Unlike Glasgow, with it’s cosy little campus where all students of all academic fields integrate, have lunch together and have conversations about a mixture of English literature, modern languages and maths; Granada’s university campuses are a little different. Good, yet different. There are a lot of different faculties spread out across the city so you don’t really come across people studying at other faculties. Travel may also be in an issue if you have classes in different faculties. However, Granada is a small city so it shouldn’t cause too much of a problem to arrive to classes on time.
Currently, all my classes are in the Facultad de Traducción y Interpretación – the Faculty of Translation and Interpretation – which is situated in a very central location, Calle Puentezuelas to be exact. This comes as even more of a bonus for me due to the fact that I live approximately three minutes away – not tackling Library Hill at 08:55 every morning works well for me and my little legs! The Law Faculty is also situated in the centre, however, if your campus is further from the centre there are loads of cheap buses that run frequently to and from these faculties. Obviously, there is also the option of taking a lovely half hour stroll to class under the beautiful sun and clear blue skies, though I have heard from many friends that sometimes the walk is unbearable in the blistering heat and an ice bath, after sun and a Calipo is required before you even start class. Still, there are many other options including cycling, skateboarding and roller blading, which are all very popular modes of transport here.
The university buildings themselves are varied in style, but I hit the jackpot with the Faculty of Translation and Interpretation. It’s a relatively small building, yet it’s also old and beautiful, with a pretty courtyard outside where many students sit and study. There are huge windows which let the natural light stream in which makes a difference from fluorescent lighting which sometimes feels like it’s burning your eyes after heavy studying period at the library. The translating and interpretation faculty also has a library full of both old and new books, which you can easily access. However, I would advise you to bring your laptop if you are going to study here because the computers are quite temperamental and that’s the last thing you need when you have a deadline. There are spaces and rooms for group work and also silent areas with computers to do individual work, however there are not many of these areas so sometimes its better to invite your group to your flat.
Once you have stopped gazing at the beauty of the building you should probably start going to your classes. Erasmus students get around two weeks to try out classes before you have to decide officially which ones are for you. The waiting list (which you will find on a table just outside the International Office in the faculty) to enrol in your classes can be another two-week wait and sometimes by this point your chosen classes may be full. So, I advise that when enrolment day comes along you have a mighty breakfast whilst listening to Bill Wither’s “Lovely Day” and watch some cute dog videos before you start the process, just to keep your cool. If it does turn out that one of your classes is full then, depending on the teacher, you can ask them to write the International Office a note giving you permission to join the class.
You can take classes in different faculties, but because I am a Modern Languages student I kept to the same faculty because the classes would be the most beneficial to me here; and the thought of arranging classes between two or more faculties and having the risk of them being full sounds like a hassle. However, I do know a lot of people who have done this and they, after some time, have managed to sort their timetable out.
I would say that there are not a lot of class options for Erasmus students to take: the number of times I have walked into a class and they have said that non-native speakers aren’t allowed was quite disheartening. Classes are also two hours long so carry food and water with you at all times because, on occasion, I have felt like death after four hours of intense listening. But other than that, you can find great teachers in the faculty and very interesting classes such as Arabic language to Legal Translation. The classes are made even more enjoyable as they are usually a mix of native Spanish speakers and Erasmus students so you have the opportunity to meet natives from all over Spain and from all over the world but also feel comfortable knowing that there are people in the same boat as you and that you’re not the only one who is completely oblivious to what going on.
Classes are normally six credits each, except the beginner language classes which are worth twelve, so you have to take around four to five classes each semester to make up your sixty credits for the entire year. Also, keep in mind that classes only run for one semester so make sure that you know what classes run in semester one and what ones run in semester two when deciding your timetable.
If you are considering taking translation classes I would say that you should be prepared to do a lot of team work. This can be great, but obviously there can be downsides to this, depending on who is in your team. The translation classes are also quite intense as there are a lot of assignments and work for them but this is also great practice if you are someone who has never done translation before, like me. The Faculty of Translation and Interpretation at the University of Granada is rated the best in Spain so I definitely think that it’s worth a try.
Overall, I have had a positive experience at this faculty and have enjoyed the majority of my classes and I am sure if you decide to study here, you will too.