Looking out the window over Spain as the plane was landing was so surreal. I had dreamt about this moment for 3 years. The first thing I noticed was that there were a lot more trees and open spaces than I was expecting. Arriving at the area around the residence, there were more modern streets than I was expecting. I came in with the expectation of cobblestone streets and historic buildings everywhere. However, I did learn that those expectations were a reality just a short metro ride (or a long walk) away and I soon appreciated the area the residence is in. There were plenty of shops, restaurants, metro stations, and things to do but did not have the crowded tourist feel as the cobblestone street areas. Madrid quickly became a home away from home. The workers at the residence were so friendly, lively, and both of our faces would light up seeing each other. The owners of a nearby restaurant became our “second parents” in Spain. Friendships, laughter, and happiness soon filled my life in Madrid. I learned so much in my classes, while having fun and building friendships. We were able to talk a lot to our teacher about differences between the United States and Spain. One big one we found out is the grading scale. In Spain, a 7 (70) is considered a really good grade and 9 (90s) are pretty uncommon. It was so neat to take a Spanish civilization class while being in Spain because a lot of the information was relevant. I got to see rivers we learned about, paintings of Kings we talked about, and eat the traditional food that I could now tell you all the ingredients of. It made the material so much more enjoyable to be able to see it and experience it in person. Studying Spanish in Spain has been one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences.