On this page you will find useful information on the Lifelong Learning Programme Erasmus and what are offered by the Medical School at the University of Girona.
ERASMUS STUDENT GUIDE
INTRODUCTION AND WELCOME
The aim of this guide is to help make your assimilation into our School—and into the city of Girona itself—as easy as possible.
If you have any general questions concerning the mobility programme, we recommend that you go to the University webpage for International Students where you will find the information you need.
If you are an Erasmus student and have chosen to study in the Medical School at the University of Girona, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the school, the backbone of our developing biomedical facilities. We are fully aware of the importance of our school and the opportunities it brings to our area in terms of health-care provision and research.
For decades, the study of medicine and other higher education disciplines involved students acquiring knowledge conveyed to them by lecturers. But for quite some time now, it has been considered essential to change this one-way system of knowledge transfer and accept that students must actively become the builders of their own knowledge. Reflecting this change is the concept of “student-centred learning” which is included in the directives of the Bologna Declaration for the creation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Problem-Based learning (PBL), considered to be most consistent with EHEA policies, is the teaching-learning process undertaken by our medical students, which hinges on self-directed and self-regulated learning.
The Medical School at the University of Girona (UdG) has opted to develop an educational programme consistent with this concept of learning, incorporating learning strategies that will enable you to acquire the necessary knowledge, competences and attitudes. The programme is guided by the educational mission of the School, which is:
To implement a programme in which the emphasis is on self-directed learning, which is considered essential if students are to become active and independently responsible builders of their learning. The basic strategy of this programme is problem-based learning in which different disciplines are studied in a comprehensive way. The programme also enables students to develop transferable skills, including group work, communication and lifelong learning. In this programme, activities will be organized so that students may acquire knowledge, competences and attitudes that will enable them—in their future activities as health-care professionals—to identify, analyse and resolve the health problems of individuals and of their social groups and communities. In addition, the programme will provide students with opportunities to acquire a solid foundation for specialist training and research.
The self-regulated learning support offered by the UdG's Medical School, which helps engage students in their own learning, is not unconditional and is developed through a balance of responsibilities and rights. The School, in collaboration with student representatives, has developed a Student Code in which these rights and responsibilities are made clear. Students entering the programme know that they have to respect the terms of this code of conduct.
Accordingly, if your intention is to take full advantage of your Erasmus grant and study medicine, I am convinced that you will not only find a unique learning experience in Girona and in our school, but also the warmth and quality of life that will ensure excellent training as a physician and as a person. I am confident that your stay with us will be highly profitable and I congratulate you on your choice.
Dr. Ramon Brugada,
Director of the Medical School
UNIVERSITY OF GIRONA
The University of Girona (UdG) was founded by King Alfons el Magnànim as an Estudi General in the year 1446, conferring titles in grammar, rhetoric, philosophy and theology, law and medicine. Teaching initiatives fell under the responsibilities of the municipal trustees and the Church. However, classes did not begin officially until 1572, held in the building known as Les Àligues, constructed especially for the use of the Estudi General. Presently, this building houses the Rectorate.
The Estudi General continued its functions until 1717, when it was closed down due to a new decree, a result of Catalonia’s loss of political identity. However, in the nineteenth century, together with the liberal revolution, the university was revived as Universitat Lliure de Girona, offering law and pharmacy until 1874.
In the 1960s, efforts were made to reestablish university programmes to the city of Girona. Initial attempts led to the creation of the Col·legi Universitari de Girona and the Escola Politècnica Superior, which were affiliated to the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya respectively. Finally, in the year 1991, almost 550 years since the creation of the Estudi General, the city of Girona regains its point of reference as a university town promoting academic excellence and interdisciplinary studies.
The University of Girona (UdG) has three campuses (Montilivi, Barri Vell and Centre), all located within the city. The Montilivi campus is a new construction, characterized by its emblematic open space design; the Barri Vell campus is distinguished by its historic buildings, forming part of the historical patrimony of the city; the Centre campus is located in the downtown area, in a refurbished building which has played an important part in the history of the university. Presently, it is where the Medical School and the School of Nursing are. At the periphery of the city centre and not far from the Medical School is the Parc Científic i Tecnològic (Science and Technology Park) at la Creueta, which hosts a variety of innovative research activities. Furthermore, the offices of the Fundació UdG: Innovació i Formació (UdG Foundation: Innovation and Training) are found in the building Mercadal, located in the city centre.
Currently, UdG consists of 10 faculties and schools, 24 departments, 7 affiliated centres, and 11 research institutes; offers 48 degrees and diplomas with over 14,000 students and 1,600 teaching staff; and supports 112 research groups.
