Super Survival Guide for Erasmus life in Madrid

Dear students, friends, BROTHERS AND SISTERS of the wonderful world of Erasmus… WELCOME to Madrid!

The time has come for you to land in Madrid, with your suitcases and hearts full of excitement and hope! You have NO idea of the amazing things that are in store!

Madrid is ranked as one of the top Erasmus destinations (so good choice!!). And it’s no wonder really, with its unique ambience, all of its barrios and districts brimming with life and personality, its FASCINATING history, parties that are out of this world, mouthwatering dishes and amazing locals… Are you ready to fall in love with this city?

Us at CATS really want you to make the most of your wonderful Erasmus opportunity in our city, so we’ve come up with a little something for you: a “Super Survival Guide” for every Erasmus in Madrid to help you along the way.

YOUR ERASMUS HOME SWEET HOME

Right, first things first, amigos. Before things get wild with all those Erasmus parties… it’s time to find accommodation, you know, a place to sleep and eat occasionally  when you aren’t out hitting the town!

The best option for international newcomers is to start searching for an apartment once you have arrived in Madrid in person. This way we can avoid paying upfront for rents and deposits over the internet, which can be a little risky… It’s also convenient to get a feel of the area you visit before committing to living there for a period of time.

It’s super common for international travelers to reserve a temporary stay in Downtown Madrid (a couple days, a week, a month…), while they scour the streets in search of their Erasmus home sweet home.

And… surprise surprise! CATS is the favorite casa Erasmus in all of Madrid!! Not only do we offer you the best and comfiest rooms, but when you come through our doors you’ll be met by lots of other Erasmus students, either newcomers or veterans. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, start building Erasmus friendships and help each other out from day one!

BACK TO SCHOOL

Learning agreements in hand, it’s time to head off to your chosen university in Madrid (you’re second home!). Be prepared for welcome days and events, all set to make your arrival fun and entertaining.

Once you’ve located your uni and seen what’s going on, we recommend you get to know your uni’s Erasmus Student Network (ESN) section ASAP! This group of volunteers will take care of you and take you out and on many trips throughout your stay!

If you guys have any questions or academic mishaps (shit happens!), don’t hesitate to head to your uni’s international relations office, where they will sort everything out with you.

A NEW FAMILY

Even though you’ll find this out on your own (spoiler alert!)…Seeing as you’re so far away from home and your loved ones, your Erasmus FRIENDS will become your Erasmus FAMILY.

The friendships made during this amazing experience will become a part of your life FOR ALWAYS, because they’re so unique and special. Friendship, love and laughter reach another level when one is on an Erasmus year.

Here at CATS you’re always welcome to come and meet new pals who share your wandering spirits and love for parties! What happens during Erasmus DOESN’T stay in Erasmus.

HEAD OVER HEELS WITH MADRID

Madrid is Spain’s biggest and most populated city. Our capital city is home to 3.3 million people and YOU are gonna become our newest amazing inhabitants!

If you take a look at some of our other blog posts you’ll be able to get an idea of just how much fun your Madrid life is going to be.

Those midnight strolls along the Gran Vía, Plaza de España, the reflection of the Temple of Debod in the water at night… These are memories that will stay with you forever! No doubt you’ll look back on all those evenings of tapas in your favourite barrios. The Retiro Park will become your go-to picnic spot under the sun. If you’re looking for even more greenery, then you’ll love Casa de Campo park as well.

You’ll all be spoilt for choice with so many plans and adventures for every day of the week. We mean, come on, you’re Erasmus!! Every day is a party!

PARTY HARD

Not only is Madrid the capital of Spain, but you’ll be pleased to know that it’s also one of Europe’s major PARTY cities!

Madrid’s got some BIG names in the the world of nightclubs: Kapital, Barceló, Mondo Disko, Nomad Club, Fabrik… Just to name a few. If you’re more into a cozier scene, you can find a million smaller bars scattered around all of Madrid, for every musical taste imaginable. If you wanna tone it down even further, Madrid is known for its street spirit. A couple of cañas on a terraza in the sunshine could turn into the best night ever!

