Sunday, 7 July 2013

Valencia: sun, sea and Spanish people

Life's a beach! Valencia, Spain
Well it's safe to say that I am no better at blogging during the holidays than during term-time so sorry! I do have a good excuse though - I've spent the last 3 weeks of my summer holidays in Valencia, Spain and what an experience that was!

I've just finished my first year at university studying a degree in Spanish, English and French and whilst I have no troubles with English and French, Spanish has been a uphill struggle and so I really wanted to spend some time in Spain this summer. Having become fluent in French in just under a year by living in France, there is no better way to improve languages than living in said-country. However after applying to endless jobs in various parts of Spain and getting no replies, I decided to book myself in for a 3-week intensive Spanish course and whilst it was fairly expensive, it was thoroughly worthwhile and I'd encourage anyone to do the same!

I booked my language course through an agency called Lingua Schools and ended up at Hispania which was near of the centre of Valencia. The school was excellent, the teachers were interesting, classes were small and I've never known 4 hours of classes to pass so quickly! Whilst language schools are not cheap, Lingua Schools/Hispania were fairly reasonably priced and I definitely feel like I got my money's worth. I did the Intensive +20 course, which is 4 hours of classes a day, either in the morning or the afternoon. I was done by 13:25 which gave me plenty of time to have a siesta, check out the local culture or head down to the beach to have a lazy afternoon!

Paella made by a true Spaniard
Meeting other people from all around the world was an amazing experience and it's safe to say that I can now couch-surf around most of Europe and a bit of the US for free. Not only did I experience the Spanish culture, but I also made sushi with my Japanese flat-mate, learnt Dutch with the Dutch people (knoflook is a great word!), cooked my first ever fresh piece of tuna with an American and I ate paella made by a Spanish woman who we happened to meet on the street. In the last couple of weeks, we also managed to become friends with some Spanish speakers, so I even managed to practice my very shabby Spanish - thanks to living in and speaking French most of the time, apparently I have the most 'unique accent in the world'! Guess I can live with that title..! 

Not only did we try out the siestas, the late-night eating and the Spanish language, we also put the late-night fiestas and national holidays to the test. Highlights include staying up until 9:30am and watching the sunrise come up, going to outdoor clubs, celebrating San Juan on the beach and just generally testing out the good old sangria. Safe to say, Spain passed the test and I can highly recommend Valencia as a good city for nightlife! 

Sunrise on the beach
Overall, the language school was a great experience.  However, I'm not one for sitting in a classroom all day, every day and although the classes were interesting - I did start to get itchy feet by the end of the 3 weeks. For me, I'd much prefer to meet some Spanish people and spend my days attempting to speak rather than learning grammar, but I guess each to their own! That said, I learnt a lot and the school gave me the confidence that I was previously lacking in Spanish as well as teaching me invaluable every-day vocabulary. Although language schools are expensive, they are a good tool when first moving to a country or if you just want to spend a couple of weeks topping up your language skills. As with everything, they are what you make of them and plenty of experiences are to be had if you go out and look for them! 

Now I'm back home for 6 days, before flying back to Grenoble. These holidays have been amazing and I can't believe that nearly 2 months have gone past. I've been on a road-trip around the south of France (blog post to follow!), spent a couple of craaazy weeks in Grenoble, moved flat and had very little sleep in Spain. Next on the agenda is Grenoble for a few days, Bordeaux for a week and a bit, Paris for a couple of days, driving home to the UK, a whole MONTH in the UK, before driving back down to Grenoble ready to start second year in September. I'm so lucky to have such an awesome life and thanks to all you guys for being part of it, it wouldn't be the same without you! (Had to get a bit sentimental at some point!!) 

Hasta luego, bisous! xxxxxx

PS. Had to finish the blog with this song. It did its rounds about a year ago in the UK, but being in Spain has put a whole different spin on it.. ♥ it


  1. Hi Rosie,

    My name is KC Owens; I’m a college student who loves to travel! While cruising the Internet, I found your site and really enjoyed reading your posts. Personally, I think traveling is a necessary part of life as you’re exposed to all sorts of new cultures and experiences. While enjoying time abroad, I've found it's crucial to fully understand the dangers that you might encounter along the way. These mishaps are part of life and certainly part of travel but it’s always a great idea to take preventive measures to help ensure your safety while abroad.

    I was hoping that you would allow me to write a post for your site to share my travel safety tips with your readers? I put a lot of time and passion into my traveling and I would love to help others by offering safety advice as a result of the mistakes and triumphs I've had. I look forward to hearing from you!


    KC Owens

    1. Hi, yeah that sounds great! Could you email me at goinggrenobloise(@)