Insider's Guide - Florida Universitària

Insider's Guide - Florida Universitària

In this article we speak to Game Art students about the ins and outs of studying at Florida Universitària in Valencia, Spain.

Whether you’re already at school, looking to find a new school or even considering moving overseas to study, nothing beats hearing from the students themselves!  In this article we speak to Game Art students, Nelo López Chilet, Luisa Rodríguez Salazar and David Coronado, about the ins and outs of studying at Florida Universitària in Valencia, Spain.

The Rookies - Florida Universitària
FLORIDA is a Valencian worker co-operative created in 1977 working in the field of education. It has a wide experience in education and training in several education levels: Higher education (university degrees, postgraduate courses and Master degrees), Vocational Education and Training (higher and…

The Specifics

What's the name of your school?

Luisa María: The name of my school is Florida Universitària.

What's the name of the neighbourhood?

Luisa María: The name of the town where my school is located is called Catarroja, which is located  in Valencia, Spain.

Closest train station or public transport option?

Luisa María: The nearest train station is Catarroja train station, which is about 10 minutes away  from the university, but also you can take a bus which is also very close ( about 10  min). train station.

Nelo: Yes, there is a train station that is a 10 minute walk from the school and the station connects very well with the city center.

How long have you been studying there there?

Luisa María: I have been at Florida Universitària for 3 years.

Nelo: I have been at Florida Universitària for 5 years and I have learned a lot and met wonderful people.

David: I have been studying for 3 years, the two years of the advanced video game course and this year, which I am studying for a master's in video game art.

Work from David's Rookie Awards 2024 entry.

Why did you choose to study here?

Luisa María: I chose Florida Universitària, because I am from Catarroja and some teachers  recommended it to me at my high school, and now I know it was a very good choice.

Nelo: I went to high school at Florida Universitària, and since I live near the university, and then I found out that there was the possibility of studying video game development, I continued studying here.

David: I decided to study there because several friends recommended it to me, and after doing some research, I saw that the students' level was very high and the teaching was very good.

Work from Nelo's Rookie Awards 2024 entry

The Scene

The first thing you see when you walk outside your school?

Luisa María: There is a very big park in front of the university where we go on some breaks. Also, at the back of the building there is the Catarroja’s sports center.

Nelo: There is an urban area under construction which is going to be very modern. There are also many bars nearby to eat or drink something and some supermarkets. There is also a large parking lot and a large park.

Tell us a bit about the Neighbourhood. What is there to see and do?

Luisa María: In Catarroja there are many parks, also as I said before the sports center if you want to go to  the gym, there are also two swimming pools, there are several places to drink and something, both  bars and restaurants. I personally recommend the "Horchateria paco", to try an authentic  horchata of Valencia or if you prefer to take an ice cream.

Nelo: There are several interesting places to eat, a large sports center and a large soccer stadium which is quite historic. There are many parks in the town and it is very close to the center by train or car.

A mandatory stop for anyone new to your city:

Luisa María: I recommend the port of Catarroja to be able to walk quietly and if you do not have a  car there is a bike path enabled to access the port.

Nelo: There are very historic food places like the “Horchateria Paco” where you can have a very good horchata with fartones.

David: In the case of Catarroja, I haven’t explored much beyond going to class, although I know there are very good restaurants. In the case of Valencia, which is very close to Catarroja, there are excellent museums and great tourist spots like "La Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias" and "La Lonja de la Seda."

Your school is great, but you wouldn't mind a bit less:

Luisa María: For now I don't think I would change anything!

Nelo: I have been here for many years and I really like all the facilities and the teachers, so I wouldn't want less!

David: I would like the course or the master's program to last longer. I feel they are so good that they should be extended. I would enjoy them more and learn even more.

The unofficial uniform of your school is:

Luisa María: Something that is usually famous in Florida is the red tote bag with the logo of the university, it is usually what identifies a student.

David: There is no uniform at my university, although something that all students have in common is that when exam time or final projects are approaching, people prefer to come in very comfortable clothes.

A common myth about your school is:

Luisa María: There is a secret classroom that no one can access.

Nelo: They say that there is a room where you can't enter because there are ghosts studying!

A massive night out for students at your school is likely to be:

Luisa María: In the center of Valencia there is a very touristic area, not only for its historical recognition but also for the amount of places to have a drink and eat. It is usually a quiet but lively atmosphere at night, it is called “El carmen”.

Nelo: Near Florida Universitària there are bars where you can have a drink and have a good time, such as the bar “La Espabila”.

David: I believe one of the nights that 3D students at Florida Universitaria enjoy the most is the Game Jam night. It's a weekend that starts on a Friday, where all students gather in the auditorium, and a theme is revealed. With that theme, we have to create a game that is presented on Sunday night. Throughout these 3 days, students sleep at the university and work together against the clock to create a video game. Additionally, many groups are formed among students who don't know each other and have to work together. In the last Game Jam at Florida Universitaria, approximately 150 people participated. It's an impressive event and 100% recommended.

The Superlatives

You won't find a better place to eat than at:

Luisa María: In "MartinVic," there's a burger restaurant next to the school, just a 4-minute walk away. They serve sandwiches, burgers, and starters; my favorite are the nachos. There's also "La Cresta Roja," an Argentinian steakhouse where you can enjoy roasts on weekends. Lastly, there's "La Espabilá," where we go almost every Friday for dinner and drinks with classmates. All these places are less than a 10-minute walk.

Nelo: Catarroja is a small town but still has interesting places to eat, for example “La Jamoneria de Cobel” is a very good place where you can eat meat of very good level. If you feel like Italian, you can also go to “Pasta Nostra”. And, if you want to eat something fast would go to the Horchateria Paco for some fartones with horchata.

The strangest thing you've ever seen at your school is:

Luisa María: One day all the students went to the university in their pyjamas.

Nelo: The strangest thing I've seen at school is athletes doing push-ups inside a room in the library which has a glass window from which people outside could see them.

David: One of the strangest things I remember from my university is from my class. On Halloween, we dressed up in these full-body animal onesies. I think they're called kigurumi, although I'm not sure. It was funny to see 15 people walking around the campus dressed like that.

Work from David's Rookie Awards 2024 entry

One thing you'd never change about your school is:

Luisa María: I would never change the director of the master's degree in art for video games, José  Manuel Guevara is one of the best teachers that I never had, giving it life and  improving the master's experience every year.

Nelo: I love the tranquility and security with which you go to class and that the atmosphere among students is very good.

David: The 3D professors. They are very good, and their skill level is very high. Additionally, the passion and enthusiasm with which they teach are very contagious, and the students always learn a lot.

But one thing you wouldn't mind seeing changed is:

Luisa María: Have some larger work tables to have more space between computers (but is just in  some places of the class).

Work from Luisa María Rookie Awards 2024 entry

Nelo: Have cameras at places where cars, bikes or scooters are parked.

Someone gives you $1M to pimp out your school. You use it to:

Luisa María: More classes with computers and thus be able to have larger work spaces and  have some 3D printers available to students.

Nelo: I would like to have a swimming pool for the students or gym or spa areas, since the computers in Florida Universitària already work very well.

David: As I mentioned before, I think with 1 million euros, I would create more classrooms so that more 3D students could study the different courses and the master's program. If possible, I would like to see a master's or a course focused on characters or organic 3D elements.

Reach out to Luisa Rodríguez Salazar via her Rookies portfolio here, and Nelo López Chilet here and David Coronado here.