And so it begins
Well, here it is: the first entry by a PIRE student in a PIRE location. Get the champagne ready--or in my case, the tapas y cerveza! I arrived in Granada, Spain 2 days ago to clear weather and friendly faces. Two graduate students in Teresa Bajo's lab, Luis Morales & Julia Morales (no relation), went to pick me up at the Granada airport which rivals our own University Park Airport in grandeur. After a short 10 minute drive, we arrived at the apartment that I'll be sharing with the other Granada PIRE students when they arrive later this year. The apartment is right in the heart of Granada near the cathedral. It was thanks to Luis & Julia that we were able to get such a great apartment.
In many ways, we truly lucked out with housing, which I want to make the focus of this post for the benefit of other PIRE students traveling soon. This part of PIRE travel preparations can be very time consuming, nerve-wracking, and certainly demands patience. Part of the frustration is that looking for housing from abroad is like trying to hammer a nail that you can't see using one of those extendo-claws. You have no idea what the apartment looks like; it's hard to estimate what neighborhood you should live in; and you are far away, making it difficult to contact owners and agencies.
In part, differences are due to place. For example, Bangor, another PIRE site, is a smaller community but the research centre is accustomed to receiving many visitors, so the centre staff are incredible in helping one find housing, essentially booking a place for you as long as you provide advance notice. On the other hand, Granada is a mid-sized city with less support infrastructure for visitors, so more than likely PIRE visitors will have to figure out housing on their own. In addition, Spain in general relies more upon interactions and queries made through phone and not as much through internet or e-mail.
Not to fret, it is not impossible to find temporary housing abroad! Below the fold are some suggestions for making the search perhaps a tad bit easier.
I can't stress how important it is to remain calm and patient throughout the process. Take a breath, something will turn up! Consider it your gateway into a really amazing experience. Hopefully, others will post suggestions in the comments sections if they have some experience looking for temporary housing abroad. I'm excited to share my experiences both in terms of logistics and research. In my next post, I'll focus on what to do once you get housing. ¡Hasta pronto!
TrackBack URL: https://blogs.psu.edu/mt4/mt-tb.cgi/244471