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Studies > Spain > Madrid > Universidad de Alcalá > Review by Matthew B 
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Universidad de Alcalá (UAH)

198 reviews
4.18 / 5 based on 198 reviews
Useful  |  0
Matthew B
University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Business Studies, Undergraduate, Erasmus
Student life
Describe host city:
Students equally interact with the local and student community
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Travel: Takes place mostly within the university/student environment
Nightlife, Activities: Takes place both within and outside of the university/student environment
Personal social experience
Activities
Nightlife
Travel
Overall
Personal comments
If you have the money and the time, it is well worth visiting Madrid for a night out, as it has a variety of clubs and bars. Alcalá has a surprising number of rock-orientated bars (no clubs), for example Paranoid or the Panadería, as well as more commercially-orientated places such as Gabanna or Can-Can. It is a surprisingly active place for such a small town, when it comes to night-life.
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Useful  |  1
Matthew B
University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Business Studies, Undergraduate, Erasmus
Housing
Type of housing: Apartment/House
Arranged by: Independently - My choice
If returning, I would choose: Apartment/House
Why?
An apartment gives flexibility and the opportunity to live close to your faculty. Living with friends makes the year fun, and sharing with Spaniards increased language skills.
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Personal assessment
Cost
Facilities
Location
Cleanliness
Space
Personal comments
There was a lot on offer, with lists of housing published all around the university. The halls of residence were very far out from the town centre, and were only really useful for accessing the campus. I did not manage to share with any Spaniards, but doing so would have been a huge advantage.
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Useful  |  1
Matthew B
University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Business Studies, Undergraduate, Erasmus
Languages
Language of instruction: Spanish
Was learning Spanish a key decision factor?
Yes, I wanted to improve my Spanish
How much did you improve your Spanish?
My level before: Everyday knowledge (shopping, directions, etc.)
My level after: At ease in most situations
Language difficulties
Social
Educational
Administrative / Institutional
Overall
Personal comments
I believe my written skills, vocabulary, grammar and listening skills were all improved drastically by my stay in Spain, but due to the limited interest of local students in socialising with Erasmus students, I found that my conversational skills were improved only to a slight degree. This is why I heartily recommend finding a house/room to share with a local individual, preferably a student.
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Useful  |  0
Matthew B
University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Business Studies, Undergraduate, Erasmus
Expenses
Main source of funding:
Family
Other sources of funding:
Personal savings<br> An ERASMUS grant<br> Other
Work opportunities:
I didn't want/need to work
Personal spending habits
Housing was generally a lot cheaper in Spain than in England, and the facilities offered in the accommodation were very good on the whole. I tended to travel a lot more in Spain than I would have done in England, as I wanted to get out and explore more of the country. Therefore, I spent more on travel than I would have done in England.
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Travel:
was more expensive than at home.
Telephone, Food, Overall, Nightlife:
was the same price as at home.
Housing:
was less expensive than at home.
Accessibility of student needs
Second-hand text books
Second-hand household items
Computers / Internet
Administrative
Money from home
Personal comments
I recommend keeping an eye on your bank balance online, since it is not possible to do so at the cash machines. Monitor roughly how much you spend every month and make sure this quantity doesn't increase significantly without any warning. If using an English cash card, take money out in large amounts (but always be careful), as a certain fee will be charged to your account every time you take money out. Opening a local bank account is quite complicated, so only do so if you really can't afford paying the fees charged on withdrawals from your home account.
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Useful  |  6
Matthew B
University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Business Studies, Undergraduate, Erasmus
Overall
I wish I had known...
I wish I had made some Spanish contacts from Alcalá beforehand, so that they could have helped me in acquiring accommodation that I could have shared with a Spaniard.
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In my opinion:
Most people loved it.
Important factors in my choice
(1) Unimportant – (4) Very important
Academic reasons
4
Culture
3
Costs
3
Activities
3
Campus life
2
Party / people
4
Weather / location
3
Personal recommendation
Academically it is a wonderful university, very beautiful to look at, and is surrounded by a thriving student community with related night life and activities.
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During my experience abroad, I ...
(1) Never – (4) A lot
Became familiar with another culture
3
Traveled
4
Improved language skills
3
Met people from other countries
4
Became more independent
3
Partied a lot
4
Experienced a change in life
4
Advanced my studies & career
4
Final comments
Alcalá is very easy to get to from Madrid by bus, so transport problems are not an issue. It is easy to hop on a bus to Madrid for the odd night out as well. However, Alcalá is a very self-contained town, so you will not find yourself needing to venture outside of it very often. Do not forget to take all the appropriate medical forms, as in my experience, once you have them it is very easy to make appointments with doctors, etc. I have heard that other people have had problems even with the forms, but on average the medical staff are quite understanding.
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Useful  |  0
Matthew B
University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Business Studies, Undergraduate, Erasmus
Academic
Course recommendations
I stuck to the more marketing-based courses, which were very informative, and presented a different way of looking at things to the way I was taught in England. The majority of the teachers are very approachable and knowledgeable.
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My academic experiences
Quality of courses
Variety of courses
Access to resources
Interaction with teachers
Interaction with international students
Interaction with local students
Personal comments
I would recommend a better integration of Erasmus students with local students. Many work groups were formed entirely by local students, who were very cliquey. This left out the Erasmus students, giving us limited opportunities to improve our spoken Spanish.
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My opinion of the university assessment
Exams at end of course
Exams throughout the course
Essays and/or projects at the end of course
Essays and/or projects throughout the course
Overall