While everyday in Madrid was a different adventure, I developed a routine that I followed most of the days during the week. Here’s an insight to a typical day for me studying abroad at Nebrija University.
6:45 AM. Yeah. That was the time my alarm usually went off in the mornings. I’d wake up and get ready for the day in my little dorm room at the Chamberi residence hall at Nebrija.
After that I’d walk down the hall to the dining room, where breakfast was provided for residents every morning. I always grabbed a couple mini croissants, yogurt with granola, a glass of orange juice, and a cup of coffee. One by one my friends would pour in all ready for the day and we’d sit at one of the tables, recounting the past day’s events.
By 7:40 AM we were out of the building on our way to class. It was a 20 minute walk from the dorm to our academic building, which was a great way to start my day. The neighborhood we lived in had beautiful buildings and fountains all along the path, so having a pretty sight on my daily walk put me in such a good mood.
I’d usually get to class a few minutes after 8 AM, which was when my first class for the day started. From 8-12pm we had 4 classes straight through with 10 minute breaks in between each class. My first two classes were taught by our professor Carlos and my second two were taught by Sandra (we did stay on a first name basis with our instructors the whole time, I was so confused when I actually learned their last names on the last day of classes). Us students stayed in the same classroom while our professors were the ones who moved classrooms.
At 12 when classes let out, I’d meet up with my friends Emily and Abby. We’d figure out what we wanted for lunch, though most days we craved Tierra Burrito (it’s basically the Spanish version of Chipotle). We ate lunch and talked about classes for the day, then made our way back to our dorm.
An important part of the Spanish culture is siesta time, where most of the country takes a nap in the middle of the day. This was every adult in America’s dream, so of course I had to follow the rules of the land. I’d take a nap for a couple of hours, and when I woke up I’d watch some Vanderpump Rules on a streaming service called Hayu, a European platform that has different reality TV shows from different networks.
After relaxing I’d go out onto the rooftop lounge area to do homework for Nebrija and Drexel, waiting for my friends to wake up. After my girls were up, we’d get ready to explore the city. European fashion was on a different level than what I was used to– there was hardly anyone wearing athleisure wear out in public. Women usually wore skirts and dresses out, so anyone not up to the street dress code was sure to stand out. Any time we walked around we had to make sure we tried to look like a local, though it was usually pretty obvious we were not from there, even when we wore clothes from Spanish boutiques.
I loved going to Fuencarral and Gran Via to explore the shops and try out restaurants along the busy streets, so that was something we did a lot. After browsing different stores, we’d get dinner usually around 9 or 10 (that was even early for Spanish standards, most locals at dinner around 11 at night, their schedules were crazy). We went to an Italian restaurant called Villa Capri the most– the restaurant had an amazing aesthetic with fluffy crusted pizza, it was always a great experience there. After that, we’d go back to our dorm and get ready for bed, excited for the next day.
A typical day in Madrid for me was pretty laid back and simple, it was the weekends and small trips that I took that really made the experience out of this world. For the average days, I took time to relax since my body was not prepared for all the walking we did each day (compared to Philly, on average, I took two times more steps each day in Madrid, which did take a toll on my knees. Wow I’m getting old…) so taking time to care for myself was important. I don’t regret not doing something crazy every day I was there, since I wasn’t on a vacation, I was living there. And when you’re situated somewhere for an extended period of time you need quiet days where you don’t get so overwhelmed staying away from home for so long. The simple days were some of my favorites abroad, and this was an average, simple day for me.