Also, a good handful of bars organize Erasmus nights once a week with special discounts on drinks and such, just for you guys!! Keep an eye out!

Let’s get one thing straight. You CANNOT head back to your home countries without experiencing the legendary CATS Hostels Madrid Pub Crawl! We take groups of travelers and Erasmus all over Madrid, stopping by at only the best bars in town: don’t miss out!

FOOD JUNKIES

If us Spaniards are known for one thing above all, it’s our delicious FOOD (fact). You’ll fall in love with our infinite amount of tapas bars and irresistible restaurants. CAREFUL, though. We will warn you that the temptation to always eatout, rather than at home, can reach dangerous levels!

Madrid is the official home of the real Tortilla de patatas (potato omelette) and we religiously tuck into our famous cocido madrileño (Madrid style chickpea-based stew) during those chilly winter months.

Going out for some tapas is laced into our DNA. The city’s typical and lifelong bars are a prime example of the tapas movement, like El Tigre. Once you manage to get inside (it’s usually crammed with people!) you order your beer or tinto de verano and, as if by magic, plates of tapas will appear at your table! All included in the price of your drink!! Another couple of bars to remember are Copas Rotas, La Risueña, Maricastaña and Pez Tortilla.

Madrid also boasts its famous and quirky food markets (San Miguel, San Ildefonso and San Antón). Each uptown market offers its own extensive variety of international stalls with snacks and tapas from all around the globe. There’s something for everyone!

PERSONALIZED PLANS

SO, a quick heads up! Your social calendars are gonna fill up pretty quickly with upcoming events, plans and crazy nights! We’ve already whispered a couple of cool things to put on your Madrid to-do lists. Wanna hear some more? Here you go!

Prepare to be blown away by everything Madrid has to offer to its Erasmus students. CATS Hostels is all about organizing and hosting awesome international events and Erasmus nights throughout the year… So much fun!

Come on down to our stimulating language exchanges, our themed parties, culinary events on our cute little terrace, and so much more. We do all of this to make sure you guys make the most spectacular memories while you’re in Madrid.

GO-TO PLANS

As y’all know (well, some of you), not EVERYTHING is about partying the night away (but hey… we mean it IS an option!).

Madrid’s cultural panorama is full to the brim with juicy events. Museum visits are a must for those of you restless culture lovers. Take in magnificent artwork any day of the week at the city’s art museums like the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum and the Thyssen Museum. Pro tip: check out the days when you can get in for free!

If convertional artwork isn’t exactly your thing, you’ve got the National Archaeological Museum, The Naval Museum of Madrid, and other more modern alternatives like Canal de Isabel II and the Matadero. You’ll be seduced by their intriguing exhibitions.

If you have been bitten by the travel bug (we know you have, dear Erasmus friends) then you’ll already know that Madrid is the central point of Spain’s. This means that it’s in a perfect location if you plan on taking little weekend trips around the peninsula. Valencia, Málaga, San Sebastián, Barcelona… SPAIN ROCKS!

But let’s face it. Even if you do visit all there is to see in Spain, we KNOW you’ll be eager to get back to Madrid, ready to grab some cañas and croquetas with your Erasmus fam!

THE (HAPPY) END

Our dearest Erasmus friends. The most important thing to always remember is that life is to be lived to the fullest, as we only have one life to live (or YOLO, as the hipsters say). Your Erasmus experience will FLY BY, trust us. You gotta make the most of absolutely every single moment and opportunity that arises in your new city, and have the utmost best experience that’s humanly possible.

Our shared priority is this: to make sure that all your hard work, academically and economically speaking, pays off and that you all take a little piece of Madrid (its food, its people, its history, craziness, culture, language and all its charm )back with you in your hearts.

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