Rachel Menke: Madrid, Spain

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Rachel Menke: Study Abroad Photo

Madrid, Spain with Rachel Menke

  
What’s your major?
I am a Hispanics Studies major with a Marketing minor.

Where are you studying?
This summer I studied in Salamanca (1 month) and I am currently at IE Business school in Madrid, Spain (Fall semester).

How long will you be abroad?
This year I will have spent 6 months abroad (5 studying and 1 traveling)

What type of courses are you taking?
I am taking a Spanish grammar class taught in Spanish because I want to improve my speaking skills.  My other classes are all for my business minor and taught in English: Strategic Management, Statistics, Corporate Finance, and Financing New Ventures.

What is your favorite memory from your study abroad experience?
This is a SUPER hard question.  I love that traveling to different countries is so easy and cheap in Europe.  My favorite memory would be taking a weekend trip to Morocco because never in my life did I think I would be in Africa.  I did not realize it was so close to the southern tip of Spain and just a short 30 minute ferry ride through the Straight of Gibraltar.  I went with my French friend, which was super convenient because they speak French there, and we met so many other students from Europe and the US.  In Tangier we rode camels on the beach and went to the Caves of Hercules where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea. We also went to a nearby town, Chaouen that is completely painted blue.  Hiking up to different viewpoints of the cities was amazing!

What would you say to someone considering studying abroad?
I 100% recommend it! Studying abroad is the best thing I've done in my life so far, and you don't fully understand how awesome it is until you go!

What is/was your favorite local landmark?
My favorite landmark in Madrid is Puerta del Sol, which is the main plaza in Madrid.  There is always entertainment like musicians, people dressed up in costumes, magicians, dancers, basically anything you can think of.

What are your living accommodations?
I live with a French guy, Indian guy, and a Japanese girl in an apartment.  I really enjoy living with them and hearing about what life is like in their countries.

What is your greatest challenge while being abroad?
When people know you're American because it is usually pretty obvious, they generally assume that you are from with California, Florida, or New York. Everyone has asked about Trump and politics because it is an election year.  I've been called "rubia" a lot which means blonde because apparently it is not common to be a natural blonde.  Europeans also think that American coffee tastes pathetic because it tastes like water and is not as strong.

What skills have you acquired abroad?
Studying abroad has made me very self-reliant and good at using Google maps.  I am friendlier and want to learn more about other cultures.