My Exchange Experience in Madrid, Spain

Juliana Kwon

This March, I participated in the school’s exchange program and went to Madrid for 3 weeks. My exchange student Ines, came to Boston for a little over a month this fall and so I was not nervous for my trip at all but rather very excited to see her and be able to meet her friends and family as she did mine. Here is what my thoughts were on my first week in Spain:

Today is the beginning of my second week here in Spain. Last week was really great and full of surprises and fun adventures as I began to discover more about Spain. When I first arrived, I was greeted by Ines’s family who is extremely kind and welcoming. Ines has two older sisters Begonia and Laura as well as a yellow lab named Bòn. Living with my exchange family is very comfortable and we conveniently live only 10 minutes outside the city, which allows for a nice balance of touring the city but also being able to come back to a quiet home. The city of Madrid, I have found, reminds me much of Boston in that it is crowded with shops and restaurants. My first night in Madrid we walked into town and did some shopping and we visited the royal palace. Afterschool on other days, we went to an observation tower and on another day we ventured to go and get churros. The food in Madrid is very distinct and flavorful and I have enjoyed it very much. My first week was full of trying popular foods from Spain such as tortillas, which is an omelet with potatoes and meat, croquettes, which are fried balls of cheese and ham, as well as empanadas which here takes the form of a pie with shredded beef and potatoes inside. Every night my family enjoys bread with olive oil as well as ham before we eat our dinners; something that I have begun to enjoy and look forward to. Similarly, I have also enjoyed going to school with Ines and seeing how different it is from NCDS. For example, we are not allowed to drink water in class, and we have to stand up when a teacher enters the room. One aspect of school I have enjoyed has been meeting Ines’s friends as well as the free time we have every day after lunch to go and sit outside. My favorite thing I have done thus far in Spain was going to the Park of Retiro where we were able to paddle around a pond on a boat. It was both beautiful and relaxing, and I had a lot of fun walking around the park afterward listening to people playing music seeing the gardens surrounding the area. I look forward to my second week here in Madrid!