Spain | Semester Exchanges Blog - Part 5

I’ve been in Madrid for about two months now, which feels crazy because it’s all gone by so fast. I’ve gotten my routine down for school and commuting and feel more acclimated to the city. I’m taking four classes, two of which are business classes taught in English, and the other two are related to my Spanish minor. None have been too difficult so far, with reasonable quizzes and group projects and not a ton of studying time needed. It also helps that my classes are only pass/fail, so I’m not striving as hard to get an A in all of the classes and instead am focusing more on enjoying my overall experience with the school. However, the one thing I wish for would be to meet more Spanish students. In my classes there are more international students than students actually from Spain, so I’m still talking in English a lot at school and at school events. However, I recommend for anyone studying in Spain that if you’re comfortable with your Spanish, take business classes actually taught in Spanish to meet other Spanish students and speak more.

Every week we’re still discovering new things to see and do in Madrid, and every time I’m loving Madrid and Spanish culture even more. We usually get tapas and dinner every week, and always try new places to eat. At restaurants we talk to each other and the waiters in Spanish and usually order multiple plates for us all to split. The food never fails to amaze me, and I keep trying new things. Food and drinks are definitely things to appreciate here, and sometimes we’ll be at a restaurant for more than 2 hours. I probably eat out a lot more than I should but I got no regrets. One week we went to a Real Madrid football game, which was such an incredible experience. The atmosphere was crazy, the fans were super hype, and it was something you just have to experience if you’re in Spain.

 

Categories: 2017, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

Last week, my best friend from the states came to see me! It was crazy feeling like I was welcoming her into my town. I love hosting people normally, and this was no different! We managed to see all my favorite things around Madrid (Including a day trip to Toledo!) while she was here; I was in my element with the opportunity to show someone around! She took this picture on our day trip to Toledo. 

There were definitely some crazy things that I noticed while my friend Sarah was here. Most prominently, I noticed that there are many novel things here in Spain which I now take for granted. For example, Iberian ham and paellas are so commonplace to me now! When did that happen? It took me by surprise every time Sarah needed an explanation of Spanish foods. Before she came, I had never considered how many foods I must have learned about when I first arrived! Another thing that stuck out to me while she was here was that I have a list of things that are important to me about Madrid. I insisted that we see all of my favorites while she was here… It was a pretty long list! The Prado Art Museum, Retiro Park, Malasaña, the Royal Palace, and Toledo were some things included. Here is a picture of us on boats at Retiro: 

Sarah and I also made friends with the sweet flower lady Nancy at El Rastro, the weekly flea market! 

 

 

Also, I can add a new favorite now! We went to a Real Madrid fútbol game, it was SO FUN! I have never felt so much a part of the Spanish people than I did at that game. This is a bad picture, but it was an intense game!

Something else that has been on my mind a lot as I reflect on February is the amount that I miss Madrid when I am gone. My friends and I often travel on the weekends, but I love Madrid so much! We have decided that our friend Mikel is going to have the best semester by far because he stays in Madrid on the weekends. Spain is a very special place, why would I leave? Every moment I have here is my favorite, undoubtedly. Let the traveling end and the more thorough enjoyment of MADRID begin! I love everything about this city and this culture and these people. In fact, I love it more every time I leave. I am thrilled to have the rest of the semester here, I will enjoy every moment so sincerely! I am confident that I picked the best city to study in; I miss it like it’s actually home.

Categories: 2017, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

I’ve been here in Barcelona for almost two months and I can confidently say that if I am to live abroad in the future (which I plan to) I will be living in Spain.  Specifically Catalunya, which is the northeastern side of Spain that Barcelona is a part of, is breathtakingly beautiful with several types of scenery.  It ranges from mountains and hills, to beaches and city life.  I continue to wander the city of Barcelona finding new places to shop and eat.

During my time living here I have improved my Spanish and I’m able to have short conversations with some of my neighbors and order meals at restaurants.  If you are thinking about studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain, or another Spanish-speaking country, I would recommend to start learning Spanish if you don’t know it, either in a class or on an app called Duolingo.  Although many people in Barcelona know English, several local residents don’t know much English and would appreciate the effort of someone learning basic Spanish words and phrases to communicate with them.

