Spain is known for its dancing, its passion, its cooking and its sense of theatricality. If you are one of the lucky few who’s made it to the Iberian peninsula, you should think about taking out some extra classes to help you get to grips with this captivating culture. Whether you’re working or studying, there is bound to be something to suit your tastes and timetable. ¡Arriba!
Budgeting for a year abroad on a shoe-string is standard practice, but these tips are by no means money-saving survival tactics for those trying to live on the cheap: they are original ideas to help you spice up and make the most of your time in Madrid. They just so happen to save you some céntimos too. Enjoy!
If it weren't for my year abroad, both my level of Spanish and my career path wouldn't have improved as much as they did - I got some really goof work experience in marketing whilst I was there. My initial difficulties were in finding accommodation and with contract issues for my work placement, especially as I found that I was consistently given the wrong information by the British embassy. But all in all, once I’d organised myself, Madrid was one of the easiest places to settle into. With two major universities and Erasmus students round the corner, it’s easy to make a fresh start. The social life was an important factor in what I was looking for. As I worked hard, if it wasn’t for the lively number of bars and clubs, it would have been much harder to meet anyone. I didn’t do a course out there or anything, I went into work and sat at my desk from 9 til 5, but it's a small world and after a few phone calls to friends, I started meeting people for drinks and quickly made a lot of acquaintances. Erasmus students there are all in the same boat; very rarely are there any who already have family and friends there, so people are very patient and welcoming and eager to be friends. Although after a while you realise which ones you actually like, the whole experience is refreshing.