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GRANADA, SPAIN Pre-Departure Handbook

Your Country Handbook is your key to preparing for your program and understanding what to expect onsite. This tool is a result of constant feedback from student and parent evaluations as well as from the onsite directors who review these each year.

INTRODUCTION

Greetings from Sol Education Abroad,

You are about to embark on a life-changing experience! While abroad you will cultivate relationships and memories that will last a lifetime. Our mission is to provide you with an enriching and rewarding educational experience. As part of this mission we want to make sure that you have information about your program site before you leave.

Sol Education Abroad was founded under the principles of promoting cultural understanding and the lifelong study of foreign languages. While on your program you will learn about the unique cultures and people of the country you are studying in.

Thanks for choosing Sol Education Abroad!

PREPARING FOR YOUR PROGRAM

 Before you leave on your program we suggest you do some research about where you will be studying. It can make your experience that much more enjoyable and enriching!

SUGGESTIONS

  • Read articles, books, and travel guides in order to familiarize yourself with the food, culture, and music (we recommend the Lonely Planet guidebook as a good source of information).
  • Study the maps of Spain and Granada at the end of this handbook.
  • Keep a journal and blog documenting your experience abroad!
  • Read the local newspapers!
PASSPORTS

Your passport must be valid at for at least six months or longer beyond the dates of your trip. Some immigration officers may not allow you to enter the country otherwise.

TRAVEL VISAS

** SEMESTER STUDENTS ONLY: READ VISA INFORMATION BELOW **

For summer students no special visa is needed (such as a student visa).

For stays under 90 days, Spain does not require that you obtain a visa until you arrive in the country. The stamp that you are given in your passport is the Tourist Visa. You will be allowed to stay in Spain (and the European Union) for up to 90 days on this visa. When going through Immigration simply hand them your passport.

For students staying over 90 days you will need a Student Visa. For up-to-date fees and procedures, as well as other valuable travel information, visit the US Embassy.

You must pay the cost of your visa at the moment of application. You can now pay the visa fees through electronic transfer and other online options. Please visit Visa Fees for more information. You must provide the exact amount. 

If you are unable to obtain a visa, make sure you say that you are only traveling (not studying).

US DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Sol Education Abroad recommends that all students register with the US State Department (this is now known as Smart Traveler Enrollment Program "STEP") while overseas. This is very simple to do. Please visit the website to enter in the requested information. You will need an address and a telephone number to register.

 Please use the following info:

Address: Universidad de Granada - Centro de Lenguas Modernas - SOL EDUCATION ABROAD
Placeta del Hospicio Viejo s/n

Código Postal 18009
Granada, Spain
Telephone: +34-958-215-660

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

Geographic Location Southwestern Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean Sea, North Atlantic Ocean, and Pyrenees Mountains, southwest of France

Climate Temperate; clear, hot summers in interior, more moderate and cloudy along coast; cloudy, cold winters in interior, partly cloudy and cool along coast

Terrain (Spain) large, flat to dissected plateau surrounded by rugged hills; Pyrenees mountain range in north

Terrain (Granada) Elevation is 738 meters above sea level (2,421 feet). Located where the Sierra Nevada Mountains meet a fertile plain known as La Vega. Behind the city are steep mountains and in front lies the flat agricultural plain.

Highest point El Mulhacén 3,481 m, or 11,418 ft (tallest peak on the Iberian Peninsula), Tenerife 3,718 m, or 12, 195 ft (in the Canary Islands, tallest peak in Spanish-owned territory)

Population of Spain 46,659,302 (2017 estimate) More statistics INE

Population of Granada 232,770 (2017 estimate)  More statistics SIMA

Spain is generally very mono-cultural in comparison to most other developed countries. During the years of Francisco Franco (the dictatorship) there was very little immigration. Spain's complex cultures and peoples are influenced by histories of colonization, persecution, conflict, migration, and coexistence. For almost eight centuries Spain was host to Arabic culture and this has left many strong imprints both genetically and culturally. 95% of the population is Catholic (non-practicing). The Spanish Constitution of 1978 abolished Catholicism as the offical state religion, while recognizing the role it plays in Spanish society. As a result, there is no official religion and religious freedom is protected. In 2005 a bill was passed by 187 votes to 147 to allow gay marriage, making Spain the third country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry. 

CLIMATE IN GRANADA

In January there are lots of blue skies and it is sometimes warm during the day but very cold in the morning and at night. There are occasional frosts.  Warm clothes and water-proof shoes are needed. During the late spring and early fall the temperature is very pleasant in Granada with warm and sunny days. June, July, and August months are very hot. Granada has a dry heat with no humidity. Sun protection is essential in the summer. Mornings are cool and spring-like and evenings can be cool and breezy, sometimes requiring a light sweater in the summer. There is some rainfall in Granada.

