wanted a city where I could wander and get lost, but not one where I would get lost in the crowd walking down the road. Granada gave me that. After a week I could easily navigate to and from where I regularly went. But I could easily wander and, even with a few wrong turns, navigate my way to a familiar path.
5. La Albaicin
El Albayzín is a district of steep hills and narrow streets full of markets and tea shops that retains its Medieval Moorish past. If you walk your way to the center you will find a beautiful plaza with the most amazing view of of La Alhambra.
Granada is located in the south of Spain. Although, I have already mentioned the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Granada is also only an hour car or bus ride to the ocean. In one day you could enjoy your morning in the mountains and your afternoon at the ocean.
I discovered that in many other cities in Spain, the natives spoke a fair amount of English. In Granada, not many natives know English so it forces you to use Spanish and encourages you to push yourself to learn more.
Although you can find amazing food anywhere in Spain, Granada has some of the best. From Spain’s famous paella to gelato on every block, all food in Granada is delicious. However, be aware of their different (late night) meal times. The normal dinner time begins around 10 pm!
Possibly Spain’s greatest invention, siesta is the Spanish word for nap. From 2pm until 5pm, the majority of stores and the city close down and they go home to eat and rest. I kid you not, the USA could take some advice when it comes to siesta.
10. La Familia
Whether you stay with a host family or in a residencia (which I did) your host madres adore you. They take pride in taking care of you. They absolutely love to cook for you and all they ask in return is for you to love their food, which believe me is incredibly easy to do.