Isn’t it better for me to go to a place bigger than El Puerto?
Well, that depends on you and what you want out of your language experience. It is true that big cities can indeed offer certain advantages that El Puerto de Santa Maria can’t, however it is also true to say that El Puerto has its own specific benefits unique to small town living. If you are “toing and froing” about what is best for you, we suggest you make a list, similar to our example below, which, in our case is based not only on our views as educators, but also as past students and as people who have lived in Seville and El Puerto:
|Transport Connections||Seville||El Puerto is on the MAIN train line to Seville and Madrid and is also only 10 mins from Jerez but, overall, Seville is better connected.|
|Opportunities to speak Spanish out of class||El Puerto||Naturally, if you push yourself hard in Seville you will have no problems speaking Spanish most of the time. However, the reality is that more foreigners holiday in Seville, thus more English creeps in, decreasing your opportunities to speak Spanish. We personally feel Puerto offers better opportunities in this area.|
|Cultural Events||Same but different||The more obvious answer would be Seville, however, one of the beauties of Spain is how much cultural activity still exists in small towns and villages. Otfen, these events are more authentically experienced in smaller places.|
|Historic Sites||Seville||Puerto is no ugly duckling, but there is no way Puerto can compete with the exterior beauty of Seville. The city is quite simply an architectural gem. However does this make a student enjoy their learning experience more or actually learn more? Also dont forget you can visit Seville for a day trip.|
|Museums, theatres, gallaries etc…||Seville||Puerto has an active theatre and also some small smaller gallaries and museums but again there is no way these can compete with Seville so if these areas are very important to you, we would suggest you go to Seville.|
|Cosier||El Puerto||A strange category but it is amazing how much pride a Portuense has for their city and this comes from the simple fact that El Puerto is a very very nice place to live. Location, size and friendliness of the people make it “cozy” and “homely” to be in. Cogestion of city living in Seville can make “cosy” harder to appreciate there.|
|Night life||Same but different||Again maybe a surprising answer but whilst El Puerto can not compete with the quantity of clubs and bars of a big city, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a good night life. El Puerto is a favoured destination for Spanish tourism throughout the year and for this reason the night life scene is to a high quality for the size of the town and it is nice to go out in a town where you can bump into people you know which is harder in a bigger city.|
|Beaches||El Puerto||No competition here of course but a little know fact might be just how famous El Puerto’s beaches are (the Spanish King used to vacation here before he went to Mallorca) and just how hot inland Spain is May – start October when often tempartures in El Puerto (due to the Atlantic breeze) can be up to 10ºC cooler than Seville, which is often a nice breather compared to the suffocating heat in inland Spain in summer.|
|Best place to study||Same but different||We honestly want you to study in best place for you and if that is Seville we hope this list helped you make that decision, but likewise, we hope this list made you consider El Puerto on its own merits which, whilst not better than Seville, are likewise not worse but just different.|
Isn’t El Puerto dead in the winter?
No. Although the population of El Puerto is bigger in the summer (250,000) than it is in winter, (95,000) the town is by no means dead during the winter months. Puerto, because of its historic past as an important trading port and Sherry town, has always been an active, exciting place with the vast majority of bars and restaurants open year round. As a whole, we all love the summer in El Puerto (who wouldn’t!) but the winter definitely offers many advantages that the summer doesn’t: less packed beaches (you will still get many northern European summer days in winter!), quieter restaurants and the same night life as summer but without as many tourists.
Can you tell me what the weather is like year round?
Well, summer is hot but an important fact is that coastal Atlantic cities are much cooler than inland cities and also a bit cooler than mediterrean ones. Seville, Cordoba and Granada will regular have temps +40ºC whilst El Puerto will usually have an average of 30ºC and rarely goes above 35ºC. From May to the end of September it will very rarely rain and by this I mean once or twice during that period although start of May can sometimes get more. March-April and October-November offer cooler temperatures and is the favoured time for people who want to get out of the gloom of dark northern Europe as normally the temperatures during this period are like German summers for example although at times it is possible to have some weeks when it rains quite a bit, but of course if that is so it will probably be raining even more in Northern Europe. December – February are as one would expect the coolest (but I deliberately don’t use cold) months of the year with temperatures on rare occasions going down to 5ºC but much more normally sitting between 10-20ºC. It is often sunny and many days can be like a Scottish summer day but these months are of course the most frequent for rain as one would expect.
If El Puerto is a beach town, what do you do when it rains?
To be honest probably the same as you would in an inland bigger city…stay indoors and do very little…. No seriously, although El Puerto doesn’t have as many of the indoor cultural sites as bigger cities do to go to when it rains, it still does have its own theatre, a few small museums and the bodegas (wine cellars) as well as plenty of bars and places to eat. Also in the Sparkville building: the board games, home cinema, free WiFi, not to mention the general company of your fellow students, do come in very handy for making sure you have things to do. And remember that rain offers the opportunity to do those Spanish exercises your teacher asked you to do!