Planning and organization
Since the beginning of my studies, I knew that I wanted to spend one semester abroad. Since I did not find the exchange opportunities at my home university, the University of Duisburg-Essen, particularly attractive for my degree program (business administration), I decided to plan my semester abroad as a free mover. I received the tip for MicroEDU from a friend who was also planning her semester abroad and was also recommended the service, from someone who was abroad herself with the help of MicroEDU.
Although I felt like I was pretty late with my planning, everything turned out to be problem-free. When I first contacted my contact person for exchanges in Spain (where I wanted to go), my countless questions were answered. In addition, I was always able to reach someone quickly and my email inquiries were processed surprisingly quickly. I was helped quickly with the compilation of the application documents so that everything went smoothly and I soon held my acceptance of the Universidad Antonio de Nebrija in Madrid in my hands.
Universidad Antonio de Nebrija
The university is a private university, which is kept very small with around 5000 students. The structure of the lessons is more like that of a school, as the number of people in the courses is around 30 people. In addition, the professors know the names of the students and the oral participation contributes to the final grade in addition to a midterm exam, the final exam and presentations and / or submissions. The level is not as high as in Germany and you can keep up with the subject matter.
As far as my courses are concerned, I have actually only taken two of the courses out of my pre-selection of five. You have the choice whether you want to take part in four or five courses, I have decided on four. The other two courses that I took also appealed to me. I can also have three of my four courses credited at my home university. There are courses in both Spanish and English and I decided to take three English and one Spanish courses.
On Spanish preparation course before the semester begins, I did not participate, because I already had previous knowledge from school and even took a semester before in Germany a Spanish course. The on-site support was very good, as the contact person responsible for international students responded quickly to questions and was able to help.
Living in Madrid
Since I have gathered from several experience reports that it is better to look for an apartment on site in Madrid rather than from home, I have also done so. I arrived nine days before the start of the semester and started looking for an apartment straight away. I found my apartment through idealista.es and can recommend it to others. However, if you prefer to know where you will be staying in the next few months before you arrive, there are organizations such as “uniplaces” that guarantee that the apartments that are on offer actually look and are equipped as in the photos. However, these agencies charge high fees (usually one month’s rent).
Ultimately, after six apartment visits, I found what I was looking for and after a week I moved into a shared apartment in the Sol district, with which I was very satisfied. For a room in a good location, you should expect a rental price of around 500 euros, but this is often higher. I would also recommend looking for an apartment with a central location, as everything can be reached so quickly and you are always right in the middle of the action.
Leisure and night life
Since the winter semester in Madrid started at the beginning of September, I arrived at the end of August and was able to enjoy the Spanish summer for a long time. For about a month the temperatures stayed above 30 degrees during the day, so we spent a lot of time in the outdoor pool and in the huge Retiro Park. The weather was also very nice in winter and, with a few exceptions, the sun was always shining, so that you can still spend a lot of time outdoors in the colder months.
In addition, Madrid is known for its exciting nightlife, there is always something going on and you can shake a leg on each day of the week in any club. Organizations like “Citylife Madrid” always have a lot of events going on where you get to know people from every nation and always have a good time. In addition, admission to these parties is usually free up to a certain time if you are entered on a guest list in advance.
Since Spain naturally has a lot more beautiful cities to offer than just Madrid, we often used long weekends to visit them. Both there and in Madrid itself you could discover the many beautiful places, enjoy delicious tapas and enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail on the many rooftop bars.
In summary, I can say that I spent a very exciting and exciting time in my semester abroad, in which I was able to gain unique and unforgettable experiences. Spain was the perfect choice for me: the relaxed lifestyle, the Spanish sun and mentality have done it to me and I would make the decision to do a semester abroad again at any time!