Making Madrid Mine: New Places, Familiar Faces

Rachel Chea

More stories from Rachel Chea

The Single Life
March 23, 2017
Making Madrid Mine: New Places, Familiar Faces

Moving to a new place is a big change, especially when you do it alone…not knowing a single soul. Not to mention, there is the added pressure and anxiety from schoolwork.

I don’t have official numbers, but it is pretty common for people who study abroad to know at least one other student studying in the same area or program as them. This may be because they go through the same program or attend the same school—the point is, they know other people, they already have friends and familiarity around them.

When I began this study abroad experience on the other hand, I was basically a lone wolf, surrounded by a sea of people who knew one or more people studying at our school, or simply in the city of Madrid. Naturally, I felt alone, lost, and even more timid than before.

Then I remembered that one of my close friends from home studies at a school in Segovia, Spain; just an hour north of Madrid. While we’re not situated in the same place, or don’t go to the same school, there was something reassuring about knowing that we were just an hour away from each other by bus.

My second weekend in Spain, she came to visit me in Madrid for the day and I got to explore more of my new home with her. This weekend however, I ventured to Segovia to spend a couple days with her. She showed me around the small, quaint town she has been living in for the past year, and I got to experience more of what Spain has to offer with a familiar face.

Being so far away from not only my home and family, but also Le Moyne and all of my friends there, it was a breath of fresh air and a comfort to be in such a new environment with someone who I have known for years; with whom I share memories and culture. Whenever we’re together it’s always nonstop jokes and laughs.

Don’t get me wrong, going on this study abroad journey alone, especially in the beginning, was and is probably for the best. It made me step out of my comfort zone, make new friends, and build new relationships. However, it’s always nice to see a familiar face and be around an old friend, in a new place.