My Life Now as a Madrileño

Nicholas Taglianetti
September 15, 2014

It has now been about two weeks since I arrived, weary and nervous, in Madrid-Barajas Airport. Everything about that first day was daunting and overwhelming. I met my IES Abroad Program Coordinators/Directors in the airport and, only minutes later, my host “father”. It was as I was being driven to what is now my home until December 21st that I had to face reality that I would be living in Spain, 32oo miles away from home, and be speaking Spanish all day, everyday. Needless to say, I did not sleep well that night; jetlag, nervousness, and the fact that it was the hottest two days in September in decades in Madrid were all factors that kept me awake for 34 straight hours. I thought I was going crazy, and I had a small freak-out that prompted several frantic emails to my parents.

Settling in has been an ongoing process since I’ve arrived. Luckily, I get to share the experience with my 18 compañeros, the other American IES Abroad students with whom I have quickly become friends. Together we have already shared some awesome experiences in this country, and it has only been two weeks! I can now say that I am comfortable in my home with my host family in Spain. These first two weeks have really tested me physically and emotionally. Shortly before I departed, I believed that my level of Spanish was adequate despite the fact that I had not spoken it regularly in a year and a half. I realize now that I have so much to learn. I am glad to have the mandatory Spanish class to help me out.

That reminds me: classes. I am taking my Spanish class as well as a Spanish Art and Architecture class, which should be fun. Also, I am taking two classes at Universidad Carlos III, Systems Architecture and Computer Structure. Both promise to be very challenging. What adds to the challenge is something that I had failed to realize before I arrived in Madrid: Carlos III is in a completely different city called Leganés. It is about 40 minutes by train from where I live. Alas, the train/metro is something that I have become very accustomed to as my method of transportation here in Madrid. After using it so much, I think the Madrid Metro is one of the best in the world. It is fast, punctual, and clean — all things that Philadelphia’s and New York’s subway systems are not.

I guess you can consider this post to maybe be more about the Bad and the Ugly. Sorry about that, but I think it’s important to detail the scary aspects of a study abroad experience so that they don’t slap you in the face like they did to me. I promise that I will discuss the Good, no…the GREAT parts about living in Spain in the next post. If I started now, I wouldn’t be able to stop and this one would end up being an essay.

I will close with my favorite quote of all time. I think it applies well to difficulties of my first days in Spain:

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” ~ Nelson Mandela

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Nicholas Taglianetti

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Nick Taglianetti. I am from Philadelphia, and I study computer engineering at Hofstra University in New York. Anything related to music, computers, traveling, soccer or deep frying, I&#39;m your guy! I love learning about and sharing experiences of new places and cultures. Follow me for an intriguing insight.</span></p>

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