When I first entered the city of Madrid I was overwhelmed about being in a new place and already a bit homesick because I’ve never been this far away from my family. But as the first few days went by and I moved into my new apartment and got my metro card, I started to realize how beautiful the city, people, and the culture are. The architecture and style of every building stands out and even the roads are different than the US. There is so much diversity here that it’s almost impossible to guess if someone is a local or a tourist just by looking at them. I live in an apartment with 11 other roommates, all of whom are from different countries with different lifestyles. One of the main differences I noticed very soon was that many European college students are required to do a semester or a year abroad which is why it’s so common to have student housing for international people. I think this requirement makes the people here much more well rounded and worldly; it forces a person to live life through a different lens which is so important.

I started my first week of school a few days ago and I’m already loving it. The diversity is so present that most of my business classes have only one or two Spanish students even though I am at a Spanish school. Even the professors are from different countries such as Italy, Ukraine, and Germany.

As I start this experience, a few goals I have set for myself are the following: (1) Learn as much as possible about business from an apartment international standpoint so I can understand what could be brought to the US to make businesses more successful (2) Make as many connection of students from all over the world so I can learn about their cultures and lifestyles (3) Travel as much as possible! I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me.

Categories: 2023, Spain

I’m writing this on September 9th, 2023. It’s been just over one week since I got to Madrid, Spain. I am a Junior marketing major and I have always wanted to study abroad. Starting from the day I got here, I was in shock at how picturesque Madrid is. The cobblestone streets and the buildings are all incredibly beautiful. I came abroad with a few friends from TAMU, so we’re all staying together in this 12 bedroom apartment in Sol (the heart of the city). It’s actually really fun staying with a lot of people because there are students coming in from all over Europe. It’s been a great way to make friends and learn about other cultures.

The first week that I was here, I got to do a lot of walking around the city and learning my way around. It’s pretty clean and safe in the main part of the city as well. There is a really pretty park similar to central park in NYC near the city that has a really pretty glass castle. There’s lots of places to sightsee that I plan on doing. This street called Gran Via has all the stores you can imagine if you like to shop and the gelato here is so good. I’m going to UC3M and I just started my first day of classes yesterday. My schedule is pretty good and I was able to get Friday off, so that I’m able to travel while I’m here on the weekends. Being here really allows me to immerse myself into the culture of Spain as well as other cultures since it’s very diverse. I’m meeting people from all over the world and experiencing things I never thought I would be able to. Being in Madrid has been very different because I’ve never lived in a big city before and there are a lot of customs that are different here. For instance, many places shut down during the afternoon because of “siesta” meaning nap. Also, there’s a lot more cultural aspects in Spain compared to living in College Station. Overall, it’s been great so far and I would recommend studying abroad!


Categories: 2023, Spain

First impressions of Barcelona. I fell in love as soon as I landed. This was my first time in Europe, I did not know what to expect. The school system was quite different, there was weekly seminars for mostly every class, but it was fun being able to see how the students in Spain interact with each other. Plus, there was many international students, so it was so much fun meeting people from all over the world (not just Spain). The city was amazing, always felt very safe and never had a dull moment. I would go back forever, the lifestyle there is just so relaxing and fun. The food is quite different, but you will see your McDonalds and Taco Bells pretty often.

By the end of the trip, I did not want to leave this amazing experience. I learned so much about everything. I learned about myself, so many different cultures and how business works in other countries. This is something everyone should experience, do not let fear of being far away and in the unknown stop you! It’s a lot much easier to communicate than you might think, you are not the only international student in Barcelona (there is so many events for exchange students), the city is so beautiful!

Categories: 2023, Spain

Coming back to the U.S. from the most incredible experience of my life has been bittersweet. On the one hand, I missed my family and friends a ton while I was away, and am so happy to have them so close, as opposed to being time zones and an ocean apart. On the other, I think about how just a few weeks ago I was living, what felt like, a whole different life… speaking Spanish everyday and traveling somewhere new just about every weekend. I saw and experienced some pretty amazing things, like paragliding through the sky above Interlaken, Switzerland or hiking several miles in between all 5 towns that make up Cinque Terre, Italy. But still, when I find myself being asked by people I haven’t seen in months, “what was your favorite part?,” I can’t help but immediately think of the friendships. Mariana and Anna were pretty much strangers to me in the fall of 2022. We all were marketing students at Mays Business School, but it wasn’t until signing up for this semester abroad, that we met. We were all set to go to Madrid, Spain and looking for roommates and a place to live.

We met for coffee at Sweet Eugene’s and decided right then and there that we would do this together! From that day on, I prayed for the 3 of us; that our friendship would be a blessing to us all. Over the course of our 5 months abroad, we practically lived on top of each other in a pretty little apartment located in the heart of the city, navigated foreign countries, language barriers, transportation, school, and our real, personal lives back in the U.S., and we became each others home away from home. It really didn’t take long for these ‘strangers’ to become some of my best friends. We laughed and cried and grew together. They were by far the best thing that happened to me while I was abroad and I know they will stick by my side for a long, long time, even now that we’re back home. I am forever changed for the better by my time abroad, but more so by the friendships that came with it.