SPANISH IN SPAIN

In Spain you they use “vosotros”, which is an informal plural tense. Do not worry if you don’t know vosotros! You will learn about it on the program and it is one of the fun aspects of studying abroad in Spain! Also, “c” and “z” are pronounced like a “th”. Some people call it a lisp but it is not. Linguistically, it makes a lot of sense – it is to distinguish these letters from an “s”. In Latin America “c” and “z” became to be pronounced like an “s” – the phenomena known as  “seseo”. Each region of Spain has its own accent. In Andalucía you will often hear people cut off the “s”on the end of words. “más o menos” will sound like “mah o menoh”. This is the same phenomena you find in Caribbean Spanish. There are many similarities between Caribbean Spanish and the Spanish of Andalucía.

HOLIDAYS

Jan 1st 

Año Nuevo (New Year's Day)

Jan 6th 

Día de los Reyes Magos (when Christmas presents are given)

Feb 28th Día de Andalucía

Variable

Viernes Santo (Good Friday)

Variable

Día de Pascua (Easter Sunday)

May 1st 

Día del Trabajo (Labor Day)

Jun

Corpus Christi (dates vary each year)

Aug 15th 

Día de la Asunción (Assumption)

Oct 12th 

Día Nacional de España (Columbus Day)

Nov 1st 

Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints Day)

Dec 6th

Día de la Constitución (Constitution Day)

Dec 8th 

Inmaculada Concepción (Immaculate Conception)

Dec 25th 

Día de Navidad (Christmas Day)

TIME

Spain is 6 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). The country observes daylight savings (from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. To check the current time in Granada click here

BUSINESS HOURS

Usually, business hours are 9 AM to 8 PM, Monday through Friday. Department stores are generally open from 10 AM to 9 PM, Monday through Saturday. Banking hours are 8:30 AM to 2 PM, Monday through Friday. Most stores close during siesta which is from 2 PM to 5 or 6 PM.

PACKING RECOMMENDATIONS

Generally, Spaniards dress very similarly to people from the United States. We suggest you bring the clothes that you are normally used to wearing. The points below are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Spaniards typically do not dress “sporty” and you will not find people walking around in athletic clothing unless they are actually playing sports.
  • For summer programs we recommend bringing all summer clothing while in Granada (plenty of shorts, t-shirts, etc.). However, evenings can be cool so bring a light jacket or sweater for going out. Theater performances in the Alhambra, for example, can be chilly.
  • For semester programs and fall, winter, or early spring months you will want to bring warm clothes and waterproof shoes. While it is rare that it will snow in town, it can get cold. Make sure to bring a warm hat, gloves, scarf, sweaters, and jacket. Wear layers!

CLOTHING

  • Pack light: leave a little room for the things you will buy while abroad!
  • Lightweight clothing (summer). Air conditioning is not common in Spanish houses– pack accordingly! It can get very hot in Granada in the summer months.
  • Sun hat, sun glasses, towel, sunblock (summer, semester)
  • Swimsuit (all programs - you will need a swimsuit at the very least for the Arab Bath activity)
  • Warm hat, gloves, scarf, sweaters, jacket (winter months in general)
  • Fleece or sweater for any mountain trips (winter months in general, for Alpujarras trips year-round)
  • Bring at least one outfit for going out. Spaniards dress up more when going out. Guys and girls, make sure you have dressier shoes for this! Tennis shoes are not allowed in many evening places.
  • Comfortable walking shoes! Many students suggest bringing two pairs of comfortable walking shoes. Make sure you break them in before your trip to avoid blisters. Also, if you plan on jogging or doing any sports you’ll want to bring the appropriate footwear. Granada is a great place for jogging.
  • Flip flops; typically you have one pair for inside the home. House shoes are an important cultural aspect of Hispanic cultures.

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Small duffel or backpack for weekend or afternoon trips
  • Reusable water bottle (we suggest the insulated kind)
  • Dramamine (or similar) if you get motion sickness
  • Towel, toiletries, and sunblock. You should bring a towel for overnight excursions.
  • Camera, batteries, and charger
  • School supplies: Notebook, pens, pencils, English-Spanish Dictionary, planner for homework
  • European electric socket adaptors (for camera battery chargers, iPod chargers, etc. You will need a European-style prong in order to plug into European sockets. This can be bought at outdoor or travel stores. It is more difficult to find once in Spain).
  • Students have suggested buying press and seal air tight bags to pack clothes in to save room.

