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My semester abroad: Stefanie @ ESIC Business & Marketing School

Stefanie Schulz, student in the Bachelor International Business program at MBS, is currently spending her semester abroad at the ESIC Business & Marketing School in Madrid, Spain. Here she reports regularly on her experiences.

Update: Easter in Spain

What special or surprising experiences have you had since your last blog update?

During my entire semester abroad, I wanted to see as much of the country as possible. So last month I went to Andalusia to see the cities of Granada, Cordoba and Seville. I even went on a trip to Morocco and was especially impressed by the beautiful nature.

Left picture: View of Chefchaouen, the “blue city” of Morocco. Right picture: The Hercules grotto near Tangier.

Right now it is Easter, which is a very important Christian festival here in Spain. There are so many amazing traditions and delicious Easter treats too. Because of this, during Holy Week (Semana Santa) I visited some old towns that are very traditional and famous for their Easter celebrations. I was amazed and impressed by the processions that are held in the streets by the various Catholic brotherhoods.

When you look back on your semester abroad: would you have done something differently and if so, why?

My semester abroad is slowly coming to an end. April is the last month of classes and May is the time for the official final exams. At ESIC, the lecturers seem to be relatively flexible, so most of them have changed or brought the dates forward.

Now I have almost all of the exams at the end of April and if I have successfully passed most of the exams in May are no longer necessary.

Looking back, I learned a lot about intercultural cooperation and teamwork from the Erasmus students during my semester abroad and gained valuable experience.

Otherwise, I plan to travel to Portugal in May and I'm looking forward to seeing and experiencing a little more of northern Spain. Madrid is a very dynamic and lively city with a very modern spirit. If the opportunity arises, I would like to stay a little longer to do an internship in the summer.

Update: After a few weeks at the ESIC Business & Marketing School, Stefanie reports on her experiences in Madrid.

How were your first weeks in Madrid?

My first weeks here in Spain were very turbulent. First the airline lost my luggage for a few days and then I had some problems with my booked accommodation. The housing market in Madrid is very difficult and finding suitable and nice accommodation has turned out to be quite complicated. But the university tried to support me with helpful websites and Madrid's large international student organization “MadridCityLife” is very helpful when it comes to such problems.

But other than that, I'm happy to have great classmates. It is a great experience to study together with Spanish and Erasmus students from all over the world. I enjoy the international atmosphere here at ESIC University!

Have you settled in well in Madrid and at ESIC?

Now that I have moved into a new apartment in the center of Madrid, I feel safe and comfortable and can finally enjoy the beauty of Madrid. Madrid is a great city that offers plenty of opportunities to spend free time outside of university and meet lots of interesting people.

The lecturers and staff at ESIC are very open and open-minded and always ready to help. I also got used to having classes in the evening pretty quickly.

What surprised me was the relaxed and very friendly relationship between the professors and students. Although I have trouble understanding the English of some lecturers here and there, I am enjoying my time here at ESIC and in Madrid and I am looking forward to the next month.

Have you already made trips?

Madrid has a very good and organized international student organization that organizes many great events and also offers excursions. Spain is a beautiful country and during my time here I plan to travel and explore the country as much as possible. Last week I went to Segovia and El Escorial with some new friends, two amazing and charming historical towns. Next weekend I will travel to Andalusia and see Cordoba, Seville and Granada.

Why did you choose the ESIC Business & Marketing School?

The ESIC Business & Marketing School specializes in marketing; it also has an excellent reputation, is highly regarded inside and outside Spain and regularly achieves excellent placements in university rankings. In addition, ESIC is a young, innovative university that promotes entrepreneurship. All of these factors, along with my desire to improve my Spanish, made me apply for this university.

In your opinion, what will be different at the ESIC Business & Marketing School than at the MBS?

I hope that I can gain insight into Spanish culture and improve my Spanish skills. I also hope that I can gain further experience working in international teams and on practical projects. This is particularly important at ESIC.

What do you hope for from your semester abroad?

Since ESIC, like MBS, is a private university, I think that the atmosphere and the study environment there will be very similar.

What are you looking forward to the most?

I'm really looking forward to my new classmates and my new roommates, who come from all over the world. I love meeting new people and living with them. Of course I am also enthusiastic about the great location of the university in Madrid and the possibilities that the city offers. I'm looking forward to an exciting semester abroad.