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IE Universidad, Spain

Iceland, Blue Lagoon

Spain always seemed like a holiday destination to me, the thought of having tapas, sangrias and the infamous fiestas and siestas always sounded like a dream. Its sounds a bit silly and cliched saying that I’m living the dream here but it has far exceeded my expectations.

It’s odd to think of Madrid as a capital city, travel across El Parque del Retiro on a Wednesday afternoon and you’ll see people sit back and truly take in life, appreciating the little things like the busker in the metro or the gleaming sunshine – which we have plenty of here in Madrid, a real treat during the gloomy European winter.

One of my favourite things is definitely the lifestyle here, you won’t see people eating a grab and go meal on the streets or running from place to place in a rush – simply because they don’t care if they’re late.

One of the many rooftop bars in Madrid

Something I love is, which still catches me out, is hearing other people around me speak Spanish and having Spanish mode switched on at all times. It makes me feel so connected to my surroundings and heritage, coming from a Spanish speaking background.

The friendships you make whilst on exchange are always so genuine and as most people you meet will be from all parts of the world, conversations are always so interesting! Another unique layer is that when you travel, you get to really test friendships and make stronger bonds seeing as you’re together 24/7. And let me tell you – the travelling opportunities are endless, my advice is to take up any chance you have to travel, not only around Europe but also to the lesser known areas of Spain.


IE University couldn’t be more different to UTS. All of the students are very international, having lived in a variety of different countries and speaking an array of languages. Something that has taken a while for me to get used to is how similar IE feels to high school. We don’t have lectures and tutorials here, the classes run by sessions with around 20-30 people in each class. This is really helpful in integrating into a new uni as you get closer to your classmates and professors. My number one tip is to make use of IE’s innovative electives and language classes. One of many options is a subject I take which teaches us how to manage stress and become more aware of our emotions – it’s safe to say that the tools we’ve learnt will last a life time!

Izabella Alves
Bachelor of Property Economics
IE Universidad

For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit:

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