Granada: The Joys and Concerns of Settling In

14 February 2020

Como Graná no hay ná – there is nothing like Granada… or so they say. Libby gives us an overview of life in Granada in her first blog.


Como Graná no hay ná – there is nothing like Granada… or so they say. And indeed, my first weeks here have been a whirlwind of experiences, with so much to do, so much to see, so much to eat and drink, and seemingly, so little time!

With admin meetings less than 24 hours after I set foot in the city, I had to settle into a different and exciting university life pretty much straight away. Studying in a different language is tiring and after my first full day of lectures I was pretty much ready to drop dead. What’s more the Spanish academic culture is quite different to the British one and at times this can be confusing… I was perplexed by the absence of reading to be done in the first weeks, and with many more contact hours than the typical UCL humanities student, I was a bit frustrated at how lecturers could take two hours focusing on something seemingly off-topic. However, this is part of the joys of studying abroad: doing something you would never expect to do at home (in this case discussing the philosophy of science for two hours in a political theory class!).

What’s more, the beers and 3.50€ burgers and fries at the cafeteria are enough to forgive the Universidad de Granada for its frightening contact hours. In fact, the food and drink in Granada could easily make up for anything that goes wrong here. This is the home of tapas, and whichever bar you buy a drink at will serve you complimentary free food. Tapas range from a tiny slice of jamón ibérico on bread to a full plate of paella or a decently sized sandwich. You soon learn which bars serve the latter and from there on tinto de verano and cheap meals out are yours to enjoy. 


Despite a near constant supply of drinks at tapas bars, the cheapest supermarket wine I’ve ever found, and beers at the university cafeteria, settling in comes with its share of stress. The plethora of administrative tasks related to enrolling at university, picking modules, regularising my status as a foreigner in Spain, trying to get my Erasmus grant, and finding accommodation was quite overwhelming. What’s more I needed to communicate in a foreign language, often with people who

spoke with a charming Andalusian accent causing them to drop their ‘d’s and ‘s’s, making for some confusing conversations.

This kind of stress is pretty much inevitable when you move to a new country, and you have to deal with it, try to keep calm and not panic. Although keeping busy can help to keep homesickness at bay, I found it sometimes useful to take some time alone, to not do much, perhaps call someone from home, and just relax. As an introvert I find constantly trying to socialise and put myself out of my comfort zone tiring and it can make me anxious, so I’ve enjoyed going on walks alone, sitting down and taking time to appreciate the beautiful city I’m living in for the next 9 months. Granada is hilly and full of breath-taking viewpoints from which you can take in its beauty, and get a workout on the way up!


I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the year here holds for me, and sharing it in my next blogs, until then…

¡Hasta luego!


By Libby Davies