This blog was created as part of the Erasmus Mundus Crossways in Cultural Narratives Masters programme, which is the only one of the EU approved and funded Erasmus Mundus Masters programmes to specialise in traditional humanities with a modern languages background. The Crossways Consortium comprises 6 top-class European universities.

For further information, please check the programme's official website and the universities' websites on the Useful Links section on the left. If you wish to have a specific question answered, please click on Email here and submit your query.

Mundus students, here you will find regular posts regarding the universities of the consortium, tips, activities, events, pictures, etc. Apart from checking it regularly to keep yourself up to date, a good way to use the blog is through the search device. We already have a significant amount of information on some universities of the consortium, so if you want to find information on a specific city, type its name in the search field (top left). You will then see all posts related to that specific city (because each post title contains the city's name in it). You can also type "General" in order to find information concerning everybody.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Santiago: Getting started

     by Chiara Dalla Libera &  Mariana Filgueiras


The residence “Burgo das Nacions”

As Erasmus Mundus Student the University of Santiago de Compostela reserve you a place in the residence “Burgo das Nacions” (Avda de Castelao s/n, Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, España)

At your arrival don’t expect practical explanation: they will just give your key.

Where it is & what is in the neighbourhood

The residence is quite big and not very far from the centre: it’s about 15/20 min walking to reach the old part, where the restaurants and bars to go out at night are, but it’s about 30/40 min away from the new part where all the shops are.

In fact near the residence you have just two supermarkets and a couple of bakeries and bars.

On the other hand you are in front of the Facutade de Filoloxia (Campus Norte), where you will have all your classes.

There are stationery shops (papelerias) where you can make photocopies and print what you need.


How is the residence like

The single room is nice with a desk, shelves and your own bathroom, paying 18€ more you can have a small fridge for your own, but you first have to participate to a draw at the beginning of the year, so I don’t know about the second semester.

There is a kitchen for each floor: there is a micro-wave (no oven), there are shelves as well to keep your stuff, but you have to find one free and lock it (usually people that arrive in September provide one for themselves because there aren’t enough for everyone who’s using the kitchen).

You don’t have to leave your things around and clean your stuff when you use the kitchen and (very important!!) you have to buy all you need because there are no things left from former people.

There is a service of cleaning twice a week (if you don’t want to you can just leave a message on your door).

There are good washing machines and drying machines but as they work with coins you always have to have the right change because there is no changing machine: it’s 1,50€ for the washing machine, 1€ to dry your clothes (as it rains a lot is really useful and you won’t need to iron them).

Internet: the whole residence is served by the University wireless system, but you need to be a student of the university to be able to use the network, that means that you will have to wait until your matriculation is activated.

There is a computer room as well, but the computers are few and really old.

There are a gym, a study room and a TV room.

The rent: if you compare it with the prices in Santiago it’s quite expensive as you have to pay around 280€ a month, while for a room in a shared flat you would pay between 120/180€ (services not included), there is no deposit or advanced paying.

If you want to leave you don’t need to communicate it in advanced and it’s really easy.



Where to look for and the rent

To find a private accommodation is pretty easy and the two main ways to find one are:

-      www.usc.es > Xornal > Taboleiro : here you find all the announcements for private accommodation in independent or shared flats and you will also find a lot of very useful things (tandem, courses, job offers), you can also publish your own announcement.

-       The traditional way of collecting numbers in the street or in the university showcases

Prices for a room in a shared flat would be between 120€ and 180€ (services not included).


Where to live

All your classes will be in the Faculdad de Filoloxia (Avda de Castelao, near the residence Burgo Das Nacions, in the Campus Norte) so if you want to live near the faculty you should look for a place in: Rua Vista Alegre and Zona Galeras.

Otherwise the best place to live is the old part of the town (Zona vieja), as it’s 15 min walking from the faculty and it’s where you will hang out at night.

There are a lot of flats in the new part of the town as well (Zona nueva), but it’s 30/40 minutes walking from the faculty (you have to cross the old part), they are more new than the ones in the old part and they have central heating (the majority of the old flats don’t have it, so it’s pretty cold, but with electric fires you can definitely survive!).

Plaza Galicia is the square that connects the old part with the new one.



All the university area is covered by the wi-fi connection provided by the USC, but to access to this service you must wait until your matriculation is actually active and you have to register and download a programme.

Otherwise you have free access to the computers of the Computer room of the faculty of philology.

General tips about the city

Transportation: You have buses from the Campus Norte to downtown (5, 15) from 20-20 minutes, but it is really easy go walking. People don’t use bike, since the city is full of hills, but there is a bike rent service in the residence. There is a company called “ALSA” which goes by several cities within Europe from the bus station (www.alsa.com). By train, you can reach the train station and go to cities within Spain with Renfe (www.renfe.es). ADVICE:  Check out the weather conditions in www.elpais.com . The snow and storms can block the roads for long time.

Siesta: It is a very typical practice in Spain, which means the shops will be closed from 13h30 till 17h (each store has its own schedule, what takes a long time to be used to – it is really complicated!)  and will be back at about 17h, till 20h. The main book store, for instance, (Follas Novas) works from 9h-13h30 and then from 17h-20h, while others close at 21h. Attention: the banks and public offices don’t re-open. They all close at 13h30!

Language: On the street, people usually speaks Galego, that is pretty close to Portuguese, but everybody understands if you speak Spanish. Of course it depends on the accent of each person – there are people easier to comprehend than others, but it is not a big deal. It happens also to find teachers that just speak in Galego during the classes, (or books just translated into Galego): this can be complicated for the students who don`t have intimacy with latin languages in general, as the Japanese or Russian ones.

Medical Service: Galicia has a special kind of assistance, different from Spain. So, even people from the south of Spain has the same kind of problems that immigrants do. My tip is: always carry with you the paper you will receive as soon you go to ORE (Oficina de Relacions Exteriores, Rua das Casas Reais), a place you have to go to enroll and to get the documents from the university. They will give you the Crossways student documentation which says you are student of the University of Santiago. If you need any medical assistance, you can go to the PAC (emergency) from the Hospital Clinico Universitario, the biggest in Santiago. It doesn`t have nothing to do with the ACE assistance, the insurance we current have from Erasmus Mundus. As this scholarship is quite new in Santiago, almost anybody will recognize the insurance, that’s why it is smarter if you go straight to the biggest hospital, provided by the university.