The Life of an Exchange Student: Balancing Work and Leisure plus Other Cool Things
What will I do today? What do I have to do today? Studying abroad is definitely exciting; however, at the same time you need to balance your time between school work, friends and travel. So far, it has been interesting. I have met a lot of exchange students from the states who are not as serious about their classes as I am. Perhaps it is because New Paltz has a letter grade policy. A lot of the students I have met have a Pass or Fail policy. Of course they should still try to get good marks, but it is not as stressful or important to them. Moral: Go to classes, visit office hours, and schedule time for studying. If you schedule your time to study, then you will have free time to explore and travel around. Also, if you do not leave everything to the last minute, you will be less stressed.
I have learned this the hard way. However, I do have seven weeks left, which still gives me enough time to change my habits.
Tip #2: Stay healthy! It is great to try all of the foods around you, but at the same time eat your vegetables. Healthy foods help beat stress and lessen your anxiety. What I do is try to eat as many vegetables and fruits as I can along with the rich Spanish food. Another thing to do is exercise. I will tell you this, walking throughout Madrid definitely tones your legs. The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid campus has a great gym. It has a swimming pool, volley ball and tennis court, a bunch of exercising classes, including Zumba, and a regular weight and cardio machine section. The down side is that it is not including in the tuition. The gym is extra 🙁 You do get to chose your package: 60 euros per semester for one exercise class, 85 euros for the gym, and if you want everything (including the spa!) it costs 120 euros. What I like about the gym is that they give you a “llavecita” or little key. Each time you go to the gym you are able to track your progress with this key. You stick it into all of the machines in the gym and it tallies up what you have done for that gym session, including the calories.
If you do not want to go to the gym, I suggest running through Retiro park.
Balancing your work and leisure is definitely possible on exchange. You just have to balance your time and plane your trips accordingly.
The other day I found this really interesting article on Buzz feed. It is 100% accurate!!!
41 Reasons Studying Abroad In Spain Ruins You For Life
Especially the following:
2. World-class wine is insanely affordable: Yes! You can find a good bottle of wine here for 3 to 5 euros. Be sure to look for Vino Blanco (white wine), Vino Tinto (Red wine), and others such as Sangria and Tinto de Verano. Which brings me to number 3-
3. And even grocery store sangria will do just the trick: Yup, you can buy grocery store sangria or tinto de verano for one euro, and it is pretty good.
33. …no matter how far you need to go.: This is definitely true. Renfe Cercanias and Renfe Ave are very affordable means of transportation throughout Madrid and Spain. With the Renfe Ave you can visit Barcelona or Alicante in 2.5 hours, versus a 5 hour bus ride.
What is great is that for the Madrid Public Metro Card, the Abono Card, for students, they just lowered the price this month from 40 euros to 20 euros, for all of the sections. This means that you can take any public transportation throughout all of the zones in Madrid for only 20 euros a month. It is definitely a steal.
In Getafe there is a little town area that has a few blocks filled with stores and food places to stop in. You just walk along Calle Madrid–here you will find a Burger King, Bershka, Springfield, and a 100 Montaditos (this chain bar and tapa place is all over Madrid, you can get Jarras very cheaply here, for about 1 to 1.50 euros). I also found a Tastes of America store. Here I found Jiffy peanut butter, Candy Corn, Coke Life, Root Beer, Captin Crunch and Fruit Loops. So expensive though! A box of Fruit Loops would have cost me 9.95 euros, about 11 USD.
Talk to you soon…