Innovasjon og prosjektledelse ved Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena i Spania (høst 2018)
Martin Nøhr har vært Erasmus + utvekslingsstudent i Spania. Han skriver: "If you ever are in doubt about leaving cold and “boring” Norway, for the scary but exciting abroad, don’t be in doubt anymore."
Adios Cartagena, ¡Te Quiero mucho!
“Saying farewell to my Erasmus in Cartagena feels like a breakup”
Your experiences of leaving Norway to meet new cultures will make you grow as a person, by a hundredfold! Yes, it feels like you are always out of your comfort zone, but the person you learn to become during your Erasmus stay, is a more confident, experienced and a more European version of yourself.
Pick Your destination
Before choosing a destination for your Erasmus adventure, it is important to think what will be the main goal for you with this experience? You know you will go to a foreign university and study, but what more do you want to achieve? In my case the most important part for my Erasmus choice, was to finally learn to speak Spanish. Because I have studied Spanish for 5 years previously, but like most Norwegians, I ended up not remembering or able to use anything of my previous Spanish knowledge. Only the stupid phrase “Una cerveza por favor”. That turns out to be completely unhelpful in mainland Spain. Ops....
Travel and stay
The date was set! The paperwork was filled out with good help from the international office. And Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena (UPCT) Wished me welcome as a student in business courses the 17. september.2018. This is much later than the school in Norway. And the semester last until the 15. february. But the reason is simple, it is too hot inside to start in August. It is the same for all the southern European countries.
Choose to live with other people!
Travelling alone from Østfold university collage is not a problem, it is a great opportunity! My best decision was to live in a cheered flat dead centre of Cartagena, only five minutes from the best bars in Cartagena, the best nightclub the main shopping street, the business university and the port of Cartagena.
The only catch is that I lived with six other international people. One form Italy, two from France, one from china and one form Spain. All communication went in Spanglish, and the Erasmus I lived with from France and Italy is now part of my international family. And In the future, I am sure I will visit them in their hometowns in Italy and France living for free.
This is the living option I recommend. But you can also live in student’s apartment, where you get your own room, and all the meals of the day for 450€/month. You will live 30minutes away from the city centre. While the option i described above cost me only 290€ a month for a room, and once a week with cleaning of the common areas.
A helping hand
Cash is king! The rent is usually paid in cash, this is common practise in Spain
Don’t rent true the webpage erasmusu.com. Try this webpage instead
Become a member of the facebook group Erasmus Cartagena 20.. – 20.. (fill in the year you will do your Erasmus.) Just give a quick introduction and state that you need an apartment. Erasmus students already living in Cartagena will help you out.
If you want it easy and live in the same flat as me, here is the contact info to the land lord: +34655952962, contact him on WhatsApp, and say that Martin Nøhr sent you. He only speaks Spanish, but with google translate there is no problem. He also has a heart of gold and gives the best customer service.
Travel from Alicante airport – Cartagena
To arrive in Alicante it takes 3,45h with plane from Gardermoen. Then you need 2-3houres before you arrive in Cartagena with bus/train. I have had friends and family visit me in Cartagena, so I have good experience with getting to and from Cartagena in the cheapest way possible.
Bus from Alicante airport – Murcia bus station. ().
Bus from Murcia bus station – Cartagena ().
The price for this distance is around 12€
Bus from Alicante airport – Alicante city centre (Right outside the airport)
Train from Alicante train station – Cartagena ()
The price for this option is around 20-25€
Taxi from Alicante airport – Cartagena
The price for this is around 120€
With this information I hope you find your way to Cartagena and will be able to plan your trip. My travel tip for plane tickets are to match the tickets with the bus that goes from the airport. At 15:15 or 18:15
¡Bienvenido a Cartagena!
Now that you know how to get an apartment and travel cheap to Cartagena. You will quickly understand that you are rich. A beer is 2€, a great tapas meal with a small beer or glass of wine is at most 2,70€. This make you quickly realise that 100kr or 10€ that is nothing for Norwegians, have the same value of maybe 500kr. Living in Spain the money you get from Lånekassen, Erasmus+ and the travel fund from Østfold university collage is enough money for survival. No need to take a loan, or to save money in advance. I link the best places for beer, tapas, etc in the bottom of the blog.
