Erasmus in Jaen, Spain (summer semester)

Hello, my name is Aladdin Huseynov. I am from Azerbaijan, Baku and I am a full-time student in Poland, Lodz. Unfortunately, I could not experience my Erasmus to the fullest in Jaen, Spain because of the Covid-19, but I don’t regret at all for coming here. And one more crucial thing, whatever I write here is all about a personal experience, nothing more.

Uncertainty: I think you hesitate whether to come to Jaen, Spain or not (It can be other cities that you consider as well). And I do know that when you google the city, it does not seem appealing to you at all. I was in your position once, I was accepted to Jaen, but did not know to come or to stay in Poland. Here, on this website, you may see bad/good reviews about the city which is quite normal, as we perceive things differently. Erasmus- is something that you should experience, my friend! It does not matter if the city is tiny, you should feel that spirit. I can assure you that you will not regret it. Just go for it! Apply for Erasmus+ and the rest will come, don’t worry too much!

Jaen, Spain: The city is located in central South of Spain in the autonomous community of Andalusia. I would say, the city is pretty small, you can take a walk wherever you want. If you are a fan of small cities, that place is for you! There are up and down – hills, so you will have to walk up and down a lot. There are enough cafeterias, bars, cafes to visit. Remember it does not matter where you are, it matters with whom you are! I did like Jaen a lot. I did not have a chance to travel a lot, but this city has become home. Spanish people are just great! They are welcome, warm, kind, and I may add more positive nouns here. The only problem is – they don’t speak English.

University, classes: First of all, I want you to understand that nothing is perfect. There are always bad and good stuff around. The classes at the university are mostly in Spanish, as you may assume. But, there are enough classes held in English, however that may depend, they divided classes into Levels. Level 1, 2, 3. Sometimes professors may offer you not to come to the classes and tell you at the end just study these materials in English, and you will take the exam in English (even though originally the entire subject is taught in Spanish). Or, some classes are taught in English (Level 3). You are given a month to choose subjects, to decide what you like and what you don’t. It takes a lot of time, and you may find yourself stressed, depressed, but eventually, you will have a fixed schedule. Spanish – the University of Jaen offers free Spanish classes – if you add them to your Learning Agreement. To be honest, as for my level (A1), I did not like the classes. If you ask why, there are a lot of people in the class, and I did not like the way it gets taught. But that is my personal opinion. Maybe the classes at higher levels are better, just keep that in mind. I had 2 classes of Spanish for beginners, and the rest of them were held by international professors, not from Spain. So I don’t know the professors from Spain, whether they are strict or not. The campus itself is very beautiful I would say (more motivation to come). The International Student Office-  that may be considered as a problem, they have limited staff helping students, especially at the very beginning, you may wait in the queue much more than expected, but that are just initial processes. Also, you are given a Mentor that should help you with everything, because this person gets paid for the help that you get, and if you are lucky enough, you will have a good mentor who can solve all your problems, concerns.

Expenses: I believe this issue may concern you a lot. Expenses are individual, and it varies from person-to-person. Some people spend a lot, some people know how to manage their scholarship. I had friends that were getting 850 euros a month and yet they were complaining (that was just as an example). I was given 2025 euros for 4,5 months. As for the rent it also depends, some people prefer a luxurious flat, some people don’t. On average, it is 150-250 euros for the room in a shared flat + gas, electricity, Wi-Fi, etc. (more or less 50-60 euros each month). And of course, other expenses occur – you go out, you travel, you go to the supermarkets. As for traveling, there are Travel Agencies, that offer trips to the cities, countries nearby, with a bus, and it is the cheapest way to travel, but don’t expect much. I had bad experiences, so if you have enough money to travel by yourself (with friends), agencies are not the best, yet for the prices they offer, that may sound a reasonable choice for you.

ESN (Erasmus Student Network) – I strongly recommend you to join to all events (or most of the events) of Welcome Days, in essence! That is very important, especially if you are alone, or feel lonely the very first days. Don’t miss a chance, to meet new people that is where you will find your “gang”! And don’t forget that people in ESN – are students (volunteers), so you cannot expect much from them as well, but they are always there willing to help you!

Recommendations: 1) If you have an opportunity - learn Spanish before you come to Spain because you will have a chance to improve your Spanish here, with students from Latin America and Spain itself. 2) That may sound weird to you, but you come to Erasmus to experience new things, so try not to hang out with people from your country – if you ask why – first, your language English (for instance) does not get improved as you use your native language all the time, second, basically you are in your comfort zone I would say. Be open-minded, meet new people, new cultures, Erasmus is the experience that teaches you to the new things, so try to make most out of it. Try not to stick to one circle of friends, don’t limit yourself. Have your close friends, but whenever possible, change your environment to learn from different people. And most importantly, HAVE FUN! I hope I did help you somehow. Good Luck!


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