PRE­ARRIVAL  GUIDE TO GIRONA  2015/16   

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 PRE­ARRIVAL GUIDE TO GIRONA 2015/16 Disclaimer No rights can be obtained from this text. While we strived to make the information in this booklet as accurate as possible, we make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of this guide. We do not accept liability for errors and omissions in the contents of this guide. Version: January 2016 Index A)​
Foreword from the ESN Girona SC B)​
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Introduction C)​
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Language D)​
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Weather E)​
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Food F)​
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Arriving to Girona G)​
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Public transports H)​
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University I)​
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Healthcare J)​
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Housing K)​
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Useful links L)​
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Useful telephone numbers 2 A)​
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Foreword from the ESN Girona SC Hello! From the ESN Girona Sección Candidata we prepared this guide, to help you out with the first steps preparing your arrival to Girona. About us, we are a non­profit student association of the University of Girona, born in January 2015, and in the process of becoming an official section of the Erasmus Student Network (we became candidate section on November 2015!). The purpose of this association is to help the international students coming to Girona under a mobility scheme, making your experience even better. Our volunteers, who are students or former students from the University of Girona, want to help you out, and they will answer your doubts, organise activities, and intermediate with the University, among many others things. We are here for you, so do not hesitate to ask us whatever you want or to join us in our activities (trips, parties, language exchange sessions...)! Contact us as at: [email protected] Find us on as well: ● www.facebook.com/groups/1590356694582632 (Erasmus Group on FB!) ● www.facebook.com/esngirona ● www.facebook.com/Gisa.Girona ● www.udg.edu/esngirona We hope you find this guide useful, see you soon! With , ESN Girona Sección Candidata Location of our office in Montilivi Campus:
3 B)​
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Introduction The city of Girona1 (aka as Gerona in Spanish) is located in the northeast of Spain, being the capital of the province. The population of this city is about one hundred thousand residents, making it a medium­sized city, with pretty good infrastructures. The city has its origins 2.000 years ago, and it is known for its beauty, with a wonderful medieval old town that you will surely love to visit (they filmed GoT a while ago!). You can find all the services you might need, from hospitals to recreational facilities, such as sports centres, cinemas, swimming pools, mall shops... Girona stands out as very well located city, as it is in the middle of the way between France and Barcelona, having also the sea not really far away, with a lot of wonderful beaches. The coastal area of Girona is known as “La Costa Brava”, and you will find amazing locations where the sea meets the mountains, with wonderful small beaches, within a 30 minutes’ drive by car. Also, the Pyrenees and their sky­stations in winter are just a couple of hours far away, plus many other mountains if you are interesting in nature sports, like skiing, trekking or canyoning. C)​
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Language There is something you should know: The main language in Girona is not Spanish, but Catalan. So, if you speak Spanish and find something that you don't understand, don't worry, it is most likely to be in Catalan. But have no fear: almost everyone here speaks Spanish perfectly as well, being both languages official. About English, that might be a little bit more troublesome, as not many people has a good level at it, but generally people is friendly and understanding, so they will have patience with you and make their best to be helpful. D)​
