Week two in Madrid is now complete. I would say one of the biggest changes I’ve had to adjust to is dinner time (what can I say, I like to eat!). We have lunch in school here around 12:30pm. Dinner with our host family can come from anywhere around 8:30pm to 11:00pm. It hasn’t been too hard to get used to though; there are a lot of great things to try that can hold you over until then. Another adjustment for me has been the 100+ degree weather. Since we arrived, it has been very hot. We have been busy with activities, so you really do begin to forget about how hot it is when you’re involved in different things.
Living in a new house with a new family has been a lot fun surprisingly. This had been on of the things I was worried about before I came to Madrid. My host family has been amazing. There were still little things to get adjusted to, but it has been almost like my life at home. My new home consists of my host mom and her four daughters and no pets. Not living with any pets took me a little while to get used to because I have always had some type of pet around, like our dogs. I really like my host family a lot. They have helped me improve my spanish had have introduced me to new foods as well. I have enjoyed shopping in some local markets with them and we visited Plaza Mayor which is absolutely beautiful.
Many people here walk and use the public transportation, which surprised me. Almost everything is in walking distance here and it is very easy to find the town that you wish to visit. The amount of walking that I do throughout one day here is what I would probably do in three to four days at home in the U.S. because things aren’t as close as they are here. I wish that when i go back home I was able to walk to stores and cafes like I can here in Madrid.
A typical day for me is waking up and having breakfast. I usually have breakfast alone because my host mom and one of my older sisters has to leave for work and the rest of the house is usually sleeping. Breakfast can be a bowl of cereal or some pastry like a croissant. Then i take the bus and the metro to get school. After getting off the metro I have a 5-10 minute walk to the school. Class starts at 9:30, and we are in class for an hour and a half. After, we are dismissed for something called a “descanso.” A descanso is where our instructor dismisses us for a half hour and we are able to leave the school campus to get food, coffee, or just hang there with friends. After the half hour we head back to class for another hour and a half. At 12:30 class is dismissed and we head to another room in the school and eat lunch. Following lunch we have a short meeting with the program leaders about what the rest of the day consists of.
We then head out into the community for the rest of the day for something called an ITC which means “Into The Community”. Our ITC is generally an activity where we will either have to ask a local person questions using phrases we learned in class that day, or it could be taking pictures and describing them as well. After the ITC assignment we usually have free time or do an activity with the group late in the day.
Between 3:30pm-4:45pm our group activities begin which can consist of a variety of different things. This past week we went on a graffiti tour which we got to see beautiful graffiti art on buildings. Next week we will be touring el Palacio Real. The Palacio Real was the actual palace for the royal family at least a hundred years ago (they now live outside of Madrid). When the activity is finished, you usually have free time until dinner. Dinner is always supposed to be spent with your host family, so it is important that you are on time. After dinner activities usually include watching the TV, talking, or if it's really late, we all go to sleep.
I hope you enjoy the pictures I’ve included of my first two weeks here in beautiful Madrid!
'Global Navigator Voices' is a collection of blog articles and pictures by our very own high school study abroad participants. Follow their adventures before, during, and after their experiences abroad!