My name is Madison Feldman, and I’m studying in Madrid this semester! It has been a little under a month since I moved to Madrid for the semester. When I first got to airport in Dallas, I was a bundle of nerves because studying abroad and living halfway around the world was no longer just an idea; it was about to become my reality.
After a nine-hour plane ride, I was surprised by how easy it was to get through customs and grab my bags from baggage claim. After finding my bags, I needed to wait for an hour for an arranged driver to pick me up. I felt quite calm given how smoothly things had gone so far. After the hour of waiting, I started walking around looking for a driver holding up a sign with my name on it. After 30 minutes of walking around, I called my student housing apartment who had set up my ride. After talking to them for 30 minutes, they were able to find a new driver who could come and pick me up. Finally, after waiting an hour and half at the airport I was in a car on the way to my apartment. The driver dropped me off and trekked a few blocks with my suitcases on the sidewalks of Chamberi, a quiet neighborhood of Madrid. After a long morning, I was finally at the place I would call home for the next four months. Despite the mishap with the driver, things had gone pretty smoothly.
After getting adjusted to the time change, I started exploring Madrid and getting a feel for the city. I had heard from others that Madrid is like the New York City of Spain. This saying is incredibly accurate. One of the first things that makes the city feel like NYC is the Metro. The metro is just one big subway system. There are countless lines that could take you all over Madrid. I’ve found that this form of transportation is the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to get around Madrid, especially if you get the student metro card. With the Metro card, you only pay 20 euros per month for unlimited rides on the Metro, buses, and trains. This is most valuable when classes start since UC3M is technically outside of Madrid. Madrid has so many different areas that can fit anyone’s needs. There’s Sol which is the center of Madrid. From Sol, you could walk to just about anywhere, and it’s a central place to meet up with friends. If you love shopping or need a wardrobe change, Gran Via is the street to go. It has tons of shops lining the street where you can find just about anything you’re looking for. This area is most like Times Square with the flashing lights and advertisements. If you take the Metro past Sol, you can go to El Retiro. This is a huge park in the city with a little lake in the middle where you can rent paddle boats. This park is free and so expansive it would take multiple trips to see all of it. If you’re looking for a nice place to relax Retiro is the place to go. My roommates and I had a picnic there in our first week and then went to the Prado Museum afterwards. I’ve found that many of the museums in Madrid are free from 6 to 8 pm, so this makes it easy to visit places without breaking the bank. Even though I’ve been here for a month, I feel like there is so much more to see in Madrid, and I’m looking forward to getting to the know the city better.
After a week in Madrid, classes started at UC3M. The first big thing I had to do for the university was register for classes. Registration took place on an online portal like at A&M. You are given a registration time and can pick from the classes with spots available. My main priority was getting the classes I needed that would transfer to A&M along with trying to get a schedule with no Friday classes. Compared to my roommates, I had a very late registration time and was not able to get into my first-choice classes with the best times. I was able to sign up for the finance and supply chain class I needed, however, the times of my classes were late into the evening and I had a Friday class. While this wasn’t the end of the world, I was the only one with Friday classes, which would’ve made traveling on weekends a little harder.
On the first day of class, my roommates and I had to take the Metro to Sol and then a train to the university. This commute seemed pretty easy, however, we found ourselves going the wrong way. I was sort of freaking out because I had intended on going to the supply chain class I originally wanted so I could speak to the professor to see if she would allow me to be in her class. My roommate and I got to the class 5 minutes late, but she wasn’t there. While we were waiting on the professor, I went onto the class registration portal and saw that there was a spot open in the supply chain class and was able to nab the spot. Because I could get into that class, I checked on the rest of my classes and was able to get into all of the classes I originally wanted. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of movement occurring in all of the classes. With that being said, I found that this was similar to A&M regarding the adding and dropping of classes; like A&M, your schedule is not set in stone until after the add/drop period closes.
I really like UC3M as a whole. The Getafe campus is beautiful and looks like it’s right out of a movie. There are many signs that show the building layout making it easier to find classes as well. Many of the classes are very laid-back compared to A&M and the workload isn’t nearly as much. With the way my schedule is laid out, I have plenty of time to do work after classes and still explore Madrid on the weekdays.
After only a month in Madrid, I feel like time is flying by and wish it would slow down. I’ve made myself a promise that I explore at least one new area of Madrid each week. I’m excited to see what the rest of this semester has in store and see where this fall takes me.
Ciao for now!
Categories: 2019, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain