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    So this is a long shot I know but hopefully someone can help me out.

    Basically I'm in my third year of a languages degree at Glasgow Uni which I'm spending abroad as a mandatory part of the degree, as a languages assistant in a small town in the south of Spain. I've been here out for nearly two weeks now, and I just started working yesterday. I always knew the year abroad was something I would have to do but for a long time I was able to put it out of sight and mind so to speak.

    Basically, now that I'm here, I think I've made the wrong choice. Obviously it's very different to what I'm used to, and I'm missing home immensely. I know homesickness is natural but I also feel like my anxiety is causing me to find this extra harder to deal with. I've always had problems with anxiety and dealing with stress, I always think that the worst possible outcome will happen, fortunately I've never felt so low as to have to get help for my mental health and over the past year and a half it's been relatively good too. However I feel like being out of my comfort zone is just exacerbating my precarious mental health and is making me feel worse than I ever have in a long time. I feel lethargic all the time, I can't motivate myself to do anything, my stomach feels queasy, I have no appetite and then I feel ill because I don't eat that much (although I am trying my best to eat as much as I can) and whenever I phone my parents to talk to I always end up crying. I just miss everything back home so much, my family, my boyfriend, my pets, my friends, even the classes at uni. I just feel like I've made the wrong choice coming out here and I don't know how I'm going to manage 8 months isolated from everything. The town I live in is very small, there's not a lot to do, I haven't made friends my own age, I have massive internal problems with social anxiety so I find socialising difficult anyway, and I just feel very isolated and down.

    I realise this is still true start of my year abroad and I don't want to throw the towel in just yet but I'm seriously considering asking if I can come back home after Christmas having spent three months out here. I know myself and I know that my mental health will just deteriorate if I have to do it for another five months, when I think about coming home for Christmas all I can think of is having to go back to Spain afterwards, I can't even feel happy about it. My mum is getting irate with me when I try to discuss this with her and I'm worried that'll make it worse too because I just feel worse after talking about it with her.

    Obviously however the problem is that this is a mandatory part of my degree but I'm already feeling so down that I've considered dropping out, or starting again and changing my course. Other people I've spoken to doing the same course agree that I should wait until Xmas and then contact the uni. I know this is about building resilience but do I really want to risk it if I still feel this down in a month or two and then have to spend another 5 months out here on my own? The endless possibilities really stress me out.

    If anyone has been in a similar situation or can offer me any advice, then I would really appreciate it. Glasgow Uni seems to be quite good with mental health (I know one friend who pulled out like 2/3 of the way through second year, they just let her resit the whole year) but I'm still anxious to ask. I would really just like to put my mental health first, but like I say, this whole situation is just causing me so much anxiety.

    Thanks in advance and please be kind in the comments
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    You have put in a lot of work for your degree already. You have to ask yourself can you stick it out for this placement to fulfil the course requirement. I understand it is a small town - do you have option to travel to nearby towns and cities in your free time. Think about it as an experience not with dread. When you feel you miss home, you can email or Skype family or friends. You mention you are in Spain, maybe your friends could go visit you in their holiday time?

    If you wanted, you could request to go home for Christmas for a week or two if you feeling homesick and then return to Spain.

    If you feel this has a really harmful effect on your mental health, then maybe you have to quit to focus on yourself. However, I would try to continue if possible. Make sure you eat well and look after yourself. Go for walks or travel to the nearby areas, keep yourself busy.
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    (Original post by cheesecakelove)
    You have put in a lot of work for your degree already. You have to ask yourself can you stick it out for this placement to fulfil the course requirement. I understand it is a small town - do you have option to travel to nearby towns and cities in your free time. Think about it as an experience not with dread. When you feel you miss home, you can email or Skype family or friends. You mention you are in Spain, maybe your friends could go visit you in their holiday time?

    If you wanted, you could request to go home for Christmas for a week or two if you feeling homesick and then return to Spain.

