How would you feel if at the age of 19 you had the first experience of living alone in a big city in a new country without even knowing their language? Would you believe me If I told you that this experience will turn into the best year you've ever had in your life so far?
Everything began with not knowing where to go, what place to choose for my Erasmus year. I didn't want to ask anyone or to make some research before choosing my destination. Instead, I tried asking myself, "what do I like the most and how would I like to live?"
Finally, I've realized that I wanted to live in a place where almost all the time the weather would be sunny, with nice and sociable people who enjoy eating, dancing or singing. My final decision? SPAIN!
I am a student in Bucharest so I thought choosing a big city would be a good idea, because I already knew that the busy life suits me. This is how Madrid first came into my mind (and never left it). As soon as I knew I was accepted for Madrid I couldn't keep calm so I packed my bags and I arrived in the city in the middle of August. I spent one month getting used to the Spanish lifestyle. This is how I discovered two important Spanish words, fiesta and siesta, exactly in this order.
I can tell you that as soon as I've discovered the amazing nightlife of Madrid, I forgot about sleeping. At least I was dreaming with my eyes open.
Before coming to Madrid I was pretty sure that a good party is supposed to be at the end of the week after you're done with your homework for the classes. I immediately changed my mind when I went to my first salsa class on Monday, karaoke party on Tuesday, and I thought "OMG! Here I can have fun 7 days per week".
Now I don't remember one week without having at least one party, but I remember all those days when I had classes in the morning and I tried to wake up so I could arrive on time. Of course, I was late and sleepy all day but it was worth it.
When travelling becomes part of your daily life, you will never imagine yourself without it. I was planning a trip almost every weekend and in just a couple of months I've seen more than 10 cities.
Though, the most beautiful ones were Valencia, the city of arts, sciences and paella, Barcelona, with an incredible architecture and magical sunsets and the romantic Seville, with its love stories.
Because Madrid has so much to offer, the time I spent there seemed like not enough to grasp its greatness. So that's how I've decided that I'm going to take part in all the activities of the ESN team and enjoy every moment.
Thanks to this, I met people from all around the world (now I can say bad words in more than 5 languages). I had a lot of fun and I've learned that your life can be changed in just a couple of hours by people who didn't even know you.
I think the most important is that I've learned more about people. My Erasmus experience in Madrid made me appreciate people more just the way they are. I stopped judging and start loving more. Loving myself and loving others. Now I know that I should take the best thing from each person.
You don't fall in love with Madrid only because it has good food, good clubs or beautiful architecture, it's about the way this city makes you feel. When I leave a club, early in the morning, I can't stop smiling because even though I feel tired for dancing so much and I can't wait to go to sleep, I know that I am very lucky to be here, to experience all this, and I can't get rid of that stupid smile for hours.
Madrid really makes you appreciate the food, the people, the landscapes, architecture, parks, museums. But what it's absolutely incredible is how easy you can fall in love with a person you just met but lives at the end of the world.
This city made me grow, changed me into being a completely different person. I am sure that Madrid was the best decision I have ever made. I learned that all your decisions will influence your personality and that only YOU are responsible for what you become.
My Erasmus included three important words: live, love, learn.
By Victoria Moraru
From Constanta, Romania
Erasmus in Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in the Fall semester 2016