While most English teachers dream of being in a big, bustling city with numerous airport connections, there are defiite advantages to living in a smaller city. Julia, who spent one year in a mid-sized town in Burgos, lays out the cost of living for Aranda del Duero.
Name: Julia McCoy City and Comunidad: Aranda del Duero, Burgos, Castilla y León School: I was placed at a secondary school. Your living situation? I had one roommate, and each of us had our own bathroom. Basically heaven. How did you find your flat? I loved my flat. It was clean, modern, and medium sized. Hard wood floors, living room, modern kitchen without bombona (propane tank), and central heating. Rent: 250 Euro/month. But I know of people in my town that had rent as low as 180. What did you spend on utilities? Utilities were paid every other month. During the winter, my half of the utilities was about 100 gas, 20 water. During the summer/spring/early fall, the utilities were about 60 gas, 20 water. You cell phone company and plan? I used Yoigo, and I had their cheapest plan. It didn’t come with data, but I only paid 6 Euro per month after the initial fee for the SIM card. What do you pay for internet? I did not get internet, I used the library internet and a café. I also did not have a landline. What did you spend on groceries? On average, 75-80 Euro each month. Did you have any other sources of income? Yes. I had private lessons. I charged 10 per person, and 15 for two students at once. I also worked for the province, and made 35 Euro per 1 1/2 hour conversation class for teachers. Were you able to save any money? Yes. I saved 400 Euro at the end. Unfortunately, I lost it all when French air traffic controllers went on strike, I got stuck in Paris and had to spend a boat load of money to change my flights. I guess what I’m saying is, it’s possible to save money, and always get flight insurance. Your favorite tapas bar? I usually went to a bar called Trasgu, and got their stuffed mushrooms or octopus. I ordered a glass of red wine. This was usually 5-6 Euro, but I often went with friends and so we split the cost (the best way to go out to eat in Spain). You can also get a giant hamburger from Mesón el Pastor for about 12 Euros, and can be split between as many as eight people. Your breakfast and coffee bars suggestions: It was called Tudanca, and I usually got a chocolate for 1.80 Euro. Nightlife in Aranda: Honestly I’m not a disco person so I didn’t have a favorite, but I’ve been at few and none of them have an entrance fee in Aranda. A copa at a disco was more expensive than at a bar or a restaurant, but still only 2 Euro or less. A fancier drink at a bar, especially on New Years or carnival would be anywhere from 5-8 euro. How did you get around? I walked. There are buses in the town, but it’s small enough you don’t need them. The ALSA bus to Madrid was 12 Euro one way, and to Burgos it was 8 Euro one way. What you loved about living in Aranda? It was small so you didn’t need to drive or take any public transportation. It’s got historical sites that I loved to visit, and it’s small enough that I ran into people all the time, who were all super friendly. And your dislikes? There were not a lot of people my age. It’s not a college town, so if you’re under 28, there just aren’t many people in your age group. How easy was it to travel around Spain and Europe from Aranda? Madrid was the easiest to get to with a major airport. It’s two hours on a bus, and the buses run roughly every two hours (except during the siesta). There are also trains that leave from Burgos, and Burgos is only an hour and a half away by bus. Your guilty pleasure purchases: I liked to buy scarves. What are the top attractions in Aranda? The facade of Santa María la real, the underground bodegas, and the parque/hermita Virgen de las Viñas. Something you wish someone had told you before moving to Spain: Don’t rush into getting an apartment. Leave yourself at least a week before choosing, and ask at your school, they’re bound to have apartment fliers. For more on life in a small town in Castilla, read Julia’s blog, Boise to Burgos. Want to share your experience living and working in Spain? Take the survey. Get all the details from firstname.lastname@example.org