Tuebingen university admin does expect you to find your own way around and not that much help was given; but you soon learn to speak the lingo and make a few friends with German students! The social scene isn't that amazing, though there are a handful of really cool bars and clubs. The town itself is really pretty and the people are friendly, so staying in with a beer and friends tends to be the new going out! While I was there I visited nearby towns such as Esslingen, Stuttgart and Munich and I crossed the border to Basel in Switzerland.
The social life is good in Vigo and there are lots of university-arranged trips to cities like Santiago and La Coruna, and buzzing bars and cinemas in the city, which is easy to get around. Finding accommodation with Spanish students is practically impossible though, because almost all of them live with their families and come into uni on school buses! Living with Erasmus students is fine; try to speak as much Spanish as possible and enjoy yourself. Ensure you accept every invitation on your year abroad - you never know who you might meet!
There weren’t that many students my own age in the town itself but there were plenty of bars, a few discos and chances to go out. Cordoba was not too far away, either, so I got the chance to travel across Southern Spain. Don't rule out living in a small town; you can get a lot more out of it than living in a big city as you really get the chance to throw yourself in the local community and get to grips with the culture.
Although the town is very charming, Estepa was a bit too small and isolated for my liking. My job wasn't also quite right for me, as I didn't enjoy teaching as much as I thought I would. The tapas culture was good and there were plenty of bars in the town, but not much else.There was very little to do and the bad public transport made it difficult to get to cities...But I had (and really enjoyed) the opportunity to visit Madrid and nearby cities like Malaga, Cordoba, Sevilla and Granada.
History with German is a specific case, as the degree programme is structured so that the year abroad counts towards the final mark at the end of our degree. Despite this, and having talked to people who studied at other German universities, the University of Hannover was particularly unhelpful in general and Hannover is generally not a great place to go. The social scene was ok. There are a few nice bars and clubs - it's not the best place to go if you want a really hard-core party sesh, but there is more to do and see than drink there. It's more of a cultural town than somewhere you can go and let loose in. Think first about what you want to get out of the year. If you want it to help with careers; work. If you want to have a good time/gain teaching experience; teach. If you want to learn more about your academic work; go to uni. Sounds obvious, but it really is so important.
I wanted to go to a social place and I wasn't let down by Buenos Aires! Loads of fun places to go, with some really cool bars round Palermo and Recoleta, with an odd twist - sometimes, it really does seem like a home from home, as the culture is very European. I had some of the best food when I was out there - the steak really is amazing. Buenos Aires really livens up on the weekend, when hippy and design markets come into full swing, around Recoleta, Palermo and San Telmo. Although San Telmo is very pretty, it can be a little dangerous at night - I lived in a posher neighbourhood (Recoleta), which seemed a little family-orientated at times, so I had to travel for a bit to find student hangouts. It's a great city with loads to do, and the best thing about going to BA is you can get cheap flights/buses to go travelling round South America; whilst I was there I got the chance to go to Mendoza, Iguazu, Santiago and Lima. It can be a little isolating working so make sure you join up to different societies, events etc.
I did not enjoy my time in Cadiz, as I personally felt that the city was too claustrophobic and culturally, being Andalucía, it is quite difficult being female and foreign - it's a male-centric, not very progressive part of Spain. My biggest problems were in getting to grips with the language after being out of practice for a few months, as well as the homesickness, isolation and loneliness I felt living in such a small place. However, although the city is a bit of a maze and Health and Safety seems to be practically non-existent, I felt the new town had a few things to do (cinema, bars, clubs etc). It also pushed me to go visit places outside of Cadiz, and from there it was easy to travel all around Andalucía and visit places such as Seville, Ronda and more - there’s a brilliant train service.
The good thing about going somewhere quite small is that you make friends really quickly, as everyone knows each other! If anything, living and working in a small place really shows you what working life is like in Spain, you get to know your co-workers better and you get to see what life is like as a local. The Castilla-la-Mancha region has good transport links close to Madrid, so I used to go there quite often to get some culture and city nights out during my time away. And from Madrid, you can pretty much go anywhere, so I was always busy! I visited Salamanca, Toledo, Sevilla, Madrid, Cuenca, Albacete, Barcelona, Granada and Valencia while I was there. Don't be scared about your year abroad - do exactly what you want to do; it’s the best year of your life and you deserve to make the most of it! Travel, speak the lingo and you'll make friends for life!!
It’s a very beautiful, quiet town and there were not a lot of people my age there, which gave the town less of a student-y vibe. I did feel a bit homesick at first, so after having spoken to some of the teachers about it, I decided to visit my family for the weekend. Once I'd been there for a month or so, the people started opening up (the place I was staying was very closed and people had certain groups of friends so it was difficult to integrate), I had a better time, going for meals and meeting friends for coffee... I had great fun travelling around the island of Menorca, as well as visiting Mallorca and Barcelona on numerous occasions. If you're looking for a good social life, don't go to a small place! I would recommend university study (based on what I've heard from friends) as a good way of making friends and getting involved in social situations. Working as a teaching assistant is fulfilling and good fun, but can be quite boring on the social side of things if you're somewhere small.