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It is hard to put into words the many changes I have gone through since the start of my semester in Madrid. I do feel that leaving the Amherst “bubble” has been good for my own personal growth. I was constantly challenged to adapt and step outside of my comfort zone. After two years at Amherst, I am guilty of falling into a predictable routine. The semester in Madrid gave me a chance to shake things up and live more …

Public Parks in Madrid

Parks provide a haven for wildlife and allow people to connect with nature. They perform an essential role in both our ecosystems and our communities. During my semester in Spain I sought to expand my perspective on public parks in the United States through a comparison between parks in Spain and parks in the United States. My hope was that experiences abroad would inform my understanding of the creation, use, and management of parks. This coming fall, I will be …

Gayborhoods of Madrid

Spain is well-known for being one of the most accepting countries for LGBT+ people. In fact, Madrid hosted World Pride in 2017. As an openly gay man, choosing an accepting study abroad location was a key deciding factor in my choice of locations. Since arriving in Madrid in early January, I have found several occasions to visit the major gayborhood of Madrid. The neighborhood or barrio, is located a short fifteen-minute walk from the city center and is located just …

Expectations and First Impressions

I would like to say that I arrived in Spain without fully-formed expectations, but that would not be entirely honest. Before arriving in Madrid I spent hours imagining what it would be like to walk down picturesque streets (such as the ones pictured below) and to eat traditional Spanish dishes like croquetas and paella. Once I decided to spend a semester in Spain, I began to feel a hunger: the need to make a checklist of “must-have” experiences that if …