Xitlalic Soto-Sida - 2014 Program Participant

The Alhambra in Granada, Spain

The Alhambra in Granada.

What inspired you to study abroad?

I wanted to go abroad because I really wanted to know what it was like to live in a different culture and to see how others view the U.S. It is so easy to get wrapped up in your own small world and study abroad was a chance for something new and amazing.

What made you choose to study in Madrid in particular?

I chose IES Madrid because it had the classes I needed to still graduate in four years (as an engineering major, I have to be very careful about scheduling), and because even though I speak Spanish fluently, I don’t get to speak it often at school and wanted to speak it more often.

Can you explain your housing in Spain?

I lived in an apartment with five other study abroad students and one Spanish compañera who helped us and told us about living in the city. She was a great resource about where to go and what to see in Madrid.

Overlooking the city of Llanes, Spain

A beautiful day overlooking the city of Llanes, Spain.

What was a normal day like as a student in Madrid?

The only “normal” things about my days were that I went to school and did some homework in the evenings. Because the rest of the time I was visiting museums, walking around the city to see the Palace, to sit in the royals gardens, to see a play, to eat some delicious tapas, or to meet us with friends for dinner…at 10 p.m.

What was the most memorable experience you had while studying abroad?

The most memorable experience was going to Granada with one of my close friends. We learned about the Alhambra in Granada in our art and architecture class, and while studying for the midterm we decided we wanted to see it in person. Two weeks later, we were in Granada. Needless to say, the Alhambra was beautiful and the city absolutely charming.

What are the top reasons you would study abroad in Madrid all over again?

Top reasons I would want to go back: That city feels like home to me, I have some great friends over there, I learned to appreciate art in Madrid, it is a city with a lively atmosphere at every hour of the day…or night, and simply because I miss it.