Spain: Making New Friends

Submitted by Jade Schlegel on the 2022 spring semester program in Madrid, Spain…

My first true week of classes is coming to an end as well as my second week here in Madrid. This past week and weekend, I discovered the difficulty and difference of making friends abroad versus on campus at UD. We often hear how simple actions can make someone’s day. This week in Spain, I have learned that it is absolutely true. Making friends has been something everyone here has been struggling with. I have talked to lots of people and they all agree that while the people are friendly, we are all having a tough time meeting new people with similar interests. A lot of us come from big campuses where there are lots of people; a city campus is different.

There is less of a community and more city life. This has taught me that reaching out and putting myself out there is crucial to make new friends. One way, I have learned to do this is to sit with someone who is alone at lunch. While a meal alone can be nice, sharing a meal and talking about your day can be the highlight of anyone’s day. This is how I have met a ton of new people here (some of them have even become an awesome little travel group and we’ve been able to see amazing cities together!). While you may not go to the same school or even speak the same language, you can all share a meal together and be in the presence of others. When abroad, remember everyone is in the same boat and experiencing the same changes, this includes friends. A little effort goes a long way and can lead to friendships everyone hopes for. Something as simple as sharing a meal with someone can not only make their day better, but it can help you too while abroad!

Museum of Ham in Madrid
Artwork by El Greco