Hola a todos! Hello and welcome to my first blog post for the Routes into Languages LingoMap Blog.
My name is Sarah, I’m 21 years old and I study Spanish at Cardiff University. I am currently on my Year Abroad in Valencia! Before I head back from my Christmas break at home on Sunday (very early, on a 7am flight) I thought I would write my first post. This post is going to be on the topic of Entertainment and leisure.
As part of my year abroad, and which you probably already know from my profile, I am taking part in the British council teaching assistants programme. This basically means that I am working in a Primary school, in a town which is about 30 minutes outside of Valencia, teaching English to young Spanish children and generally helping the teacher when he or she needs me!
Teaching has turned out to be a fantastic alternative to studying at the university, and I was lucky enough to choose this option because I am in Valencia for the whole academic year. Creating good relationships with the teachers, chatting in Spanish to them in the Staff room, and getting on well with the children has improved my confidence not just in speaking Spanish but with my self-esteem in general. I have been lucky enough that, the children in my school are enthusiastic to learn English and make a real effort to help me with my Spanish at the same time. This makes it a win win situation for everyone involved!
Now that I’ve explained to you a little bit about the working side of my year abroad, it’s time to move on to what makes me tick in my free time! I work three days a week and I really value the other days as a chance to explore the local markets and try new food. The food is one of my favourite things about living in Spain, if not one of my favourite things about life in general! The central market in Valencia is full of fresh fruit and vegetables, herbs and spices, amazing local meat and fish, and typical Spanish ingredients. The huge plus is that it is also super cheap, so you don’t need to worry about saving every penny like you may have to in Corte Ingles!
When I’m not buying the ingredients to cook, you can probably find me eating and drinking in a traditional Spanish tapas bar! My favourite tapas dishes are now patatas bravas (fried potatoes with a tomato and garlic sauce), Tortilla (traditional Spanish omelette), and Burrata (a creamy cheese like mozzarella, only creamier!)
When I’m not trying out the local food, I love going to the beach. Valencia has a beautiful sandy beach which stretches for miles along the Mediterranean coastline. I’m looking forward to spending more time there when the sun comes out again. The beach also has volleyball nets, and some cool beach bars where you can hang out with your friends.
The great thing about Valencia is there is so much to do. If sunbathing all day at the beach isn’t your thing, there are some brilliant cinemas and theatres, perfect for practising your listening skills, and plenty of beautiful parks, sports pitches and gyms to keep you busy and entertained. Valencia is also home to the Valencia CF Mestalla stadium, the home to Valencia football club. It is relatively easy to pick up cheap tickets to the games! The shopping in Valencia’s shopping district of Colon is also worth mentioning!
Another great thing about this city, is that the most popular mode of transport is bike. Valencia has its own ‘Boris bike’ system, called the ‘Valenbici’. It’s a great and cheap way to get around whilst keeping fit at the same time.
Although I have days where I miss England and miss being at university in Cardiff, I am really enjoying making the most of all these opportunities. That’s not to say I don’t sometimes miss an afternoon spent catching up on Netflix with a hot chocolate and rain drizzling down the window, but I think a glass of sangria, a table full of tapas and the sunshine will do for now!
Until next time, hasta luego!