Picking your campus: the first semester experience of students in Segovia and Madrid


Are you a prospective IEU student? Have you just gotten accepted and are struggling to choose which campus to commence your undergraduate studies at?

Well, the second semester of the 2021/2022 academic year has just started, and most students everywhere are making their way back to in-person classes. This means first-year students have now truly gotten a taste of autonomy, experienced the insides of a university classroom, and subdued their first semester at IE University. To study and live in Spain is a privilege and special experience, whether this be in Madrid at the fifth tower, or in Segovia in the medieval convent. Both great culture-packed cities host IE students working their way towards starting their careers, and are pervaded with academic and leisure opportunities.

As a first-year student myself, I wanted to gain insight into these stories, and contrast how people studying the same degrees at the two campuses affected their experiences. To satiate this curiosity, I interviewed six different first-year students from this academic year. They all come from different backgrounds and study three different degrees in Segovia and Madrid. Here are the interviewees:

  • Santiago Roca – BBA Segovia – originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador
  • Karl Mathet – BIR Segovia – originally from Geneva, Switzerland
  • Abdullah Al-Alami – BCDM Segovia – originally from Amman, Jordan
  • Lana Bibi – BBA Madrid – originally from Beirut, Lebanon
  • Shannon Clancy – BIR Madrid – originally from Philadelphia, USA
  • Casilda Suárez de Puga – BCDM Madrid – originally from Madrid, Spain
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After taking note of the interviewees’ degrees, which campus they studied at (Segovia or Madrid), and where they originally came from, I asked them all a set of questions…

Q: What qualities were you looking for in a university when you first applied to IEU?

Santiago R.: Primarily, I loved the diversity there is at IE and since I really like meeting new people, this was an exciting prospect.

Karl M.: First of all, I was looking for something different from my home country, Switzerland. I also wanted to look for diversity and discover other cultures.

Abdullah A.: I particularly liked IE’s focus on developing its students’ soft skills through their courses, as well as the career development programme to be able to fit in any job market. Coming from Jordan, unemployment rates are surging due to economic problems. So, I wanted a university that would make me special in terms of my skills and experiences that I will gain through labs and internships if I choose to work in my home country.

Lana B.: When I was applying to IE University, I was looking for a school that matched my interests in technology and innovation. The opportunities for our future endeavours that IE university offers is one of the main reasons I am currently a student there. 

Shannon C.: When I was applying to universities, my main goal was to find somewhere that had a true international feel, because I felt that would give me the best preparation for my career in International Affairs.

Casilda S.: One of the qualities that I was looking for when I was applying to university was that it was based in Madrid. I wanted to continue living in the city, but in an international environment. I’ve lived my whole life here. I didn’t want to move away as I wasn’t ready for that change yet.

IE Tower Inauguration October 19 Madrid 13 scaled e1634745598454
The IE Tower (Torre Caleido). Picture courtesy of Japan Forward

Q: Why did you pick the Madrid/Segovia campus in the first place?

Santiago R.: Because I felt like Segovia had much better student lives since it is smaller than Madrid.

Karl M.: Because I knew that Segovia was a small town and that everyone would be in touch with each other by the end of the second year, so that when I arrived in Madrid my third year, I wouldn’t feel isolated because I didn’t know anyone.

Abdullah A.: I was told that Segovia offered a very friendly environment for freshers. In Amman (capital of Jordan), we live in a very small community and everyone knows each other. So I wanted a smooth transition before going to Madrid for my final two years, which I’m sure will be a completely different experience.

Lana B.: I chose the Madrid campus because I grew up in Beirut, Lebanon, and loved the hustle the city offered. Madrid has a similar feel, especially Barrio de Salamanca where I live. 

Shannon C.: I chose the Madrid campus because I had never lived in a city before and I love the fast- paced lifestyle it offers.

Casilda S.: I picked Madrid because I have lived my whole life here and I found it absurd to move to Segovia. Even though it is just a 30 minute train ride, it just seemed more logical to live in my house with my parents and have that comfort that I would not have if I was in Segovia. I also have a lot of friends that live here that I wouldn’t get to see constantly had I moved. I just like the city vibe more; I’m a city girl. I like avenues, grabbing the metro and having that sort of freedom…

Gothic facade of the Segovia campus. Picture courtesy of ABC
Gothic façade of the Segovia campus. Picture courtesy of ABC

Q: How do you feel after your first semester in the Madrid/Segovia campus?

Santiago R.: I honestly feel that it is the best decision I’ve made in my life because I’ve made life changing friendships and changed my way of thinking to a more open-minded way.

Karl M.: It was a fun semester and I’m surprised that so much happened in the 4 months.

Abdullah A.: I’m really happy here in Segovia. I was able to meet people from all around the world while still having the comfort of living in a cosy and small community. 

Lana B.: Madrid has taught me a lot and made me ready for the next 3 years. 

Shannon C.: I can’t imagine not living in Madrid! With that being said, the campus itself is quite far from the city centre, so there is no trace of the typical college grounds that my friends from back in the US have. It was definitely an adjustment, but I have grown to love it now.

Casilda S.: I am very happy with my decision as a lot of good things have happened since i picked Madrid [campus]. I’ve made great friends, I love the environment, I love the campus – it has amazing views and that’s what gets me up every morning. 

Views from IE Tower picture courtesy of El Pais
Views from IE Tower, picture courtesy of El País

Q: If you could summarise your campus in one or a few words what would it be?

Santiago R.: United.

Karl M.: Entertaining.

Abdullah A.: Warm.

Lana B.: Workplace.

Shannon C.: Work in progress.

Casilda S.: Astonishing – because of how tall it is and it is the only university that is in a tower.

The Segovia campus viewed from above. Picture courtesy of IE University
The Segovia campus viewed from above. Picture courtesy of IE University

All in all, it seems that the six interviewees representing the Segovia and Madrid campuses are perfectly content with their choice, and would not have it any other way. If you still struggle to know which campus you would like to attend at IE University once you enroll, check out the IE website to take a virtual tour, learn more about studying in Segovia, and studying in Madrid.

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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