A Semester in Madrid: Study Abroad Wanderlust

December 20, 2018
by Grayson Hennelly

I just finished packing up all of my things and with Christmas right around the corner, I’m feeling a little antsy to get home. There is no better time to come home than for the holidays, and I’m more than excited to see my family and friends again.

Yet with my abroad experience coming to a close, I feel sentimental. I've been in Europe for four months, visited 17 cities in 17 weekends, and seen eight different countries. Never again will I travel so much in such a short amount of time, nor will I feel so close to a place that once felt so foreign to me. I feel like I’m leaving home to go home, even though my two homes are thousands of miles away from each other. From visiting the iconic landmarks like Retiro Park to watching a Real Madrid soccer game, there is a sense of accomplishment that I didn’t realize until it was almost over. Even the airport feels familiar to me now—I had no idea I could feel so close to an airport.

With all the mushy-gushy sentiments, I do want to drop a few words of wisdom to those who are considering studying abroad in Madrid. First of all, DO IT. There is no feeling more gratifying and humbling than living in a foreign country, and I cannot stress enough how special the opportunity to study abroad is. Also, I’m grateful enough to have five amazing friends to share every second of this experience with, even though our constant time together may make the apartment feel a little cramped at times.

I'd also highly recommend documenting your travels, but not only with photos. Something you can carry with you -- a token, a memento, or if you’re like me, a watercolor print of each city I visited. Everyone will take photos of their time abroad, but don’t let your memories go up into the cloud. Keepsakes can preserve the memories longer than a post on social media. 

The last thing, there is no better assurance of your return to Europe sometime in the future than after studying abroad. Although it’s hard to admit, one semester of school is nowhere near enough time to see every city I wanted to see. In fact, I know I won’t even be able to see every part of Madrid, where I’ve spent the last four months. But I do know that I will be returning to Madrid at some point in my life, and it will be nice to feel right back at home even after such a long time—and to be able to hop right back on the Metro that I struggled so much with in the beginning of my time here.

Grayson Hennelly is the Fall 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in Madrid, Spain, and is currently studying at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

Posts You Might Be Interested In:

Load more comments
Thank you for the comment! Your comment must be approved first





Compare Programs (1)

Want to save your favorites?
Log in to Your CEA Passbook

Sign up for an account.
Why? It's simple! You can:

  • View your fav locations, programs and courses
  • Fill out an application or track your application status
  • Apply for CEA scholarships
  • Keep up with the latest updates and opportunities
Back to login

*By providing your mobile number, you agree to receive recurring text messages from CEA Study Abroad notifying you of important program deadlines. Message and data rates may apply.

Privacy Policy | Mobile Terms

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link to create a new password.

Error message here!

Back to log-in

Plan Your Journey

In order to help you plan your program abroad, we need a little info. Choose the destination you're most interested in. If you're not sure, just check 'I don't know yet'.