THE MEDICAL SCHOOL
The Medical School is a young and growing member of UdG, created in the year 2008. Into our sixth year, we have 533 full time students and 258 teaching staff who work closely together towards the common goal of achieving medical excellence. The basic teaching-learning method is the use of problem-based learning in small groups of eleven students. In order to cultivate professionalism in our students from the beginning, we involve health-care professionals from regional hospitals and primary care centres as tutors. Our school’s partner institutions include important scientific and health-care bodies of the region: l'Institut Català de la Salut (the Catalan Institute of Health), l’Institut Català d'Oncologia (the Catalan Institute of Oncology), l’Institut d'Assistència Sanitària (the Institute for Healthcare) and the Hospital de Palamós.
Furthermore, the biomedical researches carried out in the l’Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica Girona (Girona Institute for Biomedical Research) are joint efforts with the Department of Medical Sciences at our School, not to mention the Parc Científic i Tecnològic that belongs to the UdG in which international researchers work closely with our School. From the third year onwards, our students are attached to clinicians at the University Hospital Josep Trueta.
Together we work towards the goal of providing our students with an environment that is challenging, supportive and beneficial to the education of future physicians. Our curriculum is divided into modules/blocks that are based on prevalent health problems, which contributes to strengthening the integration of related subjects.
Erasmus medical students enjoy a full range of learning facilities: a new fully equipped skills laboratory with a simulation room, a dissection room, a medical library with group working space, self-learning materials and virtual programmes. Laptop computers with Wi-Fi connection can be borrowed from the library, besides the terminals available both inside the library and in the computer room. On campus, students will find Wi-Fi connection, a canteen, a spacious parking lot, and bicycle rental service free of charge. Upon arrival, a UdG card will be issued for foreign students, which gives them access to an email account, intranet and the university libraries. Furthermore, sports facilities are at students’ disposal with a charge.
LEARNING STRATEGIES: A MARK OF DISTINCTION OF OUR SCHOOL
The Medical School is committed to a problem-based learning (PBL) approach, based on the idea that knowledge is better understood and assimilated when it is acquired in the same context in which it shall later be applied.
Groups of no more than ten students are set up with a tutor facilitator responsible for providing support for student learning. Once the problems are posed, students draw the most relevant objectives and content from each of the problems—along with the learning objectives set by the institution for each component of the study programme.
This approach, based more on understanding than memorizing the concepts, enables students to put their knowledge into practice and develop group work skills. To this end, the curriculum is divided into blocks that are based on prevalent health problems.
The premises of problem-based learning are as follows:
• Student learning is most effective when the teaching method puts the student in an active situation. It helps them to develop their thinking skills, their capacity to self-direct their learning and to assess their acquisition of knowledge, competences and professional attitudes or values.
• Presenting problem situations that are similar to those they will face in their professional practice is highly motivating for students. Furthermore, the fact that learning is based on practice helps students to acquire the clinical and social skills needed in the development of a professional medical career.
• Using problem situations stimulates the integration of different disciplines and an approach to health issues from a biological, social and psychological perspective.
• Identifying theoretical content in terms of clearly established learning objectives facilitates the acquisition of knowledge related to the competences of this degree.
During the process of problem-based learning, complementary skills such as communication and critical analysis of data are also learnt, meaning students can develop transferable skills progressively and effectively.
Based on these premises, the distinctive features of medical studies at the UdG include:
• much more focus on the student than on the teacher;
• more integration of related subjects rather than separating them, often artificially, into different academic disciplines;
• studies designed to train professionals with a stronger focus on serving the patient and the community;
• more opportunities for students to develop research competence.
This convergence of added values makes our school unique in the country and places us firmly within the framework of the European Higher Education Area as a school on the rise and with well-defined view of the medical professionals trained here to become:
"Excellent, competent in attending to health problems, flexible and adaptable to change, collaborative, capable managers and advocates of community health, with a solid foundation for specialized training and for research work."
Besides the problem-based learning tutorials, which occupy at least 40% of the curriculum, our medical students take workshops (30%) for skills training—including laboratory techniques, communication skills and anatomy learning—, tutorials (15%) and theory sessions (15%). From the third year onwards, supervised clinical practice is completely integrated with the PBL curriculum and students work under clinicians’ guidance at the University Hospital or one of the affiliated hospitals. The evaluation system is concordant with our educational philosophy, with major weighting on formative assessment and PBL examination, designed for enriching the learning experience of the students and consolidating their knowledge and skills.
