By Laura Marsh
It’s hard to believe that we’ve gone through two whole weeks already! Not to say that the excitement of being in Madrid has worn off (I don’t think it ever really will), but I can feel myself settling into somewhat of a routine, and I feel very at home in our little apartment in Tetuán. The Metro is getting easier and easier to navigate, and my FitBit is definitely working overtime counting the steps I take every day.
I can also tell that my Spanish is improving by the day! Despite having studied Spanish for several years – from about the time I was in the first grade – my language skills were a little rusty upon arriving here in Madrid. My first couple of days, running around trying to sort out my Metro card and find some household necessities, were an interesting test of what I remembered. I’m so glad that I signed up for the Intro to Spanish course offered through SLU LAW; it’s been a great opportunity to practice what I know and clarify some grammatical issues that have always been a tad fuzzy for me. Professor Lasarte has been very patient with all of us in the class, and has even given a couple of us an opportunity to challenge ourselves by providing additional exercises to practice more “advanced” skills!
Though a large group of students decided to make a beach getaway to Alicante for the weekend, there were a few of us who elected to stay in Madrid to attend the alumni reunion events that were open to us (and scramble to finish our submissions for the law journal write-on competition!). The reunion events on Friday were centered around a discussion on the implications of Brexit, and it was fascinating to hear the perspectives of Victor de Cambra, Professor Ignacio Borrasto Iniesta, and Professor Declan Walsh. There are so many nuances of European law and economics that we as Americans are unfamiliar with, and that will be affected if (most would say “when”) the United Kingdom does formally exit the EU, so I’m grateful to have gained a bit more knowledge about the entire situation.
Afterwards, we all enjoyed some tapas and wine on the rooftop of San Ignacio Hall with our distinguished alumni and guests. It was a terrific opportunity to talk with people who have been so successful in their careers, both in practice and academia. I’m looking forward to one day attending an event like this as an alumna myself!
Saturday gave me an opportunity to explore Madrid a little bit more. One of my roommates and I went to Retiro Park and walked around for a while, enjoying the sun and the sculptures throughout the park. There was a small band playing near the Retiro Pond, and just as we were walking away, they started playing one of my favorite jazz standards. Being the self-admitted music geek that I am, I had to turn around and listen for just a little while longer. There is still so much of the park that I need to see, so it’s definitely on the agenda to make my way back!
It’s hard to believe that our time here is almost halfway over! These next four weeks are sure to fly by, just as the first two have. I’m excited to explore more of Madrid and revisit some of my favorite places from when I was last in Spain five years ago. I’m already dreading the day I have to leave, but I know I will always look back on my time in Madrid with incredible fondness.