If you aren't taking classes at the university, how do you meet and make friends with Spaniards?

Posted by Rita-Bella 5 years 10 months ago


I only took classes at the IES building which is in Plaza Nueva, with a clear view to the Alhambra. A few of my friends from the program were staying in the colegio and I was fortunate enough to meet Spaniards through them. IES also sets you up with an "intercambio", or a person who is looking to practice English while you practice Spanish. My host family also introduced me to some locals, I had a host sister who took me out a few times. When you go out at night, you will also meet people. Finally, I also played soccer once a week and attended a few lectures at the university in which I met Spaniards as well! If you make it a goal to meet locals, there is no doubt you will. I even met a few while I was skiing on the chairlift!

I joined some community groups that got me integrated pretty quickly! Do an activity that you love and are good at, and also try a new activity. You're certain to meet people.

when I was at IES abroad I took a lot of dance classes at local dance studios. There's one where the flamenco history and performance practices at called La Expositiva. I know when I was there last year they offered yoga and contemporary dance on week nights and I met friends that way. I also met a lot of nice spaniards at La Escuela de Lucia Guarnido and La Escuela de Monica Gomez in the city of Granada, both are pretty walkable distance.

I also had an intercambio and an internship seminar where I interned at a local dance studio and had to work with Spaniards. I would recommend doing an internship or joining classes or volunteer in the community outside of IES, and there you will meet lots of locals or international students.

It can be more difficult, but many people I know that took classes at the university didn’t make friends in their classes. You are much more likely to make local friends doing something you enjoy (for example, my roommate at the time who plays a classical instrument joined a local marching band and made so many Spanish friends!) My advice is to go out to as many cafes, restaurants, and clubs as possible, and don’t be afraid to speak Spanish! (If you speak English when you’re out, it will be quite noticeable and you’ll probably make friends with people from other English-speaking countries, because Granada is an incredibly popular study-abroad destination within Europe. This is how my friends and I ended up with a lot of Irish friends!)

IES Abroad Granada wil also set you up with an intercambio, a Spanish student who is looking to practice their English. That is a great opportunity that I would definitely take advantage of. They are usually very friendly, and will invite you out with their friends as well. They can also be a great help with learning some more local terms in Spanish, such as slang and other words they wouldn’t teach you in class. I had a great experience with mine and we still talk from time to time.

There's a lot of opportunities to meet other spanish students. There is activities and clubs offered by the university you can join, such as I took a dance class with students from the university. Also we got an opportunity to get our own intercambio and there's a lot of bars that offer intercambio night, where you will meet Spaniards who want to learn English and they will speak Spanish to you. I got along with the Spanish students who were involved in IES and helped us (they were like the student advisors) and met there friends.

There are many ways that you can meet Spanish people without taking classes at the University. IES sets each student up with an "intercambio", a Spanish student that also wants American friends. You can get in touch with each other and hang out as much as you want. You will also meet many Spanish people when you go out to tapas, bars, salsa clubs, etc... I would definitely recommend living with a host family as well, because it allows you to immerse yourself in the Granada way of life. Finally, one of my favorite things about IES Granada was that they had a few Spanish students that we called "orientadores" who worked for IES. Their role was to organize activities (whether it be going out for tapas, organizing volleyball or soccer games, or taking us out to shows), which allowed us to become very good friends with them. Many of them would also invite their Spanish friends to some of the activities they planned, making it very easy to interact with/become friends with a lot of different people.