Making the most of my time here (with the short time I have left)
I have no clue where the time has gone, my time abroad has flown by…I only have 3 weeks left until I return to the states. By this time I feel like I have adjusted. Tonight I ate dinner at 9:00pm and was completely okay with it. I did not find it unusual. I also am not anticipating the cold weather back in New York. The weather here is great. It is nearing the end of November and it is still on some days close to 60 degrees! Yesterday it was 56. I wore my winter coat outside unaware of the warm weather. I was sweating. I do find though that it gets cold in the morning and at night here. The weather is not always this warm, but the coldest seems to have only gotten down to about 46 degrees. I wondering when winter will start here and if I will get to see snow at all before I leave.
Academics:I am super stressed lately. I find the academics here very different. There are only 2 weeks left of class and I still have two midterms left to take in my classes. Since I am a non-european international exchange student, I am able to take my final exams before I leave. This is great because I can go home for the holidays and will not have to spend another expensive plane ticket to come back here in January for the final exams; however,this means that I have little free time within the next few weeks, and with what time I do have I need to fit in everything that I still have not seen in Madrid.
The grading here is quite different as well. For example, you get a grade from 1 to 10 on your exams. 5 is passing. The exams are also weighted a lot more here. Most of my finals are 60% of my class grade! I do not think that I have ever had a test weighted this much before. Carlos III also has this policy where if you fail your class you can sit for a retake during the month of June. I like the idea about a second chance, but I think this could be difficult for international exchange students, especially because flights to Spain during the summer can be very expensive. Flights to Europe are expensive in general.
Temple of Debod: I have already checked out a few places in my free time in-between my studies, including the Rastro and the Temple of Debod. I find it so interesting and unusual that Madrid has an Egyptian temple….Apparently it was dismantled and rebuilt in Madrid. It is dedicated to the goddess Isis. I went here in the afternoon, but I suggest to visit the temple during the sunset. I have heard that this is a great time to go, and there is an awesome photo opt of the temple with the sunset in the background.
It did not feel like Thanksgiving this year. Usually, I am so excited to return home for the weekend to see my family and friends and enjoy some good food. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. However, this year I was not home to celebrate. Instead I did something completely different. I just went about my usual day. My friend Mint and I went to Sol, shopped around and got some Churros con Chocolate. It wasn’t my usual Thanksgiving, but I was happy I got to spend it with a friend.
Unexpected trip to Paris:
Sometimes you have to realize that somethings can come up and your trip won’t go as planned. This happened to me and my friend Jackie when we traveled to Paris two weekends ago. We were so excited. We had planned to visit the Eiffle Tower, the Louvre, all of the usual tourist spots in Paris. However, our trip got cut short when there was a terrorist attack. We did not get to see as much as the city as we would have liked to. In the end, I am just glad that me and my friend returned home safely. There will always be another time to travel to Paris. I cannot wait until I go again!
-I highly recommend writing in a journal while studying abroad. I like the feeling of documenting my trip. I even save ticket stubs from museums and train tickets and put them in my journal. It is a great way to preserve your memories of your time abroad.
-If you ever need to see a doctor or a theorist in Madrid, or while anywhere abroad, do not hesitate to go. I was afraid about the language barrier, since I do not speak Spanish very well. What is good is that there are doctors who speak perfect English in Spain. This I was very happy about. However, in my friends case, she went to a health center in the town we live in, called Getafe. They do not have any English speaking doctors there. Even though they didn’t speak any English, she found a way to speak to them. She used google translate. Apparently, it worked because the doctor prescribed her medicine. In the end it will work out, so don’t suffer sick at home and refrain from seeing a doctor.