I am studying European business law in the 5th semester. Since my studies are very German-oriented despite the alleged European focus, I also attended a Spanish course at the university for 2 semesters. And so that the whole thing has some purpose, I decided at very short notice to do a semester abroad, after I had always missed it at school. So first of all – in mid-May – I asked my university whether it would still be possible to apply for an Erasmus grant in Spain to apply. To my astonishment, there were actually still vacancies, for which you needed a proof of Spanish language proficiency of at least B2 and I had just completed A1 at that time. The alternatives would have been Lithuania, Bulgaria, etc., which I was less interested in.
That was actually done for me by the time I landed on MicroEDU via Google. After a great consultation with Tatjana, I decided to go to Nebrija Universidad and after a few days I was able to send my application documents to MicroEDU. About a month later I had my confirmation from Spain in the mailbox.
On September 2nd we went to Madrid. Before the official start of the semester, I took the offered Spanish preparation course. The fact that I only arrived on the 2nd and thus missed the first day was not a problem. The opportunity to participate in preparatory course, I recommend it to anyone, because you have been two weeks speaks Spanish long / listen / learn and you get to know some people.
Before I left, I had already booked a hostel for 10 days so that I could start looking for an apartment from there. According to the previous experience reports, I did not even try to find anything from here. A host family was also out of the question for me personally.
The search for an apartment is mainly carried out via various Internet portals such as idealista.com. By email I arranged about 5 apartment visits on a Saturday and then made my decision. The house hunting in Spain is much more complicated than in Germany, but also more expensive; Rooms are usually furnished and ready to move into. After all, I lived in an apartment with 6 Americans and an Englishwoman directly on Gran Via – but I had to pay a correspondingly high price. I would have preferred to live with Spaniards, but they are mostly looking for roommates for at least 6 months. Especially since my Spanish was still pretty bad. Without exception, I got on well with my roommates.
According to my Spanish skills, I chose the Spanish Plus program, so all of my courses took place at the Dehesa de la Villa campus. The campus is closer to the center than the Campus de la Berzosa, it took me about 30 minutes by metro from my apartment. Speaking of the metro: At the beginning you should apply for a monthly ticket, which costs only 35 € per month for under 23-year-olds and can be applied for here https://www.tarjetatransportepublico.es/CRTM-ABONOS/entrada.aspx.
There are mainly exchange students and Americans at the Dehesa Campus! Of an estimated 400 exchange students, 350 were American. 5 Germans studied with me at the university. Accordingly, it is quite difficult to come into contact with Spanish students. All courses are only attended by exchange students.
I had taken 5 courses in my application documents, but this pre-selection does not play a role in Spain. On the last day of the preparatory course, we were allowed to put together our own timetables. I took 2 courses in English and 2 in Spanish. Since I hadn’t tried to get credit for courses in Germany and saw the whole thing more as a Spanish semester, I took courses that interested me, such as European Studies and Descubrir Espana. According to Act-test-centers, all courses consisted of about 20 students and were comparable to German school lessons. You could miss the lectures twice without excuse, each additional time had an effect on the final grade. In addition, there were no lectures on Fridays, which was great for weekend trips. In all courses you had to write a midterm and a final term. In most of them, you still had to do homework and / or presentations for the oral participation. I found the level of requirements of the exams to be quite low compared to Germany.
The university also initially offered a range of inexpensive excursions and leisure activities. I was only on a weekend trip to Salamanca. In general, however, it is cheaper to plan excursions yourself. So I took the bus with friends to Granada (highly recommended!) And Toledo. Long-distance buses are definitely a good way to travel, as they are much cheaper than trains.
The life in Madrid beats especially in the evening on the streets. So it can happen at the weekend that you are stuck in traffic in the pedestrian zone around Sol. Countless bars, pubs and clubs in La Latina, Malasana or anywhere else offer specials and programs every evening, making it very difficult to spend a quiet evening at home.
Unfortunately, I was never able to take part in the exchange evening offered by the university because I was giving a lecture at the same time. In principle, you meet countless other exchange students in the city and there are always ERASMUS parties where you can get to know a lot of people quickly and easily.
I can only warmly recommend a semester abroad in Spain. The relaxed and open manner of the Spaniards was very pleasant for me. I wanted to take the habit of tapas and siestas with me to Germany, but it’s gone after a good 10 days. Madrid is a great city that has a lot to offer. For my next stay, however, I would choose a more typically Spanish city, such as Granada, Seville or Salamanca.
I would do my semester abroad again at any time with MicroEDU. For me, the quick, uncomplicated and, above all, short-term possibility of an application was decisive – after all, it was already mid-June when I submitted my application. At this point a big thank you to Tatjana, who advised me on all questions and problems.