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One of a Kind: Irun embraces U.S. but misses energy of Madrid
Alison Sievers
Photo by Alison Sievers
Journalism major Rocio Irun poses outside the student union. Irun is the only Spanish student on campus. She's from Madrid, the capital of Spain.
Photo from Internet

Rocio Irun is the only Spanish student on campus, Hailing from Madrid, the journalism major said she really isn’t missing much – except possibly Spanish food.

"I’m not missing a lot of things, because I wanted to come here," she said. "It was something that I wanted. "I wanted to go to a foreign country where the English language was the main language."

Irun says one of the biggest differences has been getting used to new eating times. In Spain, people eat much later than in the United States. Irun said she’s used to eating dinner at 11 p.m. She also notices a major difference in the amount of time Americans spend cooking.

"People in America don’t take too much time cooking," Irun said. "They just cook fast food. We usually have lots of different dishes in Spain, and lots of good quality ingredients for our food. That’s one of the things they say about Spain, that the food is excellent, you know?"

Irun said Spanish people generally are extroverted and outgoing, with a lot of tradition surrounding social customs.

"We like going out and having lunch for hours," she said. "We can take a three-hour lunch, then have coffee and talk. We love the social relations, you know? People are always out on the streets walking, going to restaurants, bars."

Irun went on to say, "We have in Spain what we call tapas; it’s like when you go out and eat something before lunch. It’s like little pieces of bread with some kind of food on them, like ham."

In Madrid, she said, people are more individual. They don’t socialize a lot on the street, she said, "but when they get together, usually at night, they become crazy!"

Irun sees another difference between the way people communicate in Madrid and Kearney.

She was surprised once while eating in the student union by herself when a fellow student approached her and introduced herself. "In Madrid, at my university, you will be in the dining room and you will be eating by yourself. No one will approach you. They are either your friend, or you will eat by yourself and no one will take care of you."

While Irun has enjoyed Kearney and wishes she could stay, her student visa is up after only a year. Irun believes that journalism is one of the most important careers, so when she returns to Madrid she wants to finish her schooling and pursue a job in broadcasting.

• Madrid gets its name from the arabic word "magerit" which means 'place of many streams.'
• Madrid has a population of over 3 million people, similar to the size of Los Angeles.
• Madrid has been declared one of the "greenest" cities in Europe.
• Madrid is the third most popular city for tourists to visit in Europe.
• Madrid's soccer club is the most successful soccer club of the 20th century.


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