When european students think about destinations for their Erasmus stay, Spain is normally one of the most popular options, due to the good weather. However, most of the people who decide to study in Spain, preffer to go to Andalucía, Valencia, Madrid or Barcelona. But there are more reasons to study in Spain appart from the good weather. In this post we are going to show you a bunch of reasons to study in Bilbao, located in the northern Spain.
11 Reasons to study in Bilbao
Okay, the weather in Bilbao during winter is not the best of the country, it rains almost everyday. Despite this, it’s not that cold as Madrid can be and the rain is what really makes our city and the rest of the region that beautiful. In Bilbao rains, yes, but it rains in a very particular way, and we call it xirimiri. We say xirimiri when it’s drizzing, raining but not too much.
The Capital of the World
If you thought that New York was the capital of the world, you were totally mistaken. If you are going to study in Bilbao, you need to know that for its inhabitants, Bilbao is the capital of the world without any doubt. Don’t worry if you are not from Bilbao, they usually say that a bilbaino is that pimp, that can choose were to be born.
One of the reasons to study in Spain can be learning Spanish. Well, in Bilbao you will learn Spanish, but you’ll also have the chance to learn Euskera, the language of the Basque Country. Euskera is probably the oldest language of the European continent and it’s very different from Spanish, French and Portuguese. During your stay you are not going to have enough time to learn the whole language, but you can learn how to order a beer in a bar: Garagardo bat, mesedez.
Every July, when the summer is finally in Bilbao, the hill Kobetamendi is invaded by music fans that want to enjoy the most popular music festival of the Basque Country: BBK Live. This festival is mostly focused on rock&indie music. During the last years, worldwide known bands have visited Bilbao to make Kobetamendi shake: Muse, Munford and Sons, The Killers, Arcade Fire, Pixies, Foals, The Black Keys, etc.
Bilbao is a very safe city. According to a recent research, Bilbao is the most safe city of the entire country. This research also reveals that the Basque Country is the safest region of Spain; so you are not going to feel that safe in any other city of the country :).
We call pintxo to small piece of bread where we pun different kind of food. We can compare pintxos with spanish tapas; but of course, everything is better in Bilbao, and with pintxos happens the same. The culture of going to eat pintxos is very widespread along the Basque Country. There are many bars in Bilbao where you can try pintxos, but if you want to eat the best ones, we reccomend you to go to Casco Viejo, Indautxu or Abando.
The football is sacred in Bilbao and Athletic Club is more than a football team in Bilbao; it’s a way of living, is like a religion for many fans. One of the facts that makes this teams different is that they don’t hire foreign football players. You can only play for Athletic club if you have been formed in Lezama (Athletic’s cuarry) or in one of the few clubs that has an arrangement with Athletic Club. This team is one of the oldest football club of the Spain and it’s the only one that has always played in the Spanish first division; apart from Barcelona and Real Madrid. Reading this, you can guess that its fans feel very proud of it.
What if I tell you that there are some typical sports from the Basque Country? And what if I tell you that one of them consists on lifting stones of more than 200kg? Yes, Basques are also known for having some typical sports that requiere a lot of strenght. Besides being very popular in the Basque Country, they are not as widespread as football, for example. The competitions are normally held during local festivities.
Aste Nagusia, also known as la semana grande de Bilbao, is the most important festivity of the basque city. This festivity is celebrated every year, during the last two weeks of August. The festivity starts when Mari Jaia, an emblebatic character that symbolizes the festive spirit of Bilbao, appears on the balcony of Arriaga Theatre to start the festivity with the Txupinero. El Txupinazo is the ceremony that anounces the start of ten days of party in Bilbao.
If you are thinking about going to the Txupinazo, you should know that it is usual to throw flour and eggs each other, so you’ll probably finish with your clothes dirty and your face white. During 10 days, Bilbao is filled with party and joy. Every night, the fireworks cover the sky with colors and forms that reflect in the estuary, creating a magic atmosphere. After the traditional fireworks, you can find music concerts in different points of the city. Apart from that, txosnas are also a point of meeting for thousands of young students looking for party, fun and alcohol.
Every 21st of December, the citizens of Bilbao celebrate the festivity of Santo Tomás. Every year, the artisans and farmers go to El Arenal to sell their products. But this celebration isnot only about selling local products, its an special occasion to meet withyour group of friends (kuadrilla) to eat talo con txorizo and drink cider or txakoli. This festivity is celebrated during the day and finishes at midnight. The market closes at 21h, but people usually continue the party in the surrounding bars and pubs.
Forget about paella, if you go to Bilbao, you must try: bakalao al pil pil, spanish omelette and marmitako. Basque people is known for having one of the best gastronomies of the country and also for eating a lot. If you plan to go to a restaurant with locals, prepare yourself to eat everything on your plate!