Back with a summer update!
This summer, I participated in the USC Viterbi Summer Abroad Program in Madrid, Spain. For 7 weeks, I lived and learned in the economic and political capital of Spain, home to over 3 million people.
Studying abroad was truly a fantastic experience. The excitement of traveling and living abroad combined with the challenge of learning engineering content while in a completely unfamiliar setting proved to be a unique experience that was challenging at first, but after the first few weeks, became somewhat similar in structure to the routine that I use while at USC.
Madrid is a great city for abroad studies, full of easily accessible parks, museums, monuments, stadiums, nightlife, and cultural center. Almost all Madrileños take the Metro, which has ample stops and is open late so that you have access to almost anywhere your heart desires to take you in Madrid at any hour.
USC did a great job of providing us with accommodations throughout the trip, which amounted to renting apartments for all of the participants. Rent was much less expensive than the Los Angeles area, and you’re living with other engineering students from USC among apartment complexes of Spaniards! It’s definitely a great opportunity to polish your cooking skills as well, as eating out can add up. That being said, the tapas scene in Spain (eating small bites of food around 9PM at the earliest) is a way of life that replaces dinner. The main meal of the day is lunch, normally later than usual in the US, at around 2PM. Lunch is a huge meal, and usually accompanied by cafe (expresso) and a siesta afterwards.
As far as the academic portion of the program goes, I took both a writing class (WRIT-340) and an Engineering Thermodynamics Class (AME-310) during the program. Each were taught by USC faculty who had been abroad before and carefully outlined the classes to fit the schedule of the program. While there was a considerable amount of work involved, there was plenty of time for many free activities outside of class.
Now that the program is over, I’ll be traveling through Europe for a few weeks to see more sights in Barcelona, Switzerland, Prague, and Amsterdam. More on that later! For now, enjoy your summer, and…