Studying in Spain – Journal 1

My name is Joan. I am 23 years old and from Taiwan. I am currently studying Spanish in Madrid, Spain.

Studying languages and traveling are my two biggest passion, and I would love to share with you my experiences in Spain.

Why Did I Choose to Study in Spain?

I started studying Spanish the January of 2017, and it has been the most extraordinary journey in my life. Before I came to Spain, most of the Spanish study that I did were with tutors on italki. I never had the chance to use Spanish in “real life”. Studying languages with tutors were interesting, but I wanted to do more, so I decided to take a gap year and study Spanish in a language school in Madrid.

When I first came to Spain, I didn’t know what to expect and everything was new to me. I have never spent such a long time away from my families and friends. The Spanish culture was quite a shock to me at first, it is so different from home. The lunch hours and dinner hours was hard for me to get used to, the way Spanish people greet each other is also quite different.

It took me a long time to get used to the Spanish way and culture, but I am now deeply in love with this marvelous country. The food, the weather, the culture, all the experiences in Spain has broadened my horizon and I can’t wait to share them with you.

Why Did I Choose Madrid?

Madrid, the capital of Spain, is the third largest city in the European Union, smaller than only London and Berlin. The city has over 3.2 million people and has the second longest metro system in Europe.

I grew up in the second biggest city in Taiwan, so I am more of a “city person”. I could never really spend more than a few weeks on the countryside, and as I don’t know how to drive a car or ride a motorcycle, I wanted to stay in a city with a well established metro system.

I was debating between Madrid and Barcelona to do my gap year. I’ve heard that the harbor in Barcelona is beautiful and I love beaches. But eventually I chose Madrid, because Barcelona as the capital city of the Catalonian region, is heavily influenced by the Catalan language. Most of the street signs there are written in Catalan and Barcelona has two official languages. I wanted to focus on studying Spanish in my gap year without influences of other languages, so I chose Madrid as the city to stay.

Madrid is a beautiful city with many parks and museums. My language school is close to “Parque del Retiro (Retiro Park)”, one of the biggest parks in Madrid. There are also many museums near the Retiro Park, including the most famous of all “Museo Nacional del Prado (The Prado Museum)”.

I love taking walks and go to museums. I am someone who could spend every night in parks and every weekend in museums, which makes Madrid a wonderful city for me. Though I miss the beaches and the humid weather in Taiwan, but the cultural experience that Madrid could offer is just too exceptional to refuse.