As the semester is coming to a close, I’ve been reflecting on my time in Madrid. I’ve said before that I didn’t come here with expectations. Because of that, I ended up really loving the city. I’ve traveled to many different towns and cities in Spain and have enjoyed them but I definitely feel like Madrid is the place for me, at least for when it comes to studying abroad. Why?
Intercambios. To practice Spanish and maintain my other languages I like to go to language exchange events around the city. You get to meet a lot of cool people with diverse backgrounds and this isn’t an opportunity I have back home since I live in a small town. My favorite language exchange group so far has been Cafetandem. What I like about it is that you never have to worry about speaking English (unless you go to an English–Spanish exchange) whereas at other language exchanges I’ve been to, people only speak in English.
There’s a lot to do culturally. There are plenty of museums and parks. There is also a lot of shopping whether you decide to go to the popular Primark on Gran Vía or you check out El Rastro on Sundays. When it comes to museums, always ask about student discounts and look out for times when entry is free.
The easy metro system. Not having grown up in a city, I never had to use public transportation until now. My roommate taught me the metro system very quickly. It’s so easy to catch onto.
Easy travel to other countries. There’s an international airport here! People studying in other cities sometimes have to come here first in order to travel but since I’m already studying here, that makes it a lot easier to travel!
The weather. It’s always sunny in Madrid. Seriously. It has hardly rained since I’ve arrived. Now that winter has started it’s getting colder but it is uncommon to see snow (I haven’t seen it yet) and the weather is beautiful compared to Northeast Pennsylvania, where I’m from.
Nightlife. Everything is open late: clubs, restaurants, cafés. When I’ve visited other cities in Spain or even outside of Spain, some places are closed by 10. In Madrid that is when many people start to go out for dinner. If you’re a night owl then Madrid is the place for you.
Not a Touristy Place. This is one of my favorite things about Madrid. I can get immersed in actual culture. Yes, there are tourist attractions but compared to Barcelona and Seville, I feel like I’m just living everyday life as a student, not as a tourist.
After being here for three months now, I realize that Madrid is still a cool place to visit, but it’s an even better place to live. If you’re thinking about studying abroad, specifically in Spain, I’d highly suggest coming here. I know I made the right choice.