In addition, the University of Girona has a clear inter-university and European vocation which makes it an attractive place with many advantages for those who want to spend their Erasmus year here. In the medical programme, the electives are taught entirely in English.
Erasmus students who have a good command of Spanish can select among the other modules that are offered in the medical programme. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that most of the activities are conducted in Catalan, and the use of Spanish is at each professor’s discretion in the presence of foreign students. The University of Girona offers Erasmus students a free introductory course to Catalan language and culture, more information is available in the section "Erasmus Student Language Courses" of this guide.
Detailed information of the modules can be found in the section "Modules in Catalan/Spanish" on the Exchange Programmes webpage.
Furthermore, each year we offer a selection of electives, which are conducted completely in English. Please go to the section "Electives (in English)" on the Exchange Programmes webpage.
FINAL YEAR PROJECT - RESEARCH PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITY
In their final year, the students in the Medical School carry out a Final Year Project in English to develop and strengthen their scientific research skills and methodology. Erasmus students have the opportunity to attach themselves to an on-going scientific research programme under the supervision and guidance of experienced, dedicated and internationally recognized researchers.
For more information, please go to the section "Guideline for Research Participation" on the Exchange Programmes webpage.
LOCATION: THE CITY OF GIRONA
Before the arrival of the Romans and the founding of the city as Gerunda, a number of important Iberian settlements were already present, taking advantage of its abundant woodland and a plain rich in rivers and streams, and establishing among themselves trading activities with surplus crops and livestock.
Gerunda attracted the Romans by its strategic situation, controlling land communications in a north-south direction. The city’s progress was closely linked to its condition as a staging post on the route followed by the Via Augusta, the principal roadway linking Hispania with the rest of the Empire. Locally, a dense network of roads and paths, which are still used today, connected the city with the villages of the plain and the coast.
It was during the 5th century that the Romans eventually lost their control of the city. Gerunda found herself falling under the rule of the Visigoths, which lasted for three centuries, until the arrival of the Moslems. However, the latter’s influence in Gerunda was brief and soon the city was handed to Charlemagne, whose rule was succeeded by the emerging powerful local feudal lords.
In the following centuries, Girona grew into a royal and episcopal city. The royalty promoted important building works, above all a massive enlargement of the walls, while the Church fostered a large part of the city’s intellectual and artistic activities. A significant repertory of this medieval past still remains today, leaving an important heritage for its inhabitants. Another significant development that marked the city was the establishment in the 12th century of an important Jewish community in the old town, which grew to gain great prestige in the 13th century; its vestige can still be seen today.
After a period of sieges and wars in the 15th century, the city suffered a great reduction in population, production and commercial activities, reaching its lowest point in all the modern period. Later on, the city was left to recover until the coming of the Napoleonic army. The people of Girona experienced one of the most tragic periods of their history. The city lost half of its population and suffered the grave consequences of this economic and social turmoil until well into the 19th century.
In 1833 the city was declared a provincial capital, and began a period of progress, which, together with its industrial decline, eventually turned into a service city. With the courage and stamina of its people, the city of Girona survived the Second Republic, the Spanish Civil War and the Dictatorship to grow into a modern, charming and hospitable city.
Presently, the architectural and cultural vestiges left by these historical events are carefully preserved by the city, bearing witness to the rich heritage of Girona.
Throughout the year, a series of cultural activities are organized by the city, more information is available on the Ajuntament de Girona webpage.
Furthermore, the city is very well connected. It is only 12 km from the busy Girona-Costa Brava Airport, and has its own railway, intercity bus service and an extensive road network, including the AP-7 motorway between Barcelona and France, the N-II national road connecting Madrid, Barcelona and France, and the C-25 regional road connecting Girona, Vic and Lleida.
THE CATALAN LANGUAGE
Catalan distinguished itself from Latin and became a language on its own between the 10th and 11th centuries. The earliest documentations that have been preserved are fragments in the Catalan translation of the Visigoth’s law codes, Forum Iudicum, and the sermon Les Homilies d’Organyà, both written in the 12th century. In the following centuries, Catalan found its promoters in great literary figures and influential thinkers, such as Ramon Llull, Bernat Metge, Roís de Corella, Jaume Roig, Ausiàs March and Joanot Martorell. Its use was extended to other kingdoms, Valencia and Murcia, and to Mallorca, Sicily, Sardinia, Naples, Athens and Neopatras, together with the expansion of the Catalan dynasty.
