Studying in Europe (Spain) has been an amazing experience! I love it here because there is so much diversity and so many people from other countries studying here as well. One of the things I love about being here is meeting people my age from other countries and other states in the U.S. as well. I have made so many friends from different places like Sweden, Italy, France, Argentina, Denmark, Bulgaria, Great Britain, California, Michigan, and Spain of course. It is great to be able to hangout with all these different people because you learn a lot about everything. I don’t mean to be vague by saying “everything” but you literally learn about why people are in Spain, about their lives, and their language. It also has motivated me a lot to take the time to learn other languages because it can be very useful. I think what I like the most about having friends from other places is that you learn how people act, the differences between them and people you know, the similarities, their values, how people from that culture act and it opens up your mind. I am more accepting now that I was when I first got here. Even though I have some Spanish friends I don’t have as many as I do from other places and that makes me understand what the foreign students from our SNC go through. Sometimes I see the foreign students all hanging out together and I used to wonder why they didn’t hangout with a lot of other American students but now I understand. When you are a foreign student you can relate best with someone who is also foreign, you go through the same things of being in a completely new place and you comfort and help each other. I am really glad I have been able to learn and see this because I understand more now.
For students who are studying abroad in the future, I advise you to make friends with as many people as you can and from all different places. Having more friends mean learning more because I can guarantee you that each person will teach you something, if you take the time to get to know them of course.
I love being in Madrid more and more everyday and if I could choose to do it all over again I would choose Madrid again. One thing I would do different though is going out and making as many friends as you can. Take every opportunity you have to meet people because the more people you know the better your semester will be!
Alessandra Mendez is studying abroad at Universidad Antonio de Nebrija in Madrid, Spain.