Pre-Departure

Read

Time Out Madrid – from the same folks that do Time Out NY!

Guiadel Ocio –  find out events going on around the city

Metro Map – familiarize yourself with the Subway map before you get there

El Pais – stay current on the news in Spain with its most widely circulated newspaper

Watch

Pedro Almodovar Movies -Almodovar, one of Spain’s most famous filmmakers, took part in the Movida movement in Madrid after Franco’s death and a few of films reflect the movement. If you haven’t already, watch Volver, Hable Con Ella, and Todo Sobre Mi Madre before you go to Madrid.

10 Things to Keep in Mind about Madrid!

1. Madrileños know how to relax, but it’s not in bunny slippers. If you just want to“hangout”do it at the park, a coffee shop, or a tapas place, and voilà! You’re Spanish.

2. The rhythm of daily life is the opposite of the New York Minute. Businesses close in the early afternoon for a long lunch break, and people eat dinner around 10pm. If you want to eat out before 8 your options will be limited.

3. Spaniards are opinionated and not afraid to speak their minds. Be aware that the concept of political correctness doesn’t apply here in the same way it does in the U.S.

4. American culture is super-trendy in Madrid. Madrileños will have tons of questions for you! Realize you are not only speaking for yourself, but also for your fellow students and country.

5. People are very conscious of pedestrian traffic flow. On escalators always stand on the right, and walk on the left.

6. Don’t be surprised if you need your passport for certain purchases, like cellphones, or for hotel reservations. Also, credit cards are not as widely accepted as in the States. Always keep emergency cash on hand.

7. The night must end with a late-night breakfast of chocolate con churros, but if you want bonus points for not sounding like a tourist, ask for porras instead of churros.

8. PDAs are visible and encouraged all over the city, especially in parks.

9. Spaniards tend to be very warm; when introduced to someone new, even if it’s a friend of a friend you’ll never meet again, kisses on the cheek (one each side) are the norm.

10. There is no “bubble”in Spain. You may notice people stand much closer together when they speak, and you will be no exception!

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