Erasmus exchange: Przemek's tips for places to visit and things to do in Valencia

13:00 Unknown 6 Comments

What's the third largest city in Spain? You got it, it's in the title! I'm going to spend six months here as an Erasmus student from Oxford Brookes. After my first two months here, I've found some great places that I recommend you check out if you choose this city as your Erasmus destination or if you find a cheap flight to come here for holidays.

Here are some of my favourite spots in Valencia.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Valencia

Museo de Bellas Artes de València (Carrer de Sant Pius V, 9) is one of the finest in Spain. It houses some 2,000 works including a Self-portrait of Diego Velázquez and some of the remarkable works by Joaquin Sorolla who was born in Valencia.

Plaza de la Reina

This beautiful square in the city centre is surrounded by some of the most important historical buildings of Valencia. With all the Spanish Zara, Pull&Bear and other international brands, this will be your favourite spot if you are a shopping lover.

Valencia Cathedral

Founded in the 13th century on the site of a mosque, this unusual cathedral incorporates a number of architectural styles and artistic treasures – including the Holy Grail.

The Mercado Central

One of the oldest markets still in use in Europe where you can find exotic fruits, traditional Spanish ham and fresh seafood. I have had there my first guayaba and baby mango. It’s worth mentioning that there are lots of small grocery shops in Valencia. They seem alright, but actually most of them offer low-quality fruit and vegetables.

The Turia Gardens

The Turia Gardens is one of the largest urban parks in Spain. It runs through the city along nine kilometres of green space. This is a very popular path for runners and a haven of relaxation and leisure activities. If you go there around midnight, you’ll see groups of youngsters practicing Botellón. Botellón (’big bottle’) is a Spanish activity of people congregating in public areas to socialise while drinking alcohol. It’s a great way to meet new people – locals and Erasmus students – and have fun along the way.

La Malvarrosa beach

It's a great spot where you can relax after classes and play volleyball or frisbee with other Erasmus students.

El Carmen

El Carmen is my favourite district in Valencia thanks to the street art, extraordinary restaurants, bars, vintage shops, cafes, and buskers. The area gets really bustling at nights, but you need to watch out for one thing: El Agua de Valencia. If you order it, you will not get a glass of cold Valencian water but a cocktail made from a base of cava or champagne, orange juice, vodka and gin.

The City of Arts and Sciences

This cultural and architectural complex includes an amazing Sea World (L’Oceanogràfic), elegant opera house, exhibition space, sports arena, L’Umbracle sculpture garden and landscaped walk, and The Prince Felipe Museum of Science. Its uniqueness and unconventionality makes Valencia stand out from other Spanish cities thanks to its modern and alternative construction.

Mestalla Stadium

A football stadium where I watched with my flatmates Valencia draw 1:1 with Celta Vigo...

The only positive aspect of the score was that we had made a bet in which I won four euros for guessing the exact score.

Blog by Przemyslaw Kurlandt, BA Applied Languages at Oxford Brookes University.
Watch Przemyslaw's videos on Instagram:@brookeslanguages


Erasmus exchange: Przemek's tips for finding the best student accommodation

14:17 Unknown 3 Comments

I'm now in my third year of Applied Languages at Oxford Brookes and that means one thing: YEAR ABROAD. 

I chose to start my journey in Valencia because I always thought that the city is beautiful, bustling and has a lot to offer. However, now I know that there is even more! The atmosphere here is completely different from anywhere else. Nobody is in a hurry, people are easy-going and approachable. 

My first few weeks here have been all about finding a place to live, getting to know the city and deciding which subject I will study. I know it’s not easy to find a room when going on exchange. So, I will share with you some helpful tips about how to find a room in Valencia.

The terrace where we usually hang out with my flatmates

Some students decide to start exploring possibilities for accommodation only after arriving at the destination of their exchange. It’s a good idea because there are fake agencies on the internet and you don’t want to transfer money to agencies that turn out to be scammers. Once there, you can be more flexible with arranging viewings and you may meet local people who know about rooms to rent. However, you will need temporary accommodation and it can be quite expensive depending on what you choose. 

If you prefer to find and book the room before arriving at your destination, you should contact prospective landlords/agents through a room renting website or Facebook groups, and you can then reserve a room. Make sure you receive some kind of confirmation.

My new room
Hopefully, you will know someone who has already been to the same city for their exchange and can recommend websites or credible agencies which do not require ridiculous additional fees. For instance, I booked my room through an agency and the only additional payment I had to make was a booking fee.

The cost of a room in Valencia is around 150–300 euros plus 50 euros of invoice fee. It is obviously cheaper if you rent the room for a whole year. Expect to be paying 150 euros a month if you go there for only five months.

Blog by Przemyslaw Kurlandt, BA Applied Languages at Oxford Brookes University.
Watch Przemyslaw's videos on Instagram:@brookeslanguages