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.
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!
Right, so it really hasn't been long since I've chosen where I want to go and I've only just given in some forms to do with the placement but I am so excited! :woohoo: I know it's 5 months until I have to go but :whistle: I am really looking forward to it, plus I have time to do a bit of research about Madrid, maybe talk to some students who are there before I go.
Madrid, Spain - buzzy, lively, exciting, fun, cultural
Madrid is a fantastic city – the best city in Europe! There is an amazing variety of things to do, see and enjoy and excellent nightlife. The work I found was interesting but after 10 months of limited responsibility I was more than ready to leave, but I’d recommend that you stay in Europe instead of going to other Spanish-speaking countries and find work; the experience is unbeatable for the CV and the Erasmus Grant and salary really help with the finances. I had to move house very quickly as I hadn't realised that the accommodation I had sorted before leaving England was a very long way out from the city centre but the most important thing is choosing the people you live with - they are crucial to your language development. Stay in a hostel (Red or Purple Nest are perfect) while you are ringing landlords and looking at rooms in flats. Only live with Spanish or Latin American people, preferably students who you can go out with etc. and you’ll be surprised how quickly you pick up their expressions and accent! Have a really open mind and do not be shy otherwise you will struggle.