My time in Spain - MadridEasy

My time in Spain

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Katherine Bening

Studying at Rey Juan Carlos and Marketing internship at MadridEasy

This semester in Madrid has been a wonderful adventure for me and I am so grateful for it. I came to Madrid in January from a small city in the Midwest of the US called Des Moines, Iowa. I study communications at the University of Iowa and I planned to finish my third year abroad. I made the decision to study in Spain and it has been wonderful and a challenge. I knew moving to a big city would be a big adjustment on its own, but to move to a city with a different culture and language was an even bigger one. I had never been to Spain before and my Spanish was limited so I knew it would be difficult. Nevertheless, I was excited and eager to experience something new.

When I arrived I was overwhelmed but thankfully I was immediately introduced to the other American students that I would live and study with all semester. The program I was apart of was called USAC and we attended Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. We had small classes with 4 hours of Spanish class every day so my Spanish improved quickly. I also took an intercultural communications class and a photography class. During these classes we were encouraged to go to places we normally wouldn’t think of and talk and give interviews to locals. This was a nice way to explore the city and learn more about the culture.

During my semester I was able to do a lot of traveling around Europe as well. Traveling is complicated and requires a lot of planning so that you don’t waste your time or money, especially when you only have a small amount of time to spend somewhere. I saw many places. Some of the places I visited were Paris, Milan, Rome, Athens, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Valencia, Toledo, Dublin, Tangier and Lisbon. It was so amazing to be able to travel all over with such ease. This was one of the first times I felt truly independent to decide where I wanted to visit and what I could do. Traveling gives you a lot of perspective about yourself, your country as well as teaches you about a new culture. It is very fascinating and eye opening to see how other people live their lives.

Even though I have seen so many amazing places, Madrid is still one of my favorites. Although there isn’t one main attraction in Madrid such as the Eiffel Tower or the beach, there are many cool places to discover in Madrid. I enjoy the feel of the city and how there is always something exciting happening. Just walking around the streets of Madrid you can find many interesting places. The city is full of locals and tourists alike. It is always clean and safe. I also enjoy that here are many festivals each year and cool events that happen. For instance, I was able to experience the excitement of the final game of Real Madrid, the World Pride Parade, San Isidro festival, and La Noche de San Juan. I was also able to see the famous places such as the Retiro Park, (which is one of my favorite places in Madrid), La Reina Sofia, The Royal Palace, El Rastro, and the Prado.

Now that I am going back to the United States, I can say with confidence that Madrid has helped me grow and broaden my perspectives about so many things. I feel much more confident in myself and I know I can use that new confidence and perspectives in my future endeavors. This has truly been an unforgettable semester in Madrid.