What I Did in Madrid
Estefi Acuna Lacarieri
Majors: Political Science & Communication
Past Madrid Student Ambassadors
I primarily chose to study in Madrid because of the language pledge. For years I had been interested in immigration issues, and by the end of my sophomore year at Stanford I knew that if I wanted to work for organizations which help people trying to navigate the U.S. immigration system, I would need to take my Spanish skills to another level.
I learned how much I value creativity while studying abroad. First, I took an art class, which was completely uncharted territory. Although it was labor intensive, I enjoyed trying to recreate some of the most iconic artists' works or working on an original piece.
Cecilia Atkins - Fall 2018-19
The language pledge was challenging to stick to at first, but really brought the entire experience into focus. My Spanish improved dramatically, and using it everyday in academic and non-academic settings helped me move around the city with ease.
Carlos Bustos - Spring 2018-19
I think it's important to have a balance of traveling with spending time in the city that you choose to study abroad in. Some of my best weekends were the ones that I spent in Madrid and I think that although traveling to other parts of Europe was fun, I don't think you should come in with the expectation that every weekend is going to be a travel weekend. I realized this about a week into my study abroad experience and it made my experience in Madrid exponentially better.
Ana Cabrera (Public Policy) - Spring 2017-18
In Madrid I was able to take classes that I did not have the chance to take on campus such as a history class, and a flamenco class. On campus I was always worrying about checking off something in my major’s requirements, and being in Madrid allowed me to disconnect from that mentality and take classes that I really loved without checking a four year plan beforehand.
Alli Emge (History) - Autumn 2017-18
One of my primary goals was to improve my fluency in Spanish. Since the students participating in the Madrid program sign a pledge to only speak in Spanish, this goal was an easy one to meet.
Aaron Aquino (Computer Science) - Spring 2016-17
As a CS major, I had spent every quarter at Stanford so far taking at least one CS course. Consequently, studying in Madrid was a nice break from the techy grind and allowed me to focus fully on my Spanish minor, which involved taking courses related to Spanish culture, language/writing, and history.
Sam Schwager (Mathematical and Computational Science) - Autumn 2016-17
The process of adapting to a completely new situation turned out to be a ton of fun, and I greatly appreciate the independence I developed throughout the experience. Most of all, I learned that I’m capable of being self-sufficient to an extent I wasn’t aware of before going abroad, a lesson I’ll carry with me well beyond my time at Stanford.
Belinda Esqueda (Biology) - Spring 2015-16
I got to explore courses and topics that I had not had the chance to explore because of my major. I also made the decision to minor in Spanish as a result of my academic experiences in Madrid and have as a result continued to explore interests on campus.
Nina Donaldson (Environmental Systems Engineering) - Spring 2015-16
The Madrid program would fully immerse me in the language (we had a Spanish only language pledge 100% of the time) and expose me to the culture even more through the home-stay system.
Kelly Hernandez (Political Science) - Winter 2014-15
Having the opportunity to live and study in Madrid was beyond exciting for me; to be at the site where Federico Garcia Lorca wrote Canciones,where Picasso’s piece Guernicais displayed, and experience the rich diversity of culture in the heart of Spain would be incredible.
Grace Laboy (Communications) - Fall & Winter 2014-15
As a double major at Stanford, I don't have room for many classes outside my majors, and the Madrid program allowed me to explore and take classes that I wouldn't have been able to take otherwise.
Max Johnson (International Relations) - Spring 2013-14
Spain is dealing with a lot of the most pertinent issues facing political scientists and foreign policy thinkers; immigration, health care, economic recession, unemployment, Islamism, and trade reform. Anyone studying social sciences will without a doubt appreciate using Madrid as a case-study.
Katie Delahunt (English) - Autumn and Winter 2013-14
Madrid ultimately stood out to me because of its rigorous Spanish language requirement. After studying Spanish in classrooms for six years, I felt that my learning had plateaued, and a full-immersion program would be the next step towards fluency. Although I’d visited Europe in the past, I’d never been to Spain, and I was eager to experience European culture and history from a new perspective.