Categories: 2023, Spain

I just got home from my six months living in Barcelona and already miss it so much. Going on a semester exchange abroad is definitely the most impactful thing I have ever done for myself. Academically, the classes we took at UPF were very interesting. The class structure is very different from A&M as well as the culture that surrounds the topics. We worked on a lot of group projects and got to learn about the different markets/business cultures from all over the globe. It felt more valuable and hands-on to learn about global marketing from the other side of the world.
Before this semester, I was never able to call myself a traveler, nor had I ever been to Europe even though it had always interested me. Now I can say I have traveled 32,000+ miles in Europe alone in a six-month time span. Living in Barcelona made it so easy to see as much of the world as I was able to in such a short amount of time. I was able to visit 12 countries as well as multiple different cities across Spain. One of my favorite things about these excursions was how unique each country was from one another. My roommate/best friend/travel partner, Grace (another Aggie), and I always made a point to learn as much as we could on each of our trips whether it meant signing up for free walking tours, visiting lots of museums, or reading up on the incredible historical sites before traveling. The history that surrounds these places is absolutely amazing and are experience I will never forget.
Barcelona was also the perfect place to call home. Even after a perfect weekend spent exploring another European city, we were always so happy to come home to Barcelona and see what the city had in store for us that week. The city is so exciting and diverse as it has aspects of a large urban city along with close access to beautiful beaches and mountains. It seemed as though every week there were festivals and celebrations of Catalan culture happening in the streets. One of my favorite memories in Barcelona was Sant Jordi’s feast day which is dedicated to the patron saint of Catalonia and a celebration of love and culture sometimes known as “Catalonia’s Valentine’s Day”. The tradition on that day is you exchange a book for a red rose with the people you love so the streets are filled with books and roses to buy. I found that there was always something to do or a new area of the city to explore, so much so that I can’t wait to go back and try all of the experiences I wasn’t able to get to in my time there! These six months flew by and I am so grateful for my time spent abroad and so happy I was able to call Barcelona home for a short period of my life.

Categories: Spain

Howdy! As I finish up my study abroad experience and in the midst of finals, I have been able to reflect on what these past four months have meant to me. Being abroad for these past four months has been one of the most incredible experiences I have had. Through my exchange I have been able to grow in so many ways professionally and personally. Growing up I have always had a global perspective as my family is from Mexico and I have grown up traveling with them to different parts of the world. What I did not come to realize is that having a global perspective does not mean you know everything, it only means you are open to continuous learning as every culture has a uniqueness of its own.

During my time abroad I met this one girl from Brazil who I grew to be very close with by the end of my time here. She had such a different upbringing than me but what stood out the most about my time with her is that we are still the same. Two 21 year olds in a foreign country constantly learning and growing. Moreover, the more places I went to, the more people I met and the more interactions I had. While these interactions ranged from all kinds of scenarios and conversations, the interest in each stayed the same. If one invests in trying to understand a person from a different place or even the way of life in a new culture, then one will. All it takes is to be interested and open and with that alone, you will be able to grow your perspective and understanding of the world we live in.

In my first impression, I found myself very focused on the details of this new culture. Trying to distinguish the big differences and the culture shocks but little did I know that it was the similarities that stuck out the most. While the lifestyle in Spain does seem to be at a slower pace, the themes in life don’t seem to be so different. My favorite activity in Madrid was simply to go to Parque de Retiro and observe people. My roommates and I kept this theme of going to parks almost everywhere we traveled to. From all these observations, I came to one conclusion, people around the world are all the same. They will walk through parks with their families, with their significant others, and with their friends. They will sit and enjoy the weather and the nature that surrounds them. Kids will run around a playground and play with curiosity. A park is still a park, no matter where we went, and all of them consisted of all types of people simply enjoying the moment.

My experience abroad truly taught me so much and it allowed me to appreciate the life I live so much more. As I go into my senior year at Texas A&M, I am ready to be fully present in every moment and enjoy every bit of it. For this, last year won’t last forever but change and growth will continue to come as I take on life outside College Station.

Categories: 2023, Spain

As I wrap up my final days abroad, I’m thinking about how awesome my time here in Barcelona and beyond has been. I knew coming into it that I would learn and grow in a lot of different ways but I didn’t exactly know how. It’s cool now to see how everything played out. Not every day was easy and fun but the whole adventure was incredible.
One of the coolest things in my classes here was the opportunity to work in 3 different teams out of my 4 classes. All multinational groups allowed me to work with and come to understand many diverse perspectives. It sure has had its challenges but bringing different backgrounds and thinking to the table always makes for a more well-rounded, valuable team. I’ve come to really appreciate the value of a different perspective than my own. I’ve also learned to communicate and lead more effectively with people, especially those who don’t speak English as a native language. Being understood definitely plays a big role in a team dynamic.
Something I didn’t realize was how easy it would be to speak English here. I mostly wanted to come to Spain because I’m learning Spanish but it turned out to be harder to learn naturally than I originally thought. All the international students can speak English and a lot of people know English wherever you go. So I had to really be intentional about learning and practicing. I have grown a lot in speaking and understanding Spanish but I’ve learned that the best way to learn is going somewhere where no one knows English.
All in all, this semester’s exchange has been such a blessing. So many great conversations, memories, and lessons learned. The one thing that I would encourage someone who is deciding to do a semester exchange is to do it to grow and learn and experience new things. Don’t just do it for the Instagram pics and so you can say you did it. If you’re considering doing a semester exchange even a little bit, do it.

