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planeHey! I’m Bethany, a first-year student of BA Retail Management (BARM). On November 16th, our lecturers took a leap of faith and flew with us to Madrid. This decision can only be described as probably both the best and worst decision of their year.

Some students put the phrase ‘start as you mean to go on’ into practice by taking a visit to Gatwick’s Wetherspoons. Despite fiesta time starting early, everyone made it both on and off of the plane in one piece.

Our journey to the centre of Madrid was pretty quiet- until we got off the coach and realised we didn’t know our way to the MAD Hostel. After following several different google map directions (and walking in a circle at least 5 times) we finally arrived and slowly got everyone checked in. It then took us a further 5 minutes to try and figure out the locks on our doors!

groupA couple of us then went out to explore Madrid to find some paella and cocktails before later exploring what the nightlife had to offer. Some nightclubs aren’t quite the same as in England though, as we found out when they were dancing the flamenco and bachata.

The following morning, we took over the metro and travelled to the shopping complex ‘El Corte Inglés’. On our whistle stop tour we saw more designer brands than you could ever imagine; Michael Kors, Burberry, Gucci, Balenciaga….

Obviously, you follow up designer brands with a trip to Zara and Primark. I can actually justify this- the Primark flagship store is filled with incredible, innovative technology and is definitely worth checking out!

Another night, another bar. Everyone came together on Thursday night for some dancing and sangria at the Cat Hostel down the road. These nights were important in helping our course bond as a unit, and we loved every second of it!

On Friday morning I went out to do some shopping- surely, it’s only right as a retail student? The first port of call was Brandy Melville, followed by Zara, Zara and ANOTHER Zara! Did I mention Zara is cheaper in Spain?

After quickly eating churros with Nutella, we hurried back to the hostel for our trip to the Danone factory. The 30 mins coach journey to the factory was the perfect opportunity for a power nap. I’m 90% sure that this trip was mainly for the lecturers’ amusement seeing us in our ‘health and safety’ clothing. The other 10% is split between seeing how the yoghurt is packaged and getting lots of free samples.

Churros and yoghurt just wasn’t enough; in the evening, we ventured out to the food market to buy more paella, mini pizzas, and yet more churros.

foodNow, our last night in Madrid is where it got messy… I don’t think the owners of Xaloc knew what hit them when we all turned up. We all went separate ways as the night went on, some to the Hostel and others braved Kapital (the 7-floor nightclub). The last person arrived home at 7am; BARM know how to party.

It’s safe to say that there were a lot of delicate students in the morning and therefore most opted to stay in the hostel, after checking out, and nap. Some of us decided to spend this free time visiting the National Gallery.

After a few days of wild adventures in Madrid, we finally headed home. Well, not until after we’d spent all of our remaining euros buying last minute gifts for ourselves and family members. Oh, and attempting to eat seriously soggy sandwiches.

Madrid was an amazing opportunity to both experience the retail and culture of another country, and to bond with everyone on my course. I think we all have memories from this  trip that will stay with us for life (whether we want them to or not).

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