Article author Daena D’Oliveira

Winter is coming to Madrid – or at least, I hope so and that this is not still autumn. It’s getting cold! What a month ago was the easiest thing, getting up in the morning, is steadily getting more and more difficult as it is still dark at 8am. In Section 1, the majority of our days start with a workgroup meeting. In my group, we arrive armed with coffee and tea and are each bundled up before we are awake enough to realise the air-conditioning is set to the perfect temperature and get down to work. I would suppose that when I think about a typical day, this meeting is filled with discussion and disagreements as we try to come to some kind of consensus. Navigating the socio-cultural environment that is set up by these groups is getting easier with each passing day. We know more about each other, about our preferences, the way that each person works. Arguably, by the time we are finally completely used to working together, we are going to be close to the end of the period… and our groups will change! 

Inevitably, we are so absorbed in our discussion that we run out of time and need to head to class. Theoretically, we have 3 lecture sessions each day. They last 80 minutes each with 10 minute breaks in between. Our classes range from Marketing and Organisational Behaviour to Quantitative Methods and Financial Accounting. We discuss and disagree as the lecturer’s role shifts from educator to facilitator. Here, our difference in backgrounds, both academically and culturally is the most apparent. 

Surprisingly, the sections do not cross paths throughout the day. The only times during the day when we see our friends from other sections is if we chose to grab lunch all together, with the restaurants close to campus being popular choices. As is often the case, and like is said at home “magies vol, ogies toe,” and its siesta!  Some people go home to sleep for a while, or take advantage of some downtime before getting back to work later in the evening. Personally, that time is spent keeping in touch with those at home, sometimes going to the gym or doing other things that simply need doing (like grocery shopping). For me, this is my favourite time of the day. My roommates and I sit together and chat about our day, make some dinner and spend the evening winding down. It has made me appreciate our differences and everyday brings something new – whether it is American candy or delving further into our different ways of talking. We keep finding more things that we are big fans of, and things that could not be more vastly different. I think these girls will be my friends for a long time to come. In due time, out come readings and our dining room table becomes the platform for discussion and exchanging opinions and ideas. I know that many of my classmates go to Maria de Molina 31 and take advantage of the big open space and feed off everyone working around them. For me, I enjoy the change of pace from actually being on campus to being at home. It allows the day to slowly wind down before the sun rises through the shutters on a new day and its own new set of experiences.

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