Universidad de Deusto

Universidad de Deusto 

On this page, you can find information about the Universidad de Deusto, situated in the beautiful city of Bilbao. Second, there is an extensive interview with a 3rd-year IRIO student who is currently studying in Bilbao. Additionaly, you can find a table with ratings of aspects that fall under the categories of culture, study and finances. 

“The University of Deusto aims to serve society through its contributions with a Christian approach to today’s realities.


As a university, its guidelines are love of wisdom, desire for knowledge and rigour in scientific research and methodologies. Therefore, its main focus is on achieving excellence in research and education. Another objective is to provide the background for free persons, who are responsible citizens and competent professionals, equipped with the knowledge, values and skills needed to take on the commitment to foster learning and transform society.”


The University of Deusto offers exchange students the possibility to experience studying in Bilbao, being Biscay’s capital and the largest city in the Basque Country. The university currently has 12,000 students in total, containing 1,600 international students from nearly a hundred countries.


If you want to study at the University of Deusto, you can choose from a wide range of 24 undergraduate degrees, 4 double degrees, more than 70 postgraduate degrees, 7 new doctoral programmes and tailor-made Spanish courses. The university also offers courses in English.


The university has two campuses located in different cities: the campus in San Sebastian and one in Bilbao. As an IRIO student, you will be located in the latter. The Bilbao campus is located in the most cosmopolitan area of Bilbao, beside the river and surrounded by avant garde buildings. Another plus is that the beach is only 20 minutes away by underground and you can enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities in the mountains that surround the city.


If you are non-EU citizen you need to acquire a Student Visa to study in Spain for more than 3 months.


Depending on the length of your stay, there are two types of Student Visas:

  • For 6 months/180 days, for stays no longer than 6 months. Students will not be entitled to obtain a foreign ID card in Spain, and this type of Visa cannot be extended in Spain.
  • For 90 days, for stays longer than 6 months. Students must apply for their foreign ID card upon arrival at Deusto.


Once you arrive in Spain, it is not possible to change a 180-day student visa for a multiple entry visa or longer in Spain. You can only apply for a visa at your country of origin, or in the country of which you are a legal resident


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


There are no specific language requirements listed on the website. Naturally, a lot of courses are offered in Spanish. Therefore, as an undergraduate exchange student, you can do an intensive Spanish course (45 hours, 5 ECTS), which will be held at the beginning of you stay (end of August and end of January). If you are a semester student, you can also register on the regular Spanish course for the period of your stay (September-December or February-May, 60 hours, 6 ECTS, respectively). 

The University of Deusto also offers all undergraduate exchange students an introductory course to Basque Language and Culture so that they can obtain basic language skills and learn about the different historical, cultural and social aspects of the Basque people. This course will only be taught for one semester of their stay and it will be worth 6 ECTS. It will be taught from September to December in the first semester and from February to May in the second.


Housing:


There are different housing options available. The university has a residence hall called Colegio Mayor Deusto, open both to University of Deusto students and to University of the Basque Country students.


Exchange students can also choose to search for a shared flat and homestay accommodation. The management of the service is free for University of Deusto students and only University of Deusto students are eligible. However, a minimum stay of an academic term is needed (1st semester: from the end of August/beginning of September till the end January and 2nd semester: from February till June)


Moreover, the Bilbao Municipal Housing Programme for Youth Solidarity offers low rent flats (for 10 people) in the neighbourhoods of Otxarkoaga and Bilbao La Vieja for students enrolled in a postgraduate degree programme at the University of Deusto for a complete academic year in return for involvement in community social activities (4 hours a week).


Ranking:



(Abstract taken from:

http://www.deusto.es/cs/Satellite/deusto/en/university-deusto/information-about-deusto/the-university/history-0

http://www.deusto.es/cs/Satellite/deusto/en/university-deusto/information-about-deusto/the-university/educational-innovation-/student-the-main-protagonist

http://www.deusto.es/cs/Satellite/deusto/en/university-deusto/information-about-deusto/our-campuses

https://estudiantes.deusto.es/cs/Satellite/estudiantes/en/students-1/student-services/accommodation-and-orientation

http://www.deusto.es/cs/Satellite/estudiantes/en/international-4/incoming-students-0/exchange

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

http://www.deusto.es/cs/Satellite/deusto/en/university-deusto/information-about-deusto/the-university/transparency/rankings-0)




How did you find where to spend your semester abroad? How did the application go? Was it your first choice?

