Spain – Santiago de Compostela 2016 (research)

Well to begin, I’ve never imagined nor planned to go and spend the summer exchange in a one of the most visited „Pilgrim’s destination“. When I learnt for the first time that I was supposed to go there, I must admit I was pretty disappointed and as you probably expect I was totally wrong because it was (cliché part) one of the most exciting, inspiring and amazing time I’ve ever had. From the very beginning It was greatly organized, big bow to LEOS. The communication with my CP us as well with others in charge went smoothly they’ were helpful always responding, updating and uploading infos in our Facebook group (where they added us since they have knew we were coming) . My CP even picked me up from the airport, paid for the taxi, and then with the other CP together, they showed us city, hospital, dormitory, good restaurants, bars etc. and then they partied with us…Our social program was really well prepared and diverse. We went to 3 day trip to Porto, then Finisterre, Cathedral’s beach, Cies Islands, we could also choose to go to surf lesson, rafting and much more. First things first, the party life in Santiago isn’t so so thrilling, but if you like reggaeton and listening to latino music 24/7, you’ll have time of your life. But still, it lack some kind of diversity. There was also some cultural festival running in the city but I could’t found some info online in english especially and trust me I can google, so unfortunately I wasn’t attending anything. We were mostly going out to grab a beer or chill in the one of the many parks in Santiago. If we had free time we used to go the beach, it took us around 30 min and from 7-10 € and somewhere ocean isn’t so cold so you can actually swim. Food. Lot’s of local seafood, it would be such a lame move not trying it even if you’re not a fan of that. Thanks God for Tapas, if you’re on tight budget there’s always tapas to save you, I didn’t know it before but obviously there are some places where you can get full diner just by ordering beverages, which is great, mainly because Spanish people tend to eat later than what we’re used to. We could also cook at the dorm and borrow all the kitchenware. We lived in a big dormitory 10 min by foot from the city centrum in a single rooms with bathroom. The rooms were simply but nice and what more, cleaned every 3 days (bed sheets were changed every week). My biggest advice for anyone coming to Santiago is to ask, ask, ask. Spanish people are super open, so don’t waste your opportunity to watch, learn and practice. Literally everyone from head of surgery to janitor is a nice person who will be willing to share the knowledge with you. Even if there is something that interests you more that your current project don’t hesitate and ask if you could see what you want. They’ve let me do anything I was able to, they were patient so I wasn’t afraid to ask. Only thing that quite surprised me in bad way was that the laboratory employers, so basically the people I needed to deal with the most didn’t speak so much English. I think it wasn’t the lack of the skills or vocabulary, but they were just afraid they weren’t speaking correctly. But as soon as there was my tutor he encouraged everyone around to speak english in my presence, even the people that had nothing to do with me nor the IFMSA exchange. I really appreciated it a lot, it was so nice from him. Speaking of my tutor he was amazing and taught me everything I wanted, he really was an inspirational man, truly wise and skilled in his field. From the first moment he treated me like I was as important for the project as the others who really worked on it. He really went beyond what were his responsibilities. Some practical findings that I accumulated in a month. One of the things that have surprised me the most is that I’m used to pay by card, I hardly have more than 15 euros because in Slovakia you can pay almost everywhere by credit card (visa, master card etc.) but not such a thing in Spain so, I spent a lot by withdrawals and also ATM are not so frequent. I’ve spent in total around 600€ included – trips, (many) gifts for my family, food, clothes, drinks. The weather there is surprisingly cold – around 20°C in the day around 15°C in the night. People don’t speak much english general and shops are mainly closed form 2 – 4 p.m. (siesta time I guess).


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