erasmus · Travel

Things I have learned while on Erasmus in Madrid

  • Spanish apparently have no sense of “self-space” – prepare to be hit every five seconds by someone and not hear an apologie;
  • They have two dishes in lunch – primeros e segundosThey also don’t usually eat rice or pasta or something like that while eating a steak or fish (which was so weird for me. Never have I eaten a steak with nothing to accompany it.)
  • You have wifi in every single bus of the EMT (the blue ones) – no exception. (don’t expect good connection though – FB Messenger is great and so is Whatsapp, but not Instagram).
  • They can’t speak proper english and good luck finding english-speakers in Madrid. They translate every single thing,every movie, every serie, every word that find a spanish version for that. Even proper names are translated (nothing was weirder than reading “Enrique” instead of “Henry”). They are aware this is really bad nowadays and are trying to improve.
  • Police everywhere. They are nice, especially when they get that you aren’t from around and aren’t a snob tourist.
  • Alwasy spend two days knowing the city if you are going to stay there for a few months. Don’t worry if you are completly lost, have to ask for directions, etc. Just don’t show you are 100% useless and easy to rob and you will be fine!
  • Spend some time searching for proper rooms – the houses are usually not very nice looking and it’s best if you spend a little time (and money) for a nice one, than staying in weird looking place.
  • Speaking of wifi, be sure to enjoy every single free hotspot. In Portugal, I have a lot apps that don’t spend mobile data (like Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Twitch, Twitter, etc). This means that 1GB is enough for everything (I had 5GB and only spent like 2-3GB for month because I used Youtube and Pokemon Go A LOT!).  Not in Spain. In Spain 1Gb of internet was useless for me -in two weeks I only had 250MB. Simply because they don’t have free apps and good internet (let’s be honest, they don’t.)
  • Please, learn Spanish! Like I said, they aren’t very good with english and they will give a lot of blank stares! So please, learn spanish before you go to Spain. Even though Spain has a lot of regions that have their own dialect, learning basic stuff is better than getting stuck somewhere just because you can’t say “I need a supermarket and a pharmacy please!” (true story, this happened to me!)
  • Take a map with you with the major landmarks in it! Like Prado, Cibeles, Moncloa and everything like that. Trust me, it’s better for you!

At the moment, I don’t have anything else to add. But feel free to comment anything you would like to add to this list or anything you agree/disagree!


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