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Have you ever wanted to study abroad in a coastal city where old meets new? If so, then Valencia is an ideal place for you! Positioned along the Mediterranean coast, Valencia is a youthful city of both modern and historical influences, making it a popular study abroad location. It is Spain's third largest city with a population of 800,000 and the capital of the autonomous region of the same name!
Valencia lies about 3 1/2 hours from both Madrid and Barcelona and is only a boat ride away from the Balearic Islands. The mix of modern architecture from the recently built City of Arts and Sciences with the historical Cathedral of Valencia and 14th century gates of the city gives students a unique view on Spanish life.
Valencia is home to two of Spain's five official languages: Castellano and Valenciano. Don't worry if you aren't familiar with Valenciano because Castellano is spoken prominently throughout the city.
The mayor's plaza is at the heart of the city with many popular places within walking distance including the Cathedral of Valencia, the Bull Ring, and the soccer stadium. The area around the University of Valencia is the place for student nightlife. This neighborhood is very cheap and packed with bars, dance clubs, and cool cafes.
One of the most recognizable locations in Valencia is the City of Arts and Sciences. Located less than two miles from the city Centre, you will find a strip of buildings dedicated to the arts and sciences that appear to be from the future. Located within the complex is an Opera house and Musical performance center, IMAX and planetarium, the Prince Felipe Museum of Science, and L'Oceanografic, the largest aquarium in Europe. There are parts of the City that are free to walk through and there are discounted student prices every day for admission to each attraction.
Valencia is also famous for its' Las Fallas celebration held every spring. Huge figures, or ninots, are constructed in the streets throughout the city and region of Valencia. At the end of 2 1/2 weeks, the city becomes an oversized bonfire with the burning of the ninots. It is unlike anything else held within Spain and an experience that students should not miss.
Spain is part of the European Union so it uses the Euro as its' currency. Because of this, it will be important to keep the exchange rate in mind when looking at finances. Both cash and cards can be used in Valencia. If you decide to use a debit card, be sure to notify your bank prior to leaving so they don't freeze your accounts.
Even though Valencia is one of the largest cities in Spain, it isn't very expensive to live in. It is also a city mostly accessible by foot so daily transportation fees are low. The average cost of a semester in Valencia is $12-15,000. It is important to research what each program offers with the amount of money it costs. Many times trips or additional tutoring are included in the program price.
Make sure to check out scholarships, too. There are scholarships out there for everything! Talk to your university to see what they offer. Also check out websites such as fastweb.com for many different scholarship opportunities.
Quit always daydreaming about studying abroad. Find the right city and program for you and make it happen!
Does studying abroad sound fabulous but expensive? While it is true, studying abroad can mean added costs, there are still a variety of ways to offset the extra expenses. If you're not up for opening a lemonade stand, I suggest checking out the following scholarships.
Katie McMullen is from Media, PA. She is at the University of Pittsburgh studying Spanish & Business after spending her junior year abroad in Granada, Spain. She loves traveling, volunteering, and drinking lots of coffee.
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