I haven't written in a while because I arrived on the 20th and have been busy making the move to Barcelona, Spain! Or better said, Catalunya.
So the deal is that Warwick (my university) don't help you with finding accommodation or anything during third year abroad. They actually recommend you to turn up, stay in a hostel and then go flat hunting once you've arrived! However I started my house hunting a month earlier when I was still in England.
Firstly, I decided that a renting a room/sharing a flat was more economical than getting one alone or staying in their very pricey students halls (although I'm not sure this was even an option given that I'm not studying until January). And besides, I want to live with Spanish people so that I can actually practice the language as I get the impression that my workplace is pretty international.
With that in mind I searched a few sites for piso compartido in Barcelona and emailed suggested viewing dates to those on my shortlist. [Try loquo.es, milanuncios.com and yaencontre.com if you need to start] You'll find most rooms at the moment are from about 280-400 euros per month. Anyway, so much preparation ahead of my arrival date didn't exactly put me ahead of the game. Most people didn't reply, whilst some others were taken by the time I'd asked for the flat viewing.
I viewed 6 flats by the time I'd decided which I wanted to live in. They were all more or less located in a straight line so I can easily access the train route to ESADE University in Sant Cugat come January.
Some of the places seemed pretty lonely, including one that didn't even have a table or living room for communal gatherings! One felt a bit too student halls-like for me, with 1 bathroom between 5 and even had a ban on drinking and parties. I ruled out another one as a hotel was being built on the other side of the wall of the prospective bedroom window. Some places were a bit far from the train stations I wanted (so as not to have to transfer) - they wouldn't have been considered far by English standards but walking in the heat over here for more than 15minutes is horrific. Another guy even casually saw us round a shabby place that had a tent growing cannabis in the middle of the living room - although he assured us it would leave along with the previous tenant!
So where did I finally choose? I plumped for a nice flat in Carrer de Muntaner. I'll be a 9min walk from the nearest train station, but there is also a great bus network that serves this area which is north of the touristy center. It's nice and cheap at 310 euros per month including bills which today comes at £246 - although at least week's exchange rate that was £245 *sigh*. I have yet to meet my other 2 flat mates but the chap that lives there and rents it out is a nice authentic Spaniard student as well. My room is tiny but the advantage is that I get my own en-suite as it used to be the servant's quarters in the olden days. To sweeten the deal there's an adorable cat which is nice as I've always wanted one.
For now though I have to leave you. This week I'm attempting (yes, attempting) to get my foreigners paperwork through so I can subsequently open a bank account and get a mobile phone contract because Pay As You Go over here is an absolute ripoff. Wish me luck!
- REVIEW: Predatory Thinking by Dave Trott