My name is Benjamin Webber, and I went to Madrid, Spain, in the summer of 2022. Madrid is where I spent most of my time, and that is where most of my experiences will be. However, it is not where I spent all my time. I traveled a bit, visited other places in Europe, as well as other places in Spain and I loved all of it!
Firstly, Madrid. There are LOTS of things to do in Madrid proper, as well as around the city. The city has a unique history because of the Guerra Civil in Spain, and you can still go and see monuments that were built for the defense of the city against Franco. There is also a vibrant night life because Spaniards usually eat dinner around 2000 to 2100, so the official ‘night life’ doesn’t start until maybe midnight or so.
Above is a picture of me and my friends going out at about 11 p.m. to a club called Kapital. The building pictured here is the Restaurante del Palacio de Cibeles – a very fancy restaurant that I did not have the pleasure of eating at because it is also very expensive. Also pictured here is one of the main streets in Madrid – Gran Via. Lining it are shops of all sorts and even now at this late hour, we were lucky to get a picture of just me.
In case you weren’t aware, Madrid is also the seat of the government; both for the prime minister as well as the king and the royal family of Spain. Below is picture is the Palacio Real in Spain. This building is akin to Buckingham Palace in London. Unfortunately, I was unable to see the changing of the guards (not shown here because you cannot take pictures of police/military in Spain, and I have already passed security).
My last picture is Plaza Mayor and it is one of the major places to relax in Spain. While I was there, an important soccer game happened with two teams from England, and the Spaniards erected a crazy number of bleachers and a jumbotron like the one seen at professional football stadiums just so people could watch the game. The Metro was insanely packed before and after the game and yells could be heard throughout the city whenever a something happened. That was the most English I have ever heard spoken in Madrid was that night. It seemed like everyone spoke English while the game was happening and a little bit after.
Now I must talk about course work. Coursework mostly involved going out and doing and seeing things in the city that we were talking about in class. If we were talking about the Spanish Civil War, we would go to the defensive line of concrete running through one of Madrid’s parks. If we were talking about gazpacho, we went out and made it. I went through CIEE, and I would highly recommend their program. They are also very easy to work with and I cannot praise them enough.
There were a lot more experiences that I could talk about, but these, I think, will be the most relatable and generic. I would recommend Spain as a country and Madrid as a city on your to do list.