Journey with Jill: A Day in the Life

Authored by:
Jilliann S.

Jilliann S.

Meet Jill

Name: Jilliann Simms 
Hometown: Littleton, Colorado 
School: University of Colorado at Boulder  
Study Abroad: Open Campus
         Madrid, Spain: Block 1 (01/08 - 02/17) & Block 2                    (02/19 - 03/30)
         Berlin, Germany: Block 3 (04/02 - 05/12)
Exchange Period: Spring 2018 

Living in a different country can be intimidating for some. It pushes us to step outside our comfort zones and try to create a normal life. After spending 5 months abroad in Madrid and Berlin, I now consider them to be my homes away from home. Follow my typical day below to see how I found comfort in the uncomfortable.


I would wake up and get ready for class.


I rode the Metro to the CIEE Madrid Global Institute (GI) located at the Sevilla station. My commute lasted around 20 minutes on the red line.


I spent the mornings before class at local cafes to grab a coffee, espresso, or croissant. When I was homesick, I would run to the Starbucks right around the corner from the Madrid GI.

Espresso and a cookie at Vacaciones, Madrid

12:30 - 15:30

I attended my first class. I was enrolled in "Positive Psychology" during my first block and "Contemporary Controversies in International Relations" my second.

15:30 - 16:00

Between my classes, I took a quick break for lunch or an afternoon snack. Since the CIEE Madrid GI is located between two major Metro stops (Sol and Gran Via) there were many places for us to grab tapas.

Lunch at Frutas Prohibidas

16:00 - 19:00

After grabbing a quick snack, I went back to the GI to study "Sports and Recreation Business in Spain". For my second block, I created a business plan in my "Art Business and the Management of Creative Industries in Madrid".

Santiago Bernabéu Stadium

During my time in Madrid, I was able to create personal relationships with the professors and classmates. CIEE provided multiple opportunities for us to learn outside the classroom during excursions. A few of the places we toured were: the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, the Santiago Bernabéu Fútbol Stadium and the Sorolla Museum Madrid.


At the end of the day, I took the Metro home to the Chamberí neighborhood. I lived in a fully furnished, three-bedroom apartment complete with a living room, kitchen and bathroom.


The rest of my evenings would be spent at the gym, doing homework, or enjoying time with my roommates. When I needed to get out of the apartment, my favorite places to study were Wanda Optimismo, 1000 Cups Café, Vacaciones and Mamá Elba Heladería.


By 21:00, I would begin cooking dinner and then settle down for a movie night with my roommates.

I only had classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I spent Mondays and Wednesdays exploring and sightseeing, or catching up on school work and projects. I was also able to take a few day trips including one to Toledo. 

Jill's Must See Sights in Madrid

  •  Plaza Mayor 
  •  Mercado de San Miguel 
  • Retiro park - Rent rollerblades to ride through the park, go boating in the lake and explore the Crystal Palace 
Inside the Crystal Palace
  • Museums - You can spend countless hours in the Prado Museum
  • Royal Palace of Madrid  
Sabatini Gardens at the Royal Palace of Madrid
  • Almudena Cathedral 
  • Temple of Debod 
  • Chocolateria San Gines  

While I spent many weekends traveling around Madrid, I also made sure to leave and see the rest of Spain. Some of my favorite weekend trips included Seville, Valencia, and Granada

During my third block, I spent my time studying in Berlin, Germany. The two classes I took were "Jewish in Germany – Migration, Integration, and Identity" and "German Cinema: Berlin on Screen". When I wasn’t in class, I spent my time exploring the city of Berlin. Whether it was standing in line for a Döner at the famous Mustafas Gemüse Kebap, spending the afternoon eating lunch and lounging in Viktoriapark, or learning the history of while walking along the East Side Gallery and Museum island, there was so much to explore. After 3 blocks abroad, I returned with 18 credits towards graduation.

Jill and Sarah in Viktoriapark in Berlin, Germany

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