Sam Pothier, a Bachelor student in Pure Mathematics from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, spent a semester abroad at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in spring 2018.

Personally, this experience gave me the opportunity to live independently for the first time and academically/professionally, the grades I achieved during my mobility were good and will allow me – in conjunction with the international experience I gained – to make more competitive applications to more advanced academic programmes.

Taking the trains to towns near Madrid and exploring each one for a day was very worthwhile. The snowfall in late January was also lovely. I didn’t expect the spring and summer days to last for so long – up to 10pm at the longest, which was very different to what I was familiar with.

I’d recommend taking part in the mobility programme to those who are comfortable with the language of the destination country, and warn others that not knowing the appropriate language will make the mobility challenging (but still, possibly, worth doing). Just a warning to those considering taking part in a mobility: there is a lot of paperwork involved, so you should be on good terms with the staff member at your home institution who does the co-ordination.”