It’s already been a month and a half since I landed in Madrid and it has been amazing! Leaving Estonia seemed more like going on a vacation and I didn’t really realise at first, that I would be away for 4 months.
True to a normal 19-year-old, my mom came to Madrid with me for the first couple of days to make sure I would be safe and sound.
When I went to the orientation day at my Erasmus University (ESIC Madrid), I didn’t have any expectations. I just wanted to meet new interesting people. Since I didn’t have any friends at that moment, I decided to go up to an active German student and said: “Will you please be my friend? I feel like a fish out of water.” Fortunately, I was lucky and the student said yes to my request. Since then, I have met a lot of people from so many different countries and I have made some really good friends.
Everything has been very new for the first month – living alone outside of Estonia for more than a few weeks. I managed to exhaust myself within the first couple of weeks just to be sick for the following ones. Although, no one really has time to be sick here so I just had to deal with it.
If you happen to come to Madrid and think that all of the exchange students live outside the city center and you think it’s okay to live 20 minutes from the main attractions then trust me, most of the students live a few minutes away from the center. This was also my first big lesson. The university is located relatively far from everything else so it takes around 50 minutes to get there anyway.
One of the weirdest things about the way of life here in Madrid is that the lessons begin at 5pm and end at 10pm. This also means you can go out during the night and sleep in the next day.
Everything in Madrid is wonderful – there’s no lack of activities, the amazing architecture, beautiful and happy people and really good food. Home sickness won’t be an issue here.
Another weird fact worth mentioning – beer is being sold at the university canteen and the students actually drink it between classes.
The weirdest thing of all is bocadillo con calamares – bread with squid. I think it holds a relatively high place in the list of unusual Spanish foods. For me, it is honestly absurd. I tried it during the first week and I’m still getting used to the large quantities of bread over here.
Madrid is definitely a city that requires more exploring as well as the rest of the Spain. Grandma’s pancakes, cutlets and curd patties must wait!
Photos: Maria Paalma
Editor: Kärt Mättikas
Translator: Triin Tikk