LAPTOPS

In general, we do not suggest students bring a laptop for short programs (1 month or less) because it is one more item that could be lost, stolen or damaged. There are computer labs at the campus.

CARRY-ON

  • Bring an extra pair of clothes & toothbrush in case your luggage gets lost or delayed by your airline.

MEDICATION & MEDICAL ITEMS

For any medication that you take on an ongoing basis please make sure that you can bring enough for your length of stay with the program or make alternate plans. Make sure the medication is labeled and carry a copy of the prescription with you when traveling (in the event customs officials question you about it). It is your responsibility to inform yourself if the medication you take is available abroad (ex. Adderall is not legal in Europe although there are similar medications that could be prescribed). Prices can be high for this sort of medication.

In order to find out what requirements there are for the medication you take you can consult the following websites:

FDA: http://www.fda.gov/
AEMPS (Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios) (the Spanish FDA): https://www.aemps.gob.es/
- Specifically here: https://enviotelematico.aemps.es/enviotelematico/informacion.jsp

The specific link on the AEMPS page must be completed by you as it will be your responsibility to monitor any email responses. When completing the AEMPS information request form (“formulario de solicitud de información”) the more details the better in order to illicit the best response for your situation. We can assist with the translation of the questions on the information request page if needed.Please allow yourself enough time to do your research and make a plan of action with your medical physician should the medication you take not be available in Spain or if you do not have enough of a prescription for your full length of stay. Medication cannot be sent to Spain through the post office or shipping companies.

EXCURSIONS

Excursions are a fundamental part of the abroad experience and are included in all summer and semester program unless stated as optional. We carefully select weekend excursions that allow you to discover more about the country in which you are studying and are selected based on cultural and educational importance or sites of natural beauty. Entrance and transportation fees are always included. Before any excursion your director will go over the itinerary of the trip and what you should pack. If you have a guide book it can make it more interesting to read about the excursion before you leave, the Lonely Planet or similar guides are excellent options. At the request of students, some meals are not included during 2-day weekend excursions to allow for free time to explore the cities at your own pace. You can check this on the online calendar once it is sent to you. 

SEVILLA and CÓRDOBA (Semester)

Seville (Sevilla in Spanish) is one of the most historic cities in Europe. Over 2,000 years old, it has been influenced by countless cultures all of which is seen today in its enchanting architecture. The many historic buildings and neighborhoods hold the imprint of the vibrant Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cultures that called this city home. We will visit the most impressive sites such as the famous minaret of La Giralda, a beautiful example of the city’s strong Moorish past. The Cathedral of Sevilla houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus and is the largest Catholic Cathedral building in the world. Sevilla is the artistic and cultural capital of southern Spain. Walking around Sevilla, you will experience a lively and fun-loving city. If you travel to Spain, you cannot miss Sevilla!

Córdoba, once one of the greatest cities in the midieval world, was the capital of Al-Andalus, the Muslin occupied part of the Iberian Peninsula, and home to one of the grandest mosques in the western world. Today the magnificent Mezquita (Mosque) is still one of the wonders of Europe--especially since a cathedral was built at the heart by the Christians during the reconquest of Spain. The city is perfect for those who like to explore on foot as the narrow streets of the Jewish quarter surrounding the Mezquita are filled with beautiful plazas, narrow side-streets and bustling tapas bars. And of course, you will visit both, the Mosque and the Jewish quarter, with your directors. 

NERJA BEACH (COSTA DEL SOL)

Nerja is a relaxing getaway to the Andalucía coast. Located in the very well-known Costa del Sol (Sun Coast), it is a popular beach escape for people from all over Europe. The drive between Granada and Nerja is impressive. You will pass through deep canyons and spectacular tropical valleys. The deep blue Mediterranean Sea stretches out below the winding roadway. Nerja is a small coastal town with plenty of beaches to pass the day. Many of the beaches are intimate, tucked amongst cliffs and rocks jutting from the sea. Along the beaches are restaurants set out in the sand (chiringuitos) where you can enjoy fresh fish while basking in the tranquility of the Mediterranean. The paella here is incredible!

THE SIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAIN VILLAGES

The Alpujarras, located high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, was the Moor’s last stronghold in Spain. This area was actually first colonized in the 1200s by Berber refugees from Seville. The Berbers, originally from North Africa, introduced the unique architecture that is still used in the high villages of the Alpujarras today. This region is an earthly paradise high above the rest of Andalucía. The snows of the Sierras keep the valleys and villages of the Alpujarras well-watered year round. Even in the summer, the countryside is green and full of flowers. Visiting these villages is like stepping into another world. Small whitewashed farmhouses cling to the terraced edges of forest-lined gorges while rivers rush by below. Besides exploring these unique villages, there are many opportunities for hiking in the area. While trekking from Capileira, one of the most picturesque of the Alpujarras villages, one is rewarded with views of El Mulhacén, the tallest peak on the Spanish Peninsula. There can be more chance of sunburn here so bring plenty of sunblock. Also, because of altitude, temperatures are cooler here. In the evenings you will want a light fleece or sweater.

