Going to a new country is a whirlwind of emotions—whether that be excitement, nerves, jet lag or the “Soooo, what now?” feeling that you can never really pinpoint. Thankfully, you’re already a leg-up for choosing Madrid, the best city ever (woo!), especially for students. The city has endless things to offer for people of all ages, interests, bedtimes etc.—so whether you’ve arrived here with a full itinerary, or absolutely no idea of what to do, Be Madrid is here to help you out! Here are some tips to get you started on your way to becoming a madrileño/a.
This might seem like a pretty obvious tip, but a lot of people don’t take advantage of their city the first week because settling in is so crazy. I recommend taking some time to yourself, walking around and getting your bearings down. It will make you feel more comfortable, and even establish a routine for you—ex. finding Zara locations, your favorite morning coffee spot, etc.
Madrid is a safe city, but it is also a HUGE city; with this, you need to take into consideration the possibility of pick-pocketing. While everyone I know (including myself) is beyond happy to be here, we’ve all had to become more cautious when walking around, especially in the busier areas. Make sure to be extra aware of your surroundings; hold onto your bags/wallet/phones, and overall, be smart! (Hint: the less touristy you look, the better. Lose the selfie stick!)
Talk to strangers!
I realize that this is the opposite of what your mom tells you when you’re a kid; however, I don’t mean accepting candy from random passerby. Making Spanish friends can be intimidating, especially if you aren’t used to speaking Spanish in your daily routine. The key is not to be shy—ask around your school for directions, best food places, etc. Don’t be timid; madrileños are open to international students (as long as you’re friendly!)
Get a Metro card
If you aren’t from a big city, you might not be used to using public transportation. While Madrid is a great city to walk around in (and stare at all the views), having a Metro card will make the experience 100 times easier. Get yourself a teeny Metro map, check out which areas you want to see, and if you’re still confused, let us help you out! You’ll be an expert in no time.
Watch the sunset at Temple de Debod
Everyone needs a “Wow!” moment to really take in the view and feel like a Madrid local. There are MANY beautiful places to soak in the view in this city, but my personal favorite is Temple de Debod, not far from Gran Vía (the city’s “Big Way” main street). A gorgeous sunset view, live music and loads of people around you will make you stoked on life, and even more proud of yourself for choosing the best city ever. Cheers!