A Summer in Spain

        There are a lot of things in the world to see, so I hope I can go and see the world.  I left my home to study in the United States. When I heard there was a study abroad program offered by the Herbert Business College to do an internship in Madrid in the summer of 2018, I did not hesitate to apply for that program. However, approaching the departure time, I was lost because I did not know what was waiting for me in Europe. I was afraid I would feel lonely and inadaptable there.

       Sometimes people hesitate to make a choice not because they do not like the option but they have a fear of the unknown. Thus, I felt afraid before my departure time. Time proves that my former concern was wrong. I had an amazing experience in Europe. At the Madrid airport, I met a group of Auburn students when I got off the plane. We made it to the dorm successfully after we were picked up at the airport. In the dorm, I was assigned to live with a Chinese girl, whose name is Vicky Qi. She is an energetic girl who liked makeup, going to music festivals and travelling. Because of her, I tried many different things such as studying how to create a delicate makeup look and we went to Morocco in Africa together during a summer break.    

     Time in Madrid was leisure. Madrid has a good transportation system. It is convenient to go anywhere by metro. In the morning, Vicky and I walked 6 minutes to the nearest metro station to the workplace. When we finished our work, we would take the metro and transfer to different lines to go to different places to get our lunch. Of course, we tried Spain typical food such as Tapas, Mojitoes and Seafood Paella.  

    Still, the favorite thing Vicky and I would do is to find different Chinese restaurants throughout Spain. The furthest we went to a Chinese restaurant was about one and a half hours away by metro. An interesting culture difference is that Spanish people tend to be night people. Their lunch usually begins at 1 pm and dinner is at 7 pm, which is quite a late time for me to get food. I usually told my friend that I had to starve for 4 hours to be satisfied with yummy food.

         I usually observed people in the street to see some differences. For example, the clothing style in Spain is quite different from Auburn. Some of them dress causally and some of them have different dressing styles to show their unique preference. You can feel the difference when you walk around Spain and Auburn. Spain is the home of Zara (a fast-fashion clothing store) so there are many Zara stores in the shopping street or shopping center. Also, I think that people in Spain do not use as many Apple products. In Auburn, almost everyone uses iPhones and Macs, but in Spain I see many people using cellphones made by the Samsung and Huawei company. These observations fascinate me because it reveals the people in different counties have different cultural and different living habits. It shows how different people are.

       There are rich travel resources in Spain. I went to many museums, the Palace of Spain, and visited cities near Spain such as Seville and Cordoba. There are many churches and Roman style buildings in Spain. Also, it is easier to cross borders to go other countries. I once went to Avignon in France from Barcelona in Spain by bus and went to Florence in Italy from Nice in France by train. Also, it is convenient to go to Africa because of the geography of Spain. There is a straight flight to go to Africa.

      There is a lot to say about my experience in Spain. Even when visiting the same country, everyone will have their unique experience. I hope you have an opportunity to go abroad.

Xianyu Ke

2018 Summer International Consulting Projects in Madrid, Spain

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