State University of New York Maritime College
1. How did you find ways to experience the local culture?
Before coming to Madrid I had been to Alicante, in the south of Spain. I expected the culture in Madrid to be similar, but to my surprise, it was completely different! I fell in love with the city immediately, the architecture and the immense history made it really fun to walk around. To fully immerse in the culture and experience as much as I could I forced myself to do a number of things.
First, I tried my hardest to speak and understand the language. This made it possible to understand the people and hear their stories, as well as hear the different Spanish accents and learn how each one came to be. I was able to speak with the old and young, and most importantly my fellow college students at UC3M. This to me was very important.
Second, I was always outside. Going outside in the city and seeing as many things as possible was essential to fully take in the city of Madrid. Going to the local markets such as El Rastro and San Miguel really showed me what Madrid is all about. Also traveling the rest of Spain was very important because the Spanish culture is so diverse. CEA did a beautiful job by showing us cities such as Granada, Sevilla, and Toledo, showing us all the important historical places in each city.
This was how I experienced the local culture while abroad, and I loved it so much I went back last week!
2. If you had 60 seconds to convince a friend that they should study abroad, what would you say?
There is no other experience like living in a different country for six months, and CEA makes it a thousand times better. They bring around the whole country, immerse you in the culture while being close to students just like you from all over the United States. The staff and advisors are awesome and the experience is truly life changing. CEA makes sure that the experience goes smoothly, from finding you a wonderful apartment to finding you wonderful roommates. If you have ever thought of going abroad, DO IT, and do it with CEA!
Also, my friend came to visit me for a week and she had so much fun hanging out with the CEA guys and living the Spanish life that she went abroad with CEA the next year!