Initially, I wanted to go to Australia because a significant part of my family lives there and the country has interested me for many years. In fact, the Australian National University was my first choice, but I was eventually not selected to go to there. As going on an exchange to Australia is quite expensive compared to Spain, I wanted a Spanish university to be my second option. Besides, I had chosen to do a Spanish language minor during my first year of studying IRIO and wanted to improve my proficiency of the language. Thus, I started to look for the websites of several Spanish universities, thereby focusing mostly on the academic offer and the facilities that are provided. Soon after that, I stumbled upon the University of Deusto (Universidad de Deusto in Spanish), which is a rather prestigious Spanish private university situated in Bilbao, in the Basque Country. Not only did the academic offer grab my attention (courses such as “Geopolitics”, “Civic and Professional Ethics”, “Africa, America and Asia in International Relations” and “Global History” are offered to IR students and there are many more options in other faculties), but the city also seemed to be very nice, combining historical sites with impressive postmodern architecture and hosting many cultural events. Moreover, the Basque Country has quite a rich history of separatism and Basque nationalism, reinforced by the Basque language – Euskera – which is still very much alive today, even – if not especially – among the younger generations. In fact, during the university’s official welcome ceremony, I was welcomed to what was called “a country within a country”. As this issue interests me, Bilbao seemed to be a perfect destination. Indeed, it is very interesting to get to know the Basque culture and to see how the inhabitants of this region think about the Spanish government, Basque identity and the relatively recent history of dictatorship, sub-state conflict and terrorism in a European country. It is also fascinating to see how people respond in different, in many senses opposing, ways to the referendum on independence that was held in Catalonia during my stay. Thus, this destination became my second choice and several weeks after handing in all necessary documents and application forms, I received a mail stating that I was selected to go on an exchange to Bilbao. In the end, I am very happy with my choice and would not have picked any other place. Not even Australia. The courses I am taking are “Geopolitics”, “Private International Law”, “Global History”, “Social Psychology” and “Spanish” (C1.1 and C1.2). Most courses have a value of 6 ECTS each.


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

I do not remember whether there were any specific requirements, so if you want to be sure, you should ask the (very friendly) employees of the Mobility Office or consult the Student Portal. I just made sure to successfully complete my language minor (Spanish Basic) before departure and to hand in a declaration, signed by my professor, that stated that I was going to obtain a certain level by the end of the Spanish minor, along with the other application documents. However, to be able to go to Australia, I had to complete an English test and obtain a minimum score. I took the TOEFL test, for which I had to pay around €200 to €250 and travel to Arnhem. Nevertheless, if you have successfully managed to study IRIO for a year (a degree that is completely taught in English), you will easily obtain the required score (I got 115 out of 120 points) and taking this test is not required if you want to study at the University of Deusto.


What was/is your favourite sightseeing spot there?

My favourite place would probably be San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, which is a precious small island off the coast of Biscay (look it up on Google!). Those who have watched the seventh season of Game of Thrones may recognise it, because several scenes were shot at this location. However, there are many more places to discover, such as the Guggenheim Museum (a must-see if you like contemporary art; if you want to visit it at night, when there is a DJ playing and drinks available, you should go to “Art After Dark”, which is organised monthly on Fridays), the Fine Arts Museum, the Alhóndiga (a cultural centre with a really cool swimming pool), the San Mamés football stadium, the “La Ribera” food market, the forest of Oma (a forest that has painted trees which, when standing at a specific point, form big natural pieces of art), San Sebastián, Bermeo, Guernica, the coast and beaches of Biscay, the old city centre, the modern architectural masterpieces, the Vizcaya bridge, the rural areas, hills, caves and forests surrounding Bilbao if you like hiking, and the many parks and churches in the city and villages surrounding it.



What was/is your favourite local food there? Are there any surprising dishes we need to know about?