    If you feel this has a really harmful effect on your mental health, then maybe you have to quit to focus on yourself. However, I would try to continue if possible. Make sure you eat well and look after yourself. Go for walks or travel to the nearby areas, keep yourself busy.
    The nearest big cities are about an hour away by bus, so I could only really go once a week. But at the same time as I said I'm finding it so hard to motivate myself to do anything, I just want to stay in bed all the time. My mum said it would get better when I started working and I hoped so too, but after two days I just feel even more tired and run down. I do fortunately get to go home at Xmas and I think my dad is visiting me next month if he can but it's just the thought of having to come back out for another five months after Xmas that's really preying on my mind. I know by that point you could say "oh it's only five months left" but in my mind it's still more than half the time I have to spend away. I honestly feel like going back for like a week at a time when there are school holidays will just make me feel worse because i won't be able to relax at home knowing I have to come back out. I'm trying to eat as best as I can but it's so difficult - I'm also vegan and while I have found a lot of stuff I can eat out here I didn't realise how better the UK is for my diet, I just miss my freedom I guess. It's also still like 30 degrees out here during the day and when I try to go out for walks I end up just feeling sweaty and grimy and worse than before :/ I'm just not enjoying life here at the moment and I can't see it getting any better
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    You could set a trip to the nearby city as a treat - something to look forward to at the end of the week (or whenever you get time off).

    How are your colleagues? Also, are they other students on their Year Abroad near you? You could meet up - easy to talk to and you are all in the same situation. At least your father will come to visit you, which it will be nice to see a friendly face. Maybe you could compile a list of sights for the both of you to see? It will get you interested and more informed about what is in the area.

    Drink plenty of water - even shorter walks are better than no walks. Try to stay out of the sun at the hottest parts of the day. Spain can cater for vegan diets too, and some of the best produce is in Spain!

    When you return to Christmas, don't think of how sad you are that there are five months left. Just enjoy being with your family, and that it is only a short time that you will see them again. In the long term, this experience will be good for you, it is just how you choose to take it.
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    (Original post by cheesecakelove)
    You could set a trip to the nearby city as a treat - something to look forward to at the end of the week (or whenever you get time off).

    How are your colleagues? Also, are they other students on their Year Abroad near you? You could meet up - easy to talk to and you are all in the same situation. At least your father will come to visit you, which it will be nice to see a friendly face. Maybe you could compile a list of sights for the both of you to see? It will get you interested and more informed about what is in the area.

    Drink plenty of water - even shorter walks are better than no walks. Try to stay out of the sun at the hottest parts of the day. Spain can cater for vegan diets too, and some of the best produce is in Spain!

    When you return to Christmas, don't think of how sad you are that there are five months left. Just enjoy being with your family, and that it is only a short time that you will see them again. In the long term, this experience will be good for you, it is just how you choose to take it.
    That's a very good point about going to the cities. I've been looking at what there is to do and they are quite expensive but maybe I could go out every other weekend once the weather starts cooling down.

    The town I'm in is about halfway between Seville and Huelva and as far as I'm aware I'm the only language assistant living here. Some people have told me I should consider moving to Seville/Huelva but I don't think that's possible for a variety of reasons. I have a very cheap flat here, and the school itself has recommended I live in my town - I'm not sure how keen they would be on car sharing and the like either since they've apparently had problems with other assistants commuting in the past. Most of my colleagues are also a lot older than me (I'm only 20) and I just feel very out of place.

    The town is honestly really small and I've been looking a lot about what there is to do but I've not really found anything of note, especially since my schedule changes every day on an alternating week basis so I can't even try to form a kind of schedule :/ I'm used to a wide variety of stuff to eat and going out to eat too but so far all I've been able to eat is pasta and rice dishes with assorted vegetables. This is a staple of what I would eat back home but here it just makes me feel sad. I know an obvious answer is to stop being vegan but I genuinely don't think I could bring myself to eat meat again - I saw a dead cat in the street on the way to my school this morning at like half 7 and i wanted to cry so much it was horrible.

    I'm trying my best not to think about it but it's honestly easier said than done, I won't be able to relax because I'll be constantly anxious that every second I'm getting closer to going back to Spain, that's how my anxiety has always worked
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    Have you asked your colleagues for recommendations of things to do in the surrounding area?

