The Daily Gamecock

Study Abroad Stories: Off to Madrid We Go


I'm almost on my way to Madrid. I now have a wonderful host family (a mom, dad and little boy) and am almost packed. I have my classes picked out for the most part … I guess I should look up how to say “business analysis using financial systems” in Spanish. It’s still surreal to think I’ll be spending the next four months abroad and begin all of the new adventures. As I prepare for my flight, I remind myself of all aspects of the trip and what I have to look forward to.

The Food

My host family told me they specialize in Galician food (seafood and fresh vegetables) from the north of Spain and sushi — the wife is from Japan. Thank goodness I like seafood, considering a popular Spanish dish is paella —  seafood, rice and vegetables.

The Travel

I found out it’s a lot more entertaining to spend three straight hours on Google Flights typing in every single destination I could think of from Madrid.

The City

I love exploring and, strangely enough, getting lost. Getting lost is normally when I find the best, most authentic parts of the city. I can't wait for the museums, shopping, art and everything else.

The Country

I’m looking forward to taking quick weekend trips all around the country, especially the beaches.

The People

From my new host family to the new students at Colegio Universitario de Estudios FinancIeros, everyone and everything will be new.

Once I survive the overnight flight, my family will pick me up at the airport and I can take a much-needed nap. I’ll have one full day to explore and do a test run of my 40-minute transport to school: walking, metro, transferring metro lines and walking one more mile. I’m expecting many mishaps along the way, but I’m looking forward to overcoming each and every one.

In the wise words of Dr. Seuss, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”