I’m learning to find a balance between studying, traveling, and relaxing.  While classes at Universitat Pompeu Fabra are time consuming with papers, presentations, group projects, and a few midterms, people are willing to help me understand what’s going on if I’m confused or need advice.  However, be aware that many people here are definitely procrastinators, so within group projects be mindful that not everyone gets assignments done in advanced.  I had a group presentation that was not finished until the day of presenting; thankfully it worked out and was done in time, but it was slightly stressful!  Throughout the past two months I have travelled in Spain and also to Amsterdam.  I am partly Dutch so getting the chance to see things such as tulips and Deft pottery that I’ve heard about my whole life was truly amazing!  Living in Spain provided me that opportunity that I could not be more grateful for! While traveling around is such a great experience, getting to relax and actually feel like I’m at home is important for me too.  I’ve now had two weekends where I lounged around my flat, watching Netflix, eating junk food, and taking a breather from being constantly on the go.  I did my best to still go find a place to eat or casually walk around Barcelona at night, but it was lovely to simply relax.

Just a few recommendation:

  • Be prepared to hang dry your clothes if you are staying in Barcelona or anywhere in Europe.  Most places such as flats do not have dryers for clothes, which is actually better for clothing.  This is very different from what I’m used to because I can’t wash clothes right before an event since it takes close to 24 hours to fully dry anything.
  • Eat as many new things as possible!  I tried seafood paella at a bar called Belushi’s, it was something I would not usually order in the States but I’m so glad I ordered it!  I also try to eat a new pastry every week.  Back home I don’t have access to a variety of freshly baked pastries, whereas here there’s a bakery or cafe on every other street with different goodies to try.
  • Get involved.  I have been attending International Church of Barcelona (ICB) on Sundays if I’m in town and I go to a community group, which is similar to a Bible study with ICB, every Tuesday.  I’m thankful that I have found a consistent group to be with and people who understand what it’s like to be new to the city.  Find a weekly group of people to hang out with; it gives you something to do and it’ll grow closer friendships with people you meet.
  • Food recommendations:
    • Taco Alto, a cute taco shop down the street from my flat with some seriously amazing tacos.
    • Alsur Cafe, a decently priced cafe with food that will make your stomach extremely happy.
    • All You Eat is Love, a cafe near the university with vegan food and although I’m not vegan their cookies, coffee, and food are amazing!
    • Bormuth, a cozy casual bar and grill with great tapas!
    • Good Burger, a little taste of America while gone, they have great burgers and even a soda fountain which is rare around here.
    • Les dues Sililies, local restaurant with decent sized slices of great pizza costing only 2€ each.

I’ve already found so much in this city and I’m excited for my last month and a half being here to discover more.  My parents and sister plan to come to Barcelona in about a week so I’m excited to show them my favorite things so far and be able to experience more with them.

Categories: 2017, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

Today (Feb 1st, had some complications originally uploading this) officially marks my two-week milestone of living in Madrid, Spain. It hasn’t been a seamless transition, but I am quickly learning how to adapt to the change of culture. Upon arrival in Madrid on January 16, I decided it was most cost effective to take the Metro (subway) from the airport to my flat rather than a taxi. I had printed a small map with my address and the surrounding area to ensure I wouldn’t get lost and was ready to go. I only had one checked bag, a travel backpack, and a laptop bag, but I could’ve never anticipated the dense feeling I experienced when my eyes first saw the city after exiting the metro tunnel.

Coming out from underground, it was like I had just walked into another world. It was noon in Madrid and there was hustle and bustle everywhere, with car horns, chatter and street sounds alike; I felt as if I had just stepped into an antiquated New York City with all Spanish people. Once I came out of my momentary trance, I realized I had to climb two flights of stairs with my luggage after a 9-hour red-eye flight in a land I didn’t know at all and then walk another 1.5km to eventually reach the flat—the first of many independent experiences I would have in the next 5 months here. This semester, I took a risk and booked with a family via AirBnb for 5 months; they seemed nice and the location is great. They do not speak English, so there have been a few moments of confusion and such, but I have already learned so much from them.

I had 4 days to spend alone before our orientation day at my new school, La Universidad de Carlos III de Madrid, much of which was spent wandering around Madrid and taking copious naps. While it was a bit lonely at times, I found peace in the serenity of being alone and going to see places around the city with the sole purpose of taking photos. Templo de Debod quickly became my favorite sunset spot after waiting for an hour to see the amazing change of colors as the sun disappeared. That moment I felt like I was in a painting.

