14 Jun 4 Things Foreigners Living in Madrid Love About It
As a member of Pack to Spain, it is inevitable that you are surrounded by international students and other foreigners such as Auxiliares de conversación or expats that are living in Madrid. We have hang out with them, have had fun together and, after hours of conversation, we have discovered what they like most about Madrid. If you are already here I’m sure that you can relate to the short list that we have compiled and if you are thinking about coming to Madrid in the near future, you should probably start taking some notes.
Our friends from GoProfe point out in their post, Six things that are different about Spain and how to adjust, that “Spain is different”. While it is true we cannot deny that Spain can seem a bit strange, it is also true that we, the people, ie. “The Spaniards”, are certainly different. We are a more laid-back than the usual American or Northern European person. However, this difference does not mean that we are worse (nor that we are better), it just means that we are more relaxed and have a different way of enjoying life. Although the average Spaniard can work hard (yes, we work hard), we are also usually social animals and won’t ever reject a couple beers after work or a good coffee break to talk. We have the innate desire to go out and disconnect. Gran Via is packed with people everyday at every hour. People are always out enjoying themselves and that is one of the things that people love about Spain.
Madrid, like other European capitals, is an old city with a lot of history. We don’t have a Tour Eiffel or the Berlin Wall, but we have plenty of monuments and sightseeing around the city. Within Madrid’s city limits you can find places such as the Royal Palace, La Almudena and the Plaza Mayor, where you can get the best “fried calamari sandwiches” ever. There’s also the Puerta del Sol, which is the origin of the main Spanish roads, a.k.a. “Kilómetro 0”. These are all some of the most visited places in Madrid. If you are an art fan, you’ve come to the right city! From Spain’s important collection of paintings at the Prado to the infamous home of contemporary art, the Reina Sofia, there is always something to suit all tastes and age groups. All of this art is located on the Avenue of Art. As you walk down the Avenue of Art you can find the Prado, Reina Sofía, Thyssen Museums and the Caixa Forum.
We already discussed about the size of the meal in a different post but in terms of actual food, we are not only talking about tapas, but also everything ranging from Cocido Madrileño to Paella. There are so many different things to try and people usually love our dishes. While it is true that jamón serrano can be a bit strange for a foreigner’s palette, I haven’t met a single exchange student that dislikes our tortilla de patata. Of course, we have to talk about the tapas which, alongside jamon serrano and the paella, are the most well-known dishes in Spain. People don’t really know why they love tapas, but they always end up falling in love with the small plates of Spanish food. My personal opinion is that the love for the tapas is a direct result of the food itself combined with the experience. Tapas are always, ALWAYS, enjoyed within a group. As we said before, the Spaniard is a social creature who needs to go out. Whenever we go out for a beer with our friends, tapas are always part of the outing.
Finally, the Spanish nightlife is the number one reason why a lot of people living in Madrid love it, and it’s not just the foreigners, the Spanish locals love the nightlife of Madrid as well. We love going out and it isn’t a secret. We know it, the bars know it and the clubs know it. It’s one of the many reasons you can find a nightclub open in Madrid every day of the week. Whether it is to celebrate the end of exams on a Tuesday, a random party on a Wednesday or an after work beer on Thursdays (Juernes), you can always find a place that’s open. And it’s not only the clubs. For example, don’t be surprised to find a bar full of people on a Wednesday night.
People love that we are that social and you can always find something to do in Madrid every day of the week. However, be aware, it can affect your finances! Going out in Madrid one day may not be expensive, but going out several days per week can be a bit tough on your wallet. But don’t worry, there is always a way of getting an extra income, using something you have and something that most Spaniards don’t: your native language skills! It is true that the millennial generation of Spaniards has an above average level of English, but older generations would greatly benefit from English classes with a native teacher. Apart from the professionals, families are also seeking native teachers for their kids so they can start becoming familiar with the language at a young age.
How to Start…
Ok, so we have the need and you have the skills, now the important question: How do you find the classes? Well, that’s were our friends Emily and Katie come in! They created GoProfe.com with the goal of helping us improve our English skills with native English teachers. With a little luck, you can become one of them! You just need to join their team of teachers, set the price of your lessons, set your availability and you’ll be ready to start teaching! Being part of GoProfe.com is not just about getting that extra income, but also about giving back and sharing your gift with a country that you are bound to fall in love with.