MEDITERRANEAN BEACHES

The beautiful beaches of Southern Spain are tucked along a rugged coastline backed by arid mountain ranges and tropical valleys. Ancient white-washed villages hug the steep hillsides. We will explore the tropical beaches andkayak and sail over the cleary, deep blue Mediterranean waters. 

ALHAMBRA PALACE

The Alhambra is one of the most impressive monuments in the world. It is the city complex where Sultans began to build their palaces at the beginning of the 9th century, and remained in their power until 1492. The marvelously decorated walls of the palaces are like something out of a dream. Stuccoed inscriptions in Arabic repeat throughout the palaces, continuously drawing you into the unique history of the fortress. The use of water throughout the Alhambra bestows upon you a sense of calm while exploring the ornate passages and stunning gardens. It is nothing short of stepping into another world. Equally as inspiring as the restored palaces of the Alhambra are the breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada and of Granada below. No trip to Spain is complete without experiencing this colossal palatine city, royal palace and citadel all in one.

CULTURAL ACTIVITIES

Cultural activities are an important part of your experience. You will learn so much by going to classes but you’ll learn just as much, if not more, outside of the classroom. These activities are designed to enhance your experience and show you more of what the site has to offer! Your director will remind you of the weekly cultural activities in a weekly email. For summer programs there are 2 to 3 cultural activities a week. During semester programs they are more spread out and there are 1 to 2 cultural activities included a week.  Cultural activities include (depending on the program session):

  • Flamenco Performance
  • Cathedrals
  • Granada City Tour
  • Festivals (only summer I)
  • Theater Night (only summer I and II)
  • Tea Houses
  • Spanish Cuisine Tasting Class
  • Hiking
  • Spanish Cooking Class
  • Arabic Baths
  • Ceramic Workshop (only semester and summer I) 
AIRPORT INFORMATION

Arriving to an airport or bus/train station overseas is arriving into the unknown but do not worry, we can guide you through the process.

IF YOU DO NOT WANT SOL ASSISTANCE:

You will be responsible for your arrival to your host family house and you will have to pay for your own transportation and any other expenses that may come up. When you do not require SOL assistance we ask you to arrive at your host family house by 12 noon. If this is not possible, let us know your arrival time so that we can inform the family and they will be at home. 

IF YOU REQUIRE SOL ASSISTANCE:

Once in Granada, if you require SOL assistance, your program director or taxi driver will be waiting for you at the airport, bus station, or train station. 

Please:

- Make sure we have your arrival information at least 10 days before your arrival in Granada.

- If arriving by bus or train make sure you call your director once you know when you will arrive so they can confirm your pick-up in Granada.

- Make sure you inform your director in the event of any changes to our arrival. If so, pleaes specify AM/PM.

- Look for someone with the Sol Education Abroad sign. Stay at the airport, bus station, or train station in Granada until we find you.

You will be given a customs form and an immigration form to fill out on your flight to Spain. For your address in Spain you can write your host family address in Granada. Be sure to have your printed round-trip flight itinerary and passport in hand. 

-Once you arrive, proceed to immigration (migración)/customs (aduana).

- If you are staying for more than 90 days, you will show them a page of your Passport in which your visa has been sealed.

- If your stay is less than 90 days, then hand them your passport with the front page open. Do NOT say that you are a student, because they will ask you for your student visa, which you do not have/need.   

- Wait in line for your passport to be reviewed and stamped.

- Once you pass through the customs booth you will follow the signs and proceed to luggage claim (equipaje).

- You will come to an exit with sliding doors.

- You will see many people waiting outside for other passengers. This is where your director/taxi driver will pick you up. 

Before you meet your director, you may be approached by a number of taxi drivers, hotel representatives, tour guides, and others offering to help you. Just tell them, “No thank you - no gracias” and that you are meeting someone "Estoy esperando a otra persona". 

GRANADA

You will fly into the Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport (GRX) which is roughly 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) from the city centre of Granada. It is a very small airport, easy to navigate and hosts just one terminal building and a single runway. 

