Amy Rader, Madrid, Spain

So I have been in Spain almost 2 full weeks. It is hard to believe because it feels like I just got here, but it also feels like I have been here forever with my friends in my program. There aren’t tons of huge differences between Spain and American culture but there are a few big ones. In Spain, people eat breakfast around 7-9 in the morning. They have lunch between 1-3 and it is a big meal. Usually a starter, entree, and a dessert. From 3-5 many stores close for siesta. Spain just takes a nap in the middle of the day. Many places in Madrid stay open because there are so many tourists, but smaller parts of the city shuts down for nap time. Dinner is the craziest for me to deal with because people eat between 8-10. My host mom makes dinner for me and my roommate at 9pm everyday but she won’t eat with us because it is too early for her. I start to feel hungry around 6pm! The night life starts at crazy times too. People don’t go to bars and clubs until 1am and it is common for people to stay out all night and take the metro home when it opens at 6am.

(Catedral de Santa María la Real de la Almudena)

I go to class everyday from 8:30-1. It is early and I have to take the metro to get there, but the classes are pretty easy. Since most students just have to pass the class for credit, so they are not striving for A’s. The grading scale is way easier than Albright as well. My professors are very passionate about teaching and it is a great experience to learn from them. Universidad Antonio de Nebrija is a university mostly for students who want to study Spanish. Almost all of the students in my class are from the States. But the teachers are true Spaniards. It is interesting to learn about the culture of another country and also see the differences between people from all over the States. In my program, there is no two people from the same place. We have people from Miami, LA, Boston, North Carolina, and more. This experience is teaching me mostly about people, how to accept them and learn from their differences. I think that is the most important.

(El Escorial)

This past weekend, I went to El Escorial, which is a Monestary not to far from Madrid. And was the summer palace to some of the Kings of Spain. It was absolutely breathtaking. I also visited the Museo del Prado, home of some of the most beautiful paintings in the world. It was like walking into a history textbook. I saw the Royal Palace, The Cathedral of Santa Maria, took a cooking class, went to a huge market called el Rastro, saw the city’s gay pride parade, and visited a few more places that Madrid is famous for.

(Palacio Real)

(El Rastro, this went on for about 2 miles)

(Gay Pride Parade)

These past two weeks have been a rollercoaster of business but I am having an incredible time! I am learning so much about people, Spanish, and mostly myself. I come across challenges everyday that are out of my comfort zone but I know I am strong enough to take them head on. I also have a strong support system back home when I feel scared or nervous. My goal by the end of this trip is to learn to do things without fear.

(Chocolate con Churros, muy delicioso!)

More from me next week!





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  • albrightelcdc  On July 15, 2014 at 4:54 pm

    Thanks for sharing Amy. Your pics are great–especially the one of the churros, yum!

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