Categories: 2023, Spain

My time in Madrid, Spain has truly been life-changing. It has opened my eyes to the beauty of cultural diversity and the interconnectedness of people from different backgrounds.

The vibrant and energetic atmosphere of Madrid has taught me to embrace spontaneity and live in the present moment. The Spanish culture’s emphasis on leisurely meals and late-night socializing has shown me the importance of work-life balance and finding joy in the simple pleasures of life. Exploring Madrid’s stunning landmarks, such as the Royal Palace and Prado Museum, has deepened my understanding and appreciation of history and architecture.

Some of my initial impressions of Madrid turned out to be accurate, such as the warmth and hospitality of the Spanish people. The vibrant street life and the passion for food and socializing were also in line with my expectations. However, I underestimated the size and diversity of Madrid. The city is much larger than I imagined, with numerous neighborhoods each offering its own unique charm. The sheer number of cultural events, festivals, and activities taking place throughout the year exceeded my expectations, making Madrid an exciting and dynamic place to live.

In conclusion, my time in Madrid has been transformative. It has expanded my understanding of different cultures, challenged my preconceived notions, and deepened my appreciation for history and architecture. This experience has broadened my perspective and left an indelible mark on my understanding of the world.

Categories: 2023, Spain

Hello! My name is Daniela and I am currently studying in Barcelona, Spain. When I initially got to Barcelona, it felt a little overwhelming because it was my first time in Europe and I was in a very different environment. But once my roommate arrived and we explored the city, I felt very happy to be where I was. Barcelona has so many unique and fun sites to explore, the food is very tasty(they have lots of fast food restaurants like McDonald’s if you want to be reminded of home), fun nightlife, and a beach! Communication in Spain has not been very difficult since I speak Spanish, but either way most people speak or know English. I arrived a few days before school started, which I highly recommend because it allowed me to rest after the jet lag and get familiar with the city and transportation services! The first day of school we started with the program’s orientation where every student doing an exchange attended. There were a huge number of students from all over the world! The people presenting seemed genuinely excited to welcome us and wanted us to learn more about their culture. In all, I felt very welcomed and excited to start my program! There are many differences between Spain and the U.S. For example, the food is different, there are usually no dryers to dry your clothes, and to get your groceries to your place is a hassle especially if you don’t live on the first floor or if there isn’t an elevator, there is coffee shops and convenience stores in every corner, and there are people walking or taking public transportation everywhere! It has been an adjustment but I absolutely love everything about Spain. It has been very exciting to go to different ERASMUS(International students) events and meet new people from everywhere. I hope to gain knowledge from studying in a different university, gain new friends, gain business skills, and make memorable memories!

Categories: 2023, Spain

Howdy! My name is Mariana Martinez and I am a junior marketing major studying abroad in Madrid, Spain at UC3M. I have been in Madrid for a couple days now and it is safe to say I love it here. When I first got here, I expected to have multiple culture shocks and thought it was going to take me a while to adjust but I am surprised to say Madrid has not been as different as I thought. The biggest difference I have noticed is everyone here tends to enjoy a slower paced life. While living in the center of Madrid, you see many people rushing to get places but if you step a foot outside the center hub of Madrid or into a plaza, you will notice people will sit at a restaurant for hours enjoying some good tapas with friends. The city of Madrid is very clean and the buildings here are beautiful. Everytime I walk somewhere, I constantly catch myself staring up at the buildings everywhere I go because the streets are filled with simplistic detailed buildings with beautiful colors. I also adapted the sense of transport here which is walking, metro and train. Living by the Sol station, I am able to catch the train every morning to go 25 mins out of town to go to campus at Getafe. UC3M is a decent sized campus but in comparison to A&M it feels small. My first impressions of the school is that while it is a rigorous school, the professors are very kind and helpful with the students. The school also has a big international presence as they are known for hosting many exchange students every year. It is pretty clear the Spanish students tend to keep to themselves and their friend groups as they all take classes together and spend all four years surrounded by the same people. However, I have had the opportunity to meet so many international students from around the world. Moreover, another difference is in the Spanish culture, athleisure does not exist and so they dress more professionally and modest on a daily basis in comparison to America. Lastly, people in Spain eat small portions at random times of the day rather than 3 large meals. Overall, I have felt the Spanish culture in Madrid is not that different to that of America which has made it easy to adapt to life here. I am so in love with Madrid and Spain and am excited to see more of this country in my upcoming months here!

Categories: 2023, Spain