The thought of studying away from your own comfort zone can be daunting, but it can also be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Madrid really is one of the finest cities you’ll come across and to study there makes it that extra special (from my point of view). If you’re thinking of studying in Madrid, it really is a great experience that’ll benefit you a lot. Here’s a student’s guide for studying abroad in Madrid.
There are several housing options available for students, so you have a variety to choose from. The most popular tend to be apartments and homestays for students, especially the apartment option. It’s normally a shared accommodation in the apartment option which can make it reasonably priced.
Alternatively, homestay is when you have the option to live with a local Spanish family who will accommodate you and provide you with food. I find this is a great option if you’re really looking to embrace the Spanish culture and discover the traditional way to live. However, because of how I am, I’m really fond of keeping within the student environment and therefore chose the option of ‘Funway’. This is almost like living in student halls, except it’s a hotel that’s filled with other fellow students. The accommodation was catered for and there are so many people that you can make friends with. It was convenient too because the metro was a 10-minute walk away. It can be a slightly expensive option though, at €1,100.
Although Madrid is a fantastic place, considering its location there’s a great opportunity to explore other countries. The prices are extremely cheap and once I’d made a few friends we found ourselves making trips to other cities whenever we weren’t studying, mainly because it’s so cheap. I got the chance to visit Milan one weekend for about €40 from Madrid. What’s great about Madrid is that they offer these to students specifically through tourism groups which explores Madrid as well as other countries too. Tourism groups include:
Student culture wouldn’t be right without a great nightlife and Madrid definitely has this in spades. Nights out are a regular experience for most of the Madrid locals – some are still roaming the streets at about 7 o’clock in the morning! Luckily, during my stay at Funway, there were regular bar crawl excursions which allowed me to get familiar with the local nightlife and it really has something for everyone. If there’s one thing about Brits that’s noticeable on nights out, it’s that we can get really, really drunk. Madrid locals tend to be quite good at handling their drink, so try not to embarrass yourself too much!
Speaking The Local Lingo
I’ve benefited from learning Spanish back in high school, which made it one of the reasons why I chose Madrid as part of my gap year for university. There were some gaps in my knowledge but I generally got the gist of the main words to get around. Even if you don’t know it though, there are plenty of opportunities for you to speak the language. Of course, doing a homestay would be extremely beneficial, but there are also standard weekly language classes you can take. One great option I heard about was ‘Intercambio classes’, where a local Spanish person and an English-speaking person sit together and talk to each other in their languages. This can be a great learning experience.
Doing a year in Madrid allowed me to indulge in the full seasonal experience. In a nutshell, the weather is relatively consistent, with the winters quite mild and the summers scorching hot. There can be the odd occasion when it rains, which can be a real torrential downpour, but temperatures are quite hot so it’s worth investing in t-shirts and shorts when you’re out there.
Hopefully, this provides you with an idea of just how brilliant Madrid can be. The culture is stunning, there’s plenty to do and the food is delightful. Being an Erasmus student you’ll always be provided with the services and support you require so there’s no need to be worried, even though it can be nerve-wracking at first. I found myself being a bit of a promoter for the UK, with many friends I made there being from the US and asking about moving to England from the US, but after living in Madrid, I may just have changed my mind!