Famous for: Harbor, Santa Barbara Castle, Mediterranean coastal beaches
Alicante, the jewel of the Costa Blanca, is a Mediterranean harbor city rich in history. Its long promenades and endless white beaches have long been guarded by the Castle of Santa Bárbara, perched on top of the Benacantil Mountain. Alicante’s culture, architecture, language, and people have been shaped by the Phoenician, Greek, Roman and Arab traders and conquerors that left their imprint at this crossroads of trading routes over the centuries.
Spanish Daily Routine
Breakfast (Desayuno) is not a major meal, consisting of small amount of food and is generally eaten early in the morning.
Lunch (Almuerzo) is the biggest and most important meal of the day and is generally eaten between 2:00 and 4:00PM.
Dinner (Cena) is a small meal, although more substantial than breakfast and is generally served between 9:00 and 10:00 PM.
Siesta is a time to rest. It starts around 1:30 PM when all the shops begin to close, and lasts until 5:00 PM. Almost all shops are closed during siesta while Spaniards may sleep or watch TV, leaving you no choice but to also relax.
Traditional Spanish Dishes
Paella is a rice dish commonly mixed with a variation of seafood, meat, vegetables, and beans.
Tortilla is a dense omelet full of fried potatoes (sometimes onions or another vegetable as well).
Jamón Serrano is a salted, cured ham that is sliced thin and is typically served either on its own or in a bocadillo (sandwich).
Spanish culture is not particularly vegetarian/vegan friendly due to the importance of ham and other pork products in their diet. While the salads may not be filling, Spain offers delicious breads, cheeses, and vegetables dishes.
How to Dress in Spain
Most Spanish people dress up more than the average American. Young men wear jeans and t-shirts or soccer jerseys, but you’ll also see men wearing nice pants and shoes. Women generally wear very feminine clothing.
To fit in with your surroundings, avoid wearing grubby jeans, sweatshirts, and sneakers. Nice, fitted clothing is what most people wear.
Life Outside the Classroom
Spanish people tend to be very friendly and open. However, you will need to make an effort to introduce yourself. Some of the best ways to do so are by signing up for a local speaking partner, attending cultural activities, or by going to the places Spanish students hang out.
Spanish Studies Abroad wants you to have fun while studying abroad; however, you are expected to meet all of your academic responsibilities. Spanish nightlife is probably unlike the social scene you have experienced in the U.S. The Spanish often plan to go out at midnight or later, which is just the start of the evening. Many friends you meet will stay out until six or seven in the morning, then go straight to breakfast, and rest during siesta.
To enhance your cultural experience in Alicante, Spanish Studies Abroad organizes various excursions, study visits and other activities throughout the summer. These activities are coordinated to enhance your class studies and designed to expand your vision Spanish arts and culture. Visits vary by program.
Study visits may include:
- Castle of Santa Bárbara
- Cathedral of San Nicolás and Basilica of Santa María
- Local museums, such as the Bonfires Museum, Museum of Fine Art, and the Museum of Archeology
- Local day trips to locations such as Valencia or Orihuela
In addition, Universidad de Alicante's international students program Centro Superior de Idiomas (CSI) organizes cultural travel for international students attending Universidad de Alicante. For more information, please visit the CSI Website.
Cross-Cultural Learning – which is seeing the world as others see it – begins with life outside school. That is why Spanish Studies Abroad offers students the opportunity to live in a Spanish home during their program. Your Spanish home will be the focal point of your social experience– where you will sleep, eat, study, and relax.
This immersion in Spanish language will help you gain an understanding of daily life and customs in Alicante. There too, sharing in family conversations, you begin to learn "unspoken language" – the family values and subtle beliefs that underlie actions.
Your homestay includes full room and board as well as laundry and the cleaning of your room. Special dietary or housing accommodations may be made, but may require an additional fee. To ensure that your home will provide a warm and tranquil atmosphere, one conducive to learning, Spanish Studies staff discusses norms and policies with hosts and regularly inspects the homes.
Universidad de Alicante
Spanish Studies students in Alicante study onsite at Universidad de Alicante (UA). Though established in 1979, UA was founded to carry on the traditions of the University of Orihuela (1545-1834). As the fastest-growing university in Spain, with an enrollment of 33,000, the UA is dedicated to its mission to cultivate students' academic and professional skills, while developing critical thinking and social awareness. In addition to its academics, UA prides itself on its beautiful modern campus of innovative architecture and wide green spaces.
Along with the resources provided by UA, Spanish Studies students benefit from having an on-site Resident Director who teaches the Spanish Studies cultural integration course Social Realities of Spain assists students with cultural and logistical challenges of studying abroad, and organizes Spanish Studies Abroad site visits and events.
Through university coursework, homestays with native families, and multiple cross-cultural opportunities, students will find Spanish Studies Abroad in Alicante to be a highly immersive and integrated study abroad experience.