European Commission affirms that 270.000 students got an internship to study abroad during 2012-2013 in all Europe. The trend is clear, youth prefer Spain, Germany, and France. Spain is one of the most requested countries for its climatic and lifestyle characteristics. The most demanded city is Granada, the paradise of tapas. Its great cultural offer has made this city the focus of all Europe, especially for students. Granada is the city which gets more students with European Union Internships. The University of Granada (UGR) is in the first position in the ranking of Spanish Universities which receives the most Erasmus students rate every year. UGR’s research potential once features in the 2017 list of Highly Cited Researchers, becoming the second-ranked university in Spain in terms of highly recognized researchers. The ranking includes more than 3,300 of the top researchers in the world in 22 different scientific fields.
Dorothy Kelly, Vice-chancellor of International relations, says: ¨There are many reasons why the University of Granada is the favorite destiny for Erasmus students. The academic offer is very extense, there are 69 degrees studies and 94 masters¨. Furthermore, the Shanghai ranking, one of the most international one, evaluate the de quality of 17.000 Universities in the whole world. Currently, UGR takes place in the 345 positions, it increased more than 300 places in the last years.
The university of Granada is very old and popular, it was founded in 1531. The vice-chancellor describes the city as a ¨privileged geographical enclave between the Sierra Nevada and the Mediterranean Sea¨. She also underlines the following: ¨The city and the university come together to offer endless possibilities for leisure, tourism, culture, and sport. It is a city rich in culture and history and considered as one of the most beautiful in the world¨. Besides, Granada is considered a safe city which lives by and for the university, very welcoming and comfortable for students who are just arriving.
Two of the most remarkable things in that city are related to the culture and the social life. First one is the main cultural representative that defines Granada internationally, the Alhambra. The second one, tapas tradition, which create a wonderful atmosphere full of people on the streets every day at the week, any time of the day.
Granada has mixed cultures living together, hence we need to understand what happened in the history in this city. The Muslim invasion is known by the name of the ¨Muslim conquest of Hispania¨, during the VII century. Muslims invaded definitively Spain (Iberian Peninsula) from 726 until 1492, although the conquest took about 15 years, it started in 711. They called this territory Al-Ándalus which is the total of conquered areas in territories currently belonging to Spain, Portugal, and south-east of France. Despite the efforts of the rulers, the Muslims had many problems from the beginning to control Al-Ándalus. The Christian’s victory in 1012, Navas de Tolosa battle, was the end of the Muslims dynasty. In the middle of XIII century, Al-Ándalus was reduced to Nazari Kingdom of Granada. It means, Granada was the last city which persisted during the invasion. During the last decades, Granada was divided by civil war. Both clashes, intern, and extern, weakened Granada kingdom until destroying it completely. His defeat in 1492 by Catholic king put an end to the reconquest.
One of the main building which was created during the invasion was the Alhambra. It was the lastest towering palaces of Islamic invasion. It was built by the last Muslim emir in Hispania. It is now one of the Spain’s major tourist attractions, mixing Islamic architecture with the 16th century and Christian building-garden interventions. Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2016 it was the second most visited monument in Spain, after Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. If you go to Granada, you cannot avoid the opportunity of visiting La Alhambra. You need to book in advance because it is very demanded. It consists of a set of palaces, gardens, and fortress that housed a real citadel which served as an accommodation to the monarch and the court of the Nasrid Kingdom of Granada. The decoration is among peaks of Andalusian art; however, it was adapted generating a new landscape integrated with pre-existing nature.
On another hand, Granada has a rich social life. You can eat delicious and cheap at the same time, with the popular Tapas food. When you order a drink in Granada, you get a Tapa for free, spending no more than 2 Euros. There are uncountable bars around the city, all of them have the same philosophy. Here I leave some recommendations of the best Tapas bars in Granada:
- ¨Los Pescadores¨ and ¨El Nido del buho¨ in Doctor Pareja Yebenes Street. You can find the best seafood ever.
- ¨Los Diamantes¨ in Navas street. They are specialist in fried fish.
- ¨La Antigualla¨ in Elvira Street. It is a bar with medieval decoration. It is a bit more expensive than others, about 2,5 euros, but Tapas are huge. You can choose between sandwiches, hamburgers, etc.
- ¨Bar K-ito¨ in Goya Street. It is a small local, quite cheap where you can find pinchos, meat with salad and potatoes.
- ¨Garden Coffe shop¨ in Gonzalo Gallos. It is also cheap, you can get special rice, plus salad and fried chips.
- ¨Bar Teruel¨ in Salmon Street. It is one of the cheapest ones, it costs 1,5 euros. There are tasty Tostas, toast bread with some ingredients over there, and fried squid.
- ¨Bar Espejo¨ in Elvira Street. The price is around 2 euros. They offer delicatessen Tapas as hummus, eggplant cream or oysters and scallops with caviar.
- Teterias Street. This last one recommendation is not a Tapas bar, but it is one of the most popular streets in Granada. You can taste the most delicious tea you have never tried before, joined with an Arab traditional dessert. After, you can continue uploading to Albayzin neighborhood, located 800 meters from the sea level. There you have the chance to smell the mixed cultures apart from the amazing views.
Enjoy as much as you can if you decide to travel to this mixed cultural city because you will not find as rich social atmosphere as you will live in Granada. It is unique in the world.