Bilbao is situated in the Basque region. This is the perfect destination for anyone who wants to see a very different side of Spain and to perfect their Spanish.
Spain is the Number 1 holiday destination for Germans, not least due to its coastlines and mountain ranges, the Mediterranean climate and the mix of the traditional and the modern. Gazpacho, good wine, paella, tortilla, tapas and cold beer are other plus points. Other things we associate with the Kingdom of Spain include hiking in the Pyrenees, bathing in the Mediterranean, surfing in the Atlantic, siesta and fiesta as well as the scent of pines. The Spanish are known for their zest for life and their relaxed approach, and they enjoy the highest average life expectancy in Europe. Time moves at a different pace in Spain, where people live more in the moment. Coming from Germany, it can take a while to get used to this different understanding of time – and in particular of punctuality. And while the Spanish eat lunch “as late as” around 2 p.m., it is not unusual for them to have dinner at 10 p.m.
345,000 people live in Bilbao, or almost 900,000 if the surrounding area is included. This architecturally rich industrial and port city is located in the north of Spain on the Nervión river. It is especially well known for the Guggenheim Museum with its spectacular titanium cladding. Bilbao is part of the Basque region. The region cannot be considered typically Spanish, as the Basques do not see themselves as Spanish. Instead of tapas, Bilbao is famous for its pintxos, small snacks such as fish, seafood, cheese or ham, served on a mini-baguette or white bread, which are put on the counter for self-service. Alongside (very clear) Spanish, the people here speak Basque, and many areas in public life such as street signs and signs with placenames are bilingual. The metro opened in 1995 and the new trams round off the city’s good infrastructure, which also allows fast access to nature, where woods, mountains and beaches with high cliffs along the Atlantic coast await. Bilbao itself has a vibrant night-life with lots of little bars and large nightclubs in the historical part of the city. The city’s cultural diversity is reflected in the galleries, which are some of the best in Spain, in various museums including the Fine Arts Museum, the Historical Basque Museum, the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art and the Bullfighting Museum, Euskalduna Conference Centre and Concert Hall, the Fantasy Film Festival or the International Festival of Documentary and Short Film. You should also try out some of the Basque rural sports, such as stone lifting, scything, wood chopping, weight carrying, tug-of-war or Basque pelota, a court sport played with a ball where players either use their hand, a basket or a wooden bat.
EUCCB was initiated in 1990 by Bilbao Chamber of Commerce and is now affiliated to the Universidad del País Vasco (University of the Basque Country). It offers a personal service, small groups, regular tutorials and coaching as well as close links to industry. More than 70% of the lecturers have experience in management positions. Good Spanish skills are essential at this university, as you might guess from the fact that its website is only available in Spanish. The university is located directly in the centre of the city at Plaza Moyua, just a ten-minute walk from the Guggenheim Museum. The specialisations offered at EUCCB are “Marketing and Business Communication” as well as “Internationalisation and Logistics”.
As there are no student halls in Bilbao and many Spanish people still live with their parents, it makes sense to look for a room in shared accommodation. Lots of students look for accommodation when they arrive, using noticeboards at the university or getting in touch with exchange students. The University of the Basque Country web page also provides various links for EUCCB students to hostels (for the first few nights), halls of residence, apartments and rooms in shared accommodation (http://www.ehu.eus/en/web/nazioarteko-harremanak/en-rented-and-shared-apartments).