Mi Casa Su Casa
For my exchange program I will be attending IE university in the heart of Madrid, Spain. University hasn’t started for me yet because it starts in September and I have just been settling into my place in Madrid after travelling for nearly 2 months all around Europe. I think that is probably the best thing about travelling in Europe is that everything is so close and that you can go to so many different and unique places that are only a bus, train or flight away. So far, I have been to Greece, The Netherlands, Italy, Croatia, Germany, Czech Republic and finally coming into Spain. With so many places to go still I am still planning my next trips all to come.
Life in Madrid
So far since I have only been living here for just over a week, I don’t think that I have fully gotten the full Spanish experience yet, but here is a few things I have noticed that are verrrry different from SydneySider life. First thing is that time here is WHACK. Since the timezone that it is in should actually be an hour behind than it should be (check out a timezone map and compare the UK and Spain) your sense of time becomes completely off. The sun sets at around 9:30pm which is when everyone usually has dinner and before you know it, it becomes 3am in the morning and it feels like 11pm. Then you wake up at 11am and it feels like 8am. The siestas as well usually mean that smaller shops close down, but it hasn’t really affected my day-to-day life that much.
The nightlife is also pretty fun, I haven’t gone out to much though since I have been trying to sort my life out since I have been here. Again, time is very different with clubs that open at 12:30am and provide free entry before 1am which is pretty crazy compared to Sydney’s lockout laws.
For my accommodation I am staying in a student residence called Mi Casa Inn in a suburb called Salamanca a 5 minutes’ walk from uni. So far it has been pretty good, the area is very nice around as it is an upper-class area of Madrid, but that also means the prices for things go up. The room that I have, had the bare basics of a bed (no linen), a desk, a bathroom (no towels or supplies here) so I had to go on a big ol’ IKEA shop beforehand so it really does give the feeling of living by yourself and attaining independence. But on the flipside, there are cleaners that come around and clean the residence and help with things that you need help with so it’s a nice in-between still being at home and living completely by yourself.
A few more tips and things I have noticed is that during my travels many countries speak English very well and it is quite easy to get around. In Madrid, English is a lot less common and so speaking Spanish really helps ( I can’t yet, but I’m learning!).
So far, I’ve had an awesome experience on exchange travelling and am looking forward to uni starting and proper settling into a new home. As I am writing this I am heading to Barcelona and Valencia on a bus for the Tomato Festival which should be so much fun. Madrid is an amazing and beautiful city and if you are considering going to Spain on exchange, of my 1 week here it’s pretty amazing.
Bachelor of Information Technology
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au