INCOMING EXPERIENCE – Fiona Murray
The student Fiona Murray of St. Patrick’s College Drumconda, now Dublin city University. She tells us her experience with another student, Aoife Mc. Goldrick, at UCV and the city of Valencia.
My name is Fiona Murray and I am an Erasmus Student Studying Primary school teaching ‘Maestra de Educación Primaria’ in UCV. I am from the Midlands of Ireland and have been here in Valencia since January. Before coming to Spain with my Irish friend Aoife we both wanted to learn some Spanish, continue studying teaching in UCV by taking different classes, and travel. We did so much more than we set out to do and have had the best experience of our lives as Erasmus students at UCV. I cannot emphasise how helpful the staff were to us, and seeing as neither myself or Aoife spoke any Spanish at the start they aided us immensely with our paperwork and class arrangements. Any query we had was always quickly answered and the staff were always interested to hear how we were getting on. The students of UCV were so welcoming of us on Erasmus and we made friends for life in all of our classes and travels.
In terms of cultural experience, we learnt many new things about the beautiful country of Spain and got excellent travel recommendations off our Valencian friends. The city is so well serviced for transport and we were frequent users of the metro and Valenbici. I would definitely recommend getting a Valenbici subscription as it is the cheapest and best way to get around the city which is well serviced with cycle tracks.
Prior to coming here, neither myself or Aoife had ever studied or spoke Spanish before. We took level A2 classes at the UCV which boosted our confidence and gave us the grounding in Spanish we needed, and as the months went on we were comfortably speaking Spanish around this amazing city. In addition to this, our education classes gave us a grounding in how the Spanish Education system works and we saw many similarities between the Spanish and Irish education system. During the Semester, we also got to take part in Comenius Week, an International Education Conference week which this year was focused on new technologies. This was an amazing opportunity for new learning as delegates from different countries were there to speak and share experiences.
As for Valencia itself, it is the best city for Erasmus! I loved the amazing culture and food and how there is always something on to see in the city. We were lucky to have been here during Fallas, a crazy two week festival that I will never forget!! The culture and lifestyle in Valencia is probably the best in the world. In comparison to Ireland the pace of life is less stressful and more relaxed. With amenities such as the beach, the old town, and the Ciudad de Las Artes y las Ciencias, we were never once bored in Valencia! Jardines del Turia are a great place to go and relax with friends after college and we loved just sitting and watching the world go by. We lived in Benimaclet which was ideal as we were halfway located between the campus of Juan Batista, and on the Metro Line 1 to Godella. We were also only a 15 minute cycle to the beach and the main city. Over the past few months we have been on trips all around Valencia and beyond to places including Peniscola, Xativa, Montanejos, Albufera, Barcelona, Madrid and Morocco.
I cannot speak highly enough about my experience in UCV and can only hope that other students get the opportunity to come and study in such a wonderful University whilst experiencing life in the extraordinary and beautiful city of Valencia.