When looking for accommodation I wasn’t sure what I wanted, I’ve never moved out of home before so I knew this experience was going to be one of many firsts. When choosing accommodation for my exchange here the University of Oviedo offered 3 options: finding my own flat with other students or professionals, living in a university residence or living with a home stay family. I ended applying for a spot in one of the University of Oviedo’s three student residences; El Colegio Mayor san Gregorio, El Colegio Mayor America and the Residencia Universitaria de Mieres. The odds were in my favour and I was lucky enough to get a room in El Colegio Mayor san Gregorio (my first pick!), and it is now the place I call home. While I had been hoping to get an individual room, I have ended up in a double which is slightly cheaper and I now prefer. I got really lucky with both my room and my roommate!
Accommodation Award for best size and location:
The university residences here are a lot smaller than the ones in Auckland, having between 94 and 112 beds, this means that all the staff get to know you and learn your breakfast orders! While the location is not quite perfect for me, because of how long it takes me to walk to my campus; the location of the Colegios Mayores is excellent! They are located on one of the University’s 6 Campuses in Oviedo and I feel as though I live in a huge sports complex. If you are studying computer sciences or sports medicine these residence would be ideal for you because you would be living 100m away from the faculties! While my walk to uni every morning is a bit long the walk to and from the centre of town is around 10 minutes which is perfect for going out, which everyone here does! If you decided to live here you should be prepared to hear people coming home from a night out between 5 and 8am particularly on weekends.
Accommodation Award for making life as easy as possible for students:
The residences have a cleaning service that cleans all the rooms’ everyday of the week except Sunday. They come in while we are at uni, make the beds, clean the floor and the bathroom. Towels and bed sheets are also provided by the residence and those get changed every Wednesday by the same lovely ladies that clean our rooms. They also feed us! Unfortunately the food is not included in the price of our rent, however I just pay for everything at the beginning of the month. When it comes to food they have a few options for how you can pay. There are a few people here who have bought their own fridges with them and use the communal microwaves to cook their own meals every day. You can also pay for individual meals, the complete menu everyday or as they call it here the media pension, which is what I do. The media pension means that I pay for breakfast everyday and get either lunch or dinner included in the price, which is perfect for me because I am always still at uni for lunch.
Accommodation Award for most intense beginning to life in a residence:
One thing they don’t tell you about living here is that for the first three weeks of semester they have novatadas (initiations) for all the new residents who want to take part. It was pretty strange for me at first because I had no idea what everyone was talking about, what are these novatadas? But as my Spanish has improved over the few weeks I’ve been here I’ve begun to understand what is going on. I was told that this year’s initiations started off a lot easier than last years to prevent everyone quitting in the first week like in the previous year. Unfortunately the novatadas a pretty exclusive thing, so if you aren’t part of it you can’t watch any of the activities they plan. For example this week they had a talent show for the initiations, while eating dinner we saw they all head into the common room and thought we would join them, however before the show started they said that anyone who was not taking part wasn’t allowed to even watch. So while it is a great way to get to know some of the other students living here it is a pretty exclusive ‘club’. Some of the activities that were part of this year’s novatadas were waking everyone up to run laps around the track at 4am, staying out till at least 3am every night despite having classes the next morning and blindfolding people and tricking them into believing they were jumping out of a second story window.
Compared to the other accommodation options I had, I really do think that this was the best option for me. I am really enjoying always having people around and always having someone to go out with on the weekends. However, if you prefer your own space there are plenty of well located reasonably priced apartments around to rent. The University of Oviedo also has a housing office with regularly updated lists of available rooms and flats close to the different campuses. All of the Erasmus students I have met since coming here found their own flats and they are finding it really good to. Many flats are a combination of Erasmus students from different countries but there are also flats that are made up of predominantly Spanish students.
Until my next update!