Maria Maksimova, a Bachelor student in Economics from the Higher School of Economics in Saint-Petersburg, came to Universidad Carlos III de Madrid for the autumn semester in 2016. She took courses in Econometrics, Maths for Economists, Marketing, Public and Environmental Economics; and she also enrolled in Spanish language classes. Having recently graduated in Economics, she is now pursuing the 2nd year of a Bachelor degree in Computer Engineering. Maria also works as a full-stack web programmer in Lenta, one of Russia´s largest retail chains.

“I think that my personal experience had much more weight for my future comparing to academic one. Living in Russia sometime might feel like being fenced off from the rest of the world. I’ve never been abroad before (and after) Spain. Being able to acquaintance myself with a completely different culture and majorly distinct people from all over the world is the biggest luck in my life. I think that overall the experience of living in another country helped me to realize my week and strong sides, and to open up to the world.

There are many memories that are surely worth mentioning but one of the most striking ones is a tres reyes magos caravan* just outside of my room windows. It was very surprising for me as I didn’t expect such a radiant processing to take place on my street at all. Life in another country can be completely unexpected sometimes. I think that this feeling – complete surprise – cannot happen to you in your home country where you’ve grown up. So, being torn from a familiar scene is a must.

I also want to recommend participating in group activities such as trips (I went to Valencia with Erasmus Student network and in Barcelona with a friend). If when you have no one to go with you should travel yourself, which is how I visited Sevilla and Portugal”.

*A tres reyes magos caravan is a festive parade of floats that commemorates  the arrival of the Three Kings (or Three Wise Men) to Bethlehem, riding camels and bearing gifts for baby Jesus. Children in Spain receive Christmas presents on the Three Kings Day, which falls on January 6.