The following post was written by Tisch Center undergraduate student Meg Patten who is currently spending her spring semester abroad in Spain.
¡Hola! from Madrid – land of delicious tapas, exciting bull fights, and easily one of the biggest rivalries in the world. My name is Meg and I am a sophomore Sports Management major concentrating in Sports Media. When it came time to plan my semester abroad, it was not a matter of yes, I can fit this into my studies, or no, I cannot fit a semester abroad, rather where in the world do I want to study? Luckily for me (and many of my Tisch Center classmates) I am able to fulfill my language electives here and also knock out my Spanish minor. For me, it was a no brainer to choose my destination – I had taken Spanish classes for years and as a member of the NYU Soccer team and avid FC Barcelona fan, Spain was an obvious first choice.
Though I cherish my time in the Big Apple more than life itself, studying abroad with NYU has been everything I ever dreamed of and so much more. Our first week here we attended an orientation, which turned out to be more of a crash course in Spanish Culture than anything. This 2-credit course also includes wine tasting, a scavenger hunt, and trips to Segovia, Córdoba, Granada and Toledo. NYU Madrid really did a terrific job making sure we were comfortable in our new home before making us hit the books – they showed us how to use the metro and introduced us to all of our professors, who are honestly, some of the most down to earth people I’ve met. Our program here is on the larger side, with approximately 140 students and we all take classes in a two building campus, located near the massive Santiago Bernabeú Stadium. I live in the heart of Madrid, Sol, so it takes me approximately 45 minutes to get to school with the metro.
One of the best things about studying abroad is that there are no Friday classes, so every week has a three-day weekend so you can travel and see more of the country you’re living in. Even though it sometimes feels as if I’m not really in school because of all the traveling and experiences we have, my classes are indeed difficult. All four of my courses are conducted completely in Spanish and include: Cultural History of Spain, Critical Approaches, Spanish for Commerce, and Blogging Spain. My hopes are that I’ll be able to use my Spanish fluency in the sports field upon graduation and my classes are definitely putting me on track to do so.
Outside of school, I spend a lot of my time exploring Madrid, working out, and planning future trips around Spain and Europe. It’d be safe to say that I’ve caught the travel bug! At the moment, I am coordinating my flights to Prague to visit other Sports Management students. I am constantly being asked what my favorite thing has done since I’ve been here, and though my trip to Barcelona to meet with the Tisch Scholars for an evening was great, it may come to no surprise to most that my favorite moment would have to be attending El Clásico – the game between Real Madrid and F.C. Barcelona. I grew up watching Fox Soccer Channel and vowed to myself at a young age that I would get tickets to the game; it’s crazy to think that I actually accomplished something on my bucket list! One of the perks of going to NYU Madrid is that the stadium is a stone’s throw away from school, so one day I stopped by and purchased tickets to the match. I know I could write for days about my experience, but I won’t bore you with the details – if you want more of a recap you can read my blog here.
As I sit typing away, I am at a loss for words to express how amazing my time here has been. In less than a month and a half I’ll be back home, yet I am not ready to end my romance with Spain. I’ve learned so much about the culture, people, sports, and myself since being here, all of which have influenced me for the better. My time here is limited and though I yearn to be back in my home state for the summer, this semester abroad has allowed me to grow and taught me more than I can learn in a textbook. Similar to the quote at the end of Professor Boland’s email, which reads, “The City is our laboratory, the Industry is our faculty, and our Students are the future of the Profession,” Madrid is my classroom, Europe is my laboratory and I’m off to discover new things.
If you would like to follow the rest of my adventures, you can read my blog here.