Universidad de Salamanca

On this webpage you can find general information about the Universidad de Salamanca and an interview about a student's time abroad studying at this university


“The University of Salamanca, founded in 1218 by King Alphonsus IX of León, is one of the oldest universities in Europe and has been an academic point of reference throughout its almost 800 years of existence, taking in uncountable generations of students from all parts of the globe.”


The University of Salamanca maintains this image of research and academic excellence. It even has been labelled as the ”Oxford of Spain“ and is an important centre for the study of the humanities. The university is in the process of adapting its teachings to the new “European Higher Education Area”, which seeks to place the student at the centre of learning. Studying in Salamanca thus could be a great opportunity to study in Spain. Salamanca namely is a very vibrant and dynamic university town, only 200 kilometres away from Madrid.


The university has an academic staff comprised of 2.612 employees and around 30.000 students with 9.000 of them being foreign students. Moreover, there are a great number of official degrees offered: 574 degrees in total. The international character can be seen by the agreements with more than 600 universities in the world.


The University of Salamanca has 25 Centres in different towns: Ávila, Béjar, Salamanca, Villamayor and Zamora. Most Centres are located in the city of Salamanca, which has a population of more than 150,000. The university centres in Salamanca are located in different parts of town: some are in the Old Quarter and others in peripheral areas situated at about 20 minutes’ walk from the city centre.


Students who are citizens of any of the member States of the European Union do not need to obtain a visa to study in Salamanca. The same goes for students from Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland.


For stays of less than 90 days (3 months), the citizens of countries on the common list of Third Countries whose citizens are not required to have a visa for member States: http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Portal/es/ServiciosAlCiudadano/InformacionParaExtranjeros/Documents/listapaisesvisado.pdf


A visa is necessary for all those students from non-EU countries who plan to reside in Spain for more than 3 months. A student visa to enter and legally remain in Spain must be applied for at the Spanish Embassy or Consulate in the student’s country of origin or residence.


There are two types of student visas:

  • Student visa for a maximum of 180 days. Students cannot ask for a visa extension.
  • Long term visa for studies lasting longer than 180 days. Within a month of your entry into Spain you must apply for an authorization for a study stay (AUTORIZACIÓN DE ESTANCIA POR ESTUDIOS) at the Office for Foreigners in the Salamanca Police Station. This visa can be extended for as long as you are registered at the University. Students planning to study for more than a semester at the University of Salamanca should apply for a long term visa.


Language and additional requirements (such as the TOEFL test):


The language of instruction at our institution is Spanish. Therefore, a minimum level of B1 is recommended, although no certificate is required.


To improve your level of Spanish, the University of Salamanca offers a Spanish intensive course at the beginning of each semester (September, October and November for the 1st semester, and February and March for the 2nd semester) for all Erasmus students who wish to take it. The course is 3 weeks long and has a total of 30 class hours, distributed in 2 hours a day, from Monday to Friday. Students have to pay 170 Euros for course materials and linguistic consulting.


Once enrolled, students will be given a placement test to determine their level of Spanish in order to organize the different groups. At the end of the course, the students will receive a certificate of attendance if they have attended at least 90% of the classes.


Housing:


The university offers accommodation in the University of Salamanca residence halls. Rooms can be reserved before your arrival or after you have reached the city.


Furthermore, information for accommodation in shared flats, with a family, private student residence halls, etc. can be found on the website of the University Guidance Office (http://spio.usal.es)


A final option could be to find accommodation with older persons as part of University of Salamanca’s intergenerational living program. In this way, an older person offers accommodation at a low rate to students in exchange for some help at home. For more information, see the web site of the Office of Social Services (http://sas.usal.es).


Student expenses will vary according to the type of accommodation. However, €800 a month is the approximate amount needed to cover basic costs of rent, transport, food, etc.


Ranking:

  • Ranking Universidades El Mundo: 14th 
  • Arts & humanities Rankings 2018: 301-400th
  • World University Rankings 2018: 601-800th


(Abstract taken from:


https://cursosinternacionales.usal.es/en/spanish-courses-erasmus

http://rel-int.usal.es/images/docs/Guia_Rel_Int_2017.pdf

http://www.elmundo.es/especiales/ranking-universidades/listado.html

https://www.timeshighereducation.com/world-university-rankings/university-salamanca)


Interview


Where did/do you spent your semester abroad?

I was in Salamanca (Spain) which is around 2,5 hours away from Madrid.


How did you find where to spend your semester abroad?

On the site of the RUG. Furthermore, I heard from people who went here before that it would be a great place to spend your semester abroad. 


What were the requirements for you to go to this place?

Besides the general requirements of going abroad, Salamanca doesn’t have special requirements. However, it is recommended to have Spanish level B1 at least. I would also not advice to study here without any knowledge of Spanish, but I do know people here who didn’t learn any Spanish before. 


What was/is your favourite sightseeing there?

The tower of the Cathedral is impressive, the view you will have over the city is the best. You can visit it even for free every Sunday afternoon and during the sunset the light falling on the city is very beautiful. Furthermore, you should definitely see the skyline of the city including the cathedral from the Puente Romano (a bridge). 


What was/is your favourite local food there?

