My name is Michael and probably by the time you’re reading this I’ve been studying in Madrid for over three months. Madrid is a lively city that never sleeps (except during their siesta’s of course) and is a rich city filled with lots of culture, great plazas and a crazy nightlife.
The first thing you will notice when you start living in Madrid is the Spanish lifestyle. It’s a relaxing lifestyle and the word ‘stress’ doesn’t exist in their dictionary. You will never see a person running to work or quickly drinking a coffee on their way there. Furthermore, Spanish people love their food. There are restaurants everywhere and the food is so cheap. You have a lot of places where they offer you menu del dia (menu of the day). These are offered from 1 pm until 4 pm and usually consist of a three-course dinner including a drink; and the prices range from €10 - €13. After such a ‘lunch’ you aren’t really looking for a real dinner anymore, but fortunately Madrid is filled with places where you can eat tapas. In the evening, you’ll just go for some drinks with a few tapas. Easy and simple!
Especially in the beginning of my exchange I found myself going out for dinner a lot of times.
Madrid is split in different barrios (neighbourhoods) and the beautiful thing is that every neighbourhood has its own style and culture. It’s fun to walk through the barrios and feel the vibe change as you walk to different barrios. I love barrio Malasaña, it is the hipster neighbourhood of Madrid. There are lots of nice restaurants, bars and vintage shops. In the night people start drinking on the streets and on plazas and it gives you a cosy feeling. I found a place for myself in barrio Sol, which is in the city centre of Madrid. If you go to any big city I would strongly recommend living in the city centre since you are able to explore the whole city by foot. A five-minute walk home from a night out is truly a blessing. On the other hand, living in the city centre gives you one downside and that is the noise you can hear all night long. But don’t worry, you will get used to it.
I arrived two weeks before my classes started to participate in a Spanish class. I would say learning Spanish is almost a must here in Spain. After these two weeks, my regular courses started. I took four courses which equal 12 hours a week. Most classes are not mandatory and lecture-slides are posted online. That’s why I have a lot of free time here in Madrid. I took this opportunity to see different parts of Spain; so far I have been to Valencia, Toledo, booked a flight to Gran Canaria and I’m planning to see even more places. And of course, when you are in Madrid you must see a match of Atlético Madrid or Real Madrid. That’s why I bought tickets for the Atlético Madrid – AS Roma match.
I must say that the Erasmus exchange is a truly life-changing experience. I would recommend everyone to study abroad, to get out of your comfort zone and discover new cultures. It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you cannot miss out on!
Hasta la vista,