Hola, Buenos Dias!
Almost two weeks of university are behind us and many of us live here since one month or even longer. A few „Macromedians“ from Hamburg and Munich Campus took the Opportunity to learn Spanish during a 4-week intensive course.
It is time to think about the experiences of these first weeks and share them with you.
It’s not possible to describe Madrid in one sentence due to its many different quarters.
The Capital of Spain is an intensive melting pot of countless influence, cultures and languages providing the cities unique flair. The first experiences showed us, that we made the right decision studying at Universidad Francisco de Vitoria. The university UFV is located in Pozuelo de Alarcón, a small city in the suburbs of Madrid. The way from the city centre to the university with public transportation lasts one hour, but fortunately there is a bus shuttle provided by UFV which cuts down the time to just 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the traffic. But is highly recommended to look for a flat or apartment in Madrid, not in Pozuelo because there is not much (student) life there. All kind of faculties and studies in 5 Buildings gave us a proper campus feeling for the first time, compared to the small and familiar Macromedia University. Our schedule contains, according to the learning agreement, course like Intercultural Management, Business & Finance, and Economics and for most of us one big project during the semester. Unfortunately due to the high number of Macromedia students, we are not integrated in the universities international programme. At least they managed to put some other international students in the “Programma Macromedia”. Beside education the UFV offers a lot of activities on and off campus including trips to cities and sights nearby like Toledo and Segovia. The campus itself has multiple sport facilities and University offers different trainings and courses for interested students. They also partner with an organisation called Citylife Madrid, who helps with nearly every question about living in Madrid, organises further weekend trips to Zaragoza, Valencia, Portugal or Morocco for example and a lot of other activities in Madrid for Internationals including wine & tapas tasting, language exchange and weekly parties. These offers are fun for those who want to have a good time and meet other internationals, but could be a pain for those who want to go local and experience Madrid and Spain on their own.
Living in Madrid is enjoying your life at every second. Diving in to the Spanish culture is an everyday adventure and is needed to develop our own personalities. To broaden one’s horizons is a goal for many of us and Madrid gives a lot of opportunities to reach it.
The Spanish people love to go out and enjoy free time with their friends and families. During the summer months until end of September and early October the Spanish Lifestyle mainly takes place on the streets or the Plazas including the famous street festivals, the fiestas. Countless bars and clubs in the city for every taste make it easy to meet new friends, Spanish as well as internationals. Going out and experiencing La Vida Nocturna is very different than in Germany. You are not only out with your old friends, but making new one’s nearly everywhere is very easy. Of course getting out of your comfort zone is required and knowing at least the basics of the Spanish language helps a lot for the communication with the locals, called Madrileños. But after breaking the ice it is common to consider someone’s friends as your new friends.
Madrid is not only known for its nightlife but also for its great history, culture and especially arts. The museums of Madrid are home of the world’s most famous painters like the Museo Reina Sofia for Pablo Picassos “Guernica” and the Museo Sorolla which actually is the old house of Joaquín Sorollas. Even if you are not highly interested in Art, visiting one or two of the big museums is mandatory. (And let’s be honest: Impressing your friends and family with some historical and cultural facts is great, isn’t it?)
Summarizing our first experiences, we can just say Madrid is great. Great for learning a new language and culture. Great for living abroad and one’s personal development. Great for those who are interested in Art as well as those who are more interested in the Art of Beer Pong and drinking games. And also great for homesickness on a long weekend because Madrid is only a 2,5h to 3h flight from Home, but let’s skip this thought. After the semester abroad they will be homesick anyway, because they’ll miss Madrid.
But living in a big city also has a few downsides. For the sake of living central it’s the noise for example. And even if Madrid is a very safe city with a low crime rate, compared to other capital cities in Europe, a common sense is needed especially in crowded areas – the playground of pickpockets.
All in all we are looking forward to the next months, exploring the madrileño lifestyle and more of Spain to share with you.
Dominik y Nicolas
One small anecdote for the road:
Nobody here says hasta lu-eygo, the “right” pronunciation is more like Stalogoo. But if you want to sound local by droping the HA and emphasizing OO the Barkeeper will cut down his response to a filthy “Aloo”. It happened to me. Twice.