This is the story of Angela Vella, a Erasmus student that tell us her amazing experience in Cordoba.
My alarm went off early in the morning and, immediately, I sprang out of my bed, filled with a mixture of excitement and nervousness. I couldn’t close my eyes at night anyway, kept awake by this one single thought: Tomorrow I would start my Erasmus in Cordoba, the loveliest city in the heart of passionate Andalusia, the experience of my life which is so close at yet so far away… I would transform into a feisty flamenco dancer, but first, I will die of a heart attack…
After a more or less stressful and, in any case, emotionally laden journey, I stepped off the plane in Malaga. There I was, in the heat of the Andalusian beaming sun, shining directly onto my face. I didn’t have the faintest idea of what I would have to except, so the first thing that came to my mind was “jacket off and sunglasses on.” Has the typical Erasmus-bon vivant-attitude already begun? Well, actually I can’t answer this question, the only thing I know is that the vivacious environment, filled with the loud voices of the Andalusians, lifted the mood. When the most likeable taxi driver of the world, who took me to Malaga’s central station, cheerfully blathering, then told me that I would certainly have the time of my life on my Erasmus in Cordoba, I was sure the day couldn’t get much better. So, here we go, taking the train to Cordoba, bringing with me seven kilos of excess weight and at least a tonne of excited anticipation for my Erasmus. From the minute I stepped out of the train and saw the display board with “Cordoba” on it, I knew that this would be an experience I would never forget. ¡Olé!
Thus, I had just overcome the first obstacle of the journey, now getting to know my homemates would be next. Oh dear, how wobbly were my legs! Of course, I had already conceived all nightmarish visions: What if the girls act like stuck-up drama queens who have nothing better to do than bitching about me? What if the boys are the grubbiest urchins I have ever seen in my whole life? If this happens, I will blow my brains out. This was sure, when precisely living together should be that important for the wellbeing. “Don’t worry, among seven people (-yeah, you’ve heard me correctly, I’m living with seven (!!!) other persons-) there would be at least one (-thanks for the compliment-) who’d like you,” my mom used to tell me. Finally, she was quite right and it was not only one… Soon, we turned out to be a real “piña.” This is a term used by the Spanish to describe a living together that works out excellently and, well yeah, we are loving each other. Crazy nights of wild partying, limp hangover Sundays on the sofa, international diners, sightseeing with collective astonishment, cozy DVD evenings, but also disturbing noises at night, cleaning roster quarrels, occupied bath rooms and completely disappeared foodstuff… we went through thick and thin, experienced laughing and crying and, finally, we are game for anything, just a real “piña.” This is what Erasmus is about, making friends across international borders.
Well, this brings me to another topic of interest since Erasmus means particularly one thing: Party, party, party! And this is especially true for Spain. “If the Spanish know how to do anything well, it’s celebrating,” a Spanish friend once told me and, oh, he was pretty right. True to Fergie’s motto “A Little Party Never Killed Nobody,” Spanish people always make time for those little things which make life worth living, and that includes “mucha fiesta.” And so are doing the Erasmus students as, after all, an exchange should make you learn about and adopt foreign lifestyles (by the way, what a great apology ). So, if the answer of the frequently posed question “Ereh Erahmuh?” (just imitating the Andalusian accent which sometimes took me back a few nerves) is “yes,” you will become the best friend of any party animal. Flashing disco lights, Reggaeton beats or other Latin-American sounds, perfect hip swings or silently tapping feet… there is a wide offer to experience the greatest party excesses of your life. I fell in love with Cordoba and its nightlife, others also have found their love to a person: Getting off with somebody might be really easy here, it is not without reason that in a song, which is frequently played, it says: “La conocí bailando […] así ella me enamoró.”
Well, one might get the impression now that Erasmus is more an undercover-party than education and the development of intercultural competence. Naturally, this is not true at all, although Erasmus students do not rank among the most diligent ones (and in fact, once I fell asleep during class…it was at the teacher’s fault, sorry). However, the breathtaking beauty of the faculty I vsited, la Facultad Filosofía y Letras de Córdoba, motivated me to wake up every morning: I got amazed by its finest mosaics, its huge patios and its historic auditoriums every time I strolled along the building’s hallways. As may happen in such circumstances, you might blunder into the flurry of camera flashes of Cordoba’s numerous tourists. By the way, if you are doing English Studies just like me, you will usually be in the teacher’s good books. In most cases, the English level of the Spanish students might be comparable to that of a ninth-grader at school, so that you’ll soon turn out to be the teacher’s favorite. On your Erasmus in Cordoba, therefore, it is also possible to excel at university and to rake in top grades. What a good life!
Finally, the last section of this post is particularly concerned with my love to Cordoba. Yes, it’s true love, I’m convinced of it. I still remember how I strolled along “Puente Romano” for the first time, how the beaming September sun shone right onto my face, I saw the birds gliding through the air above the Guadalquivir, singing their most cheerful songs, and the “Mezquita” appeared in its entire beauty over the horizon. I took a deep breath as if I wanted to inhale this wonderful moment forever, wanting to make the world hold on. From then on I knew that my time in Cordoba will pass by too fast so that I needed to fully enjoy every single moment. And this would be pretty easy in such an amazing city. In fact, Cordoba is ideal for doing your Erasmus. It has exactly the right size to quickly settle in and, at the same time, to leave no room for boredom or monotony. Due to its rich historical past, sometimes, you may have the impression to be taken straight back to ancient Roman times or to find yourself rather in North Africa than in Andalusia. I will never forget the golden portals of the “Mezquita” shining impressfully in the Andalusian sun, the sea of colorful blossoms in the garden of “Alcazar” or the smell of those orange trees. There are so many ways to fall in love with Cordoba every day anew and, in any case, it will certainly win your heart, too.