Studying and Living Abroad

Hey prospective students, or I should say, ¡Hola futuros estudiantes! My name is Carlos Cruz and I am a junior from Carroll, Ohio. This semester I have had the life changing opportunity to study abroad for a semester in Madrid, Spain. I have been here just under a month and I have already learned so much! I will be blogging about some of my experiences while I am abroad and why I feel this experience is a fundamental part of a Penn education.

I want to give a little background information about my program, my living situation, and then share some of my favorite experiences thus far. I am studying at the Universidad Pontifica Comillas-ICADE, which is Spain’s premier business school and is “Wharton approved” so I can receive business credit. I am currently taking Spanish literature, Spanish language and culture, Management, and a class on the Spanish and European Union economy.

As for my living situation, I am living with a host family. I have a host mother, Helena, and a host brother, Pedro. Not only do I practice my Spanish by speaking with them but I also get to learn about their perceptions of Americans and our government, you’d be surprised by how much they know about our politics. I have also been able to learn how they live day-to-day and how their culture differs from ours in the US. For example, their eating schedule is very different then ours. Lunch is the largest meal of the day and we also eat between 14:30-15:00 o’clock. It is also preferred that the whole family eat together at this time. Dinner on the other hand is a small meal and sometimes we don’t sit down for dinner until 22:30!

Now for some of my experiences and travel! Thus far I have traveled to Barcelona and Valencia and I have explored a large part of Madrid. The Spanish cities have been amazing and I have also been able to visit a number of museums. The best part about the museums in Madrid is that they are free, meaning you can go as much as you want and take the time to really enjoy the collections in segments without wearing yourself out. Below are some pictures from 1) a cathedral in Barcelona, and 2) the Palacio Royal in Madrid.

Thanks for reading my background post and I will have a lot more to write about very soon!