The day before classes began, myself and some other Aggies in addition to a few Erasmus students ventured out to Toledo for a daytrip. Toledo is a hidden gem just south of Madrid and is loaded with abundant medieval history. It was a totally different world than Madrid, with a much slower pace and even more historic architecture, a welcome change. I felt like I was in a page in one of my Spanish textbooks! We did lots of walking around the city and explored many of the renowned sites the city has to offer. My favorite was a calm spot just by the river that we deviated from our itinerary to get to. We spotted a bridge in the distance that somewhat resembled a medieval Austin 360 overlook and decided to hike to get down there. It was incredible. On the far side of the bridge there was a stone wall that lined the perimeter of the city, which we decided to sit and soak it all in. The view was remarkable and the afternoon sun was angled just right to warm our faces, a feeling that we had been absent of since moving to Madrid, and an overwhelming feeling of peace and content came over me.

That moment in Toledo made me realize why people that visit Spain love it so much. There are a huge variety of cultures you can experience in such a small distance. The large cities are loaded with people and a cosmopolitan vibe, while the smaller towns are full of history and character. The food is great everywhere, and the Spanish language is its own type of music. I’m slowly but surely falling in love with this country, with many more adventures to come!

Categories: 2017, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

As of today, I’ve been living in Madrid now for 6 full weeks and am so content. The first weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster and I’m beginning to settle in, but I still can’t get over the fact that every time I walk on a street drain in this city, it tells me I’m in MADRID, SPAIN. Still incredibly humbled by the whole thing.

Update- these are what the stamps look like you need for mail sent to the US

My first month of being here was filled with off-the-wall errands that led to hour long adventures because I had no idea where to get anything, but now I’m starting to get the hang of things and it’s incredibly satisfying. One of these errands, for example, was to get stamps so I could effectively send a postcard to the States. Pro-tip for anyone thinking about coming to Spain–they sell stamps in tobacco stores called Estancos. It took a few attempts to figure that one out, but now I know all the ins and outs of sending mail here! *small victory*

Along with getting into the swing of things with knowing my way around, I’m also getting into a rhythm with my classes. I decided to take 3 of my 4 classes taught in Spanish this semester, and two of them are business classes. When I decided to do this, I considered the difficulty of the language barrier with my professors, but I didn’t consider the potential obstacles I would have in getting to know the other students. For the first couple of weeks, I was a little discouraged by the lack of friends I had made in my classes. It had seemed like everyone already knew each other and I was the odd one out in all of my classes instructed in Spanish. However, in the 4th and 5th weeks of school, we had to pick project groups for our semester assignments and this served as a great catalyst for me getting to know some other students, and I’m feeling a lot more comfortable. Within these project groups, I am constantly taken aback by how patient my partners have been. They are so willing to speak slower and repeat themselves because they know I’m trying to improve my Spanish and I am so grateful to be working with them. Yesterday, I had to deliver a presentation with my partner, Alex, a student from Spain, in my Quality Control class (taught in Spanish) and I was so nervous, but my partner went out of his way to help me practice more beforehand and made me feel so much more calm and prepared. We delivered it without any embarrassing language mix-ups and it was such a great confidence booster. Since we’ve gotten our project groups, I feel far better about my decision to take classes taught in Spanish and am so excited for the opportunities it will bring me to improve my speaking abilities in my time here.

It’s also nice to hang out in the plaza at school, not really missing the TX heat 😉

Now that I’m fully acclimating myself to the Spanish lifestyle, I find myself trying to absorb the day to day culture so I can get the full experience. Some examples include: my lunch choices, meal times, use of public transportation and attempted adoption of 90’s fashion. My friend, Lydia (from A&M) has nicknamed me her “Little Spaniard” because everyday I bring a pretty typical Spanish lunch to school. My lunch usually consists of a bocadillo (sandwich on a baguette with either salami or fresh chorizo), some fruit and a dessert cracker of some kind *AKA just a bunch of delicious carbs*. I’ve also been trying to adopt traditional mealtimes. Breakfast is in the morning, lunch around 2-3pm, and dinner around 9 or 10 and always tapas with everything. Public transportation is another aspect that I’ve really enjoyed incorporating into my daily life here. The metro/rail/bus network in Madrid is the best in Spain and 2nd best in Europe in terms of efficiency and organization and it’s become so fun using it. I’ve really enjoyed how much I walk in this city and using the public transport in between is so convenient. Lastly, the fashion in Madrid amongst students my age is so definitive. Everyone looks like the walked out of the 90s; from the platform Dock Martins , to the pilly, ruffled sweaters and DENIM EVERYTHING, its all so dramatic. Shopping here is so much more reasonable than in the States with so many options and much cheaper prices, I’ve been trying to adopt some small aspects into my current wardrobe.

