Madrid, Spain - NYU students join professor Enrique Santamaría for an outing to Plaza Mayor.


Fall 2021 has arrived and, with it, studying away at NYU global sites! I’m here to give you an insider’s guide on studying at one of them, NYU Madrid. NYU makes studying at a global site as easy as possible. All sites are part of NYU, so you’ll always take NYU classes (more on this below!) from NYU professors in an NYU building. You will apply the semester before you want to go. For example, I applied in spring 2021 for fall 2021. Within a month or two, the Office of Global Programs will reach out to you about your admission and next steps! Additionally, tuition is the same as it is in New York City. And your financial aid flies with you!

As a Global Liberal Studies (GLS) major, I was required to study away. But it’s not the only program that requires it. Both the Global Public Health and the Business and Political Economy majors require time away from New York City too! However, studying away is available to all NYU students, regardless of their major. Yet some sites are more helpful than others when it comes to staying on track for your degree because of the courses they offer. For example, if you are studying art history, you may want to consider NYU Florence or NYU Madrid because they both offer art history courses.

Students in my major, GLS, must also take a language (you may have guessed Spanish is mine). Many of NYU’s global academic locations, NYU Madrid included, require all students studying there to take a language course.


NYU Madrid offers dozens of classes that fit the many needs of students. First up are the Spanish language classes. They are offered at every level, from beginner to advanced, at a regular or intensive pace. Additionally, NYU Madrid offers content courses in both English and Spanish. My two content courses are Comparative Fascism and Current Social, Political, and Urban Challenges to European Cities. Both of those are taught in English. The most popular course offered, Masterpieces in the Prado Museum, is offered in either Spanish or English. And it includes weekly visits to the Prado Museum with the professor to analyze the art in person!

The Academic Building

NYU Madrid’s newly renovated academic building is located in the Chueca neighborhood. Chueca is very lively with many restaurants, cafes, shops, and more. Within the academic building, you can study in the quiet study room, browse the Spanish books in the library, or hang out in the student life office. Classrooms are located on every floor of the building, but beware—that beautiful staircase is deceptively steep!

Student Life

The student life team at NYU Madrid aims to make your experience in the city as enjoyable and interesting as possible. Flamenco shows, neighborhood tours, nearby hikes—they offer a wide range of activities inside and outside the city. They also coordinate student government and clubs!

The team also takes students on day trips outside of Madrid throughout Spain. Locations change every semester, but traditionally you’ll visit the nearby cities of Segovia, Toledo, El Escorial, and Ávila. You can sign up for free visits led by professors and head out one day to learn all about these beautiful and historic cities!

Moving to a new city and exploring is also one of the best parts of the study away life. Finding your new coffee shop and the best churros (through many taste tests, of course) with your friends is a necessity. NYU Madrid helps facilitate this with activities, but you should also make time to explore on your own.

What’s more, you’ll make some new friends from other majors or years. Embrace this! Hopefully, you will also meet people from local universities or European students on Erasmus (the European Union student exchange program). Picnicking in El Retiro, shopping on Gran Vía, and hanging out in Plaza del Dos de Mayo in Malasaña are some of the typical activities you’ll do in Madrid.

The author and a friend at the Palacio de Cristal in Parque del Retiro.
My friend and me at the Palacio de Cristal in Parque del Retiro.

The ability to travel from place to place is one of the most exciting parts about studying away. Traveling within Europe can be affordable and is fairly easy. Budget airlines like Ryanair, Air Europa, and EasyJet offer low-cost plane tickets to dozens of destinations within Spain and Europe. Spain also has a fantastic high-speed train system, the AVE, which goes to many cities within the country.

For lodging, splitting an Airbnb rental with friends or booking a hostel are usually the most affordable options. And for activities, look up what’s free, what has a student or young-person rate, and what you will need a reservation for.

You can plan travel well in advance or go with more spur-of-the-moment plans. Prices fluctuate often depending on where you want to go. And it is always a good idea to know a few phrases in the local language. Knowing “where is…” (wherever you’re trying to go), “may I have…” (for ordering at a restaurant), and “please” and “thank you” will go a long way.

The author in front of a body of water.

With the ability to study seamlessly at 14 sites around the world, NYU offers a truly global education. As NYU’s oldest study away site, NYU Madrid has so much to offer you. From art and culture to food and classes you can’t take anywhere else, I know you’ll have just as good of a time here as I am.

Originally from Washington, DC, Izzy is a junior in the Global Liberal Studies Program with minors in Social & Public Policy in NYU Wagner and History in CAS. On campus, Izzy is involved in College Democrats, the Politics Society, the Bronfman Center, and Admissions Ambassadors. Outside of class, Izzy loves Citibiking, indoor cycling classes, shopping in SoHo, and spending too much on dessert.