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‘Say yes to everything!’ – A Term in Madrid

Isabella, BA Media and English student, writes about her term abroad studying at CEU San Pablo Madrid.

What were the highlights of your experience abroad?  

Getting to live in another country! Madrid is such a beautiful, friendly, fun, interesting city. The number of international students and the design of the city makes it really easy to meet people, and there’s plenty to do. There’s also loads of opportunities for cheap travel around Spain which I ended up taking full advantage of – the train to Valencia to go to the beach in a heatwave, Barcelona for Halloween, Mallorca for my birthday and Sevilla for flamenco!  

What was your daily routine and how did it differ from being at home? 

I had much more classes there, so I spent every day apart from Thursdays in University, often starting at 8am, and sometimes finishing as late as 7pm. However, it was really rewarding once I settled into the routine. On my days off I would be exploring the city, trying new food and spending time with my friends. 

What were your top challenges while abroad? 

The style of school is very different. It is far more attendance orientated, and practical and group work focused. There’s a lot of exams as well which I’m not used to! At times the language barrier could be challenging, but more often than not was fine. I was at a private university also, so there were some cultural differences with the local Spanish students. 

What did you gain from your experience abroad? 

I gained so much from studying abroad. I’ve gained close friends all over Europe, and the world! I’ve explored most of Spain, especially small parts that you wouldn’t really visit otherwise. I had a great political and economic journalism teacher, who worked for the EU and set up meetings and talks with companies, and people actively working in European Parliament which was extremely interesting and beneficial.  

What are your top tips for students about to go abroad? 

Say yes to everything! Put yourself out there, be the first to start a conversation. Most people studying abroad want to meet other people and everyone is extremely friendly. Make the most of every experience and get to know your local area as well as the tourist hotspots. Try your best to speak the language. I made friends in the most random places; you really never know where a situation will lead you! Embrace everything and you will fall in love with your host city and make friends and connections for life. My time studying abroad was one of the best experiences of my entire life and completely exceeded my expectations – which were quite high to begin with!