    Try to find some positive about each day. It is all to easy to focus on the negative and that just makes you miss home even more. If you feel more optimistic, then it will take your mind off your worries.
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    (Original post by cheesecakelove)
    Have you asked your colleagues for recommendations of things to do in the surrounding area?

    Try to find some positive about each day. It is all to easy to focus on the negative and that just makes you miss home even more. If you feel more optimistic, then it will take your mind off your worries.
    Not yet, but as I said it is a very small town. There really isn't anything touristy that I could do, there is a sports hall and a cultural centre but a) the classes really don't fit with my schedule and b) I think I would need to register as a resident of the town to access them, which I think poses difficulties with the contract I have in the flat etc. I just feel like being away from everything I know for the first time is such a shock to my system and I'm not able to handle t well at all :/ especially since I have a lot of free time where I feel down and I can't bring myself to do anything but focus on the negatives
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    Have you tried going to the sports hall in person and checking to see if they would let you in? Sometimes they might make exceptions, especially if you are working in the local area.
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    (Original post by cheesecakelove)
    Have you tried going to the sports hall in person and checking to see if they would let you in? Sometimes they might make exceptions, especially if you are working in the local area.
    I could email them and ask if they would need me to register at the town hall in order to use the facilities? That's a very good idea, thank you
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    Travel! Go to local cities at the weekend, Seville and Granada for example are steeped in history, culture and have great food. If you're into sports, then Seville has two great football teams and there are many others in the area. Don't isolate yourself in your small town.
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    Look at what you can get out of it. You feel anxious because you are in a totally different world to your own, and everything is alien. As part of my uni degree I spent 4 months studying in Austria. Some of the stuff I found completely foreign... but certain things stay the same - like if you are upbeat (not like a Duracell bunny, but you know, smile and ask people you work with about their day), people will be nice back to you. You have visiting places around, taking pictures, writing a journal about the positive parts of your experience - so you can keep it all for future years and look back at it with awe that you did it. I also suffer with anxiety but try to keep it under control - remember, your feelings are not the actual situation, but how you perceive it. Try and eat good things that make you feel happy, have enough sleep, when you feel anxiety is taking over - get outside for some fresh air when you can. Try and remember your hobbies. Do you read, sing or anything else that can help you relax? Remember - at this stage you do not have a family/children/obligations near you - so you can just spend all the free time on enjoying life. Good luck. ❤️
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    Well obviously you are feeling low. You're in another country, where you don't really know anyone and you seem like a naturally anxious person. But like anything, I think it's just matter of getting used to it. I'm from London; when I was 17, I had work experience for 3 weeks in a hospital in Hong Kong. I could only speak a few words in Cantonese, the customs and mannerisms were completely different and I knew absolutely no one. After the first day, I remember I was so ready to burst out crying and ask to quit.

    In actuality, nothing really changed over the next few weeks. In a literal sense. I didn't suddenly make a buddy, or I didn't suddenly learn to chat with people. BUT I got used to it. That was the only thing that really changed. And once you get used to something, it starts not being so bad. I know it seems pretty impossible; you've hardly been in Spain what, three weeks? I don't blame you, but I think you should trust that things will get better once you settle into your experience a bit more.

    Maybe it's just how I am, but I love travelling and I love the prospect of being in a small town where I can just look at the view. Yes, it'll get boring sometimes. But I'm a bit of a social recluse anyways and as long as I have my sketchbook and pencil, I'm ok. I would take this experience as a time to get yourself used to complete independence, and you will have to be completely independent one day anyways so you're a step ahead of other people.

