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Student Experience

Here students can get information about what it will be like to live and study in Alcoy. Tips for getting around town, eating, and enjoying the city.

Hiking group overlooking AlcoyLiving in Spain

One aspect of studying abroad is about understanding another country by experiencing it firsthand.  Students should try activities to immerse themselves in the culture of Spain.  The best way to do that is to be open and to try new things.

The Spanish live their daily life a little different than Americans.  First, they speak Spanish.  The local people in Alcoy speak Valencian, a dialect of Spanish.  This is the first language, it is what is usually posted on street signs alongside traditional Spanish.  Spain is a very well educated country and many people speak English, so non Spanish speakers should not be intimidated.  The locals, however, do appricate some effort on the part of the Americans to speak their language.  Simply saying hola and gracias shows the Spainards that you respect their culture.  

Students eating dinner in a cave The pace of the day in Spain is also different than the US.  The Spanish people are more lesiruely in their daily life, liking to enjoy meals by taking their time.   This does not mean they are lazy, just that they split up their day differently than American.  Another aspect of Spanish life is that the day starts later and ends later.  It is typical to see Spanish cites awake around 9am and wind down around 1am.  This also shifts meal times.  Lunch is the largest meal of the day and it is eaten around 2 in the afternoon.  The mid-day meal is typically followed by a siesta or nap for a few hours.  To compensate for this time, the Spanish work into the early evening.  Many stores will close around lunch and open again later in the afternoon.  Dinner is usually not eaten until 9 at night.  It is also typical to eat tapas (small plates) as a snack throughout the day.

Be sure to check out Charlotte Anderson's blog to hear about her study abroad experience in Alcoy! 

Fun Things to Do

Spain is a great country to be an abroad student in because there are a variety of things to do!  

Alcoy is near the Mediterranean Sea, so daily excursions to the beaches of Benidorm, Gandia, or Alicante are possible.  Alcoy is also home to many great national parks where students can hike and find breathtaking views.  Alcoy has a great running path going though the mountains offering unique views. There is also beautiful architecture seen in churches, bridges, and homes that are great to visit.  There is also an underground art museum beneath the Plaza Mayor. 

Dining

Dormitory Cafeteria

The dining experience in Spain can be fun because there is some unique food to try!  Some of the specialities in Alcoy including paella, a rice dish flavored with saffron, and jam'on, a special form of cured ham.  Seafood is also typical because of the cities close proximity to the sea.  Most meals will be eaten in the dormitory cafeteria.  Breakfast and dinner are served daily and are included in the cost of the program.  There are 3 markets in Alcoy that can be a good place to go for a quick bite to eat.  Another good meal is a selection of tapas, allowing students to try many different things, or another option is eating in a traditional restaurant. 

Transportation

Alcoy has a local train and bus services, but the easiest way to get around is to walk. Students walk to class daily, it takes 5 to 10 minutes.  Since the city is not very large the city center also very easy to walk to.  Routes and schedules for the train and bus can be obtained at the dormitory.  The bus and train stations are in the North Zone (Zona Notre) around a 10 minute walk from the dormitory.

Weather

The weather in Alcoy during the summer is warm and dry with temperatures in the 80s.  Students should be prepared, however, for temperatures as low as 65 and as high as 95.  Students should make sure they bring appropriate clothes to be allowed into the European churches.  Many churches is Spain and Europe require that one's knees and shoulders be covered.

Other resources

Spanish Paella
Famous Spanish Paella is common in Alcoy.

Medical care can be obtained at Alcoy's hospital, Verge dels Lliris, about a 10 minute walk from the dormitory.  

If parents are coming to visit students, there are 2 recommended hotels.  The Ciutat de Alcoi is a 4 star hotel around a 20 minute walk from the dormitories. The other is the Hotel Reconquista, a 3 star hotel that is a five minute walk from the dormitories. 

Study Abroad Apps

Currency lets you track the changing exchange rate in Spain and other countries

Text+ allows users to use wifi to text free

Mint.com helps you stay on budget while abroad