Madrid, The “Big City”


Almost a month into this experience, I feel like I’m slowly starting to get adjusted to the new lifestyle that Madrid has offered us this semester. Living in the heart of a city as active as Madrid is a drastic change of pace from the quiet, comfortable isolation that we often experience at Tufts. Whereas most Tufts students dread the inconvenient hike that’s required just to get into Davis Square to access Boston’s mass transit, using the metro, buses, and even trains in Madrid has proven to be a necessity. Another advantage to the homestay situation that the program provides has proven to be learning how to navigate Madrid’s mass transit systems.

Another part about living in a city as opposed to the traditional ‘on-campus’ feel that a lot of universities in the States have is the idea of the commute. At Tufts, I have the luxury of having time to shower, have breakfast, and get my morning coffee around campus all an hour before my first class. This is vastly different from Madrid, where my commute is between thirty to forty five minutes every day. In fact, this is true both for my classes at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and at the Tufts & Skidmore Program Center. This extra time spent on my way to these destinations has forced me to alter my time management in the morning. As a result, I’ve started waking up at least two and a half hours before I have my first course so that I can make my commute on time.

Overall, though, Madrid has proven to have a pretty dependable public transportation system that I’ve relied on many times. This has been especially beneficial on late nights out with friends. The subway is open as late as 1:00 AM, and, if you’re out later than that, Madrid offers night buses that can get you just about anywhere in the city throughout the night. With apps like Google Maps and CityMapper (an app many of us in the program have started to swear by when it comes to organizing a trip into Madrid), you can type in your destinations and see what the best public transportation route is at any time. This unique problem of being out late enough to need a night bus is something unfamiliar to the average Tufts student, since much of Tufts’ social life occurs on campus, so this has been a great way to get to know the city and experience ‘big city life’ as well.

Ramiro Sarabia, Tufts in Madrid, Fall 2015

It’s definitely crazy to think that we’re almost a quarter of the way done with this incredible experience. It feels like we’ve been here for so long yet that our journey’s only begun, although this is the perfect time to plan out the rest of the semester and make sure to knock off as many items from the bucket list as possible. I’m looking forward to using this blog to document the many thoughts and memories that I have throughout this experience. Thanks for reading and make sure to Like our Facebook page to stay updated!

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