Basque gastronomy is world-renowned and it therefore is no surprise that the Basque Country is the region with the highest per capita concentration of restaurants that have been awarded one or more Michelin stars. The region truly has its own cuisine and, besides the language, the food is probably one of the most important elements of Basque identity. Some must-tries are pintxos in general and gildas in particular (a type of pintxo containing olives, anchovies and peppers), txipirones en su propia tinta (squid in its own ink), bacalao a la Vizkaina (cod prepared the Basque way), or any other type of fish or seafood, Idiazábal cheese (made of sheep milk) and morcilla (sausage made of blood and rice). I also really enjoyed fideuá (a paella-like dish that contains noodles instead of rice), bonito con (salsa de) tomate (a tuna-like fish in tomato sauce), migas (bread crumbs) with grapes, lentils with chorizo, tortilla de patata, chickpeas, jamón ibérico (Iberian ham) and beans. To drink, there are many different types of cider, wine (Txakoli is white wine from the Basque Country), beer, cava and champagne. Even on a low budget you can have a lunch in a traditional cervecera situated in the countryside, where you eat things like roasted chicken, mussels, fries, squid, salad, pimientos de Gernika (green peppers from Guernica), etcetera outside of an old, traditional country house. I went to one called “El Molino”, which I can absolutely recommend. You can also choose for the so-called “Pintxopote” and go to, for example, the Plaza Nueva, where you can buy a drink and a pintxo for around €1 to €1,50. Lastly, to satisfy your sweet tooth, you can try bollos de mantequilla (butter buns, or bread that is similar to brioche filled with a butter cream), turrones, polvorones (Spanish shortbread), palmeras de chocolate, carolinas (meringue tart), pastel ruso and huesitos de santo (marzipan sweets, only available during the end of October and the start of November).


Were/are there many green spaces to relax, such as cool parks?

In general, Bilbao is a very green city and it has several parks. Besides, there are many activities that you can do on or around the river Nervión. However, it’s also definitely worth the effort to take the metro (public transport is cheap and functions very well) and explore the nature surrounding Bilbao, including the coast of Biscay and its incredible beaches. Compared to the rest of Spain, it rains a lot in the Basque Country, but compared to the Netherlands, going to Bilbao is an improvement if you don’t like rain, wind and low temperatures. Due to the mild climate (Bilbao is very close to the sea), the average temperature is higher than that of the Netherlands and the summer lasts very long.


Did/do you practice any sports or were you active in other associations there?

I was not active in any particular association. The university does have facilities for this and is rather socially oriented (promoting inclusion, solidarity and cooperation), but there are not as many student associations as in Groningen. Moreover, many, though not all, organisations that offer part-time volunteering jobs require excellent knowledge of the Spanish language (C2 level). The university does offer sports facilities and has teams participating in several sports competitions. When I was doing my exchange, it was constructing an on-campus sports complex, which must be finished by now. The university also organises many religious and cultural activities (it is very religiously oriented, which does not influence the content of the classes, but in every classroom there is a crucifix and the university’s main building even has several religious statues and a chapel). The four pillars forming the foundation of the university’s social activities are culture, sports, solidarity and faith. I had a subscription to a gym called “Bai! Gym”, which is a very good, but rather expensive one (€120 for three months). In general, gyms are quite expensive compared to Dutch ones (for cheap ones, make sure to live close to a Basic Fit). I also really liked running along the river, which is free and allows you to explore the city. A good friend of mine decided to play football in a local team, which has been a great way for her to get to know people from Bilbao and make some really strong friendships.


Did/do you go out a lot? Where should we definitely go?

I don’t go out a lot, but from what I have experienced, I can assure you that Bilbao has a very rich nightlife. There are countless bars where you can have a drink and/or eat pintxos (try “Deustoarrak” for example, which is a bar where many locals living in the “Deusto” neighbourhood go). Moreover, there are several clubs that are very popular among both local and exchange students (the most important ones are called “Back&Stage” and “Flash”). There is one street called “Poza” or “Pozas” which is amazing for those who like to go out at night. The city has something to offer for everyone, from bars that organise Pintxopote, to clubs and bars where you can play pool all night long. If you go, please make sure not to miss “Aste Nagusia” or “Semana Grande”, which is celebrated annually over 9 days following the 15th of August. It is a week full of partying, fireworks and music. I have missed most of the partying, but I have been able to watch the fireworks every day. On one of these days, I was having a dinner with my host family and many of the family’s friends on a roof terrace, which was one of the best experiences I have had during my exchange.



What did/do you think of the university? The location? The campus? The buildings? The teachers? The study programme? Was the university helpful to international students?

