This blog entry was submitted by Mathilde Piquet-Gauthier, who is studying abroad in Madrid.
“I am a sophomore at St Edward’s University and a bit over a year ago, I decided to study abroad the following year. I am saying year because I am not staying only one semester in Madrid, but a full year. I decided to do that because I believed that if I really wanted to get into the Spanish culture and learn the language I had to stay longer than a semester. When choosing my destination, it felt pretty obvious to me that the one that would be right for me was Spain because I really like the life style here and I was taking Spanish classes so I thought that it would make sense for me to go there. Then, I chose Madrid amongst the different cities in Spain because it is the capital of Spain and because I had been told that living there is really great.
So here I am, finishing my first semester in Madrid. I can say that it was a great adventure because I had the time to visit so many places in Spain and try out so many cultural aspects of Spain. One thing that I really like here is the food. The stereotype that you can find tapas bars pretty much everywhere is very true, there is such a wide variety of choice of tapas regarding the tapas themselves, but also their price. Some of the restaurants are more fancy— and by consequence more expensive—but you can also find some that are very cheap and still pretty good for the price. One of my favorites here is a restaurant called 100 Montaditos where there is a variety of a hundred tapas which are sold for 1€. Another thing that I did not know was a Spanish specialty is the churros with chocolate for breakfast. I tried it more than once and I can say that I love this tradition!
Another aspect of Spain that I loved was that it is very easy to visit a lot of cities because the country is pretty small and there is plenty of interesting places to go to. In addition, there is a great organization in Madrid called “City Life” that organizes trips everywhere in Spain, but also in Portugal, Morocco and France. This organization also makes sure that nobody is bored in Madrid and it organizes plenty of parties, activities, visits, etc. The nightlife in Madrid is really incredible. Another stereotype that I realized was true is that people living in Madrid love being in the street and they spend a lot of time there until late in the night, whether they are kids or older people. I really like this aspect of the life in Madrid because it feels warm and welcoming, and it is very surprising at first!
I think that this semester was one of the best of my life as I had the opportunity to discover a lot of new places and traditions that are amazing and really worth it. I cannot wait to see what is expecting me for the second semester!”