During your first few weeks at IE University, there can be a lot to take in. With so much going on, so much to organize, and a new city to get to know, it can be easy to miss something that would enrich your experience.
Caio Emanuel Marques, a Brazilian-Spanish Business Administration and International Relations student about to start his fourth year, told us what he wishes he’d known before he started at IE University’s Segovia campus.
What do you wish you’d known when starting uni in Segovia?
I wish I’d known a little bit more about how all the clubs are structured. I knew IE University offered a wide variety of options, and that one would definitely suit me, but I didn’t really know how things worked.
I think it’s helpful to know that the clubs are grouped under five main areas: Professional, Social & Community, IEU Athletics Clubs, Arts, and Geography. Within those areas, you’ll find sustainability clubs, a club for your country or group of countries, the Women in Business Club, the Debate Club, the Out & Allies Club, the Coding Club, the Theater Club, many sports clubs and so on.
There are so many options, and the best way to find out which ones you want to join is to attend the Club Fair that happens in the beginning of the year. Most clubs host very interesting events throughout the entire year, and for many of them you don’t even have to be a member to join in. The best way to keep yourself up to date with these events is to check the Campus Groups app or the weekly newsletter that Campus Life produces.
I had a clearer idea of what to expect here, as I thought it would have a fairly similar structure to any other university. I was mostly right: there is a professor at the front and students sit facing them. What makes IE University so different is that classes are very small—I have never seen a class with more than 45 people, and most of the time there are only about 25.
This creates a very nice space for anyone to share ideas and involve themselves in debates, both of which are highly encouraged by professors. Expressing my opinion in a class full of people I had never even seen before was a little strange at first, but after a month it all became easier.
Every professor at IE University follows a different methodology, meaning that each professor will use their own background and preferences and apply these to their classes. However, they’re always willing to help no matter what arises, and you can always email a professor or schedule a meeting if you have any doubts. Because the classes are so small, they end up knowing a lot about students and really give a lot of feedback for improvement on essays if you ask them. One thing that is especially true for the Business Administration side of my degree is that all professors follow a common syllabus and set a common exam in the end. This means that all students will learn about the same stuff no matter which professor they have.
Students at IE University are generally very open-minded and can talk about any subject that you bring to the table. Many of them come from international backgrounds and have lived in two or more countries, but there is a significant portion of them that come from one country only. It’s true that everyone’s mentality is super international and open in line with the values of IE University. It’s fun to see how people interact or behave differently in class because they had different backgrounds growing up, but it all converges into amazing ideas and discussions.
Residences and apartments
This is the part that affected me the hardest when I first joined IE University. I lived in a residence because, honestly, I wasn’t ready to take care of myself in every aspect. So, I decided first to learn how to do laundry and create a routine, and then in the second year how to cook and clean a house by myself.
This method worked for me and I became independent, to the point that going back and living with my family has become a little stressful because we each do things our own way now! In my second year, I decided to move in with two friends. Unfortunately it turned out that living together could be a very stressful experience, and it can either build a strong friendship or ruin one. So, my advice here is to make sure you and the people you will live with have similar routines and habits to avoid stress.
There are many opportunities around campus that no one will tell you about. But if you’re interested in finding out more about what’s going on, there are lots of different channels. Just keep an eye out and you will see how things work out.
What would you recommend to students when they come to university for the first time?
My recommendation would be to first take a walk around your apartment or residence, and around IE University, to do a “field recognition.” Find out what there is around you and near the university. This can come very handy when you’re stressed out because of an essay due the next day, haven’t eaten anything, it’s 11 p.m. and you need to ask a friend or neighbor for some pasta sauce. Trust me!
I’d also recommend knowing where some of the tourist spots are, and even some places you can hang out with some friends. Figure out public transportation—trust me on this one! Your student budget will thank you at the end of the month if you know about the €20 unlimited monthly rides subscription pass that Madrid offers for people under 26 years old.
Main experiences in Segovia
Segovia is a lovely city, located in the mountains. Most IE University students stay around Casco Viejo, the city’s downtown. This is where you’ll spend most of your time as well, because this is where all the best student hangout spots are. However, there’s much to do around the city as well. For example, if you and your friends fancy a picnic, then try going to the mountains behind Casa de la Moneda, or if you like to go for a run, then try some alternative routes around Segovia to discover more. Walk around the city center, frequent the small shops, and make friends with the locals—they’re very nice and it provides you with a great opportunity to practice your Spanish.
Recommendations for students coming to Segovia in future
My recommendation is to really try to plan some time to visit some of the touristic attractions there are in Segovia, such as the cathedral and the Alcázar. I was surprised by how many students would suggest these plans without ever going in the end. Also, make sure you know what’s going around you! Don’t miss any opportunity that you might be interested in, and most importantly, have fun during your university experience.
- Be yourself and relax, everything will go well for you.
- Don’t waste opportunities because you were too lazy to search for them! Take advantage of all the resources IE University offers you. There are plenty that will help you, either in your studies or in a job search.
- Enjoy nature; you’ll miss it when you move to Madrid.
- Plan ahead for exams and assignments—it will truly make a difference when you’re torn between studying the last set of slides for a final the next day or trying to get some sleep.
It may seem daunting at first—it certainly was for Caio. But his positive and determined attitude, so typical of the IE University community, found him settling in and enjoying his IE University experience immensely. His useful advice will certainly help anybody following in his footsteps to make the most of both their academic experience and their new cities.