The university looks really nice and has many facilities. Printing, however, is very expensive compared to printing in the University of Groningen. The University of Deusto is located near the city centre and is very close to the Guggenheim museum. As mentioned above, it has a clear religious identity, which is different from the more neutral Dutch universities. There are three main buildings, namely the Academy Building, the Business/Engineering building and the CRAI library. These buildings are very well maintained and most classrooms are comfortable. The library is very modern and perfect for studying after and between classes. The three buildings are very close to each other and the library is connected to the other buildings by a bridge. It is a private university, which means that those who study there generally have either obtained a grant or pay high tuition fees. This allows the university to keep its property clean and provide several services (e.g. a travel agency, a bookstore and a copy shop). The procedures for choosing subjects are quite chaotic and making all courses fit in your schedule without timetable conflicts can take some effort, but the staff of the International Relations office will help you sort everything out and they generally work very quickly. However, during the semester in which I did my exchange, there was a problem with the machine required to make student cards, which meant that I did not have a student card for weeks (this implied not having access to the library, its printers, and the university’s online platform). Nevertheless, this was probably a one-time incident. Generally, the academic level is somewhat lower in Spain than in the Netherlands (e.g. when writing a paper, the professors do not expect a research paper, but rather a predominantly descriptive analysis in which concepts and theories learned in class should be applied). Moreover, there are more contact hours (I have around 20 hours of class every week), but the amount of readings and homework is significantly smaller. However, there are many assignments that are to be handed in throughout the semester as a form of continuous evaluation and teachers offer great amounts of extra, non-compulsory but deepening materials. This means that, if you want to, you can do more than necessary. This caused me to invest quite a lot of time in studying. Another striking difference is the fact that, for each subject, there are less teachers (one per subject is the norm) at the University of Deusto than at the University of Groningen. Nevertheless, most teachers are definitely competent and committed. The university adopts a didactic method called “collaborative learning”, which materialises not only in many group assignments, but also in high degrees of interaction between teachers and students as well as among students. All teachers are very helpful to international students and try to plan their exams in December to ensure that most exchange students can go home before Christmas and finish their exams early. The staff of the International Relations office is also very helpful and you can ask them any question that may arise.



How did/does it go financially? The accommodation (provided by the university or not)? Food? Public transport?

The university has an accommodation programme, which offers three main options, namely living in the university’s residence hall, living in a shared student flat, or living in a family. The university will provide you with an overview of all available accommodations and you can select several preferences before the determined deadline, after which the Accommodation Area of the university will make you an offer. Thus, there is absolutely no need to worry about finding accommodation. If you miss the deadline, there is also a Facebook group dedicated to finding and offering housing in Bilbao. I have chosen to live in a family, which is very expensive but allows me to seriously improve my Spanish and has basically given me a second home, to which I can return in the future. Therefore, I can definitely recommend this option. On the other hand, I have read about some people having negative experiences in the University’s Residence Hall, which is allegedly very expensive and rather isolated. By far, most students choose for a shared student flat. The prices of this type of accommodation are approximately equal to, if not lower than, those in Groningen (around €250 to €400 a month). Besides, food is less expensive than in the Netherlands, both in the (super)markets (try Lidl, Eroski or Simply) and in restaurants and bars. Public transport is also significantly less expensive than in the Netherlands. It is no exaggeration to state that, compared to the Netherlands, it is cheap. If you intend to use it regularly (which is not necessary to travel within the city, as basically everything is at walking distance, but is faster and useful for leaving the city), I can recommend buying the “Barik” public transport card, which basically functions like the Dutch OV-chipkaart. In the end, this might save you quite some money.


What did/do you think of the workload (compared to the RUG)?

The work is unquestionably different. There are many practical tasks (applying what you learn in class) that are to be done throughout the semester, which resulted in anywhere between one and three deadlines per week. These assignments are generally much easier than the research papers that have to be done for some IRIO subjects, but some of them can take a lot of time, especially if you are taking subjects that are outside of your field of studies (for Social Psychology and Private International Law, I had to complete some assignments that were rather difficult, partly because I lack previous education in (Spanish) legal matters and Psychology). Moreover, almost all assignments have to be done in groups (I even had to write one paper with ten fellow students). If you don’t mind group work, this is not a problem and if you do, it can be quite annoying, but it is not disastrous. In the end, the workload may be considered to be somewhat lighter than that of the RUG, but taking courses outside of your field of studies (IR), doing extra tasks and the large amount of group assignments still cause it to approximate that of the RUG. Moreover, I have been told that both the academic level and workload of the University of Deusto are higher than those of most (public) Spanish universities, but I have not been able to experience this difference directly and I can only compare the University of Deusto to the University of Groningen based on my personal experiences.


Did/do you meet many international students? Was there an international environment or did/do you really need knowledge of the national language?

