Ruben – University Carlos III de Madrid
Semester 2, 2019
Bachelor of Laws and Behavioural Science (Psychology)
My 6-month study exchange in Madrid was an incredible experience to say the least. Living in Spain forced me to confront unfamiliar patterns of daily life, language – both verbal and gestural – and eating habits. Madrid is reasonably cheap in comparison to other major cities in Europe. Food is affordable and eating out with friends didn’t cost too much either. Delicious Spanish cuisine was incredibly easy to find, along with trendy bars and shops.
I learnt a lot about living in a city independently, as well as the Spanish culture and language. During the semester I travelled to other cities in Spain such as Seville, Valencia, Barcelona and Granada. I also travelled to France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Germany and Bulgaria. Bulgaria was the biggest surprise packet for me. I remember hiking up through the Seven Rila Lakes with a few friends that I made from Sydney and the views were absolutely breathtaking.
About Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M)
The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) was a fantastic university overall and it is one of the youngest universities in Spain. There was a vast amount of Erasmus students from all around the world, which made it incredibly easy to form new friendships.
The level of teaching was high and the classes were dynamic and engaging. Lectures felt like oversized high-school classrooms rather than large lecture halls. This helped create a more dynamic and interactive learning environment. The lecturing style seemed old-fashioned; students were singled out constantly throughout the lecture to answer questions from the lecturers.
The campus was very well connected to the public transport system which was incredibly convenient. The public transport system, in general, was clean, fast, safe and extensive. Small towns outside of the Madrid metropolitan area were also included in the 20 euro/month student deal.
While I absolutely loved staying in Madrid, there were a few low-points of my experience. Before I had left Brisbane, I discovered that the apartment I had booked and paid for turned out to be a scam. I eventually found out that this was quite a common occurrence in Madrid.
While Madrid was a safe city, there was a significant issue regarding pick-pocketing. I met many people who had their phones and wallets stolen on nights out in Madrid. I implore future exchange students intending on going to Madrid to be extremely careful with their belongings on nights out and to always go out with close friends in order to minimise the risk of having valuable items stolen.
Overall, my main piece of advice to QUT students hoping to go on exchange is to cherish every moment and to be as open and friendly as possible. It goes incredibly quickly and before you know it you will be back in Brisbane living the normal life.