Moving to the vibrant capital of Spain makes all travellers, tourists and students filled with excitement. Some of them might have some expectations beforehand, while others simply let themselves be absorbed by the beauty and colours of the city as soon as they get there. However, even if you are well prepared for the list of sights and to-dos, there might be some information that you can get access only when you are there. In the following list, you can find 10 things that nobody tells you about living in the wonderful city of Madrid.
1. People speak Spanish
It might seem obvious, however, still, it is easily believed that because of being a European country, everyone can talk to you in English. Most people do speak English, but Madrid (and Spain in general) is the best option for those who would like to extend their knowledge in Spanish. And what’s the prize for it: helpful people gifting you with a smile after saying your very first sentence in Spanish with a stranger. Also, here you can find 32 Expressions You Should Use During Your Erasmus in Madrid 🙂
2. Might be boring for tourists – but not for long-term living
Those who plan to spend only a couple of days in Madrid will think that they have seen everything. Since Madrid doesn’t have a coast that would attract many tourists, can give the feeling that a couple of days is enough. However, for long-term stays, Madrid is the best option you can have. Having enough time makes it possible to catch the vibes of the city and discover its hidden corners.
3. You can drink beer 24/7
For some of you it might seem surprising, or, to the contrary, sounds like the life you have always wanted. It is not a big deal, though, that in Madrid, you can find co-workers or friends drinking beer in the middle of the day, at lunchtime. Take it easy and sip a little bit.
4. Under 25? Lucky you!
Those who are under 25 can buy the monthly transport pass at a cheaper price. There are plenty of opportunities that students and young adults can live with. Such as visiting museums for free or enjoying discounts at the cinemas. Also, thanks to the new regulations those who are under 25 and own the previously mentioned transport pass can enter, amongst others, the Royal Palace or the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza museum completely free of charge.
5. The night starts when the underground stops and ends when it starts
Madrid and Spain, in general, is quite famous for its late-night dinners and fiestas. For this reason, it is not a secret revealed that for real parties you leave with the last underground and go home with the first one.
6. Madrid is a melting pot of nationalities
There is no day passing by when you don’t bump into someone who is coming from another country. You can easily catch some Chinese lines while travelling by underground or hear some Swedish speaking in the street. But meeting many people from other countries is not the only thing that makes Madrid a metropolis. If you stroll through the streets with your eyes wide open, you can find a large variety of international restaurants and bars starting from Argentinian arepas, through Mexican tacos and Irish pubs.
7. If you want to be legal you have to queue up
Being officially accepted in the country means spending a considerable amount of time at offices. Getting some of the documents is an easy process, while others might take weeks or even months. It’s important to check beforehand which documents you need in order to live in the country.
8. You have to study
Ready to start the new school year? Maybe your plan is to chill and relax while having an Erasmus semester. Well, keep it in mind that if you are enrolled in a Spanish university, you have to study and (actually) go to class.
That doesn’t mean that you won’t have to do fun stuff. There will be time for those travels you planned with your friends and international flatmates. In some spanish universities you need to attend classes in order to be able to take the final exam.
Related post: The Best Places to Study in Madrid by Metro Line
9. Not everything happens in the centre
Most foreigners consider the centre of Madrid as the one and only part of the city. It is partially true since the centre is greatly connected to all means of transport and certainly gives place for the wide range of activities and events that happen in the city. However, there are many exciting programs, parks and places outside of the city centre such as the Parque El Capricho or burger bars close to Plaza de Castilla. It’s important to note that living outside of the centre means more spared coins in the purse and some silence.
10. Manzanares – The River of Madrid
If you arrive in Madrid with high expectations regarding its only river crossing the city, leave them behind as you leave the airport. The Manzanares river used to have an important role in the history of Madrid, although today it is mostly a place where people pass by and rather pay attention to parks on the bank instead.
Hopefully, the above mentioned 10 points have put you even more in the mood for moving to this amazing city. If you’re looking to rent a room under 450€/month check out Uniplaces.
Enikő Kiss is an Art Theory and Art History student currently studying as an Exchange Student at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Born and raised in the south-east of Hungary in a family with artistic intentions, she has tried many means of art (starting from 11 years of dancing through fashion to films). Besides showing special interest for design theory as well, the love for languages led her to start writing in English, so that her ideas and thoughts can reach more people.