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Student Traveler with questions

Hey all,

I am a student who will be studying in Santiago de Compostela for a semester and I am searching out good places for information on the city.

My first question is: Are there any aspects of Santiago de Compostela that you guys think a student DEFINITELY should know before travelling there?

Any information from anyone would be of great help, and I will stop back soon to ask tons more questions. Thanks for responding!
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Staff member
Hi there SantiagoTraveler,

Not really things that are crucial... but here are some things to think about:

- Don't know if the university will get you a dorm room. If not, have a look here for some ideas on how to get a room:

If you can afford it, old town is great... old stone houses/streets + good if you want to go out in the weekend

- USC (University of Santiago de Compostela) has Wifi, once here and registered you need to fill out a form to get username/password to use it. There is not coverage all over campus, but it works great where there is coverage.

- If you don't know Spanish, you will learn a lot during your stay. Why? Because "no one" here know English. Bring a small dictionary that you can have in your pocket...

- I get a lot of questions like. Can I buy this and that in Santiago? The answer is probably yes... have a look at , they have a big department store here.

- Are you bringing a laptop? It looks like you are from the US, so you need the power adapter... probably just the tiny ($3,- from Radio Shack) but I would buy it in the US... that thing could be difficult to get here. It is just that plug that makes you able to plug the plug into the wall... your laptop probably can do V110 - V220 without anything extra.

- Another thing is the keyboard... if you are going to write in Spanish, you would need the Spanish characters... if you even need it, buy it here.. not expensive.

... no one of these things are really important, just a few thoughts.

Un saludo,
Hello Ivar,

Thanks so much for your response. It has been difficult getting certain details out of the staff at the University. Do you know if the University has ethernet connections in the dorm rooms? I am staying in the dorms rooms. Can you think of any reason that I would want to bring a laptop if there is no ethernet connection in the dorm rooms?

I can speak in Spanish if you would like.

I am excited that no one knows English, because my goals in studying abroad include to perfect my language skills.

What is the night life like in Santiago? How conservative or liberal is the city's population?

Thanks so much for responding.


Staff member
Hi again,

I do not think that there are ethernet connections in the dorm rooms. But you have access to computer labs and there are also some Cyber cafés in town. I was mentioning the computer, because if you are an internet-addict like myself, you would want to know these thing (I think.. :).

If you just want to read your mail and browse some news from home, you do not need a computer. You can do that from the computer labs. I do not know too much about these computer labs, but I think each department or building has one... but now 100% sure how good they are. But for some light internet use they should be fine.

Actually for me English is better for me (I am Norwegian..:), my Spanish is getting better but more comfortable with English (lived 6 years in the US).

What is the night life like in Santiago? How conservative or liberal is the city's population?

The night life is quite good... there are not one place that everyone goes to, but rather several smaller places. When people go out they often go from bar-to-bar....-to-bar-to-bar... if you know what I mean.. :)

Conservative? ...compared to what? Bars are open until morning (don't know if it is 4 or 5am but way too late for me anyway...) This said, I can not remember the last time I saw someone really drunk.

The drinking culture is very different from the US (and Norway). It is not about to go out and get drunk, but to go out and have a few beers and have a good time... but it is not cool to get %$^%##^... you know what I mean...

My wife and I were driving home January 1st this year (at 3 pm) and we still saw people returning home from the party the night before....

You will love it, Santiago (and Spain in general) is a great place for exchange students...

Thanks again. The internet is a part of my life from minute to minute. I planned on learning to move away from that type of life, but I would still like to have personal access to the internet. I was just talking with someone on a chat room and apparently SOME rooms have internet access and some don't. I guess its the luck of the draw.

I guess with the conservative liberal question I was just trying to get a feel for general opinions on complicated issues in Santiago from the position of countries like the United States, to religiosity, and other things.

What about weather? How crazy does it get?

Thanks so much. You are a huge help!!
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ivar said:
I can not remember the last time I saw someone really drunk.

The drinking culture is very different from the US (and Norway). It is not about to go out and get drunk, but to go out and have a few beers and have a good time

yes, this is very noticeable throughout Spain. Spaniards are gregarious and go out in large groups and make a lot of noise into the small hours. But they do not get drunk. I think the only drunks I have ever seen in Spain have turned out to be English. Look at the crowds in the bars and many are drinking coffee or a small glass of something (in fact, not a few aren't actually drinking anything) rather than the large amounts of beer people knock back in N Europe. [Anyway, Spanish beer is rubbish and not worth spending good money on.]

Another thing re students in SdC is that the uni is very large for a comparatively small city. Student population is ca 40,000 in a town of ca 100,000. You can immediately tell when you walk into SdC whether it's term-time or not. Remove the uni and the regional government (and of course the cathedral) from SdC and there's not a lot left. It's not a commercial or industrial city like Corunna or Vigo. So, yes, conservative especially through the influence of the Church, though it's hard to be too conservative with 40,000 students milling around ;-)

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