    I would just give yourself a little more time. I know you think that five months is a long time, but it really, really isn't. When you complete it, you'll probably be thinking how fast it went by, even. And you wouldn't have wasted all your effort at uni, either.
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    (Original post by _alexhowell)
    Travel! Go to local cities at the weekend, Seville and Granada for example are steeped in history, culture and have great food. If you're into sports, then Seville has two great football teams and there are many others in the area. Don't isolate yourself in your small town.
    Seville is the closest city to me so I would definitely love to check it out! I was planning to go last week but it ended up being so hot that I couldn't face it and I left it out. I think I'm going to wait until it starts cooling down before i go out. There are lots of things I want to see in Seville too but the transport there are back (it has odd times too) and the things I want to visit all cost like around ten euros so it's something I i would need to save up for. But I'll definitely try to travel!
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    (Original post by Dr_Hope)
    Look at what you can get out of it. You feel anxious because you are in a totally different world to your own, and everything is alien. As part of my uni degree I spent 4 months studying in Austria. Some of the stuff I found completely foreign... but certain things stay the same - like if you are upbeat (not like a Duracell bunny, but you know, smile and ask people you work with about their day), people will be nice back to you. You have visiting places around, taking pictures, writing a journal about the positive parts of your experience - so you can keep it all for future years and look back at it with awe that you did it. I also suffer with anxiety but try to keep it under control - remember, your feelings are not the actual situation, but how you perceive it. Try and eat good things that make you feel happy, have enough sleep, when you feel anxiety is taking over - get outside for some fresh air when you can. Try and remember your hobbies. Do you read, sing or anything else that can help you relax? Remember - at this stage you do not have a family/children/obligations near you - so you can just spend all the free time on enjoying life. Good luck. ❤️
    I think what's stressing me out the most is that I need to spend 8 months out here for the Spanish side of my degree whereas for the French side (and as far as I'm aware since it's in the UK it's an equal joint honours) I only need to spend three months away. In my head it's just such a long time, I know I could manage three months, even four or five at a push, but by the time I get towards the end (ironic I know) I won't be able to focus on anything but coming home. I do try and smile at people, I am quite sociable and polite, but people in the street just gawk at me. I met one woman though who is so nice, I'm tutoring her sons twice a week and I started yesterday - I really enjoyed it but now I'm wishing I could just do private tutoring instead of working in the school full time where the apparently bilingual kids don't seem to like or want to speak English!

    I do try and go out a lot, it's really hot here at the moment but hopefully it'll cool down soon, I always have my window open. I'm a vegan and while there's plenty here I can eat, the selection is still a lot more limited than back in the UK and that on top of my anxiety making me lose my appetite is really making me miss all the options I have in the UK haha, but I'm sure as I go on I'll find hidden gems in the supermarkets here. I'm definitely going to try and motivate myself more to do my hobbies so hopefully that'll fill my free time too thank you for the advice
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    (Original post by Anygy)
    Well obviously you are feeling low. You're in another country, where you don't really know anyone and you seem like a naturally anxious person. But like anything, I think it's just matter of getting used to it. I'm from London; when I was 17, I had work experience for 3 weeks in a hospital in Hong Kong. I could only speak a few words in Cantonese, the customs and mannerisms were completely different and I knew absolutely no one. After the first day, I remember I was so ready to burst out crying and ask to quit.

    In actuality, nothing really changed over the next few weeks. In a literal sense. I didn't suddenly make a buddy, or I didn't suddenly learn to chat with people. BUT I got used to it. That was the only thing that really changed. And once you get used to something, it starts not being so bad. I know it seems pretty impossible; you've hardly been in Spain what, three weeks? I don't blame you, but I think you should trust that things will get better once you settle into your experience a bit more.

    Maybe it's just how I am, but I love travelling and I love the prospect of being in a small town where I can just look at the view. Yes, it'll get boring sometimes. But I'm a bit of a social recluse anyways and as long as I have my sketchbook and pencil, I'm ok. I would take this experience as a time to get yourself used to complete independence, and you will have to be completely independent one day anyways so you're a step ahead of other people.

    I would just give yourself a little more time. I know you think that five months is a long time, but it really, really isn't. When you complete it, you'll probably be thinking how fast it went by, even. And you wouldn't have wasted all your effort at uni, either.
    I do realise that I've been very very quick to be like "oh I want to go back home" and I am going to give it more time before I get in touch with my uni and see if they can offer me advice (even regarding my mental health, not even about me leaving early or anything). Hopefully, once I've been at the school a few weeks and I've sorted out my paperwork etc, I can get into s routine that makes my anxiety easier to cope with.

