What to know about the city when starting a Spanish course abroad.
So you have chosen your course, set the date and are now looking at the prospect of becoming a temporary citizen of one of the most exciting cities in the world. Taking a Spanish course abroad gives one the perfect excuse to get to know your host city in depth. Here are the five questions I get asked the most by people that are preparing a student trip to Barcelona:
Q: What is the weather like in Barcelona?
A: In two simple words: very pleasant. Daytime temperatures go from an average of 14°C (57°F) during the winter months to 27°C (81°F) in the summer, with August being the warmest month with peaking temperatures around 34°C (95°F). Spring and autumn are famously delightful with an average temperature of 24°C (75°F).
As a rule of thumb, remember that beach season in Barcelona usually starts mid May and lasts until the end of October. Pack accordingly!
Q: What is the best way to move around in the city?
A: Barcelona has quite the public transport system, and most locals use it daily. Bus, subway, tram, train, metropolitan railway… wherever you’re going, there will be a way to get there. Thankfully, the local transport authority has an awesome website with an interactive route planner – and even a free app for your handheld device!
When it comes to payment, most locals use a 10 ride multipass ticket that allows you to board any choice of transportation within the area level the ticket is issued in. Since Barcelona in its entirety fits within the Level 1, a basic 10 ride ticket will allow you to move quite freely.
Q: What is the best neighbourhood to live in?
A: You’ll be hard-pressed to find a neighbourhood in Barcelona that doesn’t have something going for it when choosing accommodation. Truth is, lists that claim to point out the best neighbourhoods in Barcelona usually leave out some of the most authentic areas. For example, cozy Les Corts or bubbly Poble Sec are not featured in this otherwise interesting overview from the folks at TripAdvisor.
The good news is that Barcelona’s size is very manageable; so you can rest assured that no matter where you choose to hang your hat, all the things the city has to offer are well within walking distance or just a short ride away.
Whether you’re looking for insider feedback or somebody to take care of your accommodation needs, the team at Expanish are a great resource.
Q: Is there going to be any interesting events during my Spanish course abroad? How can I learn about those?
A: Barcelona’s entertainment calendar can get quite crazy and it’s hard to know what’s what right off the bat. Time Out magazine is a always a good place to start, while Le Cool focuses on the “hipper” side of life while giving you another opportunity to practise – it’s only published in Spanish,
Q: Will anybody understand me if I need to speak English?
A: Yes, yes they will. Although Spanish is the most commonly used language in the city, people have no trouble accommodating foreigners that are not fluent in Spanish (yet).