There is always something happening in Cartagena!
If you travel alone, go out for some beers with your flat mates and learn to know them quickly. Because soon you will be going out to party or drink every weekend, you don’t have breaks from stuff to do in Cartagena. In the welcome week, make sure to get yourself the ESN Card. ESN stands for Erasmus Student Network. The ESN are the ones that arrange all the activities in the welcome week, trips to different cities, erasmus parties, sports days and more throughout the year, the ESN is only for Erasmus Students, and from 2018-2019 it was 230erasmus students in Cartagena. Follow them on facebook before your stay: https://www.facebook.com/esn/
Cartagena is also a really historical city with a lot of museums to discover and have a beautiful roman theatre. As a historical city more than 2000years old they have a historical festival in September, lasting for 10days! Called Cartagenesis y romanos. Celebrating that Cartagena got defeated by the romans. The festival is full of fireworks, parades, 38bars all decorated as a camp for the warriors, glorious battles, theatrical plays, music and dance. On one of the days you can even get “married”. And don’t worry, you can buy alcohol until 6am, to keep the party going strong. http://cartaginesesyromanos.es/fiestas/
These are the main events, but there is always some student activity happening, beach days in LA manga or Cala Cortina. Cala Cortina is 4km away from the city, a good place to run for a quick swim, or by walking it is 45min. Hiking on top of mountains, exploring the lighthouses etc. I am almost never in the apartment, so don’t worry too much about the standard you get.
The school system in Spain are different from what we are used to in Norway. First of all, the courses give you only 1,5 – 7,5 study points. So, I ended up taking 6 courses, where 2 where in Spanish/bilingual and 4 in English, giving me in total 31,5 study points. In Spain you are not expected to purchase the books and attending class and taking notes will be enough to pass. The grade system is also different from 1-10, where you need a 5, to pass the course. I found most of the courses easy and finishing at siesta each day at 1400.
The classes (A group) that I attended is made for the Erasmus students. Almost all the teacher speaks English, and are patient and helpful, wanting you to pass the class. And in the classes where the teacher only speaks Spanish, there is always some Erasmus students you can ask for help, and the notes are in English. So with a bit more work in these classes, by doing some self-study, you will find this easy as well.
One of the best memories I have from Cartagena is the road trip I and my two of my flatmates did in October. Renting a car true the app Drivy (nabobil), and in 4 days experiencing all of Andalucía. First day driving to Cordoba and Sevilla, next day go around all day in beautiful Sevilla and in the night leaving for Cadiz and partying with ESN Cadiz. Then travelling from Cadiz to Gibraltar and further to Malaga... And then back to Cartagena. All cities had a different culture and the road trip was in amazing mountains, desserts and fields of bulls.
To finish, I am happy to have achieved to establish an international family that consists of two Spanish girls, one Italian, two French girls, one French boy and me. They are friends that will last, and that I can crash in their flats when I come to visit to explore the world. And the most important part why my Erasmus have been so special.
Best place for tapas
La Uva (https://goo.gl/maps/iUo1aCbrZs22)
Best Italian pizza approved by Italian Erasmus students
Mano a Mano ()
Best place for cheap beers
Ñam ñam (1€ for 0,5 of beer)
Best place for food Wednesday and Sunday
100 montaditos (https://goo.gl/maps/pC2VN6C3bJU2)
Best Student bar
Radio bar (https://goo.gl/maps/JWuJhBxkS7n)
Best Lounge for cocktails
Mister. witt café (https://goo.gl/maps/LLAGTPLwN7E2)
Best café for work and coffee/beer
El Soldadito de plomo (https://goo.gl/maps/GrEpk9w52VE2)
Best beach in Cartagena
Cala Cortina (https://goo.gl/maps/AqcwyZeuyQw)
Best piano bar, open mic on Thursdays and live singing on Sundays
Rick’s café and piano bar (https://goo.gl/maps/wRFY9xjGG3Q2)