Yes, the university is clearly internationally oriented. I met students from many different countries and many local students who have gone or will be going on an exchange in the future. There is an international environment in which you can speak English on most occasions if you lack knowledge of Spanish, in which the International Relations office of the university is very active and helpful, and in which you are usually treated with curiosity, patience and understanding once the person you are talking to realises you’re a foreigner. Most Spanish students speak English and there is a sufficient amount of courses that are offered in that language (although you will probably need to puzzle in order to make them fit in your timetable). Speaking Spanish is definitely very useful, especially outside of the university, but not necessary within the university’s buildings. Moreover, the university offers Spanish courses for foreigners. Many inhabitants of the city speak some English, but speaking Spanish makes interaction much easier. If you do not intend to stay in the countryside for extended periods of time, learning Basque has no practical use, as basically everyone in the city speaks Spanish. However, if you are interested in Basque culture, learning Euskera may just prove to be a fun and enriching experience. In short, English could suffice, Spanish is very useful and Basque is unnecessary, but interesting.



What was the most surprising thing about this new culture?

The fact that Basque nationalism is still very much alive and thriving today. Many local students strongly supported Catalan independence after a referendum was held there during my stay in Bilbao. Some even came to class regularly wearing t-shirts that had phrases on them supporting independence of the Basque Country (e.g. “Independentzia!”). Both before and after the referendum in Catalonia, I saw many public buildings that had been covered in graffiti and posters with phrases that called for Catalan and Basque independence and that called the Spanish government fascist and “franquista”, thereby referring to the times in which Spain was still a dictatorship led by Francisco Franco. Whereas government buildings were cleaned immediately after the graffiti or posters were discovered, a pedestrian tunnel close to my house was covered with these phrases for weeks. However, I also saw that those who support Basque and Catalan independence and amnesty for the ones who have been imprisoned as a consequence of their, often violent and sometimes even terrorist, struggles for Basque independence, are also the ones who have the loudest voices. I have met many people who fiercely oppose Basque and Catalan independence and believe that the incarceration of members of the ETA who have been convicted is just, but did not use graffiti, posters or t-shirts to convey their beliefs and opinions. What surprised me most, was that most people I met who support Basque and Catalan independence were young, while most people who oppose it are older and have experienced the dictatorship and the atrocities committed by the ETA. Thus, the Basque struggle for independence may be far from over and, perhaps, will occupy the Spanish and European political agendas again at some point in the future.


What is the funniest word you learned in the new language?

“¡Agur!” and “¡Ostras!”


“Agur” is a very commonly used expression. It is a Basque word that can roughly be translated to “bye!” or “so long!”. In Bilbao it is one of the most common ways to say goodbye to many different types of people (from professors to store clerks) in many different kinds of situations and once you realise that you are using it regularly without thinking about it, you know that you are really starting to integrate.


“Ostras” means “oysters”, but as a colloquial expression, it can be understood as meaning “damn!”, “shit!”, “blimey!” or “good grief!”. It is, like “agur” a rather common expression which is used in many different situations. “¡Ostras! Me he olvidado de comprar harina.” means “Blimey! I forgot to buy flour.” Thus, it is a way to express surprise or irritation. 



Any last words or quotes that describe your exchange perfectly?

Just do it.

Nike

Shia LaBeouf

Niels Renssen





20171128_173430.jpg
Bilbao by night


Grading

Grades are given on a scale from 1 - 10.


Culture


Grade

Explanation

Points of interest

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

  10

As mentioned above, Bilbao has been transformed from an industrialised production site to a cultural centre during the last two decades. Some essential places to visit are the Guggenheim Museum, the Museo de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Museum), the Casco Viejo (old town), San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, the San Mamés football stadium, the Gran Vía (main street) and the Alhóndiga.

Food

(only local food <-> great variety of restaurants)

  9.5


As mentioned above, the food is amazing. There is a great variety of restaurants and bars, ranging from both traditional and avant-garde Basque establishments to Asian restaurants. There are even stores that sell stroopwafels for when you miss the Netherlands.

Nature

(none <-> several natural parks/recreational parks)

   9

The city is green, but especially the nature surrounding Bilbao is marvellous. Opportunities for hiking and surfing are abundant and, especially during the (usually long) summer, the parks in and around the city are very comfortable. However, when it rains, it can rain for days on end.

Recreation/Sports

(limited <-> many options)

  7.5

The university was building sports facilities during my exchange. Besides that, there are many (football) clubs, gyms, and opportunities to go walking, hiking, running or surfing. Most sports clubs are quite expensive and whether the cheaper ones are a viable option largely depends on where you live.

