At this moment I’m a Meddeas Language Assistant in Oviedo, in the beautiful region of Asturias. This region of Spain often goes unnoticed by foreigners, but it is a magical place full of natural beauty, unforgettable local culture, and delicious cuisine.
When someone enters the Meddeas selection process, he or she must be willing to accept a position anywhere in Spain. Anywhere. If, like me, you have been selected as a Language Assistant, you will probably receive an offer with the name of a place you have never heard of. Don’t worry, treasures are often unknown. This is true of Oviedo, capital of the Asturias region.
5 Top Reasons to Come to Asturias
Reason 1: Everything is Close By
The top reason to visit Asturias is probably because you have everything near you, geographically. I’m a 20 minute bus ride from the beach in Gijón. There are famous mountains and hiking trails to be climbed just outside my window.
Reason 2: Cider
The second reason to come is probably for the sidra, because it’s so culturally unique. I had never seen anything like it, nor had I tried this type of cider before. It’s stronger and slightly bitter, and with their famous pouring method from overhead gets a lot of it on restaurant floors, which is a bit funny. It certainly feels like a different environment and, from my understanding, these kinds of sidrerías can only be found in Asturias.
Reason 3: History
One more reason to visit is the history. The Queen of Spain’s hometown, Oviedo, became an important stop along the famous Camino de Santiago walking route. The Camino de Santiago is and intense hike involving several weeks of traversing mountains and farmland. It all leads to a church in Galicia that was built upon the tomb of one of Jesus’ disciples. It’s pretty amazing historically and I didn’t know it was world-famous before moving here.
Reason 4: Spanish
The fourth reason to come to Asturias is because you will actually get to practice your Spanish. I’ve visited Madrid and Barcelona, and everywhere I went I encountered people speaking in English. It was oversaturated with foreigners and it didn’t quite feel like being in Spain.
Reason 5: Clean City
The last reason to visit Asturias is because Oviedo is voted one of the cleanest cities in Spain. I’ve been to other towns where there is trash and dog poop can be found on the sidewalks. Not in Oviedo. Oviedo has a special cleaning crew that comes in the middle of the night and picks up all the litter and power washes everything left behind.
The city is just overall well kept, which says a lot about the residents too. It makes for a higher quality of life and demonstrates care for your community and surroundings. Also, during a global pandemic, it gives quite a peace of mind.
In Asturias, the good far outweighs the bad. However, to be fair, I will also tell you about 3 things I don’t like too much about this place. Or, at least, that could be improved.
3 Things I Dislike About Asturias
1. The Expensive Electricity Bill
First, my electricity bill is very expensive. My first month was 70 euros, but my most recent month was 350. Even my landlord thinks it’s out of control and says it’s an issue most people in Spain are having. For this reason, she filed a complaint with the city and switched companies. I am still waiting to find out how much this month will cost, but I am happy to have her support.
2. The Ocean Is Cold
The second reason I dislike Asturias is because the ocean in Gijón is on the Atlantic Ocean instead of the Mediterranean Sea. This basically means the water is freezing. However, this doesn’t stop the many people who go surfing there on a weekly basis.
3. The Weather
The third reason I don’t like Asturias is because it’s very hot or miss with the weather. There was one month where I think it rained every day. Now, for the past month or so, it’s been sunny and I believe we are in a drought. So it definitely varies.
These are my favorite aspects of living in Asturias as a Language Assistant, as well as the things I don’t like too much. However, on the whole, I love this place and I recommend you say yes to a school placement here!