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Comillas Pontifical University, Spain

Comillas Pontifical University, Madrid. Early Afternoon

2:00pm

It’s hot. Blistering hot. Caliente. You’ve just finished class or ‘Current Issues from a Spanish perspective.’

You’re engaged, interested and elated to be here. You’re excited to learn the Spanish language, the history, the politics. You plan to explore Spain’s historic cities and sleepy seaside towns. You think how much you’ve loved Madrid – the wide streets, the heaving bars and delicious tapas joints. But you’re roused from your daydream by a familiar low rumble, stirring from the depths of your stomach. You glance awkwardly at your peer – a girl from Rotterdam who you met at Orientation. Trying not to make eye contact, you close your laptop and mumble your excuse in bad Spanish. Lo…Lo siento, necesito…to go.

You need food. Now.

A close up of a bridge

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Comillas Train Station

2.20pm

You’re on the train. It’s a nice change from the blazing desert walk from Comillas’ Catablanco campus to the station. You lean you head back against the cool glass. The landscape is flat – a large expanse of oranges and yellows stretch out to the blue Sierra de Guadarrama. Like a Gaudi painting. Your tummy growls again. At least you’re not far from your apartment – just one metro stop and then 24 minutes on the overland train. You think, why didn’t I grab that extra croissant this morning? You’ve only been here a week and you haven’t adjusted to the pequeño Spanish breakfasts of café con leche and bollos. Your stomach stirs loudly now. A young niño in worn sandals and a signed Real Madrid jersey looks at you in shock and hides behind his mamá.

A castle on top of a building

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La Calle De Gran Via / Cybele Palace

2.50pm

You’re walking down La Calle De Gran Via from the metro in a daze. The usual bustling streets seem quieter. Nothing looks open. The faint sound of the Spanish guitar echoes through the plazas. You’re starving. Craving the taste of tortillas de patatas and a refreshing sangria to wash it down. Your mouth is dry, sweat drips down your neck. A tumbleweed rolls past you through the square. You pause to catch your breath. And then, you see him. It’s Javier Bardem, except he’s holding a huge plate of tapas and glass jugs of iced sangria. Your mouth gapes like a happy puppy as you half run towards him in a desperate flurry. You can taste the patata. You’re nearly there…

RESTAURANT CLOSED 15:00 – 19:00

Wake up honey. You’re in Spain now.

Caliente – hot

Pequeño-  small

café con leche – strong coffee with hot, frothy milk

bollos – sweet rolls

Sierra de Guadarrama – mountain range 

Plazas – square

Patata – potatoes

Niño – boy

Rubeena King
Bachelor of Communications
Comillas Pontifical University 
Spain

For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au

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