JOANNA DIMAS- It’s crazy how my days in Madrid have felt long, yet I have been in this beautiful city for a month. Before my arrival, I was extremely excited and nervous (two extreme polar feelings). My friend Fehintola and I had been talking about our semester abroad for a while, and knowing I would spend four months with her by my side is what allowed me to feel more eager about Madrid. What made me nervous was going to a completely different country, and making sure I carried no expectations upon my arrival. I was also worried about the confrontations and experiences I would face as a woman of color in a country with a history of colonization. I had heard from past friends of mixed experiences they faced as Latina women. I eventually allowed my feelings to become neutral. And as my Christmas break came to an end, I was not sure what to expect of Madrid, but it was reassuring knowing my family supported me.
Thus far, my time here has been amazing and full of wonderful surprises. First off, what has eased my transition to living in Madrid has been the Tufts-Skidmore program. The staff and the resources the program has to offer are incredible. Any concerns or questions can be resolved by talking to one of the staff members. Not only that, but the center is beautiful and very comforting. Second, I live in a beautiful home with a beautiful host mom who has left me with a spacious room. Since my time living with her, I have discussed many topics with her such as feminism, abortion, immigration, and the power of education.
But by far, the most helpful and supportive system in Madrid has been my friends. In less than a month I have created amazing relationships with amazing women. These ladies have contributed a great amount to my sense of comfort and curiosity in this lively city. With my new friendships, I have been able to explore different cafés like Café de la Luz and cheap tasty restaurants like Takos and Maki Malasaña. I have also traveled to Lisbon, Portugal with these amazing women. We had the best cupcakes in the world, we climbed up a steep hill to see a castle (St. George Castle), and experienced a wild night at an insane club called Urban beach. Had it not been for these amazing women, I do not think I would have been able to step outside my comfort zone. Their high energy and loving spirits are what keep me grounded and happy. Thank you Fehintola, Gaby, Dayana, and Kristiana. Y’all are the best!
I am looking forward to the next three months and experiencing many new things and meeting new people. I definitely have no regrets studying abroad and I am definitely okay not experiencing a New England winter this spring semester (its currently 22 degrees Fahrenheit in Boston). These next three months will certainly go by quickly and I am sure that I will miss this city by the end of my semester.