We’re almost mid way through summer and I can honestly say this has been the greatest summer vacation of my entire life. I’m currently studying abroad in Madrid, Spain, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to go abroad. So far I’ve been to Sevilla, Granada, Cordoba, Segovia, Toledo, and Barcelona, in addition to Madrid. There are about 30 of us from USC on the program, and I live with 5 other guys from USC in an apartment near Parque del Retiro (park of the retired people, which is actually a very youthful place). It’s really the perfect balance of studying abroad and maintaining a feeling of USC homeliness! There are so many things I want to share, so I’m just gonna start listing everything I love about this place.

Outside Santiago Bernabeu Stadium for a Real Madrid v. Man. U. Classics Match

1) The people. People from Madrid seem to always want to help you. Considering this is a big city, there’s no animosity or lack of patience you would expect. Everyone is so laid back and genuinely kind. I find myself making friends with waiters, bartenders, and random locals on a regular basis. Because space is limited in Madrid, people don’t spend much time in their homes, and as a result everyone seems much more social and willing to meet new people and try new things.

Meeting new friends near Sol, Madrid

2) The food. I’m a huge food fanatic, so any place that has great food is a top location on my list. Spain is no exception. With paella, bocadillos, and tortilla espanola, Spanish food is amazing. And not only is the food great, but the manner in which people eat is equally cool. Since everything is done so much later here (dinner is usually around 10-12pm), people go out for drinks and tapas during the day to hold themselves over until dinner. This means I get to try a ton of different foods throughout the day, which I’m always happy about.

Our favorite waiter in Toledo

3) The weather. Madrid weather is a lot like sunny Southern California. And what’s so bad about that? Nothing. It’s perfect.

Enjoying a sunny day in Granada

4) The culture. From the love of futbol to the tendency to walk everywhere to the many historic arts museums, it seems people in Madrid have got it right. People here seem very relaxed, and value the things that are truly important (futbol being no exception). It’s amazing to be a part of both the normal every day cultural things like taking siestas in addition to the not-so-every-day things like rooting for Spain to win Eurocup matches with thousands of other people at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

On the way to the Spain vs. Ireland viewing at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid


The list could go on and on. I love this city and my study abroad experience has been nothing but awesome. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone interested in going abroad during their four years at SC. I wish I could do this every summer.