Alexa Markovich - 2014 Program Participant

International teacher with students in Spain

Hanging out with the students I used to teach English to. We were all fans of different soccer (Fubtol) teams.

Why did you select CEA over other organizations?

The whole study abroad thing isn’t as big at my school, so I went into the whole process blindly. I had millions of questions; my parents had a million and one. CEA was able to answer all of them and followed through pretty much every week to see how I was doing.  

What were your housing arrangements like in Madrid? What did you like most about your accommodation?

I lived with a host mom. I would recommend living with a host family to everyone. I was able to become a part of her family. I played with her grandkids, visited her family in Grenada, and had life talks with her. I learned a lot from her and what she had to say about a lot of things. 

Describe a day in your life in Madrid.

I would wake up and grab a small bite for breakfast. On the way to the metro, I would stop at a local café and grab café con leche to go. I would ride metro for about 35 minutes, then walk to class. I would spend my breaks in the cafeteria with other students from all over the world. Depending on the day, I would go home or to tutor English to two different families. Then I would go home, do some homework, and then meet up with friends.

What was your favorite part about Madrid?

Madrid is amazing. The city itself holds thousands of years of history, which in itself is amazing to think about. The people are even better. Although many are very traditional in a lot of their views, the younger generations are very liberal in their thoughts and actions. I was so amused to see the different types of areas in Madrid.

Camp Nou Stadium in Madrid, Spain

Jumping for joy in front of Camp Nou stadium, home of FC Barcelona, my favorite team.

How did the local staff support you throughout your program?

The local staff made the time abroad that much better. They gave advice on the best local spots, were extremely friendly, and knew how to make us feel welcome. Susana and Silvia are amazing, and Paco and Alvaro were the best tour guides ever.

What advice would you give to others interested in studying abroad in Madrid?

So many people forget that exploring your host city is just as fun as traveling to other countries. My best advice would be to walk around without any idea where to go. Get lost in the city and find new, unpopular spots.

Did you experience reverse culture shock when you came back to the U.S.?

YES. You have no idea. It was so hard for me to adjust to the lifestyle back in the U.S. I was so bummed that siestas weren’t a thing anymore. Its definitely more fast paced at home.