Study in Cáceres, Spain



Study in Cáceres, Spain

Atop its hilly perch in the center of the autonomous community of Extremadura, Cáceres appears to be so timeless that it almost looks more like a movie set than a real town. Its blend of architectural styles, from Roman colonnades to Islamic towers and Renaissance villas, makes it visually striking and highly distinctive, and it has been recognized for its diverse heritage by being listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Visitors to Old Town will readily discover for themselves why Cáceres received this honor. The old neighborhood, surrounded by imposing medieval walls, has been almost entirely unchanged since the 16th century, and wandering down its narrow cobblestone streets feels like going back in time to a bygone era of Spanish civilization. History is so present in Cáceres as to be almost palpable.
 
Cáceres has been continually settle since prehistoric times, and over the centuries it has grown and changed along with the wider Spanish society. Here, visitors can gaze into the deep past by visiting the nearby Maltravies Cave, which contains cave paintings dating back to the end of the Paleolithic period (circa 10,000 years ago). Evidence of human cultural history from every period since then–classical, medieval, Renaissance, industrial, and modern–can be found within the city of Cáceres.
 
For better or for worse, however, the present has made decisive inroads in this old provincial capital. Students, who constitute a sizable chunk of the population, bring with them a lively energy and insatiable demand for nightlife. Nearly every night, the ancient walls around Old Town reverberate with the thumps of dance beats playing from clubs in other neighborhoods, and young ladies in high heels can be seen carefully picking their way amongst the cobblestones.
 
The vast majority of the students are enrolled at the University of Extremadura, which has one of its 4 campuses in Cáceres. This large public institution has programs in a fairly standard collection of disciplines–law, medicine, business, humanities, etc.–and a few unusual programs in areas like sports science and occupational therapy. The University of Extremadura also has an attached Polytechnic school, which offers courses on career-oriented subjects, primarily in areas related to computer science and information technology, which constitute a major industry in Cáceres.
 
The presence of a large student population, and of course the eminent beauty of the city itself, makes Cáceres a popular (and in many ways ideal) place to study Spanish. Foreign students, either attached to a study abroad program at the University or simply enrolled in one of the many private language academies, spend anywhere from a few weeks to as long as a year taking Spanish classes and immersing themselves every day in the language and culture of Spain. The students can practice their Spanish in nightclubs and restaurants, making friends and socializing even as they work towards becoming fluent speakers of the Spanish language.