The enchanting, lively capital city of Spain - Madrid is without a doubt one of the best places to study or intern abroad. With its rich culture and history, incredible food, and reputation as a nightlife hotspot, who wouldn't choose Madrid?

Here are the top five tips to surviving your Madrid abroad adventure:

1)    The Metro is Everything. While many cities in Europe have great public transportation, Madrid's metro system is definitely one of the best. It is simple and very easy to get used to, even for those who are not familiar public transportation as there are signs and maps everywhere for guidance. The metro stations are extremely clean and safe at any hour of the day and night. Operating from 6:00 am to 1:30am, the various train lines will quickly and efficiently get people where they need to go. This makes getting from home to work, to the airport, to the various restaurants and tourist destinations, and back home after a wild night out, as easy as pie. I would suggest getting a metro card and understanding the train lines as soon as possible after arriving in Madrid.

2)    Tinto de Verano vs. Sangria! Everyone who has visited any city in Spain knows how important the drinks Tinto de Verano and Sangria are to the locals and tourists. Tinto de Verano is a simpler version of sangria with lemonade and red wine. It is the local's favorite as it is less expensive than Sangria and is simply delicious on a hot, summer day in Madrid. Sangria, on the other hand, is known as the tourists' drink because of its high price. It is much stronger and sweeter than a Tinto and is filled with chopped fruit. While everyone has their preferences, in my opinion, the clearly winner is the Tinto! The most authentic best versions of these drinks are of course found in cities in Spain like Madrid and must be tried!

3)    Puerto del Sol is the Heart & Soul of Madrid. One of the most important places in all of Madrid is Puerto del Sol, also referred to often times as simply 'Sol'. Many metro lines lead right to the center square of Sol as the area is filled with beautiful architecture, boutiques, and delicious, world famous restaurants like 'Chocolateria San Ginés' (which has the best Churros and Chocolate in all of Spain). Sol is also nightlife center within Madrid as many incredible clubs and bars surround the area. Whether one is simply strolling through the bustling side streets, or people watching in the square full of tourists, locals and interesting artists performing tricks for money, or even just trying out the local food and drink options, it will become clear why Sol is the thriving heart of Madrid. 

4)    Learn and Try to Speak Spanish. In many other study/intern abroad destinations, learning the language or coming in with at least some basic language skills is not required. However, this is not the case in Madrid. Despite being a cosmopolitan city, many in Madrid simply do not speak English that well. Although many do have a basic grasp of English, they do not go out of their way to speak the language for a various reasons. Therefore it is extremely important to have some basic understanding of the Spanish language or at least really try hard to learn it once one has arrived in Madrid. In order to successfully navigate the city, interact and make new friends and even to carry out basic actions like ordering food, learning and understanding Spanish is crucial. 

5)    Keep an Open Mind! No matter what country one is visiting from, Madrid will be somewhat of a culture shock. The people are a little bit more laid back, and social interactions are of extreme importance, as you will rarely ever see people eating out or participating in activities alone. Soccer is a way of life as many in the city are simply obsessed with the two major clubs: Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid. Despite the differences from one's hometown, everyone should embrace the soccer culture, try the local food and drink, enjoy the gorgeous rooftop bars and fun nightlife atmosphere and ultimately break past one's comfort zone. Madrid is truly a city filled with hidden jewels and each individual must explore and adventure without fear through this fascinating city to get the best from it. 

- 'De Madrid al Cielo' - From Madrid to Heaven