I hope you all are doing well! I’ve been in Madrid for close to 4 weeks now, and they honestly have been some of the most enjoyable and eye-opening weeks of my life. I think I’m going to be one of those people that comes back and has to be forced to stop talking about their experience abroad (@Madi Lawton). Way less people in Madrid speak English than I had expected, but it’s forcing me to use my Spanish every day, and I’m thankful for that. I firmly believe that learning a new language is the #1 thing you can do to open yourself up to new opportunities and experiences. Example: today, I got a haircut and my eyebrows done (I always do it the same day so I feel fresh), and I did it entirely in Spanish. I actually debated this for a couple days because I had read online that there were some decent English-speaking options for these services (keyword: “decent”). Then, I noticed that there were two places within a 10-minute walk to me that both had five stars on Google. Specifically, they had over 100 reviews and legitimately 5.0 stars out of 5.0. The catch? No English. I was very nervous because, although I am pretty confident with my Spanish skills, I didn’t want to give them incorrect guidance. However, I took the risk and it DEFINITELY paid off; the haircut was easily the best one I’ve ever had. There are also so many amazing places to eat here, including an amazing taco place where the tacos are like 2000 times better than Cantina’s and only 1 euro each, as well as a churro place that’s famous for its chocolate dip and is open 24 hours. My coffee habits have actually improved since I’ve been here, but last week I found this tiny coffee place (it’s literally one small room with no places to sit) a three-minute walk from where Betsy and I go to school; I think she can agree that it’s one of the best cups of coffee we’ve ever had. Speaking of Betsy, Ally and I (among others) celebrated her 21st birthday the other night. NIBS, our mom is legal!! Jordan and Hannah came to visit a few days before that, and of course it was great to see them too. To wrap this up, here’s a study abroad tip I want to share with you all, especially because I think it’s applicable in Columbia, SC as well: Explore new places on your own. Especially if you’re in a European city, public transportation is incredible and can basically take you anywhere (Madrid’s metro system has over 120 stops). I’ve spent countless hours looking on Google Maps for a cool coffee shop, park, scenic area, etc. and then just going there and walking around. When you’re alone, you pay much more attention to what’s going on around you and notice things you wouldn’t otherwise. I miss you all and hope you do so many great professional, cultural, and social things while I’m gone! If any of you have questions or just want to chat, feel free to reach out; I’d love to hear from you.
SOU Bros Abroad
This blog serves to highlight the experiences and tips that Brothers studying abroad have.