I have only been in the city of Madrid for 4 days and its already been a whirlwind, and I haven’t even started classes yet! I’m living in a 6 person shared apartment and have been hanging out with my American and French housemates since I got here. Oh, and my new friend Lisa who I met on the second leg of my flight from Australia. Lisa saved me by helping me lug my ridiculous suitcase from the airport through the metro station all the way to Arguelles train station. This same Lisa also happened to drag me to this great Italian place ‘Grosso Italiano’ (calle de piez) the other night. The food here is delicious so be prepared.
My biggest advice is ‘just do it’ like Nike says.
Definitely visit the parks, they are my happy place when I travel especially as we don’t have a beach nearby in Madrid. So far I’ve seen Retiro and Oeste which includes the Egyptian temple.
Explore as much as you can. If you think ‘ooh that looks interesting’, then go check it out. The amazing thing about Madrid is that you feel that at every turn you could find something new and exciting. I came wanting to immerse myself in the language, the culture, the music, the food… and strangely it’s been easier than I would have thought. Taking refuge in the parks, just as the locals do on weekends to get away from all the hustle and bustle. Retiro park on a Saturday: on one corner you have a violin, cello, and viola playing, on another people sunbathing, meditating and throwing a birthday party. Then if you walk a little further into the centre of the park you even have people rowing boats and this is all happening in the middle of the city.
I think the beauty of the city comes out in the spontaneity of it all. Seeing two taxi owners arguing in the street, letting yourself take intuitive turns as you explore not knowing where it will lead you, getting a little lost and finding a duo guitarist & ‘drummer’ (@joemusicx & @lukitas_puente) near Puerta del sol singing beautiful Spanish music with the captivating strumming of the Spanish guitar filling the streets. All whilst you begin hearing a dog bark in time to the music and the old Spanish grandmas starting to dance in the middle of one of the busiest streets in Madrid. Sometimes it feels ridiculous and unbelievable that any of this would be happening in one place, but it is. It feels like there is so much more to discover, including the actual university!
I always think back to a phrase in Spanish ‘No tengas verguenza’- Have no shame/Don’t be ashamed, mainly for practicing my Spanish at every turn, every day and in every place I go, but also with meeting new people on exchange. As my parents both said to me ‘you’ll blink and you’ll be back in Australia’ so you truly need to make the most out of every opportunity and moment. Really listen to that voice in your head telling you to just give it a go because there is nothing worse than wondering ‘What if….’.
Song of the moment: ‘Dove e Quando – Benji & Fedi’
Bachelor of Communications (Media Arts and Production & Digital and Social Media) & Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation
Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid
For more information about the UTS Global Exchange program please visit: www.global-exchange.uts.edu.au