I moved to Madrid in 2018 for my dental studies because it was impossible to register where I lived (in Canada). I decided to give Spain a chance because it was my last option if i wanted to become a dentist.
To be honest, I moved to Madrid with a lot of apprehension. From what I knew about Spain, especially Madrid, it’s not known to be the most welcoming place and above all, diverse. I was therefore very skeptical at the idea of coming to spend the next 5 years here. In the beginning, all of my concerns were confirmed. I was the only black girl walking the streets, the only black girl in my class, in the supermarkets, and I didn’t see many of us at the metro station.
Was it a weird feeling? YES! Coming from Paris, and living abroad in the US and Canada, I was just used to a lot of diversity and Madrid was the opposite. So my first impressions were honestly not the best…
But over time I learned to discover this city and I absolutely fell in love with it. All my apprehensions disappeared more and more, and I started to feel at home here. I stopped looking at the bad sides of everything and took the time to appreciate what the city had to offer and that was the best decision!
The weather in Madrid and Spain in general is amazing, the people are chill, kind, and they really love enjoying life. To my surprise they’re also quite welcoming. It can be perceived in a different way from other people because everyone has their own experience in Madrid, but as far as I am concerned, I have never been the victim of discrimination, at least without being aware of it.
For some reason the city lacks diversity but when they see it they are quite receptive.
I love Madrid for all its different kinds of neighborhoods ,various food from all countries, bars and bougie rooftops which I’m here for( lol). (Oh and not to mention the fact that everything is cheap from rents, transportation, restaurants, it’s a pretty affordable city in my opinion.) People have much better vibes than in Paris and honestly it really feels good. There’s a very diverse district called La Latina / Lavapies which has a lot of easy to find products for afro hair like wigs and African food products like plantains, magnocs, and okra . I am very happy to be able to go there, it really gives me the feeling of being home in France and reminds me of Cameroon, of course.
I’ve really learned to open up to another culture and to enjoy life the way they do in Madrid.I feel like I learned to just let go of stereotypes and make judgement based on my own experiences. I have a much better impression of Madrid now compared to the one I had before, which I regret.I would have enjoyed it a lot more if i didn’t come with that much reluctance in mind. I encourage everyone to come visit Madrid, it’s a beautiful city and it’s totally worth it!
By: Doris T. Madrid,Spain @Queen.Doo