This blog post comes to us from Spain, courtesy of our new international blogger, Jill!
As I embark on my study abroad experience in Madrid, Spain this quarter, there’s a lot I have to take into consideration. First, the language is a huge cultural difference and something that’s an obstacle for me. My Spanish skills are slowly improving, and I’m now able to order food at a restaurant or pay for groceries with little peril. But one other obstacle I face in Madrid is the public transit system, or the Metro.
The Metro is an extensive rail system with lines all around the city, and it’s fairly simple to use. It is similar to the ‘El’, the Chicago train system I use at DePaul, but it’s much more extensive…plus it operates in Spanish! My apartment in Madrid is, luckily, right next to a Metro stop, which makes using the Metro so much easier. Rather than having to navigate my way through various streets, I just step outside my apartment door, turn right, and the train is directly in front of me.
I live off of the blue train, “Rios Rosas,” which is a straight shot to Sol, the downtown area of Madrid. I’m really lucky that I don’t have to change trains a lot to get from point A to point B! Another reason the Metro is so easy to navigate is that there are signs absolutely everywhere. Yesterday I took the train alone for the first time to meet a friend at a flea market. I was sort of nervous that I would get lost and end up on a train the wrong way….but it was so simple! As soon as you step off the train there are signs that direct you where the “Salida” (exit) is or arrows that point you to the connecting line.
I’m only a week in, but I’m positive that I will be able to master the Madrid public transit system… or at least the train! I haven’t tackled the buses yet, but if the Metro is this simple, I’m confident I’ll be alright!