Mom came to visit, tried to make her a Spaniard

So far, I’ve had a blast trying to adopt the Spanish culture and figuring out how to do life in Madrid. Despite the difficulties associated with trying to fit into a new city (on the other side of the globe), I feel like I am becoming a far more capable, independent individual. I am having so much fun over here making friends with the other Aggies, traveling tons, and living it up in Madrid, and the only emotion I can feel for the next 3 1/2 months I have here is total excitement.

Categories: 2017, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

I have perfected the technique of sleeping in an airport: big bag under your knees with the zippers down, purse under your head as a sort of lumpy pillow, jacket on, but use scarf as a blanket. This kind of perfect technique only comes from practice – lots of it, none of it very pleasant. But traveling is not all glamour and fun – in fact, it’s the exact opposite. Adventuring, traveling, studying abroad – it’s all about what goes wrong, what lessons you learn, and the stories of how you learn them.

I have to remind myself that people doing the same thing as me, whether that’s studying abroad, or being at A&M, are posting pictures that are picture perfect. Their posts although totally justified, leave out the realities of the woes and struggles of studying abroad. I have to remind myself that no study abroad is without its problems – nor is staying at home. I’m very aware that had I stayed in College Station, I would be knee-deep in finance classes, drowning in homework, and kicking myself every time I stepped foot in the library because I could have been doing this. But I also appreciate that I traded one set of hurdles for a very different, yet very real set. This is not a vacation, and it’s not meant to be. I think people get caught up in seeing pictures of the “perfect” study abroad and convince themselves that it’s a prolonged vacation when it isn’t.

Everyday I come home exhausted – mentally, physically, and more than often emotionally. Just going to class is a workout: the hike to get there, the pain of stretching my brain to reach another language is the metal equivalent of trying to do the splits, and simply talking to people and making friends is both terrifying and draining all at once. I could sleep for days, but feel guilty when I sleep in because I’m here. I have accomplished a goal that was two years in the making and know that I should want to learn all day, party all night, and travel every single weekend, but I’m missing down time. I’m missing the mundane things that filled the gaps between my adventures back home. I miss being in a place where I knew the layout of the grocery store and where the cheap coffee was. This surprises me every time I think it, because it was one of the things spurring me into this, but I want something to be mundane. I want to make something familiar and a source of comfort rather than something mysterious in a city that I don’t really know.

Traveling, study abroad, adventuring – they are not meant to be perfect. The best stories, the most indelible memories, and the lessons that stay with you forever all come out of the misadventures you have on the way.

Madrid hasn’t been perfect – sometimes I feel like I’m suffocating in it. And I haven’t really been handing my feelings about it the way I should. I’ve been running around trying to do as much as possible in as little time as possible – it feels like freshman year all over again, just trying to apply to as many organizations as possible and hoping one will stick. I haven’t been dealing with the change the way that is best for me: alone time, reflection, and writing. I’ve been too scared to be alone to do that, until this weekend.

In contrast to last weekend where I slept on the floor of an airport next to a hoard of armed guards, this weekend I slept late, I baked, I did my laundry, went for a run, and hiked in the mountains. It was a good mix of taking time for myself and also putting myself out there. It left me feeling fulfilled, with 3 dozen cookies, a new group of friends, and clean clothes. It wasn’t a weekend to post about, not the traditional adventure, but it was the adventure I needed.

 

Categories: 2017, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

HOSTELS AND HOMESTAYS

 

Hola España y bienvenido readers!

 

January was a dream. When I think about what I could tell someone about my study abroad, I should put the crazy flight delays, confusing metro systems, and foreign languages aside. Just know: those moments of craziness are present. However, one moment in particular stands out as a defining moment of my month of January.

 

Toledo.

 

This hidden, quiet, and extremely medieval town took me by total surprise (as did every incredible Spanish town, come to think of it). Toledo was so medieval, I could easily imagine horses and knights moseying down the squished, cobbled streets. We went to Toledo on a day trip celebrating the last day of freedom before classes started. It was a perfect 45-minute bus ride, and we had wonderful weather greeting us there. That day, we wandered the streets, spoke a little Spanish, toured the beautiful cathedral, ate tapas y paellas, and got a little lost by the river (in the best way).

