Meet Bri, An Expat in Madrid
I met Bri on a Sunday afternoon in Plaza de Tirso de Molina, an area of Madrid I had never been to. It was exciting as I had followed her on social media but had yet to speak to her in person. When we first sat down, I felt like I already knew her and she felt the same. We both said “social media!”
We talked and got to know one another. She filled me in on her recent marathon training. It is always an enjoyable experience to share your adventures with other expats. Bri clearly had a treasure trove of travel tips.
I spoke with Bri about her experience as an expat in Madrid because I saw how well she adapted to life abroad. I followed her travels across Europe and saw that she had recently completed that marathon. Many people don’t travel to Europe or do a marathon in their lifetime, let alone at the same time! For someone who had accomplished so what, I had one burning question on my mind: “Looking back to your arrival, what do you know now that you wish you would have known then?”
Practice Makes Perfect
“What I know now is how important it is to practice Spanish every day. For this reason, I wish I had Spanish roommates this year instead of Americans. As an expat in Madrid, speaking the language as much as possible would have been a great help. Having practice just one time a week is not enough.
I meet with a Spanish tutor for one hour but practicing every day is what is most important. The constant repetition of using the language every day would have been more beneficial to a person with my proficiency level. I need a different method of learning Spanish that works for me because the tutor is not enough.
Also, in improving my Spanish I could have utilized my resources more. I have a co-worker from Puerto Rico who speaks Spanish as her first language. She’s offered to practice with me and I haven’t taken her up on the offer yet. We only speak English together.”
Learn On The Go
“I now also know that I would like to learn more Spanish but not in an environment where I am being taught, so to speak. I would like a private lesson where I am not being forced to learn but rather get to speak in a natural way. As an expat in Madrid, I would prefer to have a conversation in Spanish. Practicing using the language that way seems much better than being taught grammar.
Finally, I would have done more things in Madrid over the course of the year. Once it got cold, I just hibernated. I stayed inside, trained for races, and didn’t explore Madrid. I traveled a lot but I did not explore this city as much as I would like. Now I plan to do more of that.
I read Sam’s article and I plan to make more Spanish friends next year. She recommended doing something in Madrid that you would enjoy doing back home. So I plan to look into taking lessons to learn how to dance bachata.”
After meeting Bri, I learned that we have more in common than just being expats in Madrid. I had seen her posts on social media and thought she seemed a very interesting person who likes to travel to some of the same places that I do. After speaking with her, I realize that many expats are wired in a similar way. We each have big dreams and are looking for adventures that challenge us to our core.