Smart Insiders welcomes you to Madrid for study abroad!
We mean the “urban jungle” that is Madrid! We want to say congratulations for making the decision to study abroad. Smart Insiders is here to welcome you to one of the greatest cities in Europe!
First of all there are many students studying in Madrid from all over the world and we are excited to have you joining them and us during your experience. As a newcomer this might feel like a big transition, but don’t worry! Because of that we have created a convenient guide full of information that is necessary for your first couple weeks in Spain.
Also, did you know that it is the third most popular city in Europe and the most popular in Spain? The city derives its name from the word “magerit”, which means “place of many streams” and, symbolically, it is the truth! Spain’s central capital, is a city of elegant boulevards, beautiful parks, amazing museums, and much more.
What are the things you need to do before coming?
Make sure you’re legal.
Remember to take all necessary documents with you. Depending on the duration of your stay and your home country you might need different papers to ensure safe travel. Maybe sometimes you can get overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork to take care of, even more for scholarships like ERASMUS. First, before starting your journey prepare an overview of all the forms you need to fill out and their deadlines. Above all, the two most important documents is to have a visa and health insurance.
- Certain countries require a visa for traveling and living abroad. Make sure you find out if you need one before you set off on your journey! You can find all the information about it here: exteriores.gob.es
- Health Insurance
- Just like with any other trip, health insurance is obligatory.
- If you come from a country within the EU, don’t forget your European health insurance card!
Next, for Non-EU citizens registering with Spanish authorities is obligatory if you are residing in Spain more than three months. The first step in the process is to solicit, within your first 30 days in Spain, an appointment to take fingerprints. Consequently, appointment date and time is subject to availability as per the Spanish Ministry of Finance and Public Administration’s online system. Look to make your appointment here. Once you made your fingerprint appointment you will then have to gather all the necessary documents to take with you.
Make copies of all your paperwork.
While Madrid is a safe city, there can be pickpockets or you simply lose your purse. As a result of having copies of your documents you are prepared and save yourself a difficult process to apply for new ones. Also, we recommend making copies before your arrival to Spain, but if you forgot or need more once you are settled search for “locutorios near me”. Certainly there will be plenty but be conscious of the hours! Above all, remember that a lot of stores close in the middle of the day. We will explain more about Spanish culture in our next article.
Start organizing your packing list.
There are many important things to remember to bring with you abroad. You will notice that not all products are the same and you might be missing some of your favorite things from back home. For that reason we recommend checking out the full packing list here, but we are going to list what we thing are the most important things to remember to throw into your suitcase.
- Packing Essentials
- Cell Phone and Charger (The plug for your devices might be different than what you need in Spain so make sure to research and buy before coming. If you forget no worries you will be able to find converters around Spain.)
- Health Insurance
- All Documentation
- Prescription Medications
- Debit and Credit Cards
- Emergency Contact List
- Travel Itinerary
How to get to Madrid from the Airport.
Take the Bus
Most noteworthy, Exprés Aeropuerto (Airport Express), a 24-hour service which has only 3 stops after the airport: O’Donell, Plaza de Cibeles and Atocha (this last stop only during the daytime hours between 6 am and 11.30pm). The buses run every 15 minutes during the day and every 35 at night, and the journey takes approximately 40 minutes. Also, tickets cost 5 euros and may be bought on board. There are stops at terminals T1, T2 and T4.
Take an Uber
Almost everyone knows Uber to be a fan favorite. If you already know where you’re going in the city and want to get an estimate for your ride you can check that out here. Just remember to type in “Madrid-Barajas Airport” as your origin.
Take the Metro or Cercanías
Madrid’s Barajas Airport has Metro stations in Terminal T2 and the newer Terminal T4. Almost all trains leave every 5 minutes from 6.00am to 2.00am. Line 8 goes straight to the Nuevos Ministerios Metro station in the centre of Madrid, with a journey time of just 12 minutes.
How to find a place to live.
Let’s talk about how you can find a place to live in Madrid. If you want to live in a student district, you might consider Moncloa or Argüelles, which is the area where the Universidad Complutense is located. While you might like these areas but want to live in a place with more nightlife, you might want to check out bohemian districts Malasaña and Chueca which are known for colorful street art, trendy coffee shops, and great night clubs.
Another great area is Chamberí if you’re looking for something more relaxed. Do you love reading, listening to music, and a wide variety of art? Huertas is the district for you. Also, if you prefer a traditional area we recommend La Latina and Lavapiés. Maybe you love nature, walking in parks and green areas? Retiro is the lung of Madrid and belongs to one of the biggest and most attractive parks in the city. Finally, if you want to stay in the beating heart of the city, Sol is the right place for you.
A good way to find an accommodation are Facebook groups. As a result you will see many ads from people who are renting a room or flat. Therefore, you should reach out and try to get in touch with them. Certainly when searching for a place to live you need to pay a bit more attention to what’s available, but there are some good options here!