Erasmus Experience in Madrid, Spain by Katherine

Why did you choose to go to Madrid, Spain?

I went to Madrid, Spain as an aupair for 1 year and after that i decided to stay and study my master.

How long is the scholarship? How much money do you receive to help you with living costs?

To break it down, I received my pocket money from the 1 year experience being an aupair and after saving some (with online n part-time jobs) i saved enough to apply my master. I'd still have enough to pay rent and shop for food or occasional hanging out with friends but if you wanna go a bit extra, get something nice, then you truly need a part-time jobs, anything at all to support you while staying here. Madrid is not expensive if you know how to manage your pocket and have a spending plan.

What is the student lifestyle like in Madrid?

Student life in Madrid is an amazing experience and i'm lucky enough to still enjoying it now. You'd soon find people here are super friendly and nice. They'd help you with anything and you dont even have to ask. If they see you having some problems, they'd come and help. Everyone study hard, work hard and party hard (obviously). Due to the pandemic, things got a bit slower but that never stop the spirits in everyone as we still enjoying all the things the city has to offer.

Would you recommend the city and the University of Madrid to other students?

100% yes!!! It has everything and all possibilities are offered for anyone who's willing to take.

What is the food like?

Daily meals are lovely. The time to eat is a bit odd comparing to other culture (9-10am: breakfast; 2-3pm: lunch; 4pm: siesta, which is like naptime and someshops are closed at this time too so checkin with places before you go; 5-6pm: merienda, light snack; 9-10pm: dinner). I didnt get use to it the first few months but after awhile, the culture got to me. The food is delicious, some could say it a bit salty and greasy but if you know the right way to cook or the right place to have it, you're in for a treat. You must try some of the typical dishes, bars and pubs when you are here, to truly get the full effect with the locals.

Did it cost you to find your accommodation in Madrid?

There are many website to find rooms for students. My personal choice is Like Idealista where you get to contact the host yourself, check the place then decide if you want to rent it or not. Normally you wouldnt have to pay anything to find the room, just the room deposit (because you are working directly with the landlord/host) but do check the detail carefully, ask the landlord, host, room-mates before paying/ making decision, and this applies to any renting websites (even those which are recommended by the school).

How much does it cost to live in Madrid?

Like a said, if you have a spending plan and save some, it's be quite easy for you to manage your money. Food is not too expensive, some places even are cheap with good quality. Renting, depending on where you live, it could range anywhere from 190euros- 800euros/month. So do you research real good before coming here. Transportation: of course, students (even workers) use the public transportation system because not everyone has a car and finding a parking space is just too troublesome. El abono transporte (the public transport card) can range from 20eurros to 56euros depending on zone you are living. I know for a fact if you are under 26 years old, you only have to pay 20euros/month and get to go all of the zones in Madrid.

Is the language easy to get to grips with? Are there language courses available at the University?

I studied Italian in university so it wasnt too hard for me to learn Spanish. Just be patient, study hard, dont be shy and dont worry if you make some mistakes along the way. You're here to learn and making mistakes is part of learning. Try to practice with some friends, landlord, room-mates, use the most of it on a daily basics. There are plenty of language courses for you to try. I'm studying with Club de Espanol, highly recommended.

What's the easiest or most economical way to travel to Madrid from your city?

I'm from Vietnam so i flew from Hanoi (where i lived) to Madrid. Took about 17hours (including transit). You can fly, take a train, night bus, depending on where you're from but i think the most common way is flying.

Where would you recommend to go on a night out in Madrid?

If you are new in Madrid, try Puerta de Sol, Gran Via, Callao, or basically around that area. Those are the touristy parts but since you're new, you should start there. After exploring the center, you could move further like a bit to the mountains, small towns in Madrid (with the public transportation, there's no trouble moving in Madrid).

And for eating? Can you recommend some good restaurants in Madrid?

All in the center (Sol, La Latina, Lavapies, Callao, Velazquez...) so so so many. You just have to explore all and find one that suits you most.

What good cultural sites are there to visit?

You could visit all the museums, art galleries (which there are too many in Madrid), cathedrals, parks, La Latina, Lavapies are some parts in the center that are very very cultural.

Is there any other advice that you could give to students going to Madrid in the future?

If you could, learn a bit of Spanish before coming here, just so it's a bit easier to communicate with everyone. Lots of them speaks English but you wouldnt know after a few talks in Spanish. When i first got here, i didnt know any Spanish so i learned things the hard way. It was fun and amazing still but do think abit of Spanish would give a huge advance in your experience here.

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