Social Activities

(limited <-> many theatres/cinemas/pubs/clubs)

   9

Bilbao is renowned for the Guggenheim Museum, which turned out to be the driving force behind the transformation from an industrialised and polluted region to a cultural hotspot. Bilbao offers an almost endless range of activities, both in the city itself and in the hills, forests and coast surrounding it. For example, there are many opportunities to practice sports, countless modern as well as traditional bars where you can eat some pintxos and have a drink, two organisations organising activities and trips for students throughout the year (European Student Network and Happy Erasmus), several celebrated theatres, cinemas, pubs (the Crazy Horse is a good one) and clubs. Many cultural activities are organised throughout the year and most of them are free to access. Lastly, one of the most exciting experiences is to watch a football match of Athletic Club in the San Mamés stadium.






Study


Grade

Explanation


Size of the University

(small <-> big)

   4

The University of Deusto is quite small compared to the University of Groningen (it hosts around 14,000 students according to Wikipedia) and Bilbao, as a city, is not a big campus like Groningen. The university’s buildings are all close to each other (and to the Guggenheim Museum, which makes for a very nice view). There is also just one teacher per subject. The classes are small lectures or big seminars compared to the lectures in Groningen (20 to 60 students) and there is no clear division between lectures and seminars.

Relationship students-professors

(informal <-> formal)

   2

The relationship between students and professors is, from my personal point of view, very informal. For me, this took some getting used to. Students generally call their teachers by their first names and the teachers are normally very easy-going in their interaction with students.

Language requirements

(English suffices <-> other languages are needed)

   2

Spanish is useful, but absolutely not indispensable, as English suffices in most situations. Moreover, many subjects are offered in English. Basque is unnecessary to learn for practical uses, but may be interesting from a cultural perspective. In the city, all people speak Spanish, with the exception of a few common Basque expressions, such as “¡Agur!”. Outside of the university buildings, people often speak little to no English, but are generally quite patient and willing to help.


The study programme

(easy <-> difficult/intense)

   7

The University of Deusto puts a great emphasis on “collaborative learning” which, on the one hand, allows for a high degree of interaction between students and teachers and among students, but, on the other hand, results in large amounts of group work. If you don’t mind this, the study programme will probably be quite easy. I personally did not like most of the group assignments, as the division of time invested is rarely fair. In general terms, the workload is less intense and the level of difficulty is lower than in Groningen. Nevertheless, I still experienced the workload as being quite high, as I chose several (second- and third-year) subjects belonging to other faculties, such as law and psychology, and did many extra tasks. This, in combination with the group assignments, caused a workload that approximates that of the University of Groningen.

Internationality

(few international students <-> many international students)

   8

For such a small university, there are many international students. To provide some examples, I have met students from Germany, Italy, Brazil, China, Hungary, Scotland, England, Ireland, Greece, the United States, Puerto Rico, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Colombia, Chile, Macedonia, Turkey and South Korea. At first, there was little contact between native students and international students, but through group assignments and as time passes, interaction increased.

Location of the University

(hard to reach <-> close by)

   9

The University is located in a neighbourhood called “Deusto” and is almost in front of the Guggenheim Museum. It is very close to the city centre and quite easy to reach, as the public transport infrastructure in Bilbao is quite advanced. Nevertheless, as far as I know, there is no metro station near the university.


Finances


Grade

Explanation

Food

(expensive <-> cheap)

   8

Food in supermarkets is cheaper than in the Netherlands and there are bars and restaurants at all price levels, including bars where you can buy pintxos for €1,00, affordable but innovative Asian, fusion and other international restaurants (try Misska, which offers some really tasty dishes, or Munich, which is a small establishment selling delicious burgers), informal restaurants with high-quality cooking (try Bistro Guggenheim, La Viña del Ensanche or Sustraiak) and luxury Michelin-starred restuarants (such as Nerua, Azurmendi, Mina and Etxanobe).

Accommodation

(difficult to find & expensive <-> easy & affordable)

   5

I decided to live with a local family in order to be able to significantly improve my Spanish proficiency. This is quite an expensive option (which I can nevertheless highly recommend). A shared student flat generally costs about the same as, or perhaps even a little less than in Groningen (on average around €300 to €350 a month, but prices tend to range from €250 to €400). This is by far the most common choice. As I mentioned above, living in a host family is more expensive, but has some serious advantages. I would not recommend living in the University’s residence hall, as I have read about people having negative experiences there and because it is quite expensive. However, I have not experienced it first-hand. In the end, your choice of accommodation really depends on your personality, needs and wishes.


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