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The Madrid Diaries: One Week In

After what has felt like the most exhausting week, my suitcases are unpacked and I’ve finally settled down in Madrid.

I waved goodbye to my Dad a couple of days ago meaning I’m officially alone in a new city, setting out on my long, anxiously anticipated year abroad.

If you don’t know already, I’ve moved to Madrid for my third year of University. I’ll be teaching English in a Spanish secondary school 4 days a week requiring me to unearth my authoritative side and control a classroom full of pubescent teenagers. One week in, I thought I’d reflect a little on my experience so far in the Spanish capital.

Expectation vs. Reality

Before I left, the immediate reaction to me spending nine months in Spain was ‘how exciting!’. While yes, it is exciting, the excitement is clouded by sheer anxiety and apprehension.

I never anticipated just how overwhelming arriving at the Spanish capital would be. Moving to Leeds two years ago was undeniably frightening; living alone for the first time, meeting new people, having to cook, clean, do everything myself. This, on the other hand, is that same experience but multiplied by 100. Trying to find accommodation felt futile, the documentation seems endless and even finding the most basic thing in a supermarket becomes a treasure hunt.

Then there’s the whole speaking Spanish thing. In other words, the whole reason I’m here in the first place. I’ve always been pretty confident with my listening comprehension when it comes to the language. However, as soon as I arrived it dawned on me how maintaining or even initiating a casual conversation with native speakers is a challenge. Fluency also becomes an issue when it comes down to the nitty-gritty of sorting out documentation and contracts.

Nonetheless, I have already learned so much after this first week. Just from meandering the supermarket aisles or scanning menus, I’ve learned new Spanish vocab which I doubt I would have come across otherwise. I mean, what Spanish class teaches the word for bed sheets?

Something else I never thought would happen? Moving into a 16 person flat. Finding accommodation was no picnic and basically, I was desperate. Out of the 16 of us, I happen to be the only one from the UK and one of only three native English speakers, so it’s quite the multi-lingual flat.

So it begins

October 1st marked my first day of teaching. Again, I’m definitely not the paragon of confidence, but fake it till you make it right? For the first week, I have to introduce myself with a powerpoint presentation which admittedly looks as if it has been constructed by a five-year-old. I could feel my voice going hoarse halfway through the day as I tried to enunciate my English clearly and guise the scouse accent so the students could understand me. Let’s just say, after a mere five hours, I already have so much respect for teachers.

In addition, over the weekend I finally got to explore some of the city properly without the thought of having an endless to-do list hammering at my brain. We soaked up the sunshine while strolling through Retiro Park, ate at Madrid’s renowned Museo del Jamon at the Plaza Mayor, and took a long walk to the other side of the city to visit the resplendent Palacio Real de Madrid.

I don’t think it’s hit me until now that Madrid is my home for the next 9 months. I’m reminding myself that this aspect of my degree is forcing me to do something that I never would have thought myself capable of. While it’s terrifying right now, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m going to soak up every moment of it.

So, after my 2 week blog hiatus, I’m planning on continuing with my usual, willy-nilly blog posts, but I’m also hoping to post some year abroad updates and general Madrid based content!

Are you currently starting something new? Jobs, degrees, hobbies? Let me know!

Thanks for reading

Evie

♥

22 Comments

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Ah it’s definitely scary atm but it’ll just take time to get used to I guess! Thank you so much ❤

  1. First of all, I’d just like to say how brave you are for doing a year abroad and also how cool it is, what an amazing opportunity and I’m really looking forward to seeing how your experience goes. Not only is this a great life experience but also some amazing content for your blog haha. I can imagine moving and then moving to a foreign country would be quite daunting but you’ll have a great time and it will result in some awesome memories I’m sure. Good luck with everything! x

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Thank you so much! It’s definitely something way out of my comfort zone but I’m going to try and make the most of it. Hahah, fingers crossed I can create some good blog content with it – it’s so difficult to find the time to write lately! Thanks for the lovely comment ✨

  2. I bet the paperwork and stuff is so much hassle, not looking forward to organising all of that when I head off next year. I bet it’s so hard getting into teaching, but will be so rewarding!!
    Megan // https://pixieskiesblog.wordpress.com

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Omg it is a nightmare, especially when it all needs to be done at once! It all falls into place eventually though. It’s definitely a new experience ahaha, quite stressul atm but I’ll get there (I hope), haha thanks for reading ✨

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Hahah it’s still going to be a while before I adjust properly, but I’m getting there! Thank you so much ✨

  3. This was a dope post! I’m subscribing! I wanna keep hearing about your journey!

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Ah thank you so much! Hope you enjoy x

  4. I really admire you for doing something like this! I’d love to live in another country but don’t know if I have to guts. Anyway looking forward to reading about your stay. Enjoy!

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Ah it’s definitely way out of my comfort zone but it’s been such an amazing experience so far. Thank you so much ✨

  5. This sounds amazing, but yes, totally scary! I’ve been considering teaching English in Asia for months but I’m too chicken to do it! Good on you for doing it as I know you’ll have the most amazing time!

    Rhianna
    http://www.tsundokugirl.com

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      That sounds great, it’s definitely a lot to take in but an amazing experience! Thank you x

  6. This sounds amazing! It’s such a big step so being anxious is totally normal and understandable. I’m northern too so the bit about your accent really made me laugh. Hope you have the best time and get yourself settled in quickly! x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Ahaha the accent definitely isn’t the typical ‘British accent’ I’m sure they were all expecting. Thank you!! X

  7. Such a massive step but I’m sure you will handle it like a pro. I hope you have a blast during your stay. I would love to visit Madrid

  8. abbiejadewanders abbiejadewanders

    I’m so excited for you Evie! I wish I could live my six months in Valencia all over again. I can totally empathise with everything you have said, trying to find familiar food in the supermarket and doing my upmost to speak as much Spanish as possible whilst it seemed that the common language between all the Erasmus students was English was quite a challenge! Have the best time ☺️ look forward to reading more updates ✨

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      I can’t wait to visit Valencia some point during the year, it looks beautiful! Ah it’s all so difficult to start off with, I just hope that as I start to settle down it’ll get easier, thank you so much Abbie! 💖

  9. Wow I loved your post. You are incredibly brave moving to a foreign city so young. I’m sure you’ll feel at home in no time at all. Enjoy all that Madrid has to offer, what an exciting experience (once you are over your nerves haha).

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Haha thank you so much! I can’t wait to explore more of the city 🙌

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