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Weather The weather here would be described as a “temperate humid subtropical climate”, which means that summer is hot (July/August are normally 28 ­ 40º on the peak of the day), and winters are cold (like ­5 ºC on the coldest moment of the night), being generally pretty average, and sometimes semi­humid. About winter, normally January is the coldest month, and skii stations will usually work from the middle of December to the end of march. Even though in winter is cold in here and might freeze in the night, barely never snows, and if it does, not much. The most raining months are April/May and October, but that doesn’t mean much, as rainy days are evenly spread throughout the year, being most of the time just sunny or a bit cloudy. While being here, you should not bother about climate disasters, as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and strong snowfalls, as do not happen, making it really safe. ​
Map of Girona where we pinpointed some relevant locations: www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=zwCSwRspB4xs.kHNhwp4cAaTo&usp=sharing 1
4 E)​
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Food The Mediterranean diet has been widely praised for having many benefits on your health, and here in Girona you will deeply enjoy it. In any supermarket you can find a wide range of meat products (pig, cow, chicken, lamb, rabbit, and horse), fish, seafood, vegetables and fruits, most of them from the area or the country. The food is not that expensive, but you have to take a look to the different supermarkets around to see which ones fits your budget best. The quality of the products in Spain is generally good, being the seasonal products a must (mostly fruits), as they are cheaper and taste incredible. Bakeries are really common around, and you will find plenty of them, since bread is a very important part of the diet here. The pastries there are wonderful as well, and not expensive! About products from foreign countries, you can find shops offering products from Asia, but also from Arabian cultures (including Halal products), as there are many immigrants from those countries. Just look around and ask, and you will surely find what you need. We recommend you to check out the “Mercat del Lleó”2, located in la “La Plaça del Lleo” where in the inside and the outside you will find a great variety of products, most of them local and fresh, from early morning to midday. Also, every tuesday and saturday you can go 3
to the street market called “Mercat del Riu Ter”, aka “Mercat de la Devesa” ​
. Street markets are common all along Catalonia, being only open 1 or 2 days a week, depending on how big is the city/village. Here you can find a wide range of products, from food to clothes. This is a good place to buy your fruits and vegetables, since the quality and price is good, and you can choose between a lot of different stalls. Finally, the eating schedules of restaurants and local people. For breakfast, it goes from 07:00 to 10:00; Lunch from 13:00 to 15:30; Dinner from 20:00~22:30/23:00. We usually have a snack in the afternoon, around 17:00~18:00. F)​
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Arriving to Girona As a tourist city, it is pretty easy to arrive. The city has a train station, where all trains stop, even the high speed ones. This railway goes from Barcelona – Figueres (sometimes until Portbou or Cerbère), being those the names that will appear as destination in the train station instead of Girona, since it isn't the last stop. There is only one railway between Barcelona and those cities, so you won't get lost unless you fall sleep and miss the stop. www.mercatlleo.cat 2 ​
www2.girona.cat/ca/documents/11622/261407/fullet_mercat_marxants.pdf ​
(english translation on the end) 3 ​
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There is also an airport nearby, but not many flights go there. Most likely you will arrive to 5
the airports located in Barcelona ​
, as there are more flights there. In that case, you can take 6
a bus coming to Girona that will leave you in the train/bus station of Girona ​
. Also, you can take a bus or subway7 and go to the train stations in Barcelona, and then take one to Girona. As Barcelona is a big city, there are several train stations you can go. Normally, you would go to the train station of Sants Estació (NOT Plaça de Sants) or Passeig de Gràcia. The ticket from Barcelona­Girona costs around 8€/16€, depending on the type of train, and you can buy it just before taking the train. There are 3 types: ● Regional (REG): The cheapest one is also the slowest. Stops to all the train stations between Barcelona­Girona. The trip takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to arrive. ● Mitja distancia (MD): A little bit more expensive, this train does less stops, so it takes about 1 hour and a few minutes. Plus, there are seats with tables and sockets to charge your devices8. This one might be the best option, as there isn't much difference in the price, but it's way more comfortable. ● Alta velocitat (AVE/Avant): The most expensive one, this train goes straightforward from Barcelona to Girona without stops. It only takes about 45 minutes to arrive, pretty new and fancy. G)​