 

 

 

One moment stands out as something I will never forget. We wandered down to the river next to a beautiful bridge at one point in the day. Our group of 10-12 students all dispersed around a cobblestone ledge that looked out over the water. Some of us took pictures, others explored the area closer to the water, and still others paid 10 euros to zipline across the river. I sat with my friends (from TAMU) Kelsey and Mikel, and just took it all in. It was actually so warm that day, and I was so thrilled to have the sun on my face. The picture above is where we sat, and the picture below is the view from there. Waiting on that stone ledge, I took a short siesta. I cannot describe how content I was to wake up to a truly dreamy day with the sun on my face.

In College Station, I am always wishing to be going somewhere fun and different. I love traveling and experiencing new things. This day/moment in Toledo was so sweet because I realized how content I was to be exactly where I am. I absolutely love studying abroad and am so excited for the adventures and experiences that are to come in Spain this semester!

 

Un abrazo grande,

 

Lydia

 

Más fotos:

^Gig’em!

Categories: 2017, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

It’s crazy that I have now been in Barcelona for about 5 weeks! I am already starting to feel like one of the locals and I’m learning my way around.  My roommate and I have are now regulars at a coffee shop near us.  We go in almost every morning and the barista knows to start getting our café con leches for us.  The city of Barcelona is filled with so much art, character, things to do, and beautiful buildings.  It’s been fun to walk outside, decide if I want to go left or right on the street, and see what all I can find.  I could go on and on about all the things I have already discovered!

There are so many narrow streets that wind throughout Barcelona with several different restaurants, gelato places, and boutique-style shops.  Every time I turn a corner there is another new thing to try!  There’s so much life and excitement in Barcelona, from people playing instruments, blowing soap bubbles almost as big as I am, or people taking their dogs with them everywhere.  I have also realized how easy transportation is around here. I walk most places, for example, the university I go to here, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, is about a 15-minute walk from my flat.  The metro is also an easy, inexpensive way to get around.  I try to use the metro when I can simply because we do not have anything like it back in Texas.

When I first got to the University (UPF), I join an organization called Erasmus, or ESN.  It was around 30 euros to join and I’m so thankful I did it! I’ve met people from all over the world including, Australia, Finland, the Netherlands, Canada, the UK, and many more.  Hearing about different cultures is something I absolutely love and am always curious to know more about.  ESN had welcome day activities the first 10 days of classes where every day there was something different to do.  Some days were touristy, learning more about Barcelona’s history and seeing some absolutely beautiful buildings.  Other days were more hangouts, with speed-friending, dinners, meeting at bars, and going to a few clubs.  I’ve been able to make such close friends already through ESN and classes and I still have another 2 months of being here!

Classes at UPF are much different from what I’m used to at Texas A&M.  It is more challenging here in the sense that I’m in class longer than what I’m used to, I’m required to take 5 classes when only 4 is the maximum amount recommended, and I want to travel as much as I can while I’m here, which brings my motivation to study way down.  Thankfully all of my professors speak English very well and they understand that many international students are in their classes.  With all the friends I’ve been making, I’m able to get study groups together or work on group projects with people from ESN.  There are also local people from Spain in my classes, so it has also been interesting talking to them and getting recommendations on places I should visit while I’m here.

So far, other than Barcelona, I’ve been to Girona and Madrid. I plan on going to Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Switzerland, and several other places.  Flights from Barcelona are relatively cheap and I want to take advantage of this opportunity of being in Europe to see more of the world.  I’m probably most excited to take a few weekends to see more of Barcelona, what else is in this gorgeous city, and take in the Spanish and Catalan culture around me.  I’m already so thankful for this experience and how open my eyes have become to the world outside the United States.

There are a few things to be prepared for in advanced if you are interesting in living in or visiting Barcelona:

