Departing from the United States
Even for seasoned travelers, leaving the United States can be stressful. Here are a few tips to make your departure go much more smoothly:
- Before leaving, make sure you have the address and neighborhood of the school, as well as your house or your apartment. Have the addresses printed out on Google Maps or a similar mapping program.
- Plan to arrive in Madrid at least one day before classes begin.
- Travel with your fellow students (especially if you are going to be living with them). When purchasing your tickets, make sure you are on the same flights if possible.
- Check the U.S. Department of State website to (i) determine whether there are visa requirements for entering the country of destination (as of the date of this content, there are none applicable for Spain), and (ii) review any travel information the State Department has identified for the country of destination. Prepare all your travel documents beforehand, and make at least two photocopies of your travel documents, as well as your travel itinerary. Leave one complete set of copies with a family member or trusted friend who will remain in the United States, and take one set with you that you keep separate from your original documentation.
- Check the luggage weight requirements on the airport’s website before you leave. And remember, you will probably be returning with souvenirs, so make sure you have a way to bring it all back.
- Know where your passport is at all times prior to and during your trip to the airport, while traveling, and during your stay in country.
Arriving in Madrid
What to do at the airport
When you land at the airport, you will need to take either the Metro or a taxi to your house or apartment. Both the taxis and the Metro station are found at the airport itself.
Getting to your house or apartment
Taxi vs. Metro
- Takes you directly to where you need to go.
- To many, a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of travel.
- Madrid is a big city, and a taxi from the airport could become very expensive and slow.
- Possible language barrier can be intimidating at first.
- Significantly cheaper
- Easy to figure out.
- Good practice.
- You will be carrying all of your luggage with you.
Finding your Apartment or House
- If you are living with a host family
- If you have decided to live with a host family, you will have been in contact with them well-ahead of your arrival. They will normally pick you up at the airport, or give you very good instructions on how to get to your new home. The families affiliated with the program are very experienced in this regard, so you will be in good hands.
- The easiest way to find your apartment is by printing out a Google map with your address on it. The map should be zoomed out enough to cover a sizeable section of the city, and with the aid of the marker and address, the driver will be able to find it very easily.
- If you know the neighborhood’s name (“Distrito”), that should be good enough for the driver for a majority of the trip. Madrid is an extremely old city, and the Distritos [WPJ: something seems to be missing here.] Once you arrive in the proper neighborhood, that is when you will need the street and house number.
- The Metro’s website allows you to type in the addresses and print out detailed, step-by-step directions to your destination. Again, it is very helpful for you to print it out before leaving the United States, together with any other maps, and carry them with you.
- At the airport, you will find the Metro station. You will have to insert a few Euros at one of the ticket machines. The ticket will allow you to make as many transfers as you need until you exit a station above ground.
- This is Line 8, which is color-coded Pink. It will take you towards the center of the city. It is intersected by other lines, all of which will take you to a station that is a short walk to your apartment or house.
- Each station you stop at will have stairways, escalators, and signs that point you exactly to where you need to go to either catch your next ride or exit out onto the street.
- If you miss your ride, don’t worry. The next one will be coming only a few short minutes later, because they run with very high frequency.
- If you are on the train, but forget to get off, don’t worry. You can easily get off at the next stop, walk around to the other side, and catch the next train going back without having to buy another ticket or wait very long.
Finding the School
- The school is located at this address:
Saint Louis University-Madrid Campus
Av Valle, 34, 28003 Madrid, Spain
- Following the Metro instructions above, locate the Metro station called “Guzman el Bueno.” This is the closest station to the school, and any Taxi driver will know exactly where to take you if you mention it by name. Print out the Printable Version of the map below to follow a very short walk to the school. Following this path, the campus will be on your right (the north side of the street).
- There are multiple entries to the school, which is comprised of several buildings behind a gate. On the outer walls, you will clearly see the SLU insignia so that you know you are in the right place.