My homestay is located about 20 minutes from the University of Alcala, where I am taking classes this summer. The commute is one of my favorite parts of my homestay. So far, I have been walking to and from school every day. I find that the walk is really nice and peaceful, especially in the morning. Everyday I walk past the local athletic compound with a pool, tennis courts, and soccer fields. I also walk past a lot of local businesses and get to see everyone getting ready for work. My favorite part of the commute starts at about three quarters of the way there when I reach the old section of town. There, the buildings are all stone and brick. Exactly what you’d expect from the remnants of a mediaeval town in Spain. I pass by the convent and the cathedral and then on to the University buildings, dorms, and more. Right before I reach the University, I pass by the Plaza de Cervantes, the center of Alcala. The Plaza is a giant green space, filled with rose bushes and a beautiful fountain. You can always find people sitting and enjoying the day out in the Plaza.
The commute is quite similar to how I get around on campus at Pitt. In general, I walk to almost all of my classes there. I do however use the bus system a whole lot more in Pittsburgh than I have been here. I have only taken the bus a few times to and from my homestay and I have yet to master it. It always seems like luck when the bus arrives, they don’t have an app like we do in Pittsburgh. It is my goal to get better at public transportation here, so that means trying it a bit more!
For other students traveling to Alcala in the future, I would suggest getting a public transport pass that allows you to ride the buses and metros, it really comes in handy. Any other suggestions I have all depend on where your homestay is. If you live quite far away, you master the bus system much quicker because it is a necessity, if you live closer, like I do. It is much easier to just walk. So it all depends. Alcala however, is much like Pittsburgh in terms of size and ease of getting around. You might need Google Maps for a bit, but you’ll get the hang of it!