As Spain’s capital and largest city, as well as NYU’s oldest study-away site, Madrid has a rich history and a vibrant culture. “I’ve experienced so much here and met so many different people,” says Helena Roux-Dessarps. She’s a Hotel and Tourism Management major at the NYU School of Professional Studies who’s studying abroad at NYU Madrid. “I decided to study away in Madrid because it would be a completely new experience. I don’t speak Spanish, so I was nervous at first, but the minute I arrived I felt so happy with my decision. I already wish I could do another semester!”
With over 300 stations, Madrid’s metro is a convenient way to get around the city (and much of the suburbs) day or night. “The public transportation is one of the best things about the city,” attests Zora Young, a Politics and Spanish double major and Global Liberal Studies minor who is also currently studying away at NYU Madrid. “The metro is extremely safe, and I feel very comfortable using it. Also, it comes every four to five minutes, so you’re never waiting a super long time.”
“Madrid is an extremely walkable city, and with every walk, I find a new shop or cafe,” says Helena. Quioscos, or kiosks, are a common sight while walking the streets of Madrid. Recently, many of them have pivoted from newspapers and magazines to souvenirs and snacks.
Numerous plazas, both small and large, dot the city of Madrid, providing a space to gather with friends or grab a bite to eat in the sunshine. On Plaza del Rey, the Ministry of Culture occupies the 16th century House of the Seven Chimneys—but many locals believe it is also inhabited by ghosts.
NYU Madrid’s academic center is located in the lively Chueca neighborhood, known for its many restaurants, shops, and nightlife. In between classes, students can stretch their legs and peruse the local boutiques. “I love the Chueca neighborhood!” exclaims Helena. “During the day it’s tranquil, but at night, there’s so much life in the neighborhood. All the restaurants in the area are amazing—and so is the coffee!”
The Spanish capital’s shopping promenades are the place to see and be seen. Madrid gets over 300 days of sunshine a year, and visitors and locals alike spill into the streets. “In Madrid, there’s a break from 1:00–4:00 p.m. every day, when the city mostly shuts down. People go home or go out on a walk or sit in the park and read,” explains Zora.
On Calle Valverde, apartment buildings and trees stretch as far as the eye can see. “There are so many great parts of the city,” says Zora. “One of my favorites is Lavapiés, which is a very diverse neighborhood compared to the rest of Madrid. There’s a lot of different restaurants—there’s Latin American cuisine as well as Afghani cuisine. There are also a lot of Black-owned businesses in the area. Another one of my favorite places is El Retiro, a park close to the NYU campus. I truly think our campus is in the perfect location.”