When starting a new chapter as a first-year university student, there’s a lot of talk about classes, extracurricular activities, campus life… But there seems to be an elephant in the room: what’s the dating scene like?

Well, fear not! At IE University, we want to give you the inside scoop into what it’s like meeting people and dating while studying, whether you’re based in Madrid or Segovia. And it only makes sense to give you insights straight from those who have experienced it: our students and alumni.

Here are their top tips for meeting that special someone as a studen

Be casual

Everyone has different dating styles and preferences, but for Célestine Diaz, a French second-year Bachelor in Business Administration student, dating is best done casually.

“My ideal date would be to go up to the hills for a little picnic. You take your speaker, a little wine, and you just have a chat during sunset. Yeah, I think it’s the perfect date for me—it’s casual, it’s nice and it’s pretty natural.”

Célestine adds

Turkish-Spanish Bachelor in Business Administration student Roberto Sokmen agrees, adding, “For a first date, I wouldn’t recommend the rooftops. It’s kind of formal for a first date, but maybe it’s a good choice for a second or third or fourth date.” Roberto recommends something fun like go-karting or visiting a museum, or simply taking a stroll outdoors.

Be yourself

Dating can be nerve-wracking. You want to put your best foot forward and make a good impression. But putting too much pressure on yourself can sabotage your efforts.

Bachelor in Communications and Digital Media Alum Malaka Badr, born in Egypt and raised in the US, tells us: “Don’t stress about it being perfect or your date liking you. I definitely used to worry a lot and have a lot of anxiety towards it. But, when it’s the right person or when it’s the right situation, and when it’s meant to be, it’s going to be the easiest process.”

Jordanian fourth-year student Tara Hinnawi emphasizes that this feeling is normal: “The other person is also as stressed as you are, so it’s not just you. Just take it easy and enjoy! Life is too short.” What it comes down to is being yourself—the authentic you, no frills added.

Be original

It’s easy to take your date to the most popular bar in town, where everybody knows your name and you know the menu by heart. But you’ll impress them much more if you find a special gem a bit more off the beaten track.

Célestine tells us that in Segovia, “I wouldn’t go to Juan Bravo, because it’s the bar where most IE University students go. Instead, I would go to another bar in the Plaza Mayor, such as La Concepción. I also really like the restaurant Pasapan because it’s nice and has good food, or for Italian food, Da Mario.”

Sala Equis, in Madrid, so cool. It’s like a movie theater slash bar. The vibes are really cool. It’s not too loud so you can still have a conversation with your date. I would definitely pick a date there, it’s one of my favorite places to go with my boyfriend right now.”

Malaka recommends

Malaka also clued us in about a Lebanese spot in Madrid called Makan, where “so many people meet so many people, from IE University and all over the world. The owner is named Alex. He’s like a dating guru. He’s better than Tinder. He introduces you to like 10 million people a day. If you walk into his shop and you see him there….he’s going to try to set you up with someone, for sure.”

Be safe

While both Madrid and Segovia are extremely safe cities, it’s always good to use precaution when meeting someone new for the first time. Célestine tells us her safety tips for Segovia: “If I met someone on an app, I would feel safer going to a place where I can be seen and where there are a lot of people around, like the Plaza Mayor.”

“Make sure you’re comfortable and you know exactly where you’re going. It’s also never a bad idea to let a friend know where you’ll go and when you’ll be home!¨

Tara concludes