¡Hasta siempre la capital!
In the 5th semester I studied applied foreign languages and economics, i.e. English, Spanish and business administration. This language-oriented business degree makes a semester abroad compulsory. And indeed, if you ask around and consult experts, a semester abroad is recommended, if it is not already compulsory – as the course interprets it – to round off the curriculum vitae.
Of course, at the beginning of the planning there was the idealistic wish to stand out from all fellow students and move to a third world country. Another world, that was by and large what I wanted to experience. However, the organization turned out to be very difficult. Like all of us, I had to contact universities abroad. Here, however, one could not count on the usual response from Germany. On the contrary, very few answered me in a satisfactory manner. I began to understand that it seemed common to make an advance payment, which amazed me and the Foreign Office at my home university.
It got later and later, my fellow students had already found a place to study. Many went to the United States, which really wouldn’t have been for me. At that time, many were talking about ” MicroEDU ” and how to offer easy and carefree this institution students their support. No discrepancies, bureaucratic difficulties, no prepayment. I became curious and started to make contact. Lisa contacted me immediately and was able to give me excellent advice. After a little consultation, we found out together that one destination was actually particularly suitable for me: Madrid! It is not a third world country, but one excellent opportunity to develop my languages optimally and to complete compulsory courses in business administration. A capital that, with its five million people, has a lot to offer culturally and traditionally. In contrast to Barcelona, La Capital is very Spanish. You hear a lot about Madrid and I have to say: it’s all true! A colorful city that has more to offer than sightseeing highlights, museums and theaters. But I wasn’t there yet.
Lisa wrote me all the information I needed to submit a successful application to Antonio Nebrija University. It was very easy and I was able to concentrate perfectly on the final exams of the current semester in Germany. It didn’t take long before I got the confirmation in the mailbox. I would never have managed it that easily and so quickly on my own …..and my Spanish was very passable.
Which then saved me in Madrid. I flew to Madrid a month before the start of the semester, at the end of August. I wanted to start looking for an apartment before any other student in order to have a little advantage. Lisa had already given me the tip. In fact, in retrospect, I was very lucky to find an apartment very quickly. After only three days I found an apartment with two Spaniards. Here luck plays a very big role. There are fellow students who actually looked at 40 apartments and had to pay for a room in the hostal for three weeks. Of course, I was also offered rooms that were really far removed from any ideas about hygiene and order. Looking for an apartment is actually very tiring and depressing. The offers at the university are not affordable, and staying with a family is not ideal either, as you are bound by many duties. My fellow students weren’t happy with that. In principle, a good price is between € 320 and € 380, plus gastos. I can personally recommend the website www.loquo.es for this. A very clear page, with daily updates about new apartments. II lived near Principe Pio at the time, really close to the city, and was very satisfied. Knowledge of Spanish is almost essential when looking for an apartment, unless you are satisfied with an apartment with Erasmus students. Of course there is always something going on, and certainly very entertaining. However, the fellow students in these shared apartments learned very little Spanish while living in Madrid.
The University of Nebrija is a private university. Since I am enrolled at a public university in Germany, it was very interesting for me to recognize the differences. At the beginning I spoke directly to the woman who offered the intensive course. She told me I didn’t have to attend. At the time I thought that the intensive course would cost € 245 and therefore decided not to. That wasn’t the case, it’s free and I recommend everyone to take this course. There you already have the opportunity to get to know people. The two teaching buildings are a bit far away and are really separated from each other. You shouldn’t expect some of them to have any idea what is going on on the other campus. You often have to ask two or three times and the lady who is responsible for foreign students seems completely overworked and is therefore a bit irritated.
The Spanish classes for foreigners are particularly positive. I was at the highest level with two other students. So there were three of us in two courses. I think I really still had lessons that intensely. Grammatically, this time was definitely able to help me a lot. The business administration courses cannot be compared with the German level. There are also completely different examination requirements here. Sometimes you have four “examenes parciales”, sometimes only one. In one course you actually have to read books, in the other, attendance is enough, as it were. In principle, one should not hope to learn a lot from these lessons. And that although the professors supposedly come directly from the industry. My lecturer from International Marketing was Marketing Director at Coca Cola in Argentina. He was a philosopher and a really wise, living man. He was very anti-authoritarian, however, and because he used very unconventional teaching methods, he did not always get the full attention.
In principle, Madrid was an unforgettable time. I was able to combine English and Spanish perfectly. Surely there are cities that have more attractions. But a city in which life is so throbbing on the streets, the energy of the numerous tavernas, the cultural cocktail in the Retiro on Sunday, the Spanish rhythm from the red kissed lips of the numerous Marias, Elenas, Natalias, Lorenas, Julianas ….. ¡Hasta siempre la capital!