Exchange in Pamplona

Field of study in Wageningen: Environmental Sciences
Study period exchange: 20/01/2023 – 10/05/2023
Country (exchange): Spain
City (exchange): Pamplona
University (exchange): Universidad Pública de Navarra (UPNA)
Faculty (exchange): Environmental and Agricultural Sciences

2. Motivation for exchange

Why did you choose to go on study exchange?

I wanted to explore another country and its culture, as well as some new natural landscapes. Also, I was interested in some different academic insights. Namely, in which ways does a university in a different  country present the educational content.

What is the reason you chose for this country/university?

Mainly because I wanted to learn Spanish, but also because I was interested in experience the “Southern” culture. Also, I wanted to be somewhere close to the mountains.

3. Accessibility to reach destination

Do you have any tips to reach your exchange destination?

Pamplona can easily be reached by Bus from the Netherlands. I took the Flixbus in Utrecht to Paris, from Paris to San Sebastian and from San Sebastian to Pamplona. It is very cheap and doable.

4. University and studying

Could you provide some general information about the followed courses?

How is the study formalized?

The workload is fine, I would say a little bit similar to Wageningen. But it is easier to pass the exams in my opinion. I took many online courses, because they were interesting, and that way I could get more flexible schedule. I always liked the content a lot. My general opinion is that the education did not promote critical thinking, as is does in my field of study in WUR, which I miss. The exams were often about memorizing the content for the exam. Though there were also some project based learning aspects.

What is the culture of the university?

It depends. Some lecturers are very approachable and happy to help, whilst other can be very condescending. I felt like in Wageningen the lecturers are very open to talk to students as fellow academics, but in Pamplona, I felt there was a bit more of a hierarchal relation. But this was not to a very high degree, I mostly felt completely fine with my professors.

What does the university offer the student additionally?

Lot of catering options. The food is quite affordable. There is a great sport centre for a very cheap membership fee.

5. Housing-travelling-living

What are the possibilities for housing?

There is a student housing complex, but I would not recommend it. Too expensive and less charming than many cool houses in the Center. There are many rooms that can be found via the platform “”, usually for sharing among 3-5 students. But watch out for scams on this website!!! There is “hospiteering” system in Pamplona.

What is the culture of the country like?

It’s lovely! People are more outgoing. The nights are lively. The main thing to consider is that the “siesta” time is a real thing. All stores close for this time (not supermarkets of course).

Could you give a general price indication of the place of residence compared to living in Wageningen?

I think you can find a room for 300 – 400 € range, all inclusive. So cheaper than Wageningen, but not by a lot.

Could you give some information about public transport infrastructure?

The public transport in Pamplona is exceptional. It’s on time, regular, cheap. Best bus infrastructure I have ever seen. It is still more practical to bike around though. The biking path infrastructure is also phenomenally well established.

6. Free time

What are must-sees in the area? 

San Sebastian! Beautiful and very close by! There are very regular busses going there.

What does not appear in the travel guide, but is worth a visit?

All of the coastal Basque region is extremely beautiful combination of ocean and rocky-mountainous landscapes. It makes sense to search for smaller non-touristic towns, as there is much to see, for example nearby Hondarribia.

Do you have general tips and tricks about leisure time?

There is many thing to do in Pamplona, the locals are very lively and nice people. I personally like a rather alternative vibe, so I went to a bar called “La Rue”, and went for drinks in a plaza called “Plaza Navarreria”. Mostly though, I went to climb and hike in nature. There is a lot of beautiful things to see in Navarra and surroundings! There is also an Erasmus group which is very active and many people join their activities. But I am in general not interested in such group activities and I rarely joined.

7. Challenges & best moment abroad

What was a challenge you have experienced?

I really think that everything went smoothly. However, I do notice that it can be sometimes difficult to have contact with professors. They may take a long time to reply, or often plan assignments with very short notice. Moreover, the communication platform is very confusing, and needs a long time to get use to. It is difficult to get an overview of the tasks using this platform.

What was your best memory abroad?

I regularly went outdoor climbing in an area which was extremely beautiful. I think discovering this natural place and the small towns around it, is my best memory.