Beautiful, alternative, elegant, cosmopolitan are some of the words that characterize this city. The Spanish capital attracts not only tourists but also a large number of students who want to study at the universities of Madrid. Located in the center of the second largest country in the European Union, the community of Madrid houses public ( Alcalá , Autónoma , Carlos III , Complutense , Polytechnic and Rey Juan Carlos ) and private universities ( IE , ESERP , EAE , ESIC , Camilo José Cela , European University of Madrid , Francisco de Vitoria and CEU San Pablo ). As well as the headquarters of the National University of Distance Education (UNED).
The official language is Spanish, but you will find easy to communicate in English too, especially in the capital.
A day in this city can be very complete. The streets are always full of people especially of students who have coffee after their courses chatting and laughing loudly. The shops are open almost all day, and in general, there is much movement. In the parks, such as the Retiro Park, which is located in the centre of the city, there will be many students having lunch and studying all day long. There are others who do sporting activities and those who just go, for a walk.
In the morning you can visit museums or art galleries: Thyssen Museum on the Paseo del Prado, the Prado National Museum on the same central avenue, the Museum of Anthropology, and a long etcetera for lovers of culture. They all offer special prices for students as well as a free pass at specific times depending on the Museum. The Prado Museum provides free visits to its galleries every day from 6 pm to 8 pm.
A highly recommended place to visit at sunset is the Temple of Debod, enjoy the vies and the beautiful Egyptian temple with the most beautiful colors in the sky before dusk.t
In the outskirts, you can find the Palace of Aranjuez and visit beautiful and Medieval cities like Toledo by train in 30 minutes.
The possibilities offered by the capital are massive. You can have tapas in the Plaza Mayor and its famous squid sandwich; walk to La Latina and enjoy the night in the youthful and modern environment. Other places of party funk and rock in Malasaña, music more commercial in Huertas, or Chueca, one of the most pleasant districts of the city, a realisation of concerts and exhibitions all year round. The Madrid night, without doubt, is envied by all the autonomous communities and Spanish provinces. There is no other city where students are so delighted with their university stay, the brightness it transmits and the opportunities it presents.
Madrilenians are some of the most helpful people in the entire peninsula, always willing to help you or give you information, communicative and open. They will make you feel as if you are at home. They also love to meet people from the suburbs, and especially in the university. You will notice a lot of that. They will integrate you into their company, and you can make friends with them for life. There are lots of open and smiling people in Madrid.
Madrid offers many different activities, you can practices tennis, run or bike along the Manzanares river at Madrid Rio and of course, practice the most famous sports of all: Football, soccer for our non-European friends. It is very typical in Spain to join friends at a bar to cheer for your favorite soccer team. If you are into soccer, you will have fun meeting people at bars while cheering and enjoy the game.
Another great alternative to socializing in the capital is to visit bars that offer Language Exchanges. If you need help with your Spanish, you can join these kinds of groups. You won´t only get better at Spanish; you will meet like-minded people and have a great time. You can find some places for language exchanges here.
Also in Madrid, there are many volunteer programs in which you can become a member and not only socialize but also help to involve you with local people and people from all walks of life.
The Spanish capital keeps growing yearly, ranking #3 in Europe, after London and Berlin. In 2016, Madrid ranked as the best city in Europe for expats, which it had increased the trend to move to the capital.
The average budget for a student living in the centre of Madrid can vary from 1,100 € to 1,600€ per month depending on the district you decide to leave in. Regularly, the most expensive areas will be Atocha, Retiro, Serrano, Castellana and so on. Places that are very well connected to the rest of the city and are full of activity options to enjoy.
It may be your primary expense for the month and will vary greatly depending on the quality of the home itself and the area in which it is located. It is not the same to rent a flat on the outskirts of Madrid as it is in the centre of Madrid (about 700 € for an apartment of 1 bedroom and 40m2),. That of a flat in the outskirts (in Getafe for example, for the same price you have a flat of 3 bedrooms and 60 m2). It is also commonplace to rent a room or share a flat with other people. In this case, prices usually start at € 200 – € 300 per month.
Madrid is a city that becomes very cold in winter, so heating is an essential thing, which makes gas consumption rise to 100 € – 150 € a month in those months. Apparently, it depends on the size of the house, the time you spend in it and other factors, but on average we are talking about € 100 a month in supplies.
Madrid counts with an extensive transport system of 14 metro lines, nine lines of “Cercanías” train, over 170 buses and three tram lines. Is not too hard to explain why Madrid is considered the city with the best Public Transport in Europe.
You can check the prices on the official website of public transport, CRTM.
One of the best advantages of the capital is its location within the Spanish Península (in the centre) and with the rest of Europe. You can travel to England for 40€, to France and Germany for around 60€ and much more. If you want to travel around Europe during your stay in Madrid, stay on the lookout for the fantastic flight offers that Companies like Vueling or Ryanair offer often.
Making purchases in the capital is extremely easy. It doesn´t matter what you are looking for, you will find it. From expensive boutiques in Calle Serrano to more alternative shops in Calle Fuencarral, there is a spot for everyone to shop. The price in the supermarkets depends on the area and the type of market. Big retailer companies like Carrefour, Lidl or Día have the same rates in all their stores, and they are affordable and good quality. However, if you will like to purchase in little shops that offer organic products the cost of your groceries will be higher.
On average, you could count on about 40-50 € a week/person or approximately 200 € a month.
One of the characteristics that differentiate this city from the rest of Spain is leisure. You can find an infinite variety of activities to enjoy in the capital, from going to the movies to watching amazing Musicals and Stand up Comedy. Going out to eat, depending on the area, is affordable. You can find Menus of the day at a range of 10 to 15 euros. There is also a vast diversity of restaurants to enjoy. Don´t forget to have a “Tapas” tour at La Latina to have a sense of the real Madrileño/ life. You can find paid tours or look at recommended places to start. Usually, if you go to a tapas place and ask for a drink, you will have a very nice free plate with tapas.
El Museo del Jamón it is also a must place if you want to have a real Spanish experience.