Erasmus+ internship gave me an opportunity to conduct a research work in Spain, and to learn much about the culture of this sunny country.
My internship was carried out at the University of Carlos III in Madrid (Universidaad Carlos III de Madrid). This University is a state educational institution that takes the first place by the number of students involved in international programs. It was founded in 1989 but has already claimed to be in top 20 of the World’s best Universities by now. The University resides in 4 different campuses. The technical sciences one, my campus, is located in Leganes, Madrid region, and the main one, of social sciences, is located in Getafe. The time between these two centers is 20 minutes if going by bus.
How to win a scholarship?
First, you need to find an appropriate department and seek for the email of its Head. Mine was the Department of Thermal and Fluid Engineering.
The next step is to get the invitation from the University. To make a correspondence, you should bring in your CV and the letter of recommendation, as well as the contacts of the University’s coordinators.
When the invitation is received and the contest is set, you need to fill in the forms and upload the documents on the website. The most important one is the Learning Agreement where the information about the research and the motivation letter is given.
You need to give a set of the documents to the consulate, as well as the received invitation where all the finance and accommodation data is given. You apply for the National visa type D, up to six months. In my case, the visa was given in two weeks after the application.
P.S. Do not repeat my mistakes, there’s no need to prepare the medical and police clearance.
Searching for accommodation
University offers the accommodation in three hostels. I gave an online application in the first day of apply for the next semester, and was given a cheapest offer of a room for 675 € which I rejected. Then I was searching on the Spanish websites such as Idealista and Fotocasa.
There I had found a room that I would be sharing for a month with a Colombian guy at Usera for 275€ that was not far from the campus, and in the next 4 months I was renting a room in Getafe for 280€ including all the expenses.
First days of arrival
On the very first day in Spain I met my scientific supervisor and was given a study room along with other postgraduates.
At the beginning, you need to open the bank account. I chose the Santander bank that is presented in every campus of the University. For opening the account, you need to have the evidence of your residence in Madrid, account on Booking or the agreement between you and the landlord. I did the latter by the example received from the bank department. In two or three weeks I was given the first part of the scholarship, 70% of the amount. Thus, you need to have the money for the first month of your staying, around 400-500€.
Later, you can find out where to make a student’s bank card, the bank office.
If you want to change something in the Learning Agreement, it is necessary to be done in the first two weeks after your arrival and you to send the information to the coordinator of the Madrid University.
The public transport of Madrid is well-developed, i.e. you can get from the University to the center of the city in 20 minutes. If you are younger than 26, you can get a unique transport card. To activate it you need to pay 20€ monthly and that allows you to use all the public transport of Madrid for granted.
It should be ordered in advance on this website: https://tarjetatransportepublico.crtm.es.
This card helps to visit the beautiful towns like El Escorial, Toledo, Alcalá de Henares, Aranjuez, for example.
At the University there is a discount system for alimentation and spare time activities. It is called DAPer, and by buying it you get the discount for many services. In the campuses there are a gym, tennis courts, football pitches, swimming pool, spa etc. The University offers decent group training sessions, I advise you to visit dancing and Crossfit.
Madrid offers a lot of opportunities to study Spanish. I’d learned it in three schools for free.
At the University I met a teacher that gave me the language classes for a very moderate fee (I still have the contact).
In Madrid, there is a lot of student entertainment events, where you can practice your language.
I advise you to visit the SCI Voluntariado international volunteer center, where you can also learn Spanish, as well as participate in interesting events, such as presenting projects, planting trees, etc.
In Madrid, the entrance at almost all museums is free during the few hours before the closing time. I visited some of the museums several times: Museum of the Prado, Sofia, Thyssen, Sorolla, America, History of Madrid; Royal Palace, etc.
The capital of Spain is well-located, many interesting cities and countries are nearby. Don’t miss the chance to visit Portugal and Morocco, as well as Bilbao, San Sebastian, Barcelona, Valencia, Seville, Segovia, Cordoba, Granada and many others. The tickets are affordable, moreover, you can use the BlaBlaCar or Amovens.
End of stay
Two weeks before the end of sojourn you need to ask for the certificate of internship at the International Department in Getafe. You need to make a report on your work, get the signature of your supervisors and to send it to the coordinator of the Spanish side. Then you have to fill in the questionnaire at the Erasmus website following the link sent to your email. After receiving the certificate, you get the second part of the scholarship.
Internship at the University of Carlos III in Madrid gave me the recommendations of foreign professors to my thesis, granted the experience of adaptation in a new medium, new friends and a lot of bright and positive impressions.
I express my sincere gratitude to all the International Department of MPEI and my Department of Robotics, Mechatronics, Dynamics and Machine Strength for constant help during my entire internship project.