“Life might be difficult for a while, but I would tough it out because living in a foreign country is one of those things that everyone should try at least once. My understanding was that it completed a person, sanding down the rough provincial edges and transforming you into a citizen of the world” – David Sedaris
Moving abroad and starting over in a new country is one of the most terrifying and gorgeous exhilarating adventures ever. (Even though it was already my third time doing that. Still every time it surprises me again)
When I heard about the opportunity to do an exchange abroad, I didn’t think twice. Mayor problem for me was; Which country will I apply to?!
I started my exchange period in august in my host university “Rey Juan Carlos” which was located in Vicalvaro. University was okay, literally okay, but that’s mostly all how I can describe it. I was studying in the university of Social Sciences and law (grado en turismo).
Luckily I got a change to mix subjects so I picked those subjects which were interesting. Mostly from tourism sector and rest of the subjects from marketing. I was slightly disappointed about the education system in Spain, even thought I knew it’s not as good as it in Finland. International students were mixed with the normal class, on the other hand it was nice to get to know with local students but on the another hand teachers changed the speaking language all the time to Spain, so it was quite hard to follow the lessons.
I lived in a neighborhood where I literally were “the only white girl in the town.” I lived in a flat with my Spanish roommate and It was great. I had a chance to increase my cross culture awareness really in an “inside” perspective.
I had a bit of a culture shock during my time in Spain, mostly it was because of the late dinner times, ( WHO EATS DINNER LATER THAN 10pm?) If I wanted to have a dinner at 5 or 6 0’clock there was only a few places open. People weren’t able to communicate in English. So it was necessary to start practicing my Spanish. During my time in Spain I travelled a lot and went to see all those heritage villages near by. with a student card you can travel as much as you want inside of the region, FOR FREE ! In a city like Madrid, I bet there will be always something to do to spend you spare time.
Here are some tips for you, if you’re thinking about going for Erasmus in Madrid:
- Before your take-off, start learning Spanish! You definitely will need that!
- Don’t rent a flat, even if it’s a bit difficult, there’s no doubt you won’t find one. It’s better to see first and then make a contract!
- Take your winter jacket and woolen socks with you, at winter time heating systems in houses are not as good than in Finland.
- BEWARE with your bags and phones, Sol is a heaven for the thieves at Christmas time when its crowded.
- …. last but not least, make your intercultural competences tasks on time….