Aryan, a fifth-year student from Nepal, sits down to chat with Caio, a fourth-year from Brazil. They discuss their motivations for studying at IE University, what attracted them to the Dual Degree in Business Administration + International Relations, what it was like to move to Spain and advice on living in Segovia and Madrid.

In a recent Zoom call, fifth-year dual degree student Aryan chatted with fourth-year Caio to share some stories of their experiences transitioning to life at IE University and moving to Spain from abroad. They discuss their individual experiences and the insight they’ve gained over the past few years.

For both Caio and Aryan, the decision to come to IE University in the first place was easy, because, in Caio’s words, it “offered the best of both worlds.” The Dual Degree in Business Administration + International Relations gave him the unique opportunity to combine his two areas of interest and become a multidisciplinary professional. Graduates of this program leave IE University with two separate degrees and the skills needed to succeed in a variety of roles. 

Coming from so far away might seem like it would have been challenging, not least because of the learning curve involved with living on your own for the first time. From adjusting to living on your own to making your space feel like home, it takes time to become settled into the pattern of university life.  Fortunately, IE University was always there to lend a helping hand and facilitate the transition. Caio and Aryan both thank the Mentorship Society in particular, which links incoming students with upper-year students to assist them in becoming accustomed to their new life in Spain. 

Living in student housing is another way to soften the impact of transitioning to life as an independent adult. As Caio explains, student residences can act as an in-between step from the comforts of living at home with your family to suddenly managing everything—cooking, cleaning and so on—on your own. Plus, living in student housing means that there are plenty of friendly faces around and the chance to forge new friendships. Once you’ve gotten into the swing of things during this transition, it’s easier to move into an apartment with the friends you’ve made. 

For Aryan, moving to Spain posed additional challenges due to visa processes and an unlucky bout of illness that kept him from participating in the welcome events of the first few weeks on campus. Nonetheless, he cites the numerous events held on the Segovia campus later on as great ways of getting to know the city and fellow students. “The university holds a lot of events. It’s worth it to go to them and meet people.”

Regarding moving to Madrid, Caio has several key pieces of information to share. As someone who enjoys the “frenzy” and “intensity” of the city, Caio appreciates the size and diversity of Madrid. The city is stimulating and inviting, with bustling streets and “life that happens outdoors,” waiting for you to join in. Websites like Idealista offer a great place to start apartment-hunting. In addition, the ease of accessing public transportation—unlimited passes for students cost only 20 euros per month—means that the whole of the city is within reach, producing the sensation that “you’re always moving, you’re always going somewhere, you’re always doing something.” 

Compared to Segovia, Caio says, where the whole town feels integrated into IE University’s campus, the campus in Madrid is its own portion of the city, and the rest of the city is outside the bubble of university life, waiting to be explored and lived. The range of reasons drawing people to Madrid makes it easy to make new friends outside of classes and campus life, allowing students to further broaden their networks. 

What’s more, students are spoiled for choice because of the city’s diversity, with activities for every interest and restaurants for every taste. For students preparing to move to Madrid, Caio has the following advice: “Try everything and do everything.” Students should make the most of the opportunities that the city brims with and be unafraid to practice Spanish to meet new people.  Another important tip Caio shares is the importance of packing light! University students often move multiple times over the course of their program, whether that be going from student housing to a private apartment or moving between Segovia and Madrid. Only bringing the essentials will make moving less stressful.

Aryan, on the other hand, shares his own insight regarding moving to and living in Segovia. Beyond echoing the importance of being open to new experiences and making the most of the opportunities available, Aryan notes that having a basic level of Spanish to build on helps students to become better immersed in the local culture.

Despite the difficulties of relocating, Caio and Aryan remember their start at IE University fondly, recalling the excitement of new friendships and the promise of limitless opportunities in the years to come. IE University is there every step of the way to help students transition into their new lives and to offer support wherever and however needed.