Final Reflections of Madrid – Keyan Mirazimi
Mays Business School, December 24th, 2022
Preparing to leave Madrid for the final time, I have to say that this experience has shaped me to be a more well-rounded individual. I now have a better understanding of how to complement my work-life with ample space for leisure because of the focus that the Spanish have on being out and about with one another. It seems that there is a lighter emphasis on career development that contributes to this relaxed atmosphere you feel in Madrid.
My initial impression before going to Madrid was that it would be very important to learn Spanish to be able to communicate and get along with others, but I could not have been more wrong. The people here are extremely English-friendly and often speak very well when you are struggling with your Spanish, but it does go a long way to make the effort to learn their language. Studying at an international university, you are going to meet individuals who come from all around the world to study abroad, and at times, it can be overwhelming with the culture shock you experience. To overcome this challenge, I found it invaluable to lead with the intention to understand where others are coming from to begin forming a relationship with your fellow international students. The school in Madrid was very different from the American education system. Your class grades are mainly determined by your final exam, so you may not be as motivated to put your best foot forward until the very end of the semester. However, the condensed workload and ambiguity of final exams in a foreign country do create pressure when the time comes to take your tests, so I found it useful to study 2-3 weeks in advance and attend my classes to have an idea of what the subject material would be.
I will always remember Madrid for its bustling main streets and quaint cobbled neighborhoods. Even after having lived there for an entire semester, I can confidently say that there was still so much of the city left to be explored. Saying my goodbyes after final exams, I felt as if I had built my own community of friends and had a sense of belonging in the city. The change of leaving Spain to come back home, though uncomfortable, has taught me greater independence, confidence, and gratitude. If I had the opportunity to study abroad knowing what I know now, I would still say yes in a heartbeat.