ALTERNATIVE ARRIVAL IDEAS & SUGGESTIONS:

If you decide to fly into and out of Madrid (airport code MAD) or Málaga (airport code AGP) that’s no problem at all (especially if it helps you save money!) but you are responsible for getting yourself to Granada and then back to the airport for your return flight and for any extra costs.

Make sure that you check 1-way flights from Madrid to Granada first with alternate airlines and search engines to make sure this is indeed what works best for you. Please allow yourself enough time between flights (at least 2 hours).

Here are the instructions we suggest you follow if you fly into and out of one of these alternate airports. Iberia has a flight daily from Madrid direct to Granada.

Search Engines:

- Student Universe 

(Student Universe is a student travel agency that works directly with all major airlines and search engines such as Kayak.com for the best student rates)

MADRID (MAD)

There are several terminals at the Madrid airport. On a regular basis most US flights land in terminal 4 but some companies like Delta Airlines do not. Terminal 4 is a huge one and you will take an internal train to get to baggage claim and customs. 

The information below refers to terminal 4, but no worries, there is a free shuttle bus that connects all Madrid Barajas airport terminals. 

From Madrid you can take the bus or train to Granada. We find that the bus is much more efficient and more affordable. Currently there is no direct train service to Granada due to rail works. Ask our staff for updated information about the train system.

If you purchase the train or bus online you will have a ticket that you can print out and take with you. Please make sure we have your train or bus arrival information!

Madrid airport Terminal 4 --> Madrir Bus Station "Estación Sur":

- Cercanías Renfe

This is a short distance train that takes you from the Madrir-Barajas airport to different parts of the city. The line is "C1" and it starts in terminal 4; it has a stop at the main bus station - Estación Sur (the name of the stop is "Mendez Álvaro"). It is the more affordable and convenient mode of transportation. 

Aerocity

This is a shuttle service that you can pre-reserve. They have shared shuttles to the Madrid bus or train stations.

Madrir airport Terminal 4 or Madrid EstaciÓN Sur bus --> Granada:

ALSA 

For city of origin:

Choice 1: Aeropuerto Madrid-Barajas t4

Choice 2: Madrid

Destination: Granada (todas las paradas) - there is only one bus station in Granada.

The “aeropuerto” bus goes straight from Barajas to Granada. If your flight doesn’t match up with the time for this bus then you’ll need to go to the central Madrid bus station instead and take the bus from there. During the day and from Estación Sur there is a bus nearly every hour towards Granada. If you buy your bus ticket in advance allow yourself at least 3/4 hours after your estimated flight arrival to avoid a rush.

MÁLAGA (AGP)

Please make sure we have your train or bus arrival information! 

If your flight is to Málaga, there is an airport bus service that goes from the airport to Granada Bus Station. There is a bus at 6:30 PM that many students take. The bus stop is right outside of the arrivals area and you buy your ticket on the bus (if not fully booked in advance). There is an information booth in the airport where you can inquire first, though. Take a look at the ALSA website for an updated bus schedule. 

Orígen: Aeropuerto Málaga

Destino: Granada (todas las paradas) - there is only one bus station in Granada.

If you are not able to take this bus then you will need to go to the bus station in Málaga, where there are buses to Granada nearly every hour during the day. To get there you will also go outside of the arrivals area and find the shuttle bus or the Cercanías train C1 towards Málaga (you will find the Cercanías station outside of the arrivals area). Your stop is "María Zambrano".

Make sure you call your director once you know when you will arrive so they can make sure to pick you up in Granada!

Remember you can always contact us for more detailed information and updates. This is just for guidance. 

AIRPORT DEPARTURE

Your director will arrange for your transportation to the airport/bus station/train station when you leave on the official program end date.

MONEY

Spain is part of the European Union and as such uses the euro €. To find the most up-to-date conversion please visit XE. We suggest that you travel with a credit or debit card. You could also bring some cash that you can exchange at the Madrid airport. Whenever you exchange money you will need your passport. On the Madrid excursion there is an ATM right around the corner from the hotel.

ATMS

ATMs are fairly common throughout Spain. Call your bank before you leave to let them know you are using the card outside of the country and the dates you will be gone. Also, check with your bank beforehand to see if there are any international charges for pulling cash overseas. 

CREDIT CARDS

Credit cards are widely accepted in Spain. Check with your credit card company beforehand to see if there are any extra international charges and to let them know that you are traveling overseas. There is a foreign currency conversion fee and it is usually from 1% to 3%. Capital One is the only credit card at the moment that charges no foreign currency conversion fee.

TRAVELER’S CHECKS

Not recommended because they can be difficult to cash. You can bring these only for emergency uses. If for some reason your debit card is not working or is lost or stolen you can still use the Traveler’s checks. You will need your passport to exchange Traveler’s Checks.

SPENDING MONEY

You will want to bring some extra spending money with you. We suggest about $100-200 per week depending on spending habits.  This money is for souvenirs, shopping, meals that aren’t included, or extra activities that you may decide to do during excursions or during your free time.

LOST OR STOLEN CASH OR CREDIT CARDS

If your bank cards are lost or stolen call your US bank to cancel them. 

If you were ever in an emergency situation that you needed money (such as if you lost your wallet) just let your onsite director know! We will definitely assist you financially until your situation can be resolved.

 

ELECTRICITY

Spain uses 220 V AC at 50 Hz, the same as the rest of Europe. However, there are 125 or 110 V AC sockets, even within the same building. Plugs have two round pins so if you bring any electrical items from the US you will need to bring an adapter plug. These can be bought at travel or outdoor stores or in the airport. They are more difficult to buy once in Spain. Be wary of plugging electrical items in from the US—check to make sure the item can handle the different electrical current. Hairdryers brought from the US, for example, often short out. We recommend you buy a hair dryer or straightener upon arrival. Most new electronics, such as digital cameras, and laptops are of the 110 V AC – 240 V AC range. If the electrical plug they use has a small box on the cord then you have the built-in converter.

COMMUNICATION

EMAIL

All homestays have WiFi. The University of Granada has a computer room and campus-wide WiFi. Most "cafeterías" and restaurants have WiFi for customers. Keeping in contact with friends and family is a great way to share your experience. Just remember, though, it can take away from your Spanish learning. Attempt to write as little as possible in English while you are there. 

MAIL & PARCELS

Stamps are bought at stores called estancos, which are easily recognized by the big brown and yellow signs. Your director will point these out. Stamps are the same price as at the post office. "Correos" is the name of the postal service in Spain. Mail from the USA usually takes 7 to 10 days to be received.

Do not ask your relatives/friends to send you a parcel or package via "Correos". It can take several weeks or months to arrive and you will have to pay more than 50 euros to release it (price can vary depending on content, size, weight, etc.) Apart from this you will need a Spanish identification document to pick up your parcel which you do't have as you are not a Spanish citizen (Yes, this doesn't make sense, but it is how it works - your passport is not accpeted). Electronics, medicine, and food are stopped at customs in Madrir and sometimes returned to the US or the country of origin. If you need to receive a parcel use a private shipping company such as FedEx, UPS, etc. 

PHONES

LAND LINES

Although they host families do have land lines, students rarely use them anymore due to the availability of WiFi. If necessary, you can make local phone calls and receive all phone calls from your host family’s home phone. Out of courtesy please let your family know when you use the phone. You will need a phone card to make an international call from their home phone.  When talking with friends and family in the States you can also call collect and then have your friends and family call you back at the host family’s house. 

VOIP

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) such as Skype, Hangouts, Whatsapp are a great systems and you can use them at "cafeterías"or at home. Try not to chat after 11pm (Spanish time). 

CELL PHONES

Having a cell phone while in Spain is a personal preference but we strongly recommend it. Cell phones can be very useful to communicate with the other students in your group, your directors, and friends and family back home.

Most students use WhatsApp and Facebook on their US smart phones as a way to communicate and make plans. 

US CELL PHONES

You will probably not be able to use your US cell phone in Spain unless it is GPRS compatible with a SIM card and unless your cell phone is unlocked (this service can cost up to 20 euros in a shop in Granada). If you want to use your US cell phone, you will have to change your US SIM card to a Spanish SIM card.

PURCHASING A CELL PHONE

To get a SIM card /basic phone in Spain is easy and cheap. You only need to be over 18 and have your passport with you! Cell phone companies frequently have special deals and offer a basic phone/ SIM card from 20€ to 50€*. If you want a Smartphone prices will increase depending on the model.

Remember that you can use a Spanish SIM card on your US cell phone only if it’s unlocked (this service can cost 20€ to 30€ in Granada*). Your directors will show you some cell phone shops during the orientation city tour. You only need to compare rates and ask for special deals. The store clerks will help you. We recommend the “pay as you go/prepaid” service (prepago). That way there are no surprises at the end of the month because you always control how much money you want to add (recargar). Choose a non-permanent service (sin permanencia).Listed below are the main companies that work in Spain:

Listed below are the main companies that work in Spain:

- Movistar
- Tuenti (a Movistar company for young people. Tuenti requires you to register in the Spanish social network called “Tuenti” to manage your mobile account).
- Yoigo
- Vodafone
- Orange

*Prices may vary. These numbers are only for guidance.