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Public transports Inside the city of Girona you can move around just walking, as it is not so big, or take the bus (you buy the ticket inside it, with cash). The main bus station is in the same place as the train station. Taxis are also available, but might be a little bit expensive (about 10€ to cross the 4 The Girona/Costa Brava airport (GRO), is actually located in a small village outside the city, about 15 kilometers away, but there are direct buses between the airport and the bus/ train station of Girona h
​ttp://sagalesairportline.com/en,​
and taxis as well. www.aeropuertobarcelona­elprat.com/ingl/accesos_aeropuerto_tren4010.htm 5 ​
www.sagales.com/uploads/20151008110651_d2aec6963ee2ff5817baed2c9529d02d50af3f00.pdf 6 ​
http://www.tmb.cat/en/linies­de­metro 7 ​
8 Here are the timetables for the Regional(R) and Mitja Distancia (MD). http://rodalies.gencat.cat/web/.content/pdf/horaris/R11.pdf Other stops: http://rodalies.gencat.cat/en/index.html For the AVE, you should visit:​
www.renfe.es 6 city). As the city of Girona is rather small (if we compare it with Barcelona), the public transportation is also limited. In Girona the only option you will find are bus or taxis, so you will be walking and taking the bus a lot. You can find more information on the webpage of 9
the city H)​
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University If you are wondering how is going to be studying in Girona, here are some basic things that you should expect, although it might be a bit different due to the type of studies and subject. Generally, you will be expected to attend to most of the lessons (about 80%), being controlled the attendance by signing a list, that might be handed anytime during the lesson. Some courses may require a complete attendance. Unfulfilment of the attendance requirement might lead to automatically fail the subject (regardless of your marks), so be careful! If for some reason you think you won't make it, you should talk with the teacher about your situation, in order to avoid surprises in the end. All this information is usually given by the teacher the first day of class, but should be included in the webpage of the course. The relation between the students and teachers is generally pretty close, as this is a small university. If you have any questions, you can ask it to the teachers directly or send them an e­mail about it, knowing most of them English. We have been pointed out that in some cultures is not seen as appropriate to ask questions during the lessons, or to ask help/extra information in order to make the papers required. We have to say that this is not the case here, being a “passive” attitude from the student seen as a lack of interest. When in class, doing questions, asking for information that has not been understood, or trying to precise the content, are considered as demonstrations of interest. Those might be even taken into account when assessing the students. Commonly, 10% of the final mark is based on this, so you should try being participatory. About the system for deciding your grades, you would generally have a continuous evaluation system, where you will have to do exams and deliver a few papers as long the subject goes. Sometimes you will have a final exam, sometimes a few smaller exams. It's up to the teacher, and the same for the papers (every teacher/department do whatever they want...). How much will each of them mean to the final mark, is also up to the teacher, so 9 As the information is provided only in Catalan, know that: “Horaris per parada” = timetable by bus stops; “Plànols per lìnia” = maps by route; “horaris de butxaca” = handbook timetable” ●
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http://www.girona.cat/bus/cat/index.php http://www.girona.cat/bus/cat/linies.php Map: ​
http://terra.girona.cat/vu/bus/ 7 you better pay attention when they explain it in the first class or in the information webpage of the subject. About the language used on the lessons, it might be in Catalan or Spanish (English is not really common), depending on the group or teacher. If international students are in the class, the most likely is the lesson is done in Spanish, so don't worry if you don't know Catalan. Also, here they let the student choose if they want to do the exam or papers in Catalan, Spanish or English. Still, you should check it with the teacher, just in case they don't have a good level of English. If they ask you to do it in Spanish anyway, the most likely is that they will be also more indulgent when grading. I)​
