I’ve officially been in Spain for about three weeks now, and it has been a whirlwind. I have done so much that I won’t be able to convey it all in one post without creating a disorganized mess, so I’ll split up my thoughts into a couple of posts.
First off, the flight over here, while not being horrible, was not necessarily pleasant. The seats on an international flight leave a lot to be desired for space. It was a long 8 hours of adjusting and readjusting. The arrival into Spain made it all worth it though. We flew into Spain as the sun was rising, and it was one of the most gorgeous things that I have ever seen.
Shortly after arriving, I joined a group of students who flew in at the same time, and we got a shuttle bus to get to the dorms that we would be staying in for the next 2 weeks. Upon arriving at the dorms we were assigned a roommate, and from there we moved into our extremely nice dorm rooms. We only had a few hours to get settled into our rooms before we had our first orientation, and I tried getting a nap in but didn’t have much luck due to all the excitement of being in a new place.
The dorms that we have been staying in are probably some of the nicest that I have ever seen. Each room was equipped with ample storage space, including lockable drawers, and a bathroom for each room. To top it off, we got 3 huge meals a day served in the cafeteria of the dorm building! The food was kind of an odd mix of Spanish and American food, but we were almost always able to find something we liked. The best food that they served was probably the cream puffs, which were (I hate to say it) better than the ones that they have at the Wisconsin state fair.
We had orientation almost every weekday for the first week and a half, but they usually only lasted about 2-3 hours, so we had the rest of the day to explore the city and start the dreaded housing search. With the Madrid program, one of the things that make this program so intensive is the fact that we have to search for our own housing, whether it is an apartment with Spaniards or a homestay. This involves a lot of searching online ads for apartments and then calling the landlords about the ones we find interesting, and talking to them in Spanish. Let me tell you, that was one of the most nerve-wracking and difficult things I have done. Most of the landlords either spoke absolutely no English at all and would speak so incredibly fast that I couldn’t understand a word they said, or they would realize that I wasn’t a native Spanish speaker and immediately switch to English.
I spent a lot of time visiting different pisos, as they are called, just due to the fact that I couldn’t always understand what they would say over the phone and couldn’t eliminate apartments without seeing them first. Finally after about a week and a half of searching, I found an apartment that I love. My landlord is one who has worked with our program coordinator for quite a few years and has hosted quite a few WIPT students (WIPT is the name of our program and stands for Wisconsin-Indiana-Purdue-Tulane). He and is wife are retired, and they are very friendly and accommodating. My apartment is very large for a Spanish apartment, and there are 3 other rooms in it. So far, I have two Spanish girls as roommates, and they are both students. The landlord still hasn’t found a girl for the fourth room, but I’m still really excited to be rooming with the two Spanish girls. The living situation will definitely help me learn the language and a lot of the cultural aspects of Spain.
I’m definitely enjoying my time in Spain so far, and I know that I have a lot more to look forward to and experience. Anyways, here are a few pictures of my life in Spain so far. Enjoy!