  • Understand that you have to walk almost everywhere. I was not used to walking much in the States and was easily worn out after a day of seeing the city.  It will definitely get you in shape being here and walking will get easier, but if possible, start walking around where you are now.
  • Be cautious of your surroundings. Keep your belongings zipped up if possible and keep your phone in your bag or purse when you can.  I did have someone try and take my phone out of my pocket as I was heading to the metro one day.  Thankfully he didn’t take it, but he was seconds away from having a new phone.  I now keep everything in my purse or backpack just to be safe.  But don’t worry! My biggest tip is every once in a while, look around you and notice the people near you.  Make eye contact with people so they know you notice them.  As long as you’re aware, you will have no problem!
  • If there are multiple people studying abroad from your home university, live with them, even if you don’t know them well going into it. I am living with one other girl from A&M, we didn’t know each other before the study abroad orientations but we knew it would be a good decision to live with each other.  We were right! I know I have someone to relate to when I’m homesick and we eat together almost every day.
  • Look into student housing immediately! The spots fill up and the locations of the student housing are great. I took too long to start looking into it and sadly couldn’t get in.  Thankfully, I found a place through Air BnB at a decent price and a great location.  I’ve heard of some people having to take about 20-30 minutes on the metro just to get to campus.  My recommendation is to start looking into housing right when you know you’re going to Barcelona to study!
  • Have fun and keep an open mind. Cultures around the world are so different compared to the United States.  So far, I’ve noticed that Barcelona has smaller personal space bubbles, a less friendly attitude towards strangers, but a loyalty to friends once you meet people.  Don’t be shocked when people kiss both of your cheeks when saying hello and stand close to you when they’re talking to you.  I was not used to this at all and the first time was not sure how to react.  It’s less strange now and I admire the closeness that people have with each other.  However, if you try to talk to a random person, even to say “bless you” when they sneeze, they think you’re the odd one, because that is just not normal to talk to random people.

 

I’m excited for the next 2 months of being here and learning more about what the world has for me.  I love this city already!

 

 

Categories: 2017, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

Howdy!

I have been in Spain for close to a month and I can honestly say this has been the best month of my life. I have met many students that are in the same situation as me, figuring out the city of Madrid and making many mistakes along the way (and learning from them, of course). I was lucky enough to come with four other aggies on this amazing journey, and even though we did not know each other before we came, it feels like we have been friends for a long time because of the experiences we have had here.

From my first few weeks I can say that my only regret was not getting my apartment sooner. I have family here in Madrid so they allowed me to stay with them for a couple of weeks until I found a place to stay. By the time I got here most apartments were already booked so finding a good place to stay was hard for me and really stressing. If I could do something all over again about this trip would be getting a place to stay a couple of months before.

Now, after getting the negative out of the way, let me get to the good stuff. Madrid has a lot of different things to discover, and I am still just starting to do that. There are many museums to which we get access for free for being students, including El Palacio Real, which is a castle where the Spanish Royalty used to live and is still used for special events. Another great thing here is the public transportation, students get a monthly pass for 20 Euros with access to all public transportation in the city. This has given me the chance to go around the city without worrying about having to pay anything else for transportation.

As for our school, UC3M has a great environment. There are many international students in the same position as me, they are looking to meet new people and travel around Spain and Europe. Classes are very different here, there are 2 meetings per week. One consists of a big lecture with around 60 students and the other one is a small group class with around 25 students, in this class most professors give small projects for the semester. School will definitely challenge me this semester but I hope to find a good balance between school work and getting to know Madrid.

Categories: 2017, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain

I have been studying abroad in Madrid, Spain for the past 2 weeks and everything has been one great whirlwind of an adventure. I had been abroad before in a Spanish-speaking country, so coming to Spain was not as big of an adjustment for me. Before arriving in Spain, I wanted to set some goals for myself, such as try to use Spanish as much as I can, meet new international people, and just enjoy every minute I have here.

Ever since I landed in Madrid, I have been involved in a flurry of activities, trips, and adventures. I live in a 14-student apartment in the center of Madrid, and commute to school every day by train. My roommates come from other countries, such as the UK and France. At Universidad de Carlos III, which is where I study, there is an international student program that allows students to meet other international students and get to know Madrid better. I have met students from all over Europe, and we’ve been able to do so many fun events throughout Madrid, such as a tour of the old part of Madrid, karaoke, going to a Flamenco show, having a tapas night, and exploring the night life of Madrid. I feel like I already have seen so much of Madrid just in 2 weeks.

Madrid itself is such a beautiful, fascinating city, and all I can describe it as is the New York of Spain. There are beautiful sights such as the Royal Palace, Retiro Park, Prado Museum, Temple of Debod, and all its great plazas. The streets are always filled with life and noise, and there is always something to do. The food is unbelievable here, and we most of the time get tapas before meals, which are like small Spanish appetizers or snacks. Overall, my time here so far has been incredible and I’m excited to see what lies in store for the rest of the semester.

Alexis Locascio

Categories: 2017, Reciprocal Exchange, Spain