Ever since high school, I wanted to study abroad but it felt impossible; it sounded scary and was quite expensive. It’s something I always wanted to do but never got myself to research options or think further on it. That was till I got to University and my school had a mandatory study abroad component. At first, I was fully on board since I have always wanted to see the world and thought this was the best time to do it. I then took a couple of months to talk myself out of the decision. After a back and forth and a very detailed pro and con list lol, I decided to go for it. I had the life-altering realization that I would never be in this position again- young, with almost no responsibilities and with an amazing opportunity to live in a different country for half a year. To my dismay, it was a long and tasking process which is specific only to me because I ran into some passport complications which delayed my entire process. I almost found no housing options and was anxious about getting my visa back in time. I was lucky enough to have my passport/visa issues taken care of a month before I had to leave and found a super affordable plane ticket through Student Universe and an apartment through Spotahome Madrid
Everything lined perfectly at the last minute and next thing I knew I was in Madrid; Jet-lagged, confused, and alone.
The first day was brutal because everything hit me all at once- the busyness of the city, the language barrier, the fact that I was doing this alone, a few check-in issues that resulted into me dragging my suitcases up and down a couple of flights of stairs, I was lost, literally. After checking in, I camped in and adamantly refused to leave my apartment for about two days. I was too frightened to face a bustling city that was a little harsh to me in the beginning. When I got sick of ordering in and finally had the courage, I left my apartment an wandered around the city. I felt a little ridiculous about my anxiety and decision to stay in for the first few days because the city was beautiful, buzzing, exciting, and I was fine.
I was still anxious about navigating the city but took things in slowly and as days went by things certainly got familiar and felt easier. I got lost SO OFTEN, took the wrong metro several times, missed my scheduled trains, did so many embarrassing things (feel free to email, comment, ask me about a few) and got stares from people, messed up constantly, all while trying to allow room for grace and growth. The first days are surely the hardest, but once I knew the public transit routes, the nuances of the city, how to order a coffee or go through a checkout lane without dying, I was just fine.
I stayed in an apartment in Sol with four random roommates who just so happened to be awesome humans and very quickly became my friends. I also met friends through school, events, Bumble Bff, the streets lol. The beauty of being new in Madrid is that there are so many other people on the same boat and they’ll be willing to hang out and enjoy the city with you. I made a whole other blog post on making friends abroad since I was in Madrid alone- Everyone else in my college decided to study abroad in the Spring 🙁 But it all turned out great, I met people from all over the world and I have to say, that was one of my favorite things about studying abroad! There are so many things I could tell you about studying abroad but I tried breaking it all down into bits. I’ll be posting as the days go by, enjoy! And feel free to reach out with any questions:)
– Love, Imani