Segovia is one of the greatest hidden treasures of Spain. Originally founded as a Celtic settlement and given the name Segobriga, City of Victory, Segovia has since hosted Romans, Moors, and medieval Christians and Jews. Two millennia of existence has crafted the beautiful city of today, a consummate backdrop for learning about multiple styles of architecture, art, music, tourism, as well as the Spanish language and culture. From gothic arches and works of Rembrandt to heavy metal concerts and cultural festivals, students will find plenty to occupy their mind and body while studying abroad in Segovia.
Studying Abroad in Segovia
If you prefer the university route, Segovia offers two major university campuses for your pursuits in academia: the IE University and the University of Valladolid. Many students attend IE University for its strong business curriculum. The University of Valladolid, on the flipside, offers faculties in social science, legal studies, and communications, as well as computing and education. University grading in Spain is based on a 10-point scale (then converted to a four-point scale for academic records) and primarily exam-based. It is important for students to keep in mind that courses in Segovia are generally taught in Spanish.
Most study abroad programs in Segovia run for several weeks during the summer term; however, there are several opportunities to study abroad in Segovia during the fall or spring semesters as well. The fall semester begins in September and lasts until just before Christmas, while the spring semester begins in January and goes until June. Summer and winter breaks are observed throughout Spain, in addition to various national and religious holidays. When it comes time for holidays in Spain, get ready for the festivities!
Arguably some of the greatest opportunities for learning during study abroad in Segovia can be found in the culture and history of the city itself. Many students study abroad in Segovia in order to learn Spanish and pick up the signature lisp that permeates Castilian Spanish. Opportunities to learn Spanish will come in all shapes and sizes, including staying in homestays with local families for full cultural immersion.
Additionally, many study abroad programs in Segovia include frequent trips to historical sites both in the city and in the surrounding areas. The crowning monument of the city is the Roman aqueduct, El acueducto de Segovia. While an impressive testament to ancient Rome, circa 5 A.D., it also offers a popular viewing spot for local youth to look out over the city as they chat and smoke. Other sites commonly visited by students studying in Segovia include El Alcázar de Segovia (Palace of Segovia), the Segovia Cathedral, and the nearby palace of La Granja.
Life in Segovia
Student life in Segovia is very relaxed. For about two hours each afternoon locals retire for a nap (including those at work), which usually takes place at home. At first you may find it strange just how empty the streets of the city are during this time; but it won’t be long before you realize the extraordinary value of una siesta.
Spanish food has well-deserved renown around the globe, and Segovia is no exception. Tapas (appetizers) are common foodstuffs and the bread rivals that of France, Italy, and many other European nations. However, it is the tortilla española, that you may not have heard of that is truly worth trying in Segovia, which is a large (pan-sized) omelette consisting of eggs, potatoes, and various other fillings at the discretion of the cook. Be sure to reward your tastebuds with a hearty breakfast tortilla!
Festivals, concerts, and bullfighting events fill the calendar year and offer students the chance to experience life as a Spaniard. Titirimundi is a week-long puppetry festival that occurs every May, with shows put on in theaters, plazas, and the streets. The summer is an especially packed time of the year in Segovia, during which music abounds through festivals such as Folk Segovia and Festival de Segovia. Be sure to look up all of the upcoming events that will occur during your study abroad program in Segovia so you can take part in celebrations of its rich history!
A stroll through the city will reward your eyes with the warm, rustic, pastel colors of the residential neighborhoods contrasting with the lush green plazas and parks. Walking is highly encouraged; however, there are three bus lines that can bring you to major points across the city if you need them. Taxis are also available for hire. Regardless of transport method, you’ll find yourself in the company of thousands of daily visitors (and that’s just from Madrid alone). Have a chat and discover a new destination during your time outside of the classroom, or wander off on your own and lose yourself amongst the shops that line the main streets. Wear your walking shoes and discover new memories!
Accommodation & Visas
Hotels, hostels, and apartments can be found all over the city, so only a little bit of research yields a myriad satisfactory results. Furthermore, as mentioned previously, the common homestays with local families offer insight into life in Segovia. Consider your academic and personal goals behind your decision to study abroad in Segovia, and then be sure to choose the program and accommodation arrangement you’re most comfortable with.
Student visas can be obtained via Spanish consulates; however, for many nations visas are only necessary for stays longer than 90 days. The requirements for obtaining student visas vary depending on your country of origin. EU citizens are not required to obtain a visa, no matter how long their stay. Your program provider will generally aid you in the visa process, but you may also consult GoAbroad’s Spanish Embassy Directory for assistance. The student visa process can take a few months so be sure to get a head start in order to avoid unpleasant stress.
Benefits & Challenges
Be aware that Segovia is not a destination for which to practice your native tongue. Banking, business, etc., is all conducted in Spanish, so you may have some difficulty getting settled in if your Spanish skills are slim to none. If you have not already studied Spanish at home, it is best that you try to learn some while studying abroad in Segovia (and fast!). Some local youth will be able to speak and understand (limited to intermediate) English, but most adults cannot speak English at all, or don’t have the desire to.
On the other hand, should you decide to study abroad in Segovia to specifically learn Spanish you will not be disappointed. Do not be afraid to engage with locals even with what you feel is limited or “broken” Spanish; they will try to understand you as best they can and be pleased you are trying at least! In trying to speak their language, you will come to better understand the local people.
The relaxed Spanish lifestyle can come as a surprise to students from countries in which time is managed more meticulously. For example, dinner time is generally at 9:00 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. or 11:00 p.m. if dining at a restaurant. Should you decide to eat out, waiters may not seem very prompt in their service to you; this is because dinner is an open period for not just eating, but relaxing and conversing in Spanish culture. More generally, do not expect non-academic events or gatherings to commence on time either. A meeting time between friends of 9:00 p.m. can easily wind up being 11:00 p.m., so try not to take offence. After all, in this lifestyle you just might discover new things about yourself and the world around you, even if that is that fact that you appreciate punctuality.
A day trip to Segovia alone can provide years worth of memories. The wondrous history that defines the cities aesthetics, coupled with the relaxed Spanish atmosphere, creates a harmonious space in which to engage all five of your senses. As a student studying abroad in Segovia, you will be able to discover the magic of a city that has survived and thrived for millennia. As you open your mind to this microcosm of human history, open your heart to the love of they who define it.