Meet NYU Madrid Global Peer Mentor, Michael!

Throughout the semester, you will have the opportunity to hear from NYU Madrid alumni to gain their firsthand insight and tips.

Today, meet Michael, who studied in Madrid in Spring 2016.


Major: Finance and Accounting

What is your favorite memory about your time abroad? One day, I didn’t have much to do so I just walked around exploring. I found a restaurant I had never been to before and went there a few more times during the semester, walked around Retiro and other neighborhoods that I got to know really well.

What was the most interesting course you took and why? My Spanish for Commerce class was the most interesting course. It allowed me to look into the economic conditions of Spain and realize what the backbone of their economy was. It also prepared me to learn the same concepts I was learning in Stern, but in Spanish and from a Spanish perspective, which added to my understanding of business overall. Also, the class prepared us to take the an exam presented by Madrid’s Chamber of Commerce to become certified in Business Spanish.

What two things do you wish you had packed? Q-tips. It took me over a month to find Q-tips. Also, more winter gloves. It got pretty cold at times, especially when it rained and my gloves got soaking wet and I had to wait for them to dry to wear them again.

Name two things you should not have packed.  packed 5 pairs of shoes and I really only used the 3 of them. I also over packed a bit and had way too many shirts, when I realized I didn’t wear some of them because I had too many.

What do you miss most? I miss going to the Mercado de San Miguel every week. After my marketing class, I would typically go to the Mercado and have a few tapas and just walk around the different neighborhoods in Madrid.

What advice would you give about housing?  I was very excited about living in a homestay. I recommend it highly. Even though my homestay mother did speak English too, I only spoke to her in Spanish in order to improve, so if you really want to improve your Spanish, I recommend living in a homestay. Definitely talk to her and your family to let her know what’s going on, if you won’t make it to dinner, if you’ll be home late. They’ll be fine with it but communication is key.

One good way to get to know locals is: Intercambios is a good way to meet locals. Some of my friends introduced their intercambios friends to us and we became friends. One of my friends from high school just went to Madrid, and I set him up with one of the intercambios kids to meet up with!

If there’s one thing students should know about Madrid, it is: Definitely come prepared knowing what times restaurants close. Almost nothing is open between 4-8pm, so be aware of that if you have stacked classes that end after 4 and you would want some food.

If you could go back in time and do one thing differently, what would it be? I would explore other neighborhoods and areas of Madrid as much as possible. I did it one day and got accustomed to those neighborhoods, and even though I knew them really well, I wish I expanded my horizons a bit more.