When I was looking for a city outside the United States to do my international internship through my university, I decided that Madrid was going to be the perfect place to spend my summer this year. For me, Madrid is not only going to be a place to gain work experience, but it will open the doors to Spain and Europe, its history, culture, food, and traditions.
I decided to come to Madrid since Spanish is my native language. I want to compare my dialect of Spanish with the one from Madrid, for example, the accent, and learn new vocabulary by speaking to people of all ages. For example, I have experienced humorous situations while learning new words, like in here cellphone is “móvil” and in Latin America is “celular”, or car is “coche” and in Latin America is “carro”. I am ready and motivated to keep learning the meaning of their cultural terms!
As part of my program, I am living with a Spanish host family. It has been a little bit challenging to be part of their home since this is my first time leaving my house and being in Spain. Thanks to them, I have learned important facts about family life of Madrid. The first thing is the time for eating because it is later than the US and even Latin America. Lunch is around 3 pm and Dinner at 10 pm! However, they have snacks between the main meals. It took me a couple of days to adjust my body and mind to this hours. Also, the first day at dinner when I finished eating, I was going to stand up and leave but my host family kept talking about their day and I realized that dinner is the time that you should share with your family which I think is wonderful, and I want to do the same back home. My host family have all the time friends and family at their house or instead they go out a lot because they told me that social life in Madrid is spent with other people and at different places. About cultural food from Madrid, my host mom made a tomato soup called “gazpacho”, but it is cold because it is only made during summer time to help them refresh themselves from the hot weather. I recommend you try this unique recipe that you can only find in the beautiful city of Madrid!
The center of Madrid and its surroundings is a place that you must visit in its entirety. I was amazed when I walked the first time through the different streets without a GPS and didn’t get lost since the main Plazas and Monuments help you get back to the place where you started. I saw not only locals, but people from different parts of the world since Madrid is a place that welcomes everyone! While walking around to admire the antique and magnificent architecture, I ate at different restaurants and cafeterias typical Spanish food, tapas, and wine. Even better, at a lower price than I expected!
Fun fact! Something very important that I learned from a tour of the city is that the famous statue of “El oso y el madroño”, which is located in Puerta de Sol in Madrid, is actually a female bear! Oh, and if you want to meet your friends in the crowed center of Madrid, you can tell them: “See you at the Bear”, and you will have the perfect meeting point in Madrid!
by Angie Sandoval from Pittsburgh