Madrid! Madrid! Madrid!

Cristian Gutierrez
January 20, 2015

           My first week in Spain has now come to an end, and the experience has been nothing short of amazing to say the least.  The week was kicked off with a delicious Spanish 3 course lunch, where we first were introduced to everyone in the IES Madrid Program. The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to orientation on subjects such as academics, behavior, and of course safety. Once orientation was concluded students then had the rest of the day free, with some choosing to go straight to bed because they couldn’t bear the jet lag any longer, and others like myself included went out to do some exploring.

            A group of students and I decided to walk along one of the most famous streets in Spain, Calle Princessa just taking in the beautiful European architecture. Walking along the street we were in a daze but then we realized that we were starving, and lucky for us there was a restaurant nearby called 100 Montaditos. Little did we know we were stumbling upon one of the greatest deals in Madrid, as on Monday 100 Montaditos offers sandwiches known as bocadillos for .50 euros each. Bocadillos are sandwiches on French baguettes and can be filled with any Spanish delicacy including tortilla espanola, calamares, and of course hamon. Needless to say these bocadillos hit the spot and we were left completely satisfied and ready for bed.

            The next morning everyone woke up and was greeted by either their host family or student depending on what type of housing you were assigned. Since I was assigned an apartment I was welcomed by my Spanish Companero Ricard, who is arguably the nicest person I’ve met in Madrid so far, he then escorted the five roommates to the apartment where we will be calling home for the next 5 months. I honestly feel like I won the lottery because my roommates are all great and the apartment is everything I could’ve asked for. The apartment has 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, a fully equipped kitchen and a sunroom that is to die for. Looking out the sunroom we have one of the more impressive views in Madrid of the Arch of Victory and the rolling hills that serve as its backdrop.

            The week continued on with a tour of the IES campus and students were split into classes varying on Spanish ability on the subject of Spanish grammar and Culture. Classes have been going great and the entire IES Staff has been extremely helpful, they truly keep this program running smoothly and always have our best interest in mind. With that being said the highlight of the week was a day trip to Segovia that IES planned for Friday. I was left in awe, but I could never sum up the trip with the end a small section, it would be doing it injustice. Check back for my next post about Segovia and until then Adios!

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Cristian Gutierrez

<p>Born and raised under the bright lights of Chicago, I was under the influence that I had seen it all. After my first trip abroad I was hooked, and I realized I couldn&rsquo;t of been more wrong. With a thirst for adventure I&rsquo;ve set out to explore the unknown during my summers off from school. My travels have taken me from ancient pyramids in Mexico to remote rainforests in Costa Rica, and now Spain is next up on the destination list. I can&rsquo;t wait for my time abroad and here I plan to document all valuable experiences and insights about my journey in Spain. Hala Madrid!&nbsp;</p>

2015 Spring
Home University:
Penn State University
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