Taking in the New Year in Style


It’s absolutely surreal that yet another year has gone by. Although I am excited and ready for everything 2016 has to offer, I will be eternally grateful for what an incredible and unforgettable year 2015 has been. One of the most obvious things, especially so since this is on my study abroad blog, was having the unbelievably amazing experience and opportunity to study abroad in Madrid. Furthermore, I never once believed that I would have the chance to celebrate my end of the year holidays in a place like Madrid. The decision to stay in Madrid for a bit longer to experience this rare opportunity was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I highly recommend everyone to one day try and arrange your New Years eve on the incredible city of Madrid, as it is sure to be one of your greatest celebrations yet.

First of all, New Years Eve, or Nochevieja as it is called in the Spanish speaking world, has a very unique and exciting feel to it in Madrid. Alexa and I began by joining the thousands upon thousands of people awaiting midnight at the streets surrounding one of Madrid’s most famous plazas, Puerta del Sol. The picture in the beginning of this post does a great job a capturing the enormous crowd the countdown celebration draws. (although I wish it was, this picture is not mine) Both Madrid natives and people from all over the world gather together at this plaza, and wait for the ringing of the bell from the bell tower of the old post office. Once the bell chimes in the new year with 12 loud dongs, there is an eruption of celebration as families and friends hug and kiss in pure joy and excitement. An interesting tradition in Madrid, is that besides the usual champagne popping (or in Madrid’s case Cava popping)silly New Years glasses and bright wigs, many choose to eat exactly 12 grapes, which are meant to bring them good luck for the coming 12 months of the new year. Although I wasn’t able to get too close to the clocktower to hear the bell chimes and countdown, I was still lucky enough to be caught in the middle of a massive swarm of people who celebrated the new years with loud cheers and wide smiles. Fireworks and chants were heard all around me, making this one New Year celebration I will never forget.

After this truly incredible celebration, it was time to party in one of the billions of clubs found throughout the party city that is Madrid. One thing I really appreciated was the constant feeling of safety and friendliness found throughout the entire city, throughout the entire night. Even on an infamous night like New Years, I did not for one second feel unsafe walking through the streets of Madrid. Although it is a common tradition for weekend party-goers, the party doesn’t stop in Madrid up until about 6am. Being that it was opportunity I probably wouldn’t get again for a while, I powered through the night and had an incredible and really fun night at a great club called Copernicus.

By the time I arrived home, it was oddly enough about to be New Years Day back home in New York City. It was definitely a very different experience not celebrating the New Year back home like I usually would, but it was a change I welcomed and appreciated. This years celebration for me perfectly reflected what a year 2015 has been for me, and there was no other more appropriate place to take it in other than Madrid. This experience was absolutely encouraged me to want to experience holidays in more unique ways. Knowing that there is a whole world out there filled with great people who can celebrate just like you is really exciting and refreshing, and I can’t wait to see more of it.

Hasta Luego,

Aaron Marrero


Aaron, a Political Science major and International Relations Minor, has wanted to experience a Study Abroad opportunity in Europe, with hopes of also enhancing his Spanish-speaking skills. He is thrilled to take political and international courses in Madrid, Spain this upcoming semester!

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