From the States to Spain, With Love

study abroad, studying abroad, study abroad in Madrid

A quick snap of the Royal Palace, from standing in the gardens.

Madrid, Spain is one of the largest cities in all of Europe, falling third only after London and Berlin. A beautiful, busy city, filled with lights, life and excitement, I swear it’s daring me to explore it’s every corner. While I do feel so comfortable within her walls, living within Madrid will definitely prove a challenge. With 13 metro lines, ten o’clock dinnertimes, and up to 100 degree weather (fahrenheit), living the Spanish lifestyle is a far cry from my previous experiences in the cities I’ve called home in the United States. 

study abroad, studying abroad, study abroad in Madrid

Spanish architecture as seen from above.

There is no denying the incredible beauty of the experience, and I have found myself just as enchanted with Madrid now as I was on my previous visits. What I continue to find the most alluring aspect of the city is the accidental but artistic mix of both ancient and modern life. Look around, you’ll find a Starbucks or dance club tucked into one of the most breathtaking works of vintage Gothic architecture. Drive down the interstate and look out the window to see the remains of a long forgotten castle sitting broken on a ridge. 

study abroad, studying abroad, study abroad in Madrid

Strolling with Lolo Polos in the Malasaña district of Madrid.

It’s opening your eyes and mind to the differences between life abroad and life at home that will really help nurture a positive outlook and attitude about moving into a culture and world that you don’t completely understand anymore. I’ve found that it can prove very difficult at times: you move from a place where you’re confident and familiar with your surroundings; you leave behind spending time with people you know, to come to a city that is a curious stranger in and of itself. I’m learning that’s all part of the fun. The thrill of the independence of this journey and the looming possibilities for all of the incredible adventures that are to come are more than enough to make it all worth it. 

study abroad, studying abroad, study abroad in Madrid

Biking through the massive city park, El Retiro.

Once your body becomes accustomed to eating lunch at three o’clock and dinner at ten o’clock, walking miles through the city to find a recommended local restaurant or desired bus stop, you’ll have made it through the toughest part of the transition from your home to this new, busy city. Now is finally the time to adventure, and I cannot wait to start making the memories that I’ll be able to take back home with me and cherish forever.

study abroad, studying abroad, study abroad in Madrid

Poolside view of summertime in Madrid.

Sarah U. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in Madrid, Spain. She is currently a sophomore studying Spanish and Songwriting at Belmont University.


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