The Final Countdown
My truest apologies for not posting in a while, I’ve face a brutal past two weeks of final exams, final projects, and saying my good-byes to my Spanish friends dispersing back to their homes around Spain. If there’s one thing I would definitely have my future study abroad goers know is that academics abroad are as easy as you choose to make them. Thus, my finals period was serious crunch time. The semester turned out to be more challenging than I expected due to the rigor and high standard the professors expect, but I found that even the Spaniards found their courses less than easy. Around the end, I visited my professors during their office hours and they were helpful–but it definitely took effort on my part to reach out to them when I needed advice on assignments. All of that aside, my semester has been able to wrap up really, really beautifully.
On December 13th, the two UC3M Getafe residence halls hosted the Fiesta de Navidad. Most importantly to mention, all the residents who chose to attend the fiesta fancied up in suites and dresses. The evening started with a gala in one of the auditoriums where we watched a band play a set of holiday songs and then watched videos that were entered as part of a residence-wide competition. I figured this is what famous people at the Oscars felt like 😀 After the gala, we all headed back to our respective residence halls where a full dinner banquet awaited us. The in-residence cafeterias were converted into fancy dining halls, with wine, ham and cheese as the appetizer, yummy pasta as the starter, steak as the main course, and traditional Spanish treats and cake for desert—all served to us by waiters. The dinner was such a lovely experience. Lastly, the night was just beginning as coach buses awaited outside to take us to a beautiful, private tent party. Being dolled up and dancing the night away with these awesome people was nothing short of amazing.
At the beginning of the semester, I was nervous about living in Fernando de los Rios (UC3M’s main residence hall) because many of my study abroad counterparts had chosen to live in flats in central Madrid. Sure the proximity to city life is nice, but I got to live with and interact with a lot more Spaniards (as opposed to solely socializing with other internationals), enjoy Spanish culture (what beats homemade Spanish food cooked by your friends?) and I was less than five minutes from class. After all the cool , fun and friendly people that I met in the residence hall, I have absolutely no regrets living here.
On the evening before my roommate left, we went out to Sol to take a stroll and enjoy the beauty that is Madrid in Christmas decor. She’s now back on her warm Spanish island of Tenerife.
Yesterday, I spent a really lovely day in Madrid with my friend Juan, who’s already on his way back to his home in Andalusia. I had a list of places I wanted to see before I leave tomorrow; we got to all the sites and had time for some extra spots! So I had heard rumors of it, but yesterday I finally got to see the mini-habitat in the Atocha train station! It’s as if Grand Central Station were to have beautiful, large trees planted right in the middle of the famous terminal.
We then strolled on over to El Retiro, Madrid’s Central-Park-esque park located right by Golden Art Triangle in Atocha.
Then a walk over to Plaza España.
Then a further walk over to Parque del Oeste.
And finally, we landed back in Plaza Mayor and Sol.
I had an amazing second-to-last day here in Madrid. I’m going to ridiculously miss living in Madrid. If anyone has ever said that studying abroad is overrated, he or she is wrong. In no way was this just a vacation from New Paltz or home; sure it felt surreal, but I feel like my life continued here and new flowers have blossomed in my life. I want to come back. I know Spain has even more to see and even though I didn’t eurotrip to other countries, I’m so thankful for the places and people I did get to encounter. I’ve grown here and it’s been a beautiful time. ♥