    I'm a bit of recluse/introvert too and I'm doing exactly what I would do back home, usually I don't mind not really doing anything all day, but I think because I'm completely on my own with no familiarity, it's having an adverse effect on me.

    Hopefully by Xmas time I feel a bit better and I can face going back out for the last five months, I'm just worried that seeing my family friends pets etc for the first time In three months will make me miss them even more when I go back out 😭
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    Hey! I've just finished my year abroad, having been doing British Council in northern Spain - and your experiences are fairly normal. I was living in a small town called Soria, about 35K people, with the nearest cities at least a 2 hour bus ride away. How small is your town in terms of people and schools? If other language assistants are living out of town it would really be worth considering doing the same. A friend of mine was living in a village of 3000 45 mins away because it was where her school was, but it made socialising a lot more difficult. You may have a cheap flat there but it won't be much different in terms of costs in a flatshare in a bigger city.

    It does take a little while to settle in - you've only been there two weeks! Are you living alone? It would really be a good idea to try to find flatmates - I lived with three students, none of whom spoke a word of English, and with my limited Spanish at the time it made it quite hard at first. Honestly, I didn't really feel settled until I was coming back after Christmas.

    The other big thing is TRAVEL. You really do need to regularly get out of town (like every month at least) - spend the weekend in Seville, stay in a hostel, it can be pretty cheap and is one of the best things about the year. It also means you'll meet more people. You should be getting your wages (though if you're ministerio good luck with regular payments lol), erasmus and student finance, I was better off on my year abroad than I'd ever been in my life because of how cheap the living costs are.

    My year group also set up a blog that you might find comforting: https://arealisticyearabroad.wordpress.com/
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    (Original post by Lukemcw97)
    I do realise that I've been very very quick to be like "oh I want to go back home" and I am going to give it more time before I get in touch with my uni and see if they can offer me advice (even regarding my mental health, not even about me leaving early or anything). Hopefully, once I've been at the school a few weeks and I've sorted out my paperwork etc, I can get into s routine that makes my anxiety easier to cope with.

    I'm a bit of recluse/introvert too and I'm doing exactly what I would do back home, usually I don't mind not really doing anything all day, but I think because I'm completely on my own with no familiarity, it's having an adverse effect on me.

    Hopefully by Xmas time I feel a bit better and I can face going back out for the last five months, I'm just worried that seeing my family friends pets etc for the first time In three months will make me miss them even more when I go back out 😭
    Right, my sister was like that too. First year of uni, she had a blast but when she came back for the first time after four or five weeks, she couldn't stop crying when it was time to go back. However fun or beneficial an experience is, I think people will always prefer familiarity.

    And just think that this experience will look really good when you're applying for a job or something. Good luck.
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    (Original post by Paralove)
    Hey! I've just finished my year abroad, having been doing British Council in northern Spain - and your experiences are fairly normal. I was living in a small town called Soria, about 35K people, with the nearest cities at least a 2 hour bus ride away. How small is your town in terms of people and schools? If other language assistants are living out of town it would really be worth considering doing the same. A friend of mine was living in a village of 3000 45 mins away because it was where her school was, but it made socialising a lot more difficult. You may have a cheap flat there but it won't be much different in terms of costs in a flatshare in a bigger city.

    It does take a little while to settle in - you've only been there two weeks! Are you living alone? It would really be a good idea to try to find flatmates - I lived with three students, none of whom spoke a word of English, and with my limited Spanish at the time it made it quite hard at first. Honestly, I didn't really feel settled until I was coming back after Christmas.

    The other big thing is TRAVEL. You really do need to regularly get out of town (like every month at least) - spend the weekend in Seville, stay in a hostel, it can be pretty cheap and is one of the best things about the year. It also means you'll meet more people. You should be getting your wages (though if you're ministerio good luck with regular payments lol), erasmus and student finance, I was better off on my year abroad than I'd ever been in my life because of how cheap the living costs are.