I really love the tapas here, which you can get in a lot of restaurants. You don’t need a lot of them to have enough and since the portions are small, you can try out different things. My favourite tapas are patatas bravas with spicy sauce and mini vegetarian burgers made of bulgur. My favourite dessert is crema catalana, the Spanish version of crème brûlée.


Was/is there many green spaces to relax?

You have a park where also a lot of Spanish people spend their afternoon. The river has also enough spots to sit down and there is a cycle path next to it with a nice view (even though not that many people cycle here ;)).


Did/do you practice any sports there?

I go to a gym where many (Erasmus) students are going as well. Furthermore, I go running sometimes, the cycle path around the city is perfect for this. 


Did/do you go out a lot? Where?

Yes, Salamanca is perfect for going out! It has kind of the same ambiance as Groningen, it is not too big and you will always meet people during the night. Every Tuesday there is an Erasmus party, but also Thursday and Saturday are popular to go out. Luckily, you almost never have to pay entrance and there are many options to get cheap drinks. 


What did/do you think of the university? The location? The buildings? The teachers? The study programme?

The university is one of the oldest in Europe (almost 800 years old now), but unfortunately the faculty is not in one of the old buildings. However, the faculty is perfect located in the city and also if you take courses at the campus, you can still walk there. The teachers are in general nice and make you feel welcome. The only downside is that IRIO has a contract with the faculty of history and geography. There is a study programme comparable to political science at the law faculty, but you are obliged to take at least 3 courses of the history and geography faculty. However, often international relations programmes offer courses which are the same as in Groningen and therefore you cannot take them. I didn’t have that problem and there were enough interesting courses at this faculty as well.  


How did/does it go financially? The accommodation? Food? Public transports?

Salamanca/Spain is in general cheaper than Groningen. For instance, you can find a good apartment here for half of the price what you would pay in Groningen. Salamanca is quite exceptional with that, because I have heard from people who live in other (bigger) Spanish cities that their rent is a lot higher. Food in the supermarkets is a little bit cheaper sometimes, but especially food in restaurants is less expensive. However, I have figured that going out for food a lot will be visible in your budget at the end of the month ;)Some Spanish clothing brands are also cheaper here (Zara, Bershka etc.) so shopping here is quite good. You can walk everywhere so in the city you don’t have to spend money on public transport, but if you want to go to Madrid you have to pay for the bus or Blabla car (-/+ 30 euros in total). There are a lot of cheap flights going from Madrid, however you should also think of the costs of going to the airport. 


What was the most surprising thing about this new culture?

Even though Spain is still very western, there were some things which surprised me. Here it is very normal to walk around till late in the evening, even children are on the streets. Spanish people also don’t really care about interior, they rather spend their money on food and drinks in restaurants. However, every room here has already furniture, which is quite helpful as an Erasmus student. 


What is the most funny word you learned in the new language?

Enemigo (enemy), because I didn’t expect that it would be so similar to amigo (friend).


What did/do you think of the workload?

The workload feels less than in Groningen, because you don’t have books. You only have to make assignments sometimes, which makes it feel sometimes a little bit like high school. 

 

Did/do you meet many international students?

Almost all of my friends here are internationals, because there are many internationals here. It is easy to get to know new people and during the night you will also see people you know often.  ​


Grading

Gradings are given on a scale from 1 - 10.

Culture

Grade                                                        Explanation

Points of interests 

(not so many <-> lots of museums etc.)
    8

Salamanca as a city itself is already really beautiful, so there is always something new to discover when you are walking around. 

Salamanca as a city itself is already really beautiful, so there is always something new to discover when you are walking around. 

Food

(only local food <-> great variety of restaurants)
    4There are a lot of places with (good) tapas, but also for instance Mexican and Asian restaurants do exist. There are also good options for vegetarian food. 

Nature

(none <-> several natural parks/recreational parks)
    7There are a lot of places with (good) tapas, but also for instance Mexican and Asian restaurants do exist. There are also good options for vegetarian food. 

Recreation/Sports

(limited <-> many options/extra courses)
    7Salamanca has a park and it is also nice to hang out around the river.

Social Activities

(limited <-> many theatres/cinemas/pubs)
   10There are many pubs to go to and every week you can see a lot of (international) movies for a low price. Furthermore, the Erasmus organizations organise many cultural activities as well. 


Study


Grade                                                          Explanation

Size of the University

(small <-> big)

    5

The university as a whole has around the size of the RUG. Nevertheless, the faculty itself is really small.

Relationship students-professors

(informal <-> formal)

    3The classes are small in the faculty, therefore teachers know their students well.  Nevertheless, other bigger faculties are more formal. 

Language requirements

(English suffices <-> Official Language)

   10Since all classes are given in Spanish, it is helpful to have at least a basic knowledge of Spanish. There are language courses offered as well. Nevertheless, most teachers do take into account that Erasmus students aren’t native speakers.

The study programme

(easy <-> difficult/intense)

    3In comparison to IRIO, studying is quite easy in general. You don’t have books, so you mainly study what is discussed in the lectures.

Internationality

(few international students <-> many int. students)
   10There are many international students from the whole world.

Location of the University

(hard to reach <-> close by)

    9

The faculty is in the city centre and some other faculties are at the campus, but everything is at walking distance. 

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