We’re especially partial to Seville, the Andalusian capital, but with reason – it’s gorgeous, it’s budget-friendly and we just happen to live here. We enlisted our friend Meg to give us the scoop on living in Seville on a language assistant’s budget and still having money left over for flamenco dresses!
Michigander Meg will be switching schools for her third year and living outside the city center.
Name: Megan Taepke
City and Comunidad: San Juan de las Cabezas, Sevilla
School: All three years – IES
Your living situation? The first year, I shared flat in El Tardón, Triana. Lived with two Spaniards and a Japanese Erasmus, all uni students. The flat was quite large with a huge kitchen, living area, two bathrooms, and four rooms. My second year, I shared flat in Arenal, next to C/ Reyes Catolicos. A total of three bedrooms, one shared bathroom and the other was in the ¨master bedroom¨
How did you find your flat? Initially, I had an advert up on easypiso and was contacted there the site, and the second year, a Leonardo da Vinci intern had posted the room on the auxiliar Facebook group.
Rent: 1st year: 235€ a month; 2nd year 255€ a month.
What did you spend on utilities? At my Triana apartment, utilities ranged from 35€ a month up to 60€ a month, but last year it was a constant 15-30€ when the electricity bill came.
You cell phone company and plan? I have a yoigo pay-as-you-go-plan. Not sure which one it is but I pay 6€ for whatever amount of high speed internet. When that runs out, I can pay 2€ for 2mb more or have a slow connection. I don’t make phone calls at all and depend entirely on Whatsapp, which is why I don´t have an actual contract.
What do you pay for internet? Both of my years in Seville was a contract, I think it cost 40€ a month in total.
What did you spend on groceries? I would buy nearly all of my produce at a market and 15€ of fruits and vegs would last me a week. A visit to the supermarket maybe twice a month for other items. I’d say around 80€ a month.
Did you have any other sources of income? I’ve been extremely lucky to have found a great academy that guaranteed me 16 hours of work a week during the academic year, as well as classes during the summer.
Were you able to save any money? At the end of the month I often asked myself where all of that extra money went!! Word of advice: make a list of how much to budget per month and always put away a percentage of your income and don’t touch it!!
Your favorite tapas bar? As a celiac I am always worried about going out to eat, although 99% of waiters know my restrictions. My favourite place is what I call the ¨Piripi¨ place – Bodeguita Antonio Romero. Their pirpis are to die for (they’ve even made me a GF one with some left over gf bread) but normally I go for the carillada with a tinto de verano, which costs less than 5€.
Your breakfast and coffee bars suggestions: Being a workaholic, can’t say that I have an afternoon or breakfast hangout. But the typical place to meet up with friends for a Friday beverage always started at Salvador (tinto de vernano at 2,25€)
Nightlife in Sevilla: Depends on the season. And I’m getting old these days…. But I do like Buda once in a while (copa for 8€, entrance 10 € with a drink voucher. Or go talk to Toba). Summer drinks at Capote along the river, and Bilindo for dancing.
How did you get around? My first year I lived about 25 minutes walking to the center (I lived next to Parque de los Principes) so I would often catch a bus. My second year I lived in the heart of the city so there was never a need to take the bus or metro. I’ve always contemplated getting a Sevici card (public bike system) but since I lived in the center, and right by my academy, it wasn’t necessary. Now I live outside of the centre at the beginning of the metro line, so I do have a Sevilla transit card. It´s well worth it for the reduced fare (busses 1,45€ cash, 0,77€ with card; metro 1,35€ cash, just near 1€ with card). Top it up as you go.
What you loved about living in Sevilla? After two full years, and a 5 month study abroad prior to moving here, I am still amazed at how beautiful the Catedral is and will always stop for a moment to appreciate it. And the people are so wonderful and nice. Seville was within the top 10 friendliest cities, and the most beautiful!
And your dislikes? Everything being closed on Sundays. Sometimes it’s great to be forced to relax and do nothing but eat and watch tv, but other times I just wish I could do some shopping that I couldn’t fit in during the week.
How easy was it to travel around Spain and Europe from Granada? Traveling within Spain is fairly easy using the train system, since Seville is 2,5 hours from Madrid and you can even get to Barcelona in 5 hours, plus traveling to other Andalusian cities is simple. Seville does have an airport that is serviced by low-cost carriers and you can get a really good priced flight to Barcelona. But when I’ve had to travel to other big European cities (Munich, Vienna, etc) or the States, I have to go to Málaga or Madrid.
Your guilty pleasure purchases: Oh God. Feria and the accessories. I have two dresses, two accessory colors for each, and two pairs of earrings for each one.
What are the top attractions in Sevilla? 1- The Catedral/ Giralda – the third largest cathedral in the world, and the largest Gothic cathedral. Plus we’ve got whatever remains of Christopher Columbus there are.
2- The Alcazar – Especially now thanks to Game of Thrones! The gardens are absolutely stunning, and the peacocks are cool too.
3- Plaza de España/Parque Maria Luisa – featured in films such as Star Wars and Lawrence of Arabia. But a peaceful stroll through the park is a great way to spend an afternoon.
4- Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan (Sevilla Stadium)! Jajaja sorry Cat (editor’s note: BOO)
Something you wish someone had told you before moving to Spain: This is not America. It won’t be America. There´s no such thing as a ¨one stop shop¨ (besides Carrefour and Corte), CVS, 24 hour shops, etc. It doesn’t matter if you´re in a rush, you will go by the Spanish timetable, as well as the timetable of whoever is working the desk. I have one of those days, every so often, where I get fed up that I can´t buy a sewing kit, advil, make up, and snacks all in the same place. But remembering that I’m living in a beautiful city makes me appreciate the cultural differences.
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