I’ve reached a point in the semester that I find some study abroad students referring to as “it’s about that time.” “It’s about that time” when it’s a little over a month into the semester and midterms are coming up, so the inevitable stress kicks in and everything that used to be fun and adventurous becomes stressful as well; you realize your family and friends are not exactly what you would call “right by your side” and the thought of that stresses you out; and also, it’s getting cold! To precisely define this time, it’s basically homesickness. My remedy? Parks and phone calls! If my professors decide that they all want to have midterms on the same day, I will find a nice park, ease myself through nature and study. Luckily, Madrid makes that very easy!
It’s times like these when I thank god for making me wanderlust…….. and for the Internet. Over the past month, I have run into a couple parks or green areas where I thought to myself “I can come here and study” and the time has come. Last week, a couple days before my first midterm, I needed somewhere to study and my super blue room was not helping me with staying focused so I went to Canal De Isabel II (or sometimes known as Parque Santander). This park has a big golf area in the middle, a track that goes around it for those who want to run, a beautiful area with fountains and a nice, quite area with benches, which is where you’ll find me most of the time. I was definitely able to get some studying done in peace without feeling suffocated in a room.
So after the success of my first park study session, I googled the next closest park to my house, which was Parque del Oeste, so I packed my bag, popped the address into Google maps and headed out there. It was about a 20-minute walk from my house and it did not disappoint. This one is less recreational so there is a large grass area with trees where people sit and have picnics. If you go deeper, it seems endless, so I had to remind myself I was there to study—I took a seat and got to work! I saw an ad for a cable car ride from Parque del Oeste to Casa de Campo (another huge park), so I will definitely be going back there soon!
Unfortunately, it is getting colder by the day now so I have had to move my outdoor study adventures indoors. I am starting to explore the hundreds of cafes in Madrid now. My favorites so far are La Rollerie and Monkee Koffee. They’re both small, cozy cafes tucked in between small shops on my way to school. For all of you tea lovers out there, these are the type of places to keep an eye out for! I stop at one of these two after school or the gym to enjoy the calm atmosphere and have some tea!
Homesickness is expected when studying abroad so when it comes, finding the right way to deal with it is important. For me, just a phone call to my parents and a reminder of why I chose to study abroad in the first place is enough to bring me back to reality. If that doesn’t help, I look back at the past month of my life and think of the incredible experience I have had and amazing people I’ve met, and that gets me as excited as the first day I arrived in Madrid!