Hola amigos! I am Meghan Hunter, a Global Peer Career Educator in Madrid, Spain this semester! I’m a sophomore in the Stern School of Business where I am planning to double major in Finance and Business Economics. Just like anything else abroad, working towards my career and lining up work for the summer has been a different process than I’m used to. As I’ve suggested to my peers, I have had to start looking for work early. In doing so, I’ve conducted both Skype and phone interviews and had to be mindful of making a lasting and strong impression virtually. Though challenging, it certainly is not impossible. This learning experience has made me more flexible and adaptable professionally. All in all, being abroad has also helped me define what I want out of my undergrad career and my future. And though that future is still unclear, I do know that I want to travel a lot more—I want to go global! For that, I can thank this experience abroad.
Like many of my peers, I had a hard time choosing an NYU Study Abroad site. When talking to my friends, everyone proclaimed their study abroad site to be the “best.” Regarding the location, language and the culture I wished to experience, Spain was the right choice for me! It’s already April and I have been here a little under four months, but honestly it feels like just yesterday that I arrived at the Madrid airport. Time here has flown by and it is hard to imagine that I’ll have to say goodbye so soon to the country that I have fallen in love with!
One of my favorite places in Madrid is easily Retiro Park—a beautiful space with the glory of Central Park, but on a smaller scale. Luckily for me, it is less than a five minute walk from my apartment door. I have found myself lost in Retiro on my daily runs exploring the infinite amounts of hidden treasures that it holds—including my three personal favorites: the Crystal Palace, the pond and the outdoor gym. Aside from the perfect workout you can get there, it is also a great place to spend an afternoon after class! “Madrilenos” seem to love to be outside, so rain or shine there is always a unique energy found in the park.
Also traveling throughout Spain has been just as amazing. In my travels I have experienced beautiful beaches in Cadiz, breathtaking mountain landscapes and Castles in Cuenca and Segovia and the most amazing paella I’ve ever had in Valencia! One of the hardest things to part with will definitely be the Paella!
This being my first time abroad, I have done a lot of adjusting. Madrid is definitely very different from New York (no clothes dryers anywhere!) but what makes Madrid unique is why I love it most. Tomorrow my roommates and I depart for spring break expanding our travels outside of Spain to see more of Europe. Granted, I’m sure each city I visit will find some way to enchant and blow me away, I know that at the end of the trip, I’ll be ready to be back in Madrid—in our sleepy, quirky residential neighborhood “Conde de Casal” but home nonetheless.
My name is Suzi Brown and I am a junior studying politics and Spanish in CAS. After studying in Buenos Aires during my fall semester, it is so amazing to have a second abroad experience in another, very different, Spanish-speaking country. As a politics and Spanish major, I was overwhelmed by the choice of classes and the different ways to complete my degree. I decided on three classes in Spanish, covering Surrealism, Cultural History of Spain and a politics class on Spain and the European Union, as well as a class taught in English on human rights. And when I’m not reading or writing for class, or getting to know more about Madrid, I keep up with internship applications for the summer term right around the corner. Using jobs posted on Wasserman’s Career Net, as well as those on Idealist and Intern Match, I have applied to quite a few listings and have started to hear back and interview with companies over Skype. It’s a little nerve wracking not to be in the city, especially when companies say they like to meet with their candidates in person, but I wouldn’t trade either one of these semesters abroad to make it to an interview in NYC, especially when Wasserman is so available and technology makes connecting so easy. But now to the true abroad experience…
Since I first arrived at NYU, I knew that I wanted to do two semesters abroad, and I knew I wanted to go to Argentina and Spain. I wanted to do this so I could (nearly) perfect my Spanish skills, immerse myself in two cultures with similarities and stark differences, and to live in two cities with opposing but shared histories: Spain, the ex-super power that conquered South America, and Argentina, the emerging country that, along with its neighbors, developed under the hands of their conqueror. And so, this semester, I once again find myself in a land of eating dinner late and going out even later, of speaking Spanish and drinking absurdly cheap wine, of quickly converting a new currency in my head, and doing an elaborate dance on the street to sidestep the remnants of the dogs that don’t get picked up after. But where Buenos Aires is sprawling and sometimes empty, Madrid is compact and full of people; where Buenos Aires is still building up their landscape, Madrid has settled into theirs, everything much older, boasting their long history.
Both cities have had an immense impact on me, but this blog post is about Madrid, so let me focus on a few things that make up the life of a Madrileño…
Ham. It’s pretty much a national obsession. After eating this meat forever, it has developed historical significance and has always been a safe meat to eat (aka there has never been Mad Pig Disease). There is also a hierarchy among the ham here, Jamon Ibérico being the best and most expensive, Jamon Serrano pulling in a close second, followed distantly by paleta, the stuff that people don’t like to talk about and that doesn’t even bare the name jamon. And just about any grocery store or cafeteria you walk into will house at least one pig’s leg dangling from the ceiling, waiting to be sliced up and serve to the next lucky customer.
An obsession with being outside. Undoubtedly, the weather we’re experiencing here in March is infinitely nicer than the freak snow storms my friends and family are suffering through in New York and New Jersey. But still, 50 degrees and raining usually does not call on me to sit outside under an umbrella meant for the sun, sipping on drinks and nibbling on tapas. And yet, that is exactly what I saw on a cold, rainy night in the center of the city. Which makes me even more excited for the warmer days to come, when we can take full of advantage of restaurants’ terrazas and rooftop bars and join the hordes of Madrileños that take to the streets at night, preferring to share some drinks on corners or right in the middle of the road, rather than gathering inside someone’s apartment. Even now, when the sun is shining, I find myself needing to take off my jacket at midday and aim my face at the glorious sun—strong from the altitude and unimpeded by any tall buildings. And in truth, with a beautiful park around the corner and plenty of plazas to stroll through, why not spend as much time outside as possible?
Churros con chocolate. I’m pretty sure I don’t need to explain this one. Fried dough dipped in thick, hot chocolate? Spain definitely knows how to do sweets.
I’m excited to come back to New York this summer after a year of living abroad, but I’m going to miss the surprises of new cities, the uncertainty of communicating in my second language, and the more leisurely pace that people live their lives, just a few thousand miles away.