    My year group also set up a blog that you might find comforting: https://arealisticyearabroad.wordpress.com/
    I'm not exactly surely how big the town itself is, the only data I can find online is for the municipality as a whole and there are a few smaller villages away from the town proper, but it's definitely about 20 thousand people roughly. The closest cities are seville and Huelva and I was thinking about moving to them, based on what others have told me, but the bus connections start pretty late in the day and take like an hour to get here roughly, and I start most days at 8:15/9:15. I know i could maybe car share with teachers but they've told me they recommend I live in The town itself because they've had problems in the past with other assistants not making it on time. Apparently there's also a flat shortage in seville just now so is it worth it having that uncertainty when I do have a pretty sweet deal here rn? (At most it would be 200 a most, rent and bills and wifi included).

    I have two flatmates, one is a teacher in the school, he speaks English decently and the other one is learning English I think. They're nice enough but they tend to either be out at work or in their rooms too!

    Thankfully the Junta is employing me, do you know if that means my wages are more likely to be on time? I'm definitely going to travel to Seville either this weekend or next weekend, when I'm feeling not as down and the weather is cooling down a bit. How did you find travelling on a Sunday? I read a student testimony in the BC's actual information pack that said to avoid travelling on a Sunday.
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    (Original post by Anygy)
    Right, my sister was like that too. First year of uni, she had a blast but when she came back for the first time after four or five weeks, she couldn't stop crying when it was time to go back. However fun or beneficial an experience is, I think people will always prefer familiarity.

    And just think that this experience will look really good when you're applying for a job or something. Good luck.
    I'm definitely going to try and stick this out until Xmas, that way no one can say I didn't try. But if I'm still feeling low by that point I also want to ask my uni if there's any way I can avoid having to spend the full 8 months out here because honestly the thought of that is such an emotional burden in my head. But I'm feeling a bit better about things today which is good
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    (Original post by Lukemcw97)
    I'm not exactly surely how big the town itself is, the only data I can find online is for the municipality as a whole and there are a few smaller villages away from the town proper, but it's definitely about 20 thousand people roughly. The closest cities are seville and Huelva and I was thinking about moving to them, based on what others have told me, but the bus connections start pretty late in the day and take like an hour to get here roughly, and I start most days at 8:15/9:15. I know i could maybe car share with teachers but they've told me they recommend I live in The town itself because they've had problems in the past with other assistants not making it on time. Apparently there's also a flat shortage in seville just now so is it worth it having that uncertainty when I do have a pretty sweet deal here rn? (At most it would be 200 a most, rent and bills and wifi included).

    I have two flatmates, one is a teacher in the school, he speaks English decently and the other one is learning English I think. They're nice enough but they tend to either be out at work or in their rooms too!

    Thankfully the Junta is employing me, do you know if that means my wages are more likely to be on time? I'm definitely going to travel to Seville either this weekend or next weekend, when I'm feeling not as down and the weather is cooling down a bit. How did you find travelling on a Sunday? I read a student testimony in the BC's actual information pack that said to avoid travelling on a Sunday.
    Honestly, I think it would be worth persuading the teachers to car share with you. You'll have a much more enjoyable time living somewhere with more people/other language assistants. For me, despite Soria's size, there were a pretty big number of language assistants (I was the only Brit but there were a solid 15+ Americans, and others, plus an erasmus contingent in the university campus. If they won't carshare, it could be worth then asking to change your hours/timetable to fit the bus times.

    You will find a flat. There are roomate searches all the time, and you should get on the erasmus/BC/auxiliares pages and ask about it. Two friends of mine have just moved to Seville and didn't have an issue finding anything.

    From my experience, the Junta was better with regular payments (usually the same date each month), but this can also vary depending on your comunidad. The ministerio paid us any time between the 1st and 12th of the month... You never knew what day.

    Travelling on Sundays wasn't much of a problem. Services are less regular but it also depends where you're travelling to and from. I had my day off on Mondays so I didn't often travel on Sundays, but the other auxes did. If you aren't aware already, have a look on renfe for trains, and Alsa for buses (though there may also be other more local/regional bus companies - so try goeuro.com). If you use Alsa, register with them for BusPlus - you can then get young persons bus tickets, and collect points to reduce future tickets.
 
 
 
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    All Courses Undergraduate
    Fri, 17 Aug '18
Poll
A-level students - how do you feel about your results?

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