After studying at both the Madrid and Segovia campuses of IE University, Bachelor in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Economics student, Marie-Therese Burkard, offers a unique perspective of having experienced the best of both worlds. She shares her experiences, contrasting the peaceful nature of Segovia with the fast-paced lifestyle of Madrid. Marie-Therese’s experience is a shining example that IE University has numerous opportunities for its students, no matter which campus you attend.

My name is Marie-Therese Burkard and I am doing the Bachelor in Philosophy, Politics, Law and Economics at IE University. I have had the amazing opportunity of studying in both the Segovia campus and the classrooms at IE Tower in Madrid. Studying at both campuses afforded me the opportunity to two different, but amazing experiences.

Marie-Therese Burkard

I loved studying in Segovia, but it’s funny because I nearly didn’t go there. I went to boarding school in Oxford before coming to IE University, and I was not sold on going to a small town after leaving a small town in England. But I took the risk because I liked the look of IE University so much, and that risk paid off immensely. I am so thankful because I enjoyed Segovia so much. Segovia has so many good qualities and so many things to do—from being in nature to seeing the amazing history everywhere you go.

I never thought of myself as a nature person, but I appreciated being in Segovia and walking everywhere. There are so many parks and the views are incredible. Trips to the mountains or the lakes were so much fun. My favorite place to go was the top of a hill near Plaza Mayor during sunset. Picture this: you are on a hill watching the sun set and there’s a swirl of colors from pink, purple and orange. The cathedral is in the background and the Spanish-style buildings make for a perfect setting.

I also loved going to Plaza Mayor and having a coffee or a glass of wine and people-watching. On the weekends, my friends and I would go to Shout, a bar in the center of town. The owners were hilarious characters who always encouraged everyone to have a blast and enjoy their time there. The best part of going there was that I would always bump into someone I knew, every time. 

I see Segovia as a community that is more familial, which made the town so charming and friendly. And as someone who is not a morning person, I dreaded going to class in the mornings. But Segovia definitely made mornings so much better. I always walked from my apartment to the campus, passing by the beautiful cathedral and Plaza Mayor, stopping to get a coffee and an empanada. It really was the highlight of my day. And the Segovia campus is just steeped with rich history. It used to be a monastery and a prison, among other things. To me, it was so eye-opening to study in a place that was so beautiful. For two years it was perfect. If you love history, architecture, nature, and a familial environment then Segovia is the place to be.

After two years at the Segovia campus, I wanted to change things up a bit, and I decided to attend classes at the IE Tower in Madrid, instead. I actually packed my bags quite sadly, and hung around for a couple more weeks visiting all my favorite places one last time, before I moved to the metropolis. 

A city of more than three million people, Madrid sure has a different vibe than Segovia. Because it’s such a big city, I’ve had to become more organized and plan out my days. The commute to IE Tower is longer than my walk in Segovia, but never dull and boring. Even though I don’t run into people I know all the time, I have some friends from the Segovia campus here and we hang out. I’m lucky to live near the city center of Madrid, near Sol, in a cute neighborhood called Barrio de las Letras, where all the artists and writers used to live. The area is slightly away from the hustle and bustle, but still has charming restaurants and a lot of livelihood. 

Adapting to a new city, especially one as big as Madrid, was an interesting trajectory for me. It was a bit overwhelming at first, so I recommend you don’t put a lot of pressure on your everyday life. Take time for yourself; there’s so much to do in Madrid and taking it easy can really help you out. But I have found so much joy in Madrid because I have the option of doing anything from taking in a museum or going bowling to walking in Retiro park. The perks of living in a big city are paramount, but the best part can be right outside your doorstep when you explore the different neighborhoods or have a relaxing coffee with a friend.

Both campuses offer an abundance of opportunities to grow as a student. I enjoyed my first two years in Segovia, getting to know everyone and creating an experience that I was used to. It was a nice transition from boarding school to uni life. And so far, I have enjoyed my time in Madrid. It’s a different experience, one that feels more like your working life is going to be. Madrid is a place where you grow up fast, but one that I love because of the variety that it offers every day.