As I sit in my homestay with my roommate after celebrating our final day abroad, we discuss the best five months of our lives and just how lucky we are to have studying in the most incredible city. Madrid is our home now and it feels strange to be heading off the US tomorrow. Here are some of my best suggestions to enjoy your time studying in Madrid. If you're reading this, let me just say you have the trip of a lifetime coming up and I'd do anything to be in your shoes right now.
Must-See Places in the City
2. Reina Sofia
3. Palacio Royal
4. La Almudena Cathedral (the crypt is stunning)
5. Parque del Retiro (my personal favorite)
6. Plaza Mayor
8. Gran Via
9. Templo de Debod (sunsets)
My Favorite Neighborhoods
1. Malasaña (great vibes all around, amazing tapas and bars)
2. Chueca (the gay neighborhood)
3. La Latina (authentic Spain, located in the center)
4. Sol (the tourist center of the city, lots of energy)
You MUST know a promoter. Reach out to get the name of ours! I blindly came into this semester unaware that Madrid was party central. Get ready to start pregaming at midnight, getting to the club around 1 AM, and leaving at 6 AM when the Metro opens up again. Don't worry, sleeping in is not only allowed, but encouraged (no stores open until after 9 AM anyway).
1. Kapital (7 story club)
3. F****** Monday (Sala Cool)
5. Dubliners (pregame spot, lots of Americans, 1 euro shots on Wednesdays)
Do not take classes more than 4 days a week at the VERY most! You will not want to make the commute everyday. I had class just 3 days a week and that felt like a lot.
The grading system is on a scale of 10. A 5 is passing and pretty much what all Spanish students aim for. It's not like the US where everyone wants a 100%. Here, getting a 10 is nearly impossible. The point system is based on addition, not deductions (so you get a percentage of a point added to your grade when you mention something that the teacher has on his or her key).
You will likely only have two opportunities to be graded: midterm & final!
Take classes in Spanish with American students. English classes just aren't that effective because the teacher can't always communicate the lesson properly.
1. Cafeteria HD
2. Takos al Pastor (1 taco for 1 euro)
3. Lamiak (amazing, amazing tapas)
4. Ojala (sand bar)
5. Casa Dani (get the tortilla)
7. Tierra (Chipotle substitute)
8. Italian in Mercado Anton Martin (best thing I've eaten)
4. The Hat - rooftop
5. El Imperfecto
6. Salmon Guru
1. Hanso Cafe
2. Pum Pum
4. Cafe Federal
1. Didn't see a Real Madrid game
2. Didn't spend enough time at Spanish clubs
3. Spent too much time hanging out at home
4. Didn't talk to Spaniards enough
1. Watch ALL the sunsets.
2. Travel around Spain IN THE WARM WEATHER. Much of Spain is focused on the beach culture, so cities like Malaga and Barcelona are just much nicer to be when it's nice out. Definitely see as much of Spain as possible.
3. Spend a day listening to audioguides at El Prado and Reina Sofia. These are arguably two of the best museums in the world and you have no excuse to not take advantage of both.
4. Take Lime scooters around Retiro.
5. Grab some tapas from the mercados and have a picnic in one of the many parks.
6. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH Madrid and everywhere else in Europe before you get here! Have an idea of where you want to get to so you don't waste any time
Enjoy the best time of your life. Madrid is truly out of this world so make the most of it. De Madrid al cielo!!!