CELLHIRE (cellphone rental service)

Sol Education Abroad provides our students with a local cell phone rental option that will be delivered to your home before you travel. The cell phones are rented through Cellhire, based in Dallas, TX. SOL covers the rental fee for the basic Nokia pay-as-you-go phone and all you have to do is decide if you want to sign up for the phone or not!

If you sign up for the local phone, you will only be responsible for any of the usage charges (rate details located on the SOL-Cellhire webpage).  If you sign up for anything besides the Nokia option it is at your expense.

This option will be 30%-65% more cost effective than roaming with your domestic provider. Along with the local phone, Cellhire also has additional voice and data or data only options (iPhone SIM cards and mobile hotspots) that you can rent at your own expense.

INSTRUCTIONS:
1) Simply register online via this website: www.cellhire.com/sol
2) Select your program, and enter your corresponding promo code:
- SUMMER: summer19univ
- FALL: fall19univ
- SPRING: spring19univ
- WINTER: winter19univ

The phone will be mailed to your home address prior to departure so please make sure to allow yourself time to get the cell phone before you leave. For free shipping, you must register at least 3 weeks prior to your program start date. Any questions regarding the phones please contact Cellhire at: 877 244 7242 OR email education@cellhire.com

HOST FAMILIES

The host family is one of the best parts of your experience in Granada! This will be your greatest and most intimate contact with the culture and people of Spain. Families in Granada are middle-class by Spanish standards. Most people in Spain live in apartments rather than houses. Remember, you may not be the only foreign student in the home. Sometimes families work with other programs and if they have multiple rooms, they may have someone else living there. If this is the case, talk to you director onsite if you have any problems with the housing.

Some suggestions when living with your family:

  • Bring photos of your family/friends/hometown to share.
  • Make sure you let your host family know if you won’t be home for a meal or if you will be spending the night at another location.
  • Spend time with your family. If they invite you to do something take advantage of this. The more time you spend with your family the better your Spanish will get.
  • Be respectful. You are a guest in their home.
  • Utilities are expensive in Spain! Turn off lights when you are not in a room; please be conservative of your water use when taking a shower.
  • Spain has water shortages so please be conscientious of this!

Your director will go over host family recommendations and regulations more extensively onsite.

HOST FAMILY GIFT

We encourage you to bring a small gift for your host family to present to them when you arrive. A gift is a nice way to break the ice and share some of your local US culture with your Spanish family. Some examples of gifts students have given in the past are family-style board games that don't require a language, local treats (preserves, candies, maple syrup, etc.), a coffee-table photo book of their hometown, dry baking mix (blueberry muffins, biscuits, scones, etc.), or a throw pillow or blanket.

MEALS

All of your meals are provided by your host family. You will share most meals with your family, however, in Spain not all families sit down to eat breakfast or dinner together - lunch is the main family meal. The family will accommodate any needs or preferences you may have. However, please remember that the food will be different to what you are used to eating. For example, breakfast consists of a piece of bread with tomato or olive oil or butter and jam and a glass of milk or coffee. Most of the Spanish host families eat vegetables, legumes, pasta, fish and fruit as a part of the Mediterranean diet and culture. Olive oil is used in almost every meal. Lunch is the main meal and for dinner they will serve you a lighter meal. Dinner is also served much later in Spain than in the US! Dinner time is typically around 9 or 10 PM.

LAUNDRY

Your host family will wash your laundry once a week. In Spain, clothes are hung to air dry.

A/C

In Spain A/C is not common in private homes. Because of this, we never mention or promise A/C for the homestays. If there is A/C in the home it is usually only in the main living room. During summer months people open their windows throughout the house creating a draft. They may also have fans in the home. Not having A/C is the standard for homes in Spain, just as not having a drier in homes and air-drying clothes is a standard. You will find that businesses and stores typically have A/C. If your homestay does not have a fan in your bedroom and you feel you would like one, please first talk with your program director. You would need to purchase the fan on your own and the homestay may expect you to assist with the utility bill if you plan to use the fan all night. Electricity in Spain is much more expensive than in the US.

TYPICAL DAY

This is an EXAMPLE of a typical weekday. Some classes start earlier or later than listed below.

