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Clare Jarrad

Clare took the opportunity to develop her language skills during her time studying overseas as part of her BA (Hons) Business Studies course.

“I chose Madrid for obvious reasons; warmer climate, siestas and fiestas to name a few. However I was also really keen to learn a language and Spanish being so widely spoken seemed ideal.

Madrid is the capital but far less touristy than other cities in Spain but it still boasts lots of fantastic sights and history. Also, Madrid being right in the centre of Spain means it's perfectly situated to explore other Spanish cities and destinations on the weekends as pretty much everywhere can be reached in four hours or less!”

Immersing herself in the language and culture really helped Clare to improve her skills, and she urges others not to be scared of trying something new.

“I was pretty much a novice at speaking Spanish when I arrived in Madrid. However, don't let not speaking the language put you off! For the first few months it was a struggle, particularly as English isn't as widely spoken in Madrid compared to other Spanish tourist destinations. I enrolled on an evening course and by the end of my time in Spain, I was capable of getting by and operational in the language - although only at a basic level!”

And learning a new language wasn’t the only thing she took away from her experiences.

“Not only was my time in Madrid the best time of my life, but it also helped me to grow and develop as a person. My confidence has increased dramatically as I never thought I'd be capable of making a new life for myself in a foreign country.

“Learning a new language and exploring a different culture was also eye-opening and if nothing else has at least made me a more interesting person with a better global perspective. It's inspired me to want to travel more when I finish university and changed my priorities when it comes to finding a future job. The Spanish approach to administration has also forced me to take a more relaxed approach and not to get so stressed.

Finally, it has also made me determined to embrace my time at university and make the most of the opportunities it provides.”