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Healthcare10 For the students coming from EU member countries, remember to bring the European Healthcare Card. If you’re not, you should hire a health insurance, otherwise you would be expected to pay fees for the health services. In emergency situations, health assistance will be provided without doubt. Dentist services included in the healthcare systems are basically to pull out tooth, and the 11
appointment takes a few days, so you will end up using private clinics ​
, being recommended to have a dental care insurance as well. J)​
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Housing12 The University of Girona offers a service to help international students finding accommodation, known as Girona Housing13. They will help you with the housing, and might offer you some possible locations. If they do not have any flats for rental, they will offer you also the option of a room in the students housing. The main advantage of the flats offered from Girona Housing are that the price is reasonable and the flat has been revised, so there 14
should not be surprises when moving in. About the students housing, known as RESA ​
, offers as advantages customer care in English, extra facilities, etc. However, you should know that is located near the Campus Montilivi (5 minutes’ walk), so it is quite far away from the City Centre (40 minutes’ walk). That means that if you are a party animal, coming back at night would be a total pain, as there is no public transport running at night. A taxi from the Centre to the RESA will be about 10€ on the night. 10 ­ UdG information regarding the Health and Insurance for Non EU Students http://www.udg.edu/tabid/18342/language/en­US/Default.aspx ­ UdG information regarding the Health and Insurance for EU Students https://www.udg.edu/Doyouwanttocome/Informacionspractiques/Healthandinsurances/tabid/17575/language/en­US/Default.asp
x 11 Fixing a tooth decay costs about 40­80€, depending on the clinic and the state of the teeth. www.udg.edu/viualaudg/ElsCampus/AllotjamentUdG/tabid/19525/language/en­US/Default.aspx 12 ​
//www.udg.edu/Gironahousing/tabid/19526/language/en­US/Default.aspx 13 ​
http://www.resa.es/eng/Residences/Campus­de­Montilivi 14 ​
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There is also the SAU ​
, where you can find also flats, although the information is not given in English. These flats are offered from students or the owner of the flat, so the University is not responsible of them. Other ways of finding housing is contacting with students of the University through social 16
networks, such as the Erasmus Girona facebook group ​
created by GISA. 17​
There is also the FB page “De pis en pis ”, created by students from our University, where you can ask/apply for a room, flat or roommates. K)​
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Useful links ●
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UdG information regarding the Residence Card/ Visa for Non EU Students www.udg.edu/tabid/18320/language/en­US/Default.aspx UdG information regarding the Residence Card/Visa for EU Students https://www.udg.edu/Doyouwanttocome/Informacionspractiques/Visaandresidenceca
rd/tabid/17573/language/en­US/Default.aspx UdG General Academic Calendar 2015/16 http://www.udg.edu/Portals/55/Proposta%20Calendari%202015­16%20amb%20facul
tats%202.pdf UdG International Relations Staff in Faculties/Schools http://www.udg.edu/mobilitat/Volsmarxar/Quatreconsellspràctics/ResponsablesRRIId
elaUdG/tabid/17560/language/en­US/Default.aspx Going to the UdG by Bus ​
http://www.udg.edu/tabid/5766/Default.aspx Townhall website ​
www.ajuntament.gi Tourist information ​
www.costabrava.org/ Map of UdG Faculties http://www.udg.edu/LaUdG/Elscampus/ArribaralsCentres/tabid/5644/language/en­US
/Default.aspx UdG free bike rental: ​
http://www.udg.edu/tabid/20846/activitat=14 City bike service: ​
http://www.girocleta.cat/ L)​
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Useful telephone numbers City information Municipal 010 / 972 41 90 10 Tourist information 972 22 65 75 https://www.udg.edu/tabid/9078/language/ca­ES/Default.aspx 15 ­ Full flat:​
­ Shared flat:​
https://www.udg.edu/tabid/9079/language/ca­ES/Default.aspx https://www.facebook.com/groups/1590356694582632/?fref=ts 16 ​
https://www.facebook.com/DePisEnPisGirona 17 ​
9 Public information 972 41 90 50 Police Local Police 092 Catalan Police 088 National Police 091 Emergencies Emergency Phone 112 Medical emergencies, ambulances 061 Fire Brigade 085 Hospitals Dr. Trueta Hospital 972 94 02 00 Santa Caterina Hospital 972 18 26 00 Taxis Taxis Girona (especially adapted taxis) 972 22 23 22 972 20 33 77 Giro Taxi 972 22 10 20 That’s all for now folks! See you soon! 10 
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