The flight to Spain still did not remove the disbelief I had in pursuing my international studies there. After making numerous list and referencing countless videos on study abroad, I still was unsure if I packed enough or too little. I said my goodbyes, then I was off to a nine-hour journey away from the only home I knew. Facing clouds, turbulence, and friendly staff members for only the third plane ride of my lifetime left butterflies in my stomach. I could not get over the fact that I made it this far, and I would be spending the next 30 days on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
I was able to meet a few other students who were also in the program and was greeted by our program resident assistants at the airport, so I gained a sense of relief. We were initially brought to our apartment through a brief tour of the city, so I saw a glimpse of the urban part of Madrid. There were buildings, interesting architect, and several risky driving cars. It seemed as if the cars have to almost scrape the other car in order to change lanes. It was slightly scary, for I did not if we were going to crash. However, it was a sight to see.
That same day my entire group of thirteen college students went to a cooking class. The food we made was delicious, and it was my first time formally meeting other people in my program. The following days composed of viewing the institution and attending classes. I am taking a Cultural and History class in addition to my Communicative Spanish class. The professors and staff all seemed friendly. Thankfully, the institution is located in Sol which the most active part of Madrid I been in. It is filled with shopping, cafes, markets, churches and attractions. Therefore, I am able to explore in between my classes and after.
The main form of affordable transportation in Madrid is the metro or Madrid’s train system. Since this was my first metro card, it was required for me to schedule an appointment. However, it took me almost six appointments to find the correct metro office and successfully receive my metro card. This was also the first time I was forced to speak my very terrible Spanish, for the workers only spoke Spanish in the metro offices. I am sure it was torture to their ears, but it was good practice. Additionally, I did leap at this opportunity to learn Spanish.
Madrid, Spain is my first time outside of the country. I am still excited about the adventures I will encounter, the food I will taste, and the culture I will emerge myself in. Although it is a challenge with me not knowing a lot of Spanish, I am hopeful in my practice. I am looking forward to the excursions and the overnight trip that is scheduled next week and much more.