My semester abroad in Madrid started on January 25th. when I flew from Cologne via Hamburg to Madrid. A friend from school had already given me a flat in a large 9-person flat, very well located in the city center. In general, it is always important to take another look at the apartments on site, as there are also many dirty apartments on offer in Madrid, some of which do not even have a window. However, it is very easy to find many offers via Idealista.com and you can usually move in on the same day if you are interested. It is therefore worth taking a hostel first and looking at different apartments on site.
Since I had a lot of luggage, I took a taxi from the airport to my apartment, with a fixed price of 30 € for the city. If that’s too expensive for you, you can also take the metro, which goes straight to the city center from there. In general, however, public transport only runs until 1.30 am.
A flat share is always advisable for living, because people can connect you directly and you know where you can do something before you even start university. I was there about two weeks before the start of university and was more than happy about it. Since most of the people spoke perfect English, communication was not a problem either, although this unfortunately meant that my Spanish was neglected every now and then.
On February 5th Then university finally started and the day before I started looking for how to get there. The Universidad Nebrija has 2 locations and the international students who study in English are mostly located on the campus, which is closer to the city center (Dehesa de la Villa). The university is quite small, but very nicely located next to a large park.
According to Ehuacom, the university can be reached very easily with line 7 and the metro is a good 10 minutes walk away. However, the metro system in Madrid is generally very, very good and you can get everywhere quickly. If you have to use the metro every day, it is worth buying a metro subscription right at the beginning, which you can top up monthly. The costs for this are around € 35. At the beginning, however, you first have to make an appointment to apply for your ticket.
On the first day there was only an introduction and everything was explained well and you could choose your subjects and put your schedule together individually. Conveniently, all of the students had no classes on Fridays, which is more than useful if you want to take weekend trips to other cities.
In general, you can travel very well from Madrid. In the 4 months I was there I have traveled to Seville, Cordoba, Cadiz, Barcelona, Granada, Morocco and Lisbon. With Blablacar.es you can find very cheap carpooling in other cities and the city buses are also relatively cheap.
It is also important to know about the university that many students come from America and that you rarely come into contact with Spanish students. However, this would be different if one were to study in Spanish.
When it comes to nightlife and other things to do, Madrid has endless possibilities. I enjoyed going to the T-Club and Kapital with my friends. The great roof terrace at the Circulo de las Bellas Artes is also recommended. You definitely never get bored in Madrid and the Spaniards are always there for fun, even if I sometimes found Madrid less Spanish than some other cities in Spain.
A big change in Madrid was the times for me. Lunch is usually eaten between 2pm and 4pm and in the evening between 8pm and 11pm. When you leave, 2:00 is a normal time to arrive at the club, and few people go home before 6/7. Since the entrance fee for discos in Madrid is relatively high, but also includes a drink or two, it usually makes more sense to get yourself written on a list on the Internet.
If you are interested in Spanish culture, you should also watch a flamenco show or go to a bullfight. I liked the former very much and can be done in the Bar Barco (Malasana district) for € 10 and is highly recommended. I didn’t watch a bullfight myself for ethical reasons.
The Malasana district mentioned above is generally very important for students, as the nightlife is bustling here and Spanish life can be enjoyed for hours in squares on warm summer nights. During the day you can find great restaurants and nice cafes like Vacaciones, my absolute favorite place for breakfast.
As for the food, I also had to change a lot here. Breakfast is generally on the small side and dining is often viewed as more of a social event than a necessity. Many Spaniards like to sit for 2-3 hours over a meal and a good wine. Eating out is also very common in Madrid, but you should avoid any tourist traps around the Sol, as these are completely overpriced and not recommended.
A Spanish cell phone card is definitely important in Spain. I bought a prepaid card myself. You can get it anywhere without any problems, e.g. from Yoigo and the Internet can be booked for only 6 € per month.
Last but not least, you should know that the Spanish don’t like to speak English, so you should at least bring the basics of the Spanish language with you to be accepted here.
All in all, however, I can highly recommend Madrid for a stay abroad. I had a great, exciting time and met wonderful new people. I’ve come to love a foreign country and culture like my own and would never hesitate to come back!