I wasted a lot of my time contemplating whether to buy certain things when I was on my year abroad, some of which weren’t great investments. However, here is a brief list of what I think was worth my money and what wasn’t.
So at the time I thought this was a great idea. No need to keep a supply of change every time I used the university printer, no waiting in horrendously long queues, no need to pay expensive printing fees and obviously the convenience of not even having to step outside your door. However, as time went on I realised that the printer wasn’t really needed. It was also pretty expensive even though I split the cost of it and the ink refills with my flatmate. There may have been a cheaper ink out there, however we bought ours from the Prink shop at the corner of Calle Carril del Picón. Each pack of cartridges cost around 16 euro for an Epson printer. After about a week getting of my bearings of the city and what it offered, I also found that Granada has a printer shop on every corner, with each page costing no more than 5 cent. These shops can also bind documents for you and usually sell a range of stationary. One of the great things about them is that they are open until late at night and are usually open most of the day except siesta time, so there is no stress for any last minute printing jobs. Come to think of it, there was a printing shop on my street (Calle Buensuceso) and I don’t think it was ever shut before nine. There is also one directly across from the Translation Faculty but I would recommend printing notes off as soon as possible as it gets very busy during the exam period. After many traumatising experiences using printers myself – when printing off an essay took about an hour because there was no paper, the paper was jammed, random blue splodges appearing across the pages etc – I am overcome with joy when someone else can do it for me.
Okay, so you may look and feel like an 80 year old woman but this is probably one of the most practical things I bought whilst in Granada. I went to quite a lot of shops to find the cheapest one but they all seemed to be about 30 euros (unless you buy it from Tiger but I don’t know how reliable these ones are). This seems a little pricey but split the cost with your flatmates and it seems worth it. Obviously it depends how far your nearest supermarket is from your flat and if you have a lift in your building to decide if you really need one but luckily my flat was on the ground floor so there was only a small set of stairs that I had to conquer.
Me and my flatmates would do a weekly shop together to save money so each shop would end up being pretty big, therefore being able to push everything along in the blazing heat was a god send. I don’t think I would make the 20 minute walk back to my flat if I didn’t have it. It’s even better when you buy a weekly supply of water and watermelons and you can just glide back to to your flat without breaking a sweat.
I was adamant that I wouldn’t have to use 2 phones whilst I was abroad. Who wants to carry about one for contacting home and one for contacting people in Spain. I managed to find a suitable pay-as-you-go sim from 3 that didn’t charge me extra to text, phone home or use data. So I was able to just have one phone which was perfect for me. However, if you would prefer to have a separate phone with a Spanish sim then it’s easy enough to get. At my induction day Vodafone were handing out free phone sims so I would hold off buying a sim until your induction day.
So even though I got a sim which allowed me to have just one phone, I did end up getting a second phone. A lot of companies and people require you to have a Spanish phone number as it will cost them to send messages. So me and my flat mate went to the nearest cash convertors and split the cost of an old Samsung phone (35 euro) and used the free Vodafone sim that we got on our induction. We hardly ever used it, other than for our landlord and wifi technician to be able to contact us, but I wanted to share with you that if you need to buy one then this is probably the easiest and cheapest way to do so.
This comes in very handy when you have people over to visit, especially if you have to go to nine a.m. classes whilst everyone else lies in. They only cost a couple of euros to buy from a shop on Calle Carril del Picón and it makes your visitors day more flexible. It also gives you peace of mind that if you loose yours there’s a spare handy.
Spain’s hot. I mean obviously its hot but its really, really hot and its like this all day long. It doesn’t help the fact that the Faculty of Translation has no air conditioning so even after showering in the morning and then attending 9 am class, you really felt like having another shower. I would even go as far as taking a small electric fan and a litre of water in to the exam hall when it comes to the summer exams. I didn’t do this and had to make the exam paper into a makeshift fan. The last thing you want to do thinking about in an exam is if the person sitting behind you can see the sweat through your top. So buy a mini deodorant then you can feel fresh and confident everywhere you go. This seems like an obvious purchase but I just want to highlight the fact that you should take one everywhere you go. Its hard enough making friends who speak a different language without them smelling you too.
I hope this gives you some ideas that will save you time, money and stress when you first get to Granada. And if you do end up saving any euros, then have a cerbeza on me.