Almería offers a high quality of life combined with a low cost of living. Even in winter, temperatures almost reach 20°C. Is there anything nicer than taking a dip in the Mediterranean after your lectures?
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.
The Andalusian city of Almería with its white houses, narrow streets and boulevards lined with palm trees is situated directly on the Mediterranean and has an average temperature of 18 degrees! Almost 200,000 inhabitants live in this port city, which is approximately 32% cheaper than Hamburg and offers a good quality of life with lots of hours of sunshine, the beach and good and affordable food. Unmissable trips include the “Cabo de Gata” Natural Park, the Alcazaba, a Moorish fortress with a view over the entire city, the Cathedral and the bull-ring. By the way, almost 500 Westerns were made in Almería Province, including “Once Upon a Time in the West”. The culinary specialities include in particular local produce such as seafood, fish and vegetables, which are also surprisingly cheap to buy. However, most shops close between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
The large campus of Universidad de Almería houses not only 12,000 students but also various bars and cafés, sports grounds and a swimming pool. It is essential to have a certain level of Spanish, as most of the courses are held in Spanish and some of the lecturers do not speak enough English to translate if necessary. Students can attend one of the free Spanish courses in situ (A1 – C2 Level). Unlike at HSBA, there are also grades for participation in class. Group assignments allow students to get to know each other quickly, while the trips organised by the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) and the “Welcome Week” with various themed parties and excursions also help students to find new friends easily. HSBA student Julia O. had the following to say about the many travel offerings of the ESN, for example to Morocco, Lisbon or Granada: “The atmosphere is always great, you get to know a lot of people from a huge range of different countries and you can travel at an unbeatable price, more cheaply than if you arranged the trip yourself.” Jonas N. was also very positive about his experience: “My new friends from all over Europe, Spain and Mexico, breakfast on my patio at sunrise, beer and tapas, the pretty Spanish girls, the fun international Erasmus community and the helpfulness and friendliness of the Spanish are just some of the things that I will really miss.”
Whether you choose to live alone, in shared accommodation with Spanish people or in an international atmosphere, HSBA students have already tried out all of these options in Almería, and each one has advantages and disadvantages. You can look for accommodation when you arrive or before you leave Germany. A room costs around EUR 200 per month (or just EUR 120 depending on the location and the standard), while an apartment costs around EUR 500, with possible real estate brokerage fees on top. ESN (www.esn-spain.org or on Facebook) helps students to find accommodation. A lot of Erasmus students live in the Zapillo area of the city, which is around 10 minutes on the bus from the university and also close to the city centre and the beach.