Landing in Madrid, I was immediately in awe. This was my first time in Europe, so I was very ready to explore my new surroundings and learn all about Spanish culture and Spanish tradition. It was hard to stay in my apartment without wanting to leave and explore the city.
As my first day of school arrived, I felt slightly nervous, but my excitement was exponentially high. I quickly warmed up to the schedule I had and the different environment I was now in. After 5 days of classes, I can say that this is very different from Texas A&M. I will have to adapt to these new teaching styles, but I am very excited to see my progression within the program and my time here in Madrid.
One of the biggest reasons I decided to study abroad in Madrid was because I wanted to experience Europe and practice my Spanish. It has always been a dream of mine to study abroad in Spain, and I am so proud that I am here now to truly live this out. Not only have I been attending school, I am fully taking advantage of my surroundings by meeting new people from around the world and by traveling to new places.
The main differences that I have noticed between Spain and the United States are transportation, eating times, and architecture. The main mode of transportation here is public transportation and walking. My apartment is near campus, so I can luckily walk to class in 15 minutes. But, to get to the city, I have to walk to the train station and then take the train. This is a new experience for me as I do not take public transportation often in Texas. I am fortunate enough to have a car, so to get from point A to point B is much faster than here. However, I am loving this experience, it is truly allowing me to get the full experience living in Spain.
It is a running joke in Spain for the Spaniards to clarify eating times by saying “Spanish lunch” or even “Spanish dinner”. People in Spain eat meals very late compared to my experiences in the United States. Lunch can range from 2-3pm and dinner is normally past 8pm. This has been a big personal adjustment since I am used to eating so much earlier. I will admit, I do cheat sometimes and eat earlier. But, I mostly keep to the Spanish culture of eating later.
Aside from the eating time and public transportation, the architecture here is very different from the United States. It is amazing to see these historical sights from hundreds of years ago and to understand and learn the history behind it. I find myself exploring a new city or area each weekend I am here. I am so happy to be here and will be taking full advantage of everything during my stay here. I can say that this experience will truly change my life, and for the better.