The study abroad experience is different for everyone. Even if you go to the same city, on the same program—it’s up to you to shape your experience into what you make it. Below are interviews from three of my close friends that I met studying abroad in Madrid this semester, highlighting some of their unique and unforgettable study abroad moments.
What is your favorite place in Madrid?
Anna: “I love having picnics in Retiro Park!”
Parque del Buen Retiro (“Park of the Pleasant Retreat”), simply referred to as El Retiro, is one of the largest and most popular parks in Madrid. It is located very close to the city center, near Puerta de Alcalá and the Prado Museum. At 1.3 square miles, it is exactly the same size as New York’s Central Park, and is similarly surrounded by the present-day city on all sides. It is filled with beautiful fountains, monuments, galleries, gardens, and trails. The most notable attractions in the park are Palacio Cristal, Retiro Pond, the Rose Garden, Velázquez Palace, and the Fountain of the Fallen Angel.
Nazim: “El Rastro. It's such a lively market on Sundays and it has almost anything you could ever want to buy for really cheap.”
El Rastro is the biggest outdoor flea market in Madrid. A wide variety of products, including clothing, jewelry, art, accessories, and antiques can be found in the tents and stands that pop up all along Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores. The market is open every Sunday and public holiday from 9am-3pm. Those wanting a “tourist experience” should go when the market is busiest around 11am. If you want to bargain for the best deals, get there earlier when the crowds are smaller.
Annika: “The park with Templo de Debod has one of the best views of the city.”
Templo de Debod is an ancient Egyptian Temple located in Parque de la Montaña, near Plaza de España. It was originally constructed in Nubia, close to the first cataract of the Nile, in the second century BC, dedicated to the goddess Isis. In 1960, the construction of the Aswan High Dam and it’s reservoir posed a threat to numerous ancient monuments. Following a call by UNESCO to save this archeological site, the Egyptian state donated the temple to Spain in 1968 and it was relocated to Madrid.
Favorite place outside of Madrid?
Anna: “Visiting the UK (Edinburgh and London) has been my favorite travel experience so far!”
Nazim: “Lisbon. It's such a quaint and beautiful town with beautiful sunsets”
Annika: “Either Barcelona (going kayaking off Costa Brava) or Florence (looking at art in the Uffizi Gallery).”
Favorite study abroad memory?
Anna: “Eating the best pasta I've ever had in Italy with friends while a street performer played music in the background.”
Nazim: “Going to the Atletico v. Madrid game.”
Annika: “Going skiing in the Pyrenees Mountains in Northern Spain.”
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<p>Hello! My name is Kyla Hunter and I am a rising junior at Duke University studying Mechanical Engineering, with a focus on Energy & Environment. Although I was born in Princeton, New Jersey, bouncing around between different states as a child was the beginning of my interest in exploring new settings and meeting new people. I have long dreamed of studying abroad and am thrilled to be participating in the IES - Engineering, Math & Science Program in Madrid this fall. On campus, I am a Residential Assistant for first-year students and a tour guide for the School of Engineering. In my free time, I can often be found drawing in my sketchbook or playing the piano in the common room. I look forward to sharing some of my experiences as I navigate new cultural, social, and academic endeavors in Spain!</p>