8:00 AM              Wakeup and have breakfast

8:45 AM              Walk to school

9:00 AM              Classes begin

10:45 AM            Mid-morning break

11:00 AM            Return to class

2:00 PM              Classes end. Check email, visit shops, write in your journal, hang out with friends

2:30 - 3:30 PM     Lunch with your host family

3:30-4:30 PM       Siesta (rest)

5:00 - 8:30 PM     Afternoon classes or cultural activity

9:00 - 10:00 PM   Dinner

ACADEMICS

Most students will study at the Centro de Lenguas Modernas (CLM), which is the language department for the University of Granada. You will find that the teaching style in other countries is different than what you are used to in the US. If you have any concerns or questions about this when you are in Granada, please ask your director! Our directors are always available for tutoring and any other assistance you may need concerning the academic component of the program. For students doing an elective course, class times are usually from 9AM to 1PM or 10AM to 2PM. For those doing any elective classes these can be taught at any part of the day. There is always a break between classes. There is a café at school to get snacks and beverages between classes. The language department is located in the heart of historical Granada. There are two buildings. The main building is housed in the old palace of Santa Cruz (16th century) which has been specially restored for teaching purposes. The other building is a restored “Carmen”, or typical Andalucía home that was first used by the Arabic culture hundreds of years ago. It is a beautiful building with a garden-like setting.

SOL DIRECTOR

Your director is there to help you with many aspects of the program! Their main duties include:

  • Orientate and guide the students in Granada
  • Airport transfers
  • Making sure that your accommodations are suitable and that you are happy with your family
  • Make sure that your classes are appropriate
  • Organize cultural activities
  • Organize excursions
  • Support students in finding activities and events that interest them
  • Accompany students to the doctor
  • Your director is available to listen to any comments, suggestions and complaints about the program

Director availability: Your onsite director will be available at your school before & after classes every day of the first week. After that, your director will normally be available every other day at school and during activities and excursions.  Your onsite director will be available via telephone & email during working hours. Outside of working hours, your director is only available for emergencies. 

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Spain is a relatively safe country but the normal precautions should be taken. In the summer you should be wary of sunburn and dehydration.

HOSPITALS 

Hospital La Inmaculada - C/ Dr. Alejandro Otero, 8 18004 Granada - España
Tel: 958-187-700

Hospital la Salud - C/ Nuestra Señora de la Salud s/n. Tel: 958-808-880

EMERGENCIES

Any Emergency: dial 112
Medical Emergency: tel: 061
Police: tel: 091
Taxi: tel: 958-280-654

PICKPOCKETS

You should never carry around large amounts of cash, your passport, or credit cards unless you have to! In the crowded touristy areas of Madrid or Barcelona you should be wary of pickpockets. In Granada, you should avoid the gypsies begging in a few of the tourist areas. They will try to read your palm or give you rosemary. These can be ploys to pick your wallet! Despite our warnings, every summer session students get pickpocketed. NEVER keep money in your back pocket.

THEFT

Students have gotten digital cameras and laptops stolen in Granada. Never leave things unlocked and try to keep valuable items out of sight when walking around town or if you leave them at your home. Never be too trusting!

UNWANTED ATTENTION

It is not customary in Spain to smile at people you do not know. Spanish men could interpret this the wrong way. Never walk home alone at night. Cabs are very inexpensive in Spain, whenever in doubt just pay the 4 or 5 euros and take a cab. Avoid walking in large groups of foreigners. Use the buddy system especially at night!

INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL INSURANCE

While with Sol Education Abroad you have the option of using your own health insurance or using the Sol Education Abroad policy (included in your program price). If your insurance provider DOES cover you internationally, make sure to only use your policy and not ours (insurance companies do not allow you to have two policies). If your insurance provider DOES NOT cover you internationally, make sure you specify this in the form called "Insurance Verification". Sol Education Abroad’s insurance policy will cover absolutely any medical expenses internationally up to USD $50,000 with MultiNational Underwriters. To verify your coverage, simply call your US insurance provider and tell them that you will be overseas and they will let you know whether or not you are covered internationally and the amount of coverage. Provide your insurance company the exact dates of the program in which you are enrolled. Get the details from them in the event you need to go to the doctor while abroad. If you do use the Sol Education Abroad insurance please note that pre-existing conditions are not covered, so check with your domestic provider about this before leaving. If you take prescription medication with you make sure that you have a doctor’s prescription in the event that customs officials question you about it. This is rare, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared.

MAPS OF GRANADA AND SPAIN

Granada maps will be given to all students once in Spain. Below are maps for the location of the University of Granada, a map of Granada city and a map of Granada Province.

 

"Spain Map" City: Granada, Country: Spain, Author: Sol Education Abroad.

 

"Granada Providence" City: Granada, Country: Spain, Author: Edantur.

"Granada Map" City: Granada, Country: Spain, Author: Turismo de Granada.

"University Map" City: Granada, Country: Spain, Author: Universidad de Granada.

 

Safe travels! And see you in Spain!

the Sol Education Abroad team