My Awesome Study Abroad Experience In Madrid

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My Awesome Study Abroad Experience In Madrid

My name is Sharlene Moulton I’m from Fort Lauderdale Florida, and I’m currently a senior in college majoring in journalism.

I always wanted to study abroad since the moment I started college . I would do tons of research on colleges abroad and the different study abroad programs that my school offered. Finally after eliminating city by city, program by program, I chose Madrid, Spain and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I lived in Spain for an entire summer semester in 2012. Studying abroad opened me up to a whole new world. I now have a much broader understanding of the world and different cultures

Why I chose Spain

Ultimately, the reason I chose Spain was because I have a minor in Spanish. The classes that I took while studying abroad at Estudio Sampere counted toward my minor. I also chose Spain because I love the language and the culture. Not to mention I had always heard great things about Madrid from other expats. To me Spain was an easy choice because Madrid fit my personality and lifestyle completely. Madrid is very vibrant and lively but at the same time very laid-back, which is how I am as well.

Honestly, I felt like a madrileña in no time ! After the first week of being there I felt like Madrid was home.  Of course there was quite a bit of culture shock, but after a few days I started to get the hang of things. I was able to figure out the metro system, my host family was very welcoming and the people were the kindest people I have ever met. It was actually a lot harder for me transitioning back to life in the U.S. than it was to transition to life in Spain. It took me months to get over my homesickness when I left Madrid. Even know I still miss Madrid terribly and have not been able to adjust fully to life again in the U.S. even though it has been a year and a half since I came back.

Oh, how I’ve missed Madrid

I miss everything about Madrid. I miss the people and how friendly they were. I got lost so many times while living abroad in Madrid and every single time I had a kind-hearted person help me find my way. After a while I stopped worrying about getting lost because I knew that I could always find someone to help me. No matter how busy the locals in Madrid seemed they were never to busy to help a young expat find her way. I loved that I could go downtown with friends and there was always something going on. I miss going for a walk through Retiro Park after class. I miss socializing with strangers, I miss going to the many different tapas bars. Overall, I had a better quality of life living in Madrid. The only bad thing I didn’t like about Madrid was the foul smell, that would surround you while waiting for the train underground. I don’t know maybe they keep dead bodies down there (totally kidding) but whatever it was it did not smell appeasing whatsoever.

South Florida in comparison to Madrid

I would say Madrid is about 80 percent different from living in South Florida. Although South Florida is known for being a very diverse and vibrant area there is  not a strong sense of community like there is in Madrid. People in Madrid are a lot more welcoming and culturally understanding than most South Floridians. Especially, in terms of patience when it comes to dealing with people who don’t speak the national language, Madrid wins by a landslide. I can not count how many times I’ve had locals male, female, young and old, try to explain something to me several times  in Spanish and sometimes in English without ever losing their patience.

I would love to return to Madrid. It’s definitely my dream to move back there, because it was an experience of a lifetime. There are so many times where I wish I could either be reliving those same memories in Spain or making new ones all over again.

Sharlene Moulton
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Hi everyone my name is Sharlene and I'm a journalism student at FAU. I am a 21-year-old travel writer, blogging about my experiences as an expat studying abroad in Madrid but also about other cities that I've been to and want to go to. Check out my blog at travelwithshar.blogspot.com . There's lots of pictures and posts on Travel! Also follow me on Twitter @TravelWithShar :) I love featuring expats on my blog as well!