Buenas días readers!
I’ve been in Madrid, Spain for five months now, and since going back home for the holidays, I think I’ve definitely garnered a new-found appreciation for the country and their way of life. Here are 5 things I wish I’d known during my Erasmus in Spain:
1. The First Day is Hard.
And it gets harder. I can’t count how many times I cried in the first few days of my placement out here, but I can say this: the key to settling in is going out. I had a huge support network from my family and friends which was absolutely fantastic, but things started to look up once I actually started going out, meeting people and embracing the fact that, yes I’m in a whole new city, alone, where everyone speaks too quickly for me to understand, but I’m in Spain! I get to do this amazing thing, as part of my degree, which most people won’t get to do ever! Embrace la vida erasmus
2. Join the ESN Group
The ESN, or Erasmus Student Network, is a great resource, designed to help Ersamus students meet people. Even if the nightlife scene isn’t for you, the ESN will normally put on daytime events. I met some of my closest friends during an ESN Welcome Picnic – both English and Spanish. On top of that, they normally work with with tour companies to offer some really great day trips to surrounding cities, where you get to take in the culture and the history of new places, all with new friends!
3. Spaniards Party Hard.
Like really hard. Like 6am finishes when the rest of the world is waking up for the day. And it’s totally normal. I learned very early on that this life was not for me, so I pleased myself with cocktail nights until not quite so late, and still had a fantastic time. Spanish drinks are glorious. They are cheap. They are highly alcoholic. And they taste delicious.
4. Spanish Bureaucracy is Full of Hurdles
Any admin tasks taking at least 3 working days, so keep on top of any paperwork you might need, especiallu post-Brexit. Working Days do not include Saturdays, nor are the hours between 1330 and 1500 included… My advice would be to go to places on Monday, expect to be kept waiting, and leave unsatisfied until at least Thursday morning.
5. Make the Most of it
The Erasmus is widely seen as a doss year – and while it might not count towards your actual degree (this varies from uni-to-uni), there’s no sense in going abroad for a year without experiencing it as fully as you can. Whether that’s throwing yourself into a brand new education system, or travelling the country top-to-toe, Erasmus is the perfect opportunity to learn new skills and gain new experiences.
To anyone considering moving abroad, especially to do Erasmus, I hope you’ve found these tips useful. Let me know how you get on! And if you have any further advice, I’d love to hear it!