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Studying Spanish in Spain

Spain is one of my favorite places in the entire world. It was also the first place I traveled abroad. I remember being incredibly nervous when I arrived in Madrid at about 6:00 in the morning on a Saturday, and took a taxi to my host family’s house. My host mother, a college professor named Charo, greeted me warmly and made me a small breakfast of Cola Cao (Hot Chocolate) and Chiquilin (Shortbread Cookies). We discussed what I liked to eat and the house rules, and then Charo mercifully let me go back to sleep. When I awoke, she asked me if I would like to accompany her to a concert of one of her students. I readily agreed. About 8:00 we got in her sister Isabel’s car and drove about a half hour north of the city. The concert was beautiful and afterward we went out for Tapas. Sunday night I met Roberta, the Brazilian girl who was also staying with Charo. She had been out of town for the weekend visiting Salamanca for the weekend.

The next morning, Charo showed me how to purchase a MetroBus pass, and then went with me to the school to make sure I knew how to get there. I met several other students while taking my placement exam, a few of whom ended up being placed in the same level as I. Some days after school we would participate in the Flamenco classes or wine tastings taking place at the language school. Other days we would explore Madrid’s wealth of museums, cathedrals and other cultural icons. On days where we needed a break we would go to the community pool to escape the heat or otherwise go shopping in the boutiques on Gran Via.

On weekends, we took trips to Cordoba and Toledo with other students from the school. If we got back early enough, we’d check out the famous nightlife in Madrid as well. Once Roberta and I got stranded on the opposite side of the city because the metros shut down for the night. We bought café con leche and Nutella with bread at a mini mart and watched the Flamenco dancers in Plaza Mayor.

I had a fantastic, if exhausting, time in Madrid. My Spanish improved so dramatically, I could hardly believe it (nor could my Spanish professor!) I loved it so much that less than 3 years later I went back to study again in Marbella.

By: Alexa Boyce

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