I take my time getting up on Tuesdays because my first class starts at 10am, which is juuuust a little too early for me to make it to the gym and back (unless I wanted to wake up super early, which I don’t). I get some quick assignments done, usually the Spanish homework given the night before, and head into my host family’s kitchen around 9am for breakfast; typically, I have cereal, often followed by a spoonful of peanut butter (a practice I picked up here in Madrid, since I miss my daily PB&Js).
At 9:30am I leave for Sketchbook: Walking in the City, and the class meets somewhere different around Madrid every week—some of my favorites have been at Retiro Park and the National Museum of Archeology. I had never taken a drawing class before coming to Madrid, but I’ve found that having this dedicated creative time helps me clear my mind, and I’m already looking forward to drawing things around Tufts in the spring.
Sketchbook meets from 10-12:35, so afterwards it’s time for lunch. I usually opt to pick up something to-go so I can work through a few last-minute things before leaving for my university class at 2:30pm. Tufts-in-Madrid offers students the opportunity to take a class at the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) or the university in Alcalá de Henares. I opted for Alcalá, so twice a week I get to enjoy a more suburban environment and take in the town’s quaint alleyways and plazas. I take advantage of the hour-long commute to listen to music, read a book, or touch base with friends and family.
The class I’m taking in Alcalá—Introduction to Translation from English to Spanish—begins at 4pm. The first hour consists of theory, and we take a break before spending the second hour working through various translation activities. I’ve learned a lot about the nuances of Spanish and how it’s actually used day to day (beyond what is just grammatically correct); getting to know local students is another big plus, and on some Thursdays we even go out for tapas after class.
I get back to Madrid around 8:30pm, and I either have dinner with my host family or (every other week) go out for one of the program’s mentor dinners (made up of my Spanish mentor and five other Tufts-in-Madrid students in our group). The mentor dinners in particular are helpful for trying new restaurants and exploring areas of the city I might not have otherwise visited.
My day ends around 11:30pm (though I always try to make it to bed earlier); after a busy day of classes all over Madrid, spending time with the locals, and fitting in a bit of homework and relaxation in between, it’s easy to fall asleep. Before I know it, it’s Wednesday!