Magdalena on Advanced Language and Culture in Madrid, Spain

I love my host family! I live with my mom and her 13-year-old daughter and I truly feel like I’m part of their family. Today is Halloween and they have taken me to some parties at the home of their close friend outside of Madrid. There, I sat with all of my mom’s friends and talked for hours about life in Spain and life in the USA. It was really nice to be able to spend time with Spanish people, in their home, the experience felt very authentic and I was so confident having been able to keep up in conversation.

My university in Madrid is called complutense and there I am taking a class called the anthropology of gender. The university in Spain is so different from any university I have experienced in the USA, and I am so glad I am taking a class here because I feel like it’s a new window into Spanish culture that I have yet to experience. Spanish students always live at home and then commute to school, so the buildings look very different from the USA. They are covered in beautiful graffiti. In the classroom, students love to speak up. The relationship between student and teacher is different too, students can ask their teachers anything, from about their political viewers to family life.

Weekends in Madrid are always fun. Some students travel every weekend, within Spain or outside of Spain. Travel in Europe is so easy, very cheap flights. Others choose to stay in Madrid and in turn, have a deeper connection to their home city. Personally, I try to do a combination of both. I traveled by myself to Morocco and had a life changing trip. Other than Morocco, I stayed within Spain so that I could improve my Spanish. I went to Valencia, San Sebastián, Granada (with my host family!), Salamanca, and Bilbao. The public transportation system is wonderful and I also enjoyed taking the bus to the mountains (40 minutes away) and hiking. And there is so much to do in Madrid it’s incredible. Free museums, festivals, concerts, amusement parks! Never an end to all the fun things.

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