Are you considering doing your Erasmus in Santander, Spain?

Without a doubt, Spain is one of the top Erasmus destinations for numerous students in Europe (nearly 100,000 students per year). If you are reading this, it is because you intend to be one of them, and on your list is a city called Santander in the north of Spain, in a region called Cantabria, right?

You will also know that Santander is home to the University of Cantabria, as well as other universities such as CESINE and UNEATLANTICO (Universidad Europea del Atlántico).

 

At HiCantabria, we want to help you with this decision by giving you 5 objective reasons to choose Santander as your destination and 5 reasons not to choose Santander as your Erasmus destination.

Why us? We have experience not only as Erasmus students abroad but also as coordinators of Erasmus students in Santander.

It is important to consider that Santander and Cantabria are changing rapidly. Fortunately, the city is becoming increasingly international, although this unfortunately means a certain loss of identity. What we can assure you is that you will have an unforgettable experience.

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Santander

5 Reasons to Consider Santander as Your Erasmus Destination

1 – Nature and outdoor sports

We wouldn’t be lying if we told you that Santander and its region, Cantabria, are among the most impressive areas in Spain. It has everything, from a spectacular green coastline with endless beaches to a truly wild mountain system. You couldn’t ask for more if you’re looking for nature to escape the pollution of big cities!

What does this mean for you? The opportunity to practice countless sports, from surfing (very popular, especially among Erasmus students—you can check out our “Surf in Cantabria” section) to diving or golf. You can also explore our activities page on our website!

2 – University / Erasmus Network

As we mentioned, there are three universities in Santander, and we know they all have wonderful groups for their Erasmus students—they are like a big family!

 

The University of Cantabria is the only public one and has a fairly large campus, with an excellent Erasmus Student Network (ESN) association that organizes many activities and trips. They also provide support for anything you might need!

 

We won’t lie and say that the courses at the University of Cantabria are easy, but we are sure that this will be a great challenge for your professional future! Take advantage of this opportunity and learn as much as you can.

 

In short, the Erasmus environment in Santander will not disappoint you at all. You will also meet the coordinators or mentors, who are locals.

3 – Cantabrian food

If there is nature in Santander and Cantabria, it means there is good food.

 

If you like fish or seafood, or simply want to become an expert in Spanish cuisine with traditions like the famous pinchos, Santander is the place for you.

 

You will see all kinds of delicious fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat in the supermarket. And you can dine at affordable restaurants, as we indicate in our “Restaurants in Santander” guide. Don’t forget to visit the bars to try the pinchos—check out our “Bars in Santander” guide!

4 – Plenty of nearby places to explore

If you decide that Santander is your Erasmus destination, you will find a great advantage: there are many interesting regions and cities nearby to visit.

You can take trips to the Basque Country (Bilbao or San Sebastian), La Rioja, Madrid, Asturias, or even do the Camino de Santiago.

The university itself organizes excursions, so you will have the opportunity to go on great trips.

5 – Safety

When it comes to safety, Santander is very different from other Spanish cities like Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Madrid, or the neighbouring Bilbao.

Santander is one of the safest cities in Spain, and you shouldn’t have any problems. In some areas outside the city center, we recommend taking precautions, especially at night, but aside from this, you can feel safe.

Both in Santander and throughout Spain, if you encounter any problems, don’t hesitate to call the police (091); they will help you!

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Bahia de Santander

5 Reasons NOT to Consider Santander as Your Erasmus Destination

1 – Weather

One of the things that makes a country like Spain famous is the climate, right?

Well, in northern Spain, everything changes, and the climate is not what you might have in mind when you think of Spain. As we say here, the green color comes at a price…

We won’t lie to you: it does rain and get cold in Santander. It’s not extreme, but there is more humidity than in southern Spain.

We can also tell you that this trend is changing due to climate change, and fortunately, in the north, we avoid the heat waves that affect the rest of the country, enjoying very pleasant temperatures in the summer.

Winters in the north are not harsh; the thermometer rarely drops below 5 degrees Celsius (usually around 10 degrees), but the humidity and sea breeze can make it feel colder.

2 – No 7-Day-a-Week Party Scene

Santander is not a large city, so don’t expect to go out partying every night of the week.

Locals usually go out on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Outside of these days, the nightlife is generally quieter.

However, the case with Erasmus students is different—they go out almost every day since they have a “favorite pub” where they get discounts. Erasmus students in Santander are like a little mafia within the city.

If you want to know more about the nightlife in Santander, we recommend this post on our blog: “Santander Nightlife“.

3 – Language

This disadvantage is not unique to Santander but applies to almost all of Spain.

We recommend having some basic knowledge of Spanish since very few people speak English (even young people often don’t speak it). Knowing basic phrases can help you a lot in avoiding problems.

Santander is a city that is opening up to international tourism, so we consider this a work in progress.

4 – Accomodation

In terms of accommodation, Santander is far from the prices of cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Mallorca, or Malaga. Even so, rental prices are relatively high (at least 800 euros per month for a two-bedroom apartment in a decent area).

Additionally, there are two more issues to consider: the reluctance to rent to students (there are quite a few requirements to rent in Spain) and the seasonal nature (rentals are usually available from September to June, which can be advantageous for Erasmus students).

In any case, the university should provide you with some support and guidance in this regard, so there’s not much to worry about.

5 – International Communications

In terms of communications, Santander is not on the same level as other areas in Spain. Tourism is still developing, so you won’t find many air connections.

Santander has a very convenient but small airport where Ryanair flies to international destinations such as France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Ireland, Romania, and Morocco.

One hundred kilometers away, there is the Bilbao airport, but few low-cost airlines like EasyJet fly there.


This can be a disadvantage if you wish to make many international trips or if your family and friends want to visit you frequently.

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Los Molinucos (Santander)

So now, what's next?

We have given you our reasons; now, the decision is yours!

 

If your answer is yes, congratulations! You can find practical information on our HiCantabria website, from what to expect to how to start preparing for your Erasmus course in Santander.

 

We recommend the sections “Plan Your Trip” and “During Your Stay“.


Also, be sure to follow us on Instagram @hicantabria, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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