Five Things I wish I Knew Before Coming to IE


From September 2021 to May 2022 I spent my first year at IEU in Segovia. I had already been to an international school for most of my life, so the multinational character of IE didn’t surprise me… 

But as an only child, as someone who had never moved countries, or switched schools ever, there were quite a few things I wish I knew before coming to IE Segovia.

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Courtesy of IE University

1. You are not alone

Over 500 first-year students like yourself are coming to the small medieval city of Segovia, Spain. Everyone has left (what feels like) their “old” lives behind. Everyone is scared yet excited. And everyone is in the same boat.

So, even though the first day of class may feel daunting (because let me tell you it was for me too) let me reassure you that everyone feels the same. All your nerves will simmer down once you start conversing and seeing each other’s faces regularly.

2. Remember to make as many new friends as possible before you come to IE

This will contribute to the thought of you not feeling or being alone. I was lucky enough to come to IE with a friend of 10 years, but I know that is not the case for everybody.

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Courtesy of IE University

So don’t be afraid to use Slack, follow the IE Class of 2026/2027 Instagram account, and join as many WhatsApp group chats for freshers week, your degree, clubs you are interested in (which you can check out at the Club Fair on Monday 12th September), and your chosen campus!

You will soon realize the abundance of people you are going to meet in your first few months of university. I mean, I remember thinking “I have never met this many people in such little time in my life.” And it was so fun and invigorating! 

Don’t forget, though, that the first friendships you make may not last, and that is okay. Once again, everyone is in the same position as you, and it will be this way for your full degree, even after your first year when you think you are done meeting new people. 

IE University
Courtesy of IE University

It can feel very overwhelming, but it will all settle down eventually and you will find your core friends as you make new ones still.

3. Your independence will increase

Despite how it may have been for you in high school, you will have to be more independent coming into university; whether that be cooking cheap meals in your kitchen, going grocery shopping, doing your laundry, managing your finances, or sorting your NIE and insurance.

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Courtesy of the Common App

Luckily, your newfound independence does come hand-in-hand with freedom! So yes, you can party in the middle of the week and go to sleep way too late just because you want to, but make sure not to waver this liberty too much because at the end of the day you have to make sure you always are healthy, happy, and reasonably responsible.

4. The lack of food variety

I will not lie to you: Segovia is small. Smaller than most – but maybe not all – would expect. And the food range is limited too, even at the campus cafeteria. There are some renowned fast food restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King, Telepizza, and endless Spanish bars serving typical Spanish tapas and drinks – but when it comes to more international eateries, the options are quite limited. 

You will also often find large congregations of IE students in Plaza Mayor snacking, having drinks, breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

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Courtesy of El Día de Segovia

But enough complaining about the lack of food variety in Segovia, when you can vary your food consumption from home. Seize the opportunity to learn new dishes and cultures with the plethora of cultures surrounding you!

5. Take consistent notes and keep up with your classes

Browse the syllabi before courses start to get an idea of what you will learn, and read the professor descriptions while you are at it too. 

IE University Library reinforces its liquid learning model
Courtesy of IE University

At IE, students can technically miss 30% of sessions per course (attending the other full 70%) and still pass that same course.

Now with this, keep track of every session and take notes. These will serve you well, I promise and help you pass your class as you proliferate your knowledge. No one wants to stay back at the end of the second semester for a full extra month for retakes.

Final words from me to you

Everything will feel new, and you are not to be frightened away by that! Just be you, stay true to yourself, and be as curious as you can be. 

Curiosity can take you so far; such as joining a club or association – this was my case for me and the Stork, – trying that new dish on your own, and meeting new people from everywhere who each have a different story to tell. Just go for it (even if it does scare you)!

Sofia Renard Kerkoc
Sofia Renard Kerkoc
Bachelor in Communication and Digital Media (third-year Madrid). I’m Swiss-Spanish-American and I am interested in fashion journalism, art, and luxury marketing!

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