It was in the 18th century during the War of the Spanish Succession, when Philip V imposed Spanish rule on Catalonia, that Catalan as a language suffered most severely. It had to wait until a century later, at the period known as Renaixença, that Catalan began to recover and its usage unified. This culminated in the Second Republic (1931-1939) when Catalan was re-established as an official language; however, the recovery was short-lived, the persecution of the Catalan language resumed with the coming of the Spanish Civil War.
The recuperation of Catalan continued after the restoration of democracy. In the Statute of Autonomy (1979), Catalan, together with Spanish, was declared the official language of Catalonia. An example of the rising importance of Catalan can be drawn from the city of Girona: in the year 1992, the present king Juan Carlos sanctioned the official change of the name of the city from Gerona to its Catalan denomination Girona, as stated in a decree passed previously in 1980.
ERASMUS STUDENT LANGUAGE COURSES
We encourage newly arrived Erasmus students, regardless of their specialty, to take an introductory course in Catalan language and culture to improve their interaction and integration with their surroundings.
Introduction to Catalan Language and Culture
The UdG’s main purpose in organizing this introductory course is to provide visiting students with their initial contact with the Catalan language and culture. The programme is designed to:
1. endow the students with the necessary language skills for day-to-day communication;
2. cater to the students' specific needs in terms of the written texts, class notes and vocabulary required for their studies at the University;
3. facilitate the students' integration into the university community and the city of Girona; and
4. provide a brief introduction to the culture, customs and way of life in Catalonia in order to broaden the students’ understanding of their host country.
The course consists of a series of classes on Catalan culture and language. The classes on Catalan culture and the first 40 hours of Catalan language have been scheduled in a two-week intensive course. The rest of the language classes will be given twice weekly until the end of the semester.
The first part of the Catalan language course offers students initial contact with the language, using a practical and communicative approach designed to provide basic vocabulary and grammatical structures. The remaining 40 hours of this course will be given over the rest of the semester. Students who have attended the whole course are entitled to take an exam in Catalan Language (4 ECTS credits).
The Outlines of Catalan Culture course aims to introduce students to Catalan culture and society through a brief review of Catalan art, history, geography, etc. The course is designed to make Catalan culture come alive for students, who are expected to participate in the equally important cultural trips and visits. Students must attend 80% of the sessions to obtain the credit (1 ECTS credit).
Students who wish to obtain these credits must include the modules in their Learning Agreement and on the enrolment form for their Faculty or School. Please visit the University International Relations Office webpage for International Students for more information.
Oficina de Relaciones Exteriores (International Relations Office – Incoming Students)
Tel.: +34 972 418 028
Fax: +34 972 418 031
The International Relations Office (the Oficina de Relaciones Exteriores – ORE) at the UdG coordinates accommodation in university housing. These university-owned accommodation for foreign students can be found at two sites: Argenteria apartments (near the Barri Vell Campus) and the University Residence (Campus Montilivi).
- Argenteria Apartments (C/ Argenteria, 19)
For foreign students and visiting staff. The request may be made personally or via a University of Girona school or faculty.
- Montilivi Campus University Residence (C/ Rodoreda, 3)
The UdG has 20 places in a university residence that are meant primarily for foreign exchange students and visiting staff.
All applications to use any of the UdG-administered accommodation are to be submitted through the International Relations Office using the appropriate application form.
Applications for the use of accommodation are processed as the application forms arrive in the office on a strictly first-come, first-served basis. However, inquiries can be made regarding vacancies or any other questions by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at +34 972 418 028.
University accommodation is supplemented by special rates at some hotels and other types of apartments in Girona, and by private sector accommodation managed through the University Accommodation Service (Servei d'Allotjament Universitari - SAU). We strongly advise students to visit the International Relations Office webpage concerning Accommodation, in which more information is provided.
Besides University accommodation, Erasmus students may like to consider other possibilities. Since Girona is a university town with a large student population, finding accommodation at an affordable price is relatively easy. Here are some links that will help you find the accommodation you need:
§ Girona Accommodation Information
§ L'ESTACIÓ - ESPAI JOVE (“The Station” - Youth Zone)
C/ Sta. Eugènia, 17
Tel. 972 22 00 70
Open to the public:
Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
§ The Intergenerational Programme "VIURE I CONVIURE" (Live and Live together)
This programme provides company for older people and accommodation for younger students.
Information available in the Grants Section of the University of Girona:
Tel. +34 972 418 053
§ EASYPISO - FLAT SHARING SERVICE FOR STUDENTS
This flat-sharing service makes it possible to find a room in a shared flat or to advertise available rooms in shared accommodation in different locations around Spain.
Last updated on 10/31/2013