How ticking the ‘Please send me anywhere’ landed me in Madrid.

By Georgia Hawkes, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

A year later than originally planned, after multiple reallocations to different countries and continents, I arrived in Madrid. It may not have been one of my original choices but I am a firm believer in ‘everything happens for a reason’. In hindsight, I truly could not be happier with my placement and I am actually thankful my top choices fell through…

Initially, I was accepted an offer at the University of Western Australia in Perth. My main study abroad preference being to move to the other side of the world. Whilst I do not doubt I would have had an amazing time, I think first moving to Europe has taught me a lot. I am thankful that I remain on a similar time zone to my friends and family at home and take comfort in knowing it would take me the same time to get home to Bristol as if I were in Manchester.

Things I love about Madrid

  • The sun and the sunsets

It is currently mid December, and I am writing this blog with my balcony doors wide open, the sun is shining on my face and I am sat in a t-shirt. The effect that the sun and blue sky has had on my day to day mood is undeniable. Then, almost every evening I am left in awe by a beautiful sunset. Sometimes its the simple things…

  • The lifestyle

Like to stick to a stick schedule? Madrid might not be the place for you. The Spanish lifestyle is incredibly laid back, it actually took me some adjusting to as someone who usually prides themselves on being punctual. The shops close for a siesta in the middle of the day and people go out for dinner at 11pm, rushing around and early evenings are not so much a part of Spanish life.

  • The food

Delicious and sometimes free, living in Spain means coming accustomed to Tapas. Of course, some places are more expensive than others and if you aren’t careful you can end up paying a lot. However, in Madrid it is common to receive free tapas such as crisps, olives, or traditional dishes, for free alongisde your drinks. In ‘El Tigre de Norte’ I paid $3 for a Coca Cola (which is often more expensive than the house beer/wine) but recieved 5 sides of tapas for free (including: tortilla, patatas bravas, bocadillos, chicken wings…)

The lifestyle in Madrid is cheap and chilled. By travelling just a few hours from home you can experience blue skies throughout the winter.

What have I learned from this experience? That, if you are given the opportunity to study abroad, GRAB IT WITH BOTH HANDS. You may not get your first choice, in my case I did not even end up with one of my options. However, it is approaching Christmas and I can truly say this has been the best few months of my life.

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