Madrid, Spain: Bienvenidos a Madrid

(By Isabell and Lily)


The following will describe our first Impressions of Madrid. Enjoy the read! :)

ISABELL:

I just arrived in Madrid a month ago, but it already feels like a lifetime.
I arrived one week before the start of my university courses. I booked my accommodation with Help Housing three weeks prior to my arrival, which was very last minute. Luckily, I was still able to find a lovely flat near Sol with six other roommates. Living with so many roommates is a great experience. Everyone in my apartment is doing Erasmus, and therefore everyone is super lovely and just wants to make the best out of their stay here.


The Universidad Francisco de Vitoria (UFV) campus exceeded my expectations. I have never seen such a big campus before. What I love the most is that UFV provides such a variety of food on campus. There are two food trucks, one Rodilla restaurant, and two cafeterias which are all very affordable.
Moreover, the Workload of the UFV courses is very doable so far. We didn’t have to do much, and I could do all the University work in my spare time between the classes.


Therefore, I had more free time to get to know the city and enjoy Madrid’s nightlife. I would usually do that with my six roommates. All come from different countries (Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany). I love living in such an international flat since it is great for improving my English and getting to know people from different cultural backgrounds.
In general, my roommates are very active, so we usually go out every day, regardless if it’s just to restaurants, parks, bars, clubs, sunsets, sightseeing etc. The list is endless, and that is what I love about Madrid. The city just offers so much.


Looking back at my past month, I have to say that I definitely made the right decision to go to Madrid for my semester abroad. The city is beyond beautiful and is perfect for student life. Madrid offers so many different and cool bars, and restaurants that make going out a unique experience every single time. So far, I can count on one hand how many afternoons/nights I have stayed in. Whether if it’s going to a bar, restaurant, park or even for a stroll, somehow the city magically pulls you out of your houses onto the streets. I love that regardless of the weather or time of the day, people are always outside.
Madrid is one of the most beautiful, exciting, and unique cities that I have lived in.

LILY:

I spent approximately a month in Madrid, realizing that time flies faster than I thought. I have already spent one-quarter of my semester abroad in Madrid, but I haven’t seen or did as much as I planned. I haven’t done a tour nor sightseeing in Madrid yet. I spent most of my time with my university everyday life or with my flatmates. After being restricted by COVID-19 and spending three out of four semesters online instead of going to university, I think this is exactly what I need. A normal university life.

Madrid is really different from Berlin. It feels like COVID-19 doesn’t exist anymore in Madrid. Luckily, masks are still mandatory, but besides that, there are no more restrictions. Bars and clubs are open until the morning, even though clubs are kind of a grey area. Theoretically, guests are supposed to wear masks and sit inside while clubbing, but that is not the case in reality. Sometimes police raids happen in clubs, but not that often. But when you happen to experience a police raid, you will be able to witness a „travel to Jerusalem „with higher stakes than just losing the game.

What is also different from Berlin is that a 2G or 3G rule does not exist. Neither inside nor outside of the university. For almost a week, the COVID-19 regulations in my university, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, have been lifted. Except that wearing masks is still mandatory. Now with the new regulations, students can sit next to each other without keeping the safety distance. Before the restrictions were lifted, we were divided into two groups, and one group could attend the lessons physically, while the other group had to attend the class online. It didn’t bother me that much because I was already used to online courses.

However, the UFV campus is so beautiful that I was happy to attend classes on campus. The campus is really spacious and bright. The campus consists of several buildings, which are scattered across the campus, seating and green areas, food trucks, cafeterias, sports fields, a merchandise shop in which sweaters with the university’s logo are being sold and a Rodilla, a coffeeshop belonging to the Spanish coffeeshop chain of the same name. Fans of the Spanish Series „Elite „might recognize the pool.

I recommend that you join the Spanish intensive course before starting your regular semester abroad in Madrid because you might not be able to join the Spanish A1 course during the semester, as it might clash with another one of your courses. This happened to me, which is a huge inconvenience as I am not able to speak Spanish. I was informed about this three days before I left for Madrid and could not join the Spanish intensive course because it already started. And speaking from experience, being able to speak Spanish is crucial. You might think that you could use English instead, but this is almost impossible. Seven out of ten times, no one speaks English. Even if you try to form a sentence that is a mix of Spanish and English, they won’t understand you as soon as English is included. But there is always a way. It might be a friend who speaks better Spanish, Google Translator or a Spanish stranger that can help you and order food for you at the cafeteria. After all, you are not alone, and stories like that will be fun to tell at parties. Speaking of parties, try to have as much as fun possible and meet new people. So, don’t be afraid and go abroad! This is a once in a lifetime chance, so make the most out of it. ¡Vamos!

Thank you for reading!

All picture in this blog post were taken by Lily and Isabell.