If you're reading this I'm going to assume you have some interest in visiting or studying abroad in Madrid, Spain or some other Spanish-speaking country in general. If that's the case, and you're wondering if you should go or not, the answer is YES. Go! Go! Go! (And if you're reading for any other reason, that's cool too!)
First let me introduce myself: I'm Bradley, and I'm currently a senior Spanish Language and Literature major at Stony Brook, looking to become a Spanish teacher at the secondary level. I grew up in Jamaica (the country) and moved to NY in 2007 to start college.
My current location? Madrid, Spain.
I'm spending an academic year here (arrived in September 2010) studying Filología Hispánica (Hispanic Language Studies) at La Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. And when June comes around, I don't know if I'll want to leave!
The Metropolis building (left) on Madrid's Gran Vía.
One year ago this time I started seriously thinking about studying abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, so I started looking at the various options in front of me. After getting a little discouraged after realizing how much studying abroad normally costs, an amazing opportunity presented itself: SUNY had just started a scholarship program for Spanish majors with partner universities in Spain, a scholarship that covers both tuition and your cost of living for a year of study in Spain.
My jaw dropped.
Of course I quickly got my application in, did all the required work (which included a video of me explaining, in Spanish, why I deserved to be a part of the program), and after waiting for what felt like ages, I was accepted. I think I was literally screaming for joy when I got the news, and, well, here I am :)
The point is, if you want to study abroad, do it. Find a way, because so far I've been having the best time of my life. Of my life. I'm not exaggerating here.
I've met and made friends with some amazing Spanish people from all over the country (I live in a residence hall so basically no one is from Madrid), and as a result I've got to travel to various parts of the country and different perspective on life and Spain... just from meeting people and seeing how they are. (More on this topic in future posts.)
So anyway, this post was just sort of an introduction. There'll be more to come on all sorts of topics from school life, dorm life, food and traveling, and I just hope that at the end of it all you'll at least be somewhat interested in hopping over to Spain sometime.
P.S. For those of you interested in the SUNY scholarship to Spain, here's the link: http://www.suny.edu/internationalprograms/santanderscholars.cfm