Madrid Peer Mentors
SLU-Madrid Peer Mentors
The Madrid Peer Mentors are a group of undergraduate student volunteers that have already studied at SLU-Madrid. If you have any questions regarding study abroad, these are the people to reach out to! All peer mentors have unique skills and experiences and are available to help you with whatever you may need.
Andrea Zanavich — Graduate Student, Physical Therapy
Andrea is the Madrid Peer Mentor Coordinator and studied in Madrid for the entirety of 2021. She is currently a graduate student in the physical therapy program. She lived in the El Faro dorms her first semester and rented an apartment in La Latina with a couple of friends for her second semester. While living in Madrid, she had a virtual tutoring job for an elementary school kid, and also worked as an au pair in southern Spain over the summer between semesters. Because she has Spanish citizenship, she did not have to apply for a visa, and she has traveled extensively throughout Spain (especially northern Spain) and to a number of other European countries as well. Some of her favorite places to frequent in Madrid were parks such as Retiro and Templo de Debod, as well as local cafés and shops near her apartment. Andrea is more than happy to talk about anything and everything related to studying abroad!
Phone: +1 (503) 803-7755
Gabi Caruso — Junior, English
Gabi studied abroad during the spring semester of her sophomore year in 2023. She lived in a double room with her roommate from SLU main campus at the El Faro dorms during her semester in Madrid. She is an English major with a Political Science minor on the education track. Some of her favorite moments were spent outside at Parque del Oeste, on patios at bakeries, or walking around different cities! She loved spending weekends in Madrid trying new foods and seeing shows, but her favorite city in Spain was Valencia. She would love to talk about solo travel and safety tips!
Emma Dorsey — Junior, Psychology
Emma studied for the first two years of her college experience at SLU-Madrid. The dorm building she lived in her first year was El Faro, which housed international and Spanish students, and she shared a room with one other roommate. In her apartment in Moncloa, her second year, she had five other roommates. Emma is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Spanish and Art Studio. Emma is an extremely avid traveler and visited around 18 new countries in her time studying in Madrid. Not only did she travel, but she didn’t have more than one unexcused absence in any classes. Travel and studying are sometimes difficult to balance, but Emma did it at least once a month. She planned all the trips herself and utilized little-known resources to try to stay on budget while still experiencing new countries. Emma really enjoyed the weather and safety in Spain. Madrid specifically is very safe, and she never felt unsafe even after going out downtown. Her favorite neighborhood in Madrid is Malasaña. It is filled with graffiti, art, coffee, pizza, beautiful people, music, and architecture. Emma’s favorite place in all of Spain is the Thyssen Art Museum, which people don’t usually go to but represents the classical art styles while introducing more modern ones in a fun way.
Phone number: +1 (813) 504-0530
Lexi Dunn — Junior, Accounting and Finance
Lexi studied abroad in Madrid for the Spring 2023 semester and is a junior studying accounting and finance. She lived with a host family in the Chamartin neighborhood and had three roommates (one of whom was from Northern Spain). Lexi traveled extensively throughout Spain and visited 14 other countries during her time abroad. In addition, she has a good understanding of the various neighborhoods of Madrid and made it a point to visit a new one each week! She spent quite a bit of time planning out the majority of her trips, and would love to discuss the best ways to juggle travel with school and spending time in Madrid! She loved the accessibility of Madrid and how easy it was to get around the city. Her favorite place in Spain is Sevilla, and her favorite place in Madrid was Parque de la Quinta de los Molinas (a park on the outskirts of Madrid with beautiful cherry blossoms in the spring). Lexi is excited to talk with future study abroad students and is more than happy to answer any questions about the process!
Valerie Galiano-Rouge — Junior, Computer Science
Valerie studied abroad in Madrid, Spain for the 2022-2023 academic year and is currently an undergraduate student majoring in Computer Science with a minor in Visual Communication. She lived with her grandparents in Argüelles. During her time in Madrid, she volunteered for the Sanders Foundation and took on the role of an English teacher and also assisted in teaching 3D modeling and printing in many areas of Madrid. Among Valerie's favorite spots in Madrid was Puerta del Sol, where she admired the mesmerizing street lights, especially during the winter, and the Teatro de la Zarzuela, where she enjoyed attending Operas with her grandparents. Thanks to her Spanish citizenship, she didn't require a visa, which allowed her to explore the southern half of Spain and travel to 8 other countries. Valerie is eager to share her insights from her study abroad experience, including cultural differences, budgeting, and trip planning, with anyone interested!
Sarah Gardner — Senior, Public Health and Spanish
Sarah studied abroad Fall of 2023 in Madrid while studying Public Health and Spanish. She lived with a host family in El Viso with seven other girls who quickly became great friends and travel buddies. She tried to make the most of every day abroad and had an ever-growing list of barrios, museums, and cafés to visit during the weekdays. Her favorite memory in Spain was experiencing a Spanish festival called Fiesta de San Mateo in Cuenca. While abroad, she traveled to 13 different countries, with incredible memories of hiking through Andorra, Scotland, and Switzerland. If you have any questions about traveling solo, how to make the most out of a tight budget, choosing a host family, being comfortable speaking Spanish, or hiking in Europe, please reach out to her!
Phone: +1 (816) 591-1626
Maria del Mar Moody-Gervas — Junior, Health Sciences (PA track)
Mar studied in Madrid both her freshman and sophomore year and lived both in a dorm and in an apartment. She is majoring in Health Sciences on a PA track and minoring in Psychology. Something unique about her Madrid experience was the fact that she is Spanish and has her whole family living in Spain, giving her a sense of safety and home that she knows many students do not have there, and it is something she was very thankful to have. She loved the ability to travel in Madrid, and both within Spain and in Europe as well with the ease students have living there with affordable public transportation, free museums, and amazing night life. Her favorite place in Spain is Extremadura. It is a beautiful region in Spain, where her family lives, which is highly underrated and one which she would really recommend people to visit.
Phone number: +1 (408) 333-8931
Amra Music — Junior, Psychology and Communication
Amra studied abroad in Madrid in Fall of 2022 and is currently an undergraduate student majoring in Psychology and Communication. She lived with a host family in Moncloa and had 3 other roommates. While studying in Spain, she traveled to a few different countries but spent most of her time getting to know the city of Madrid. She spent her time joining clubs and talking to local students and getting really immersed into the culture. Something that Amra loved about SLU-Madrid was the class environment and how personable it was. She built great relationships with professors and fellow students. Some of her favorite places in Spain consist of Parque del Retiro and Takos Al Pastor in Gran Via. Amra would love to answer any questions you have about Madrid and studying abroad in general!
Natalie Parillo — Junior, Marketing and Anthropology
Natalie studied abroad in Madrid for the spring semester of 2023 and is currently a junior double majoring in marketing and anthropology. She lived in an apartment in La Latina with 5 other girls through Marli House. During her time abroad, Natalie traveled to many different places within Spain, northern Africa, and throughout Europe, but her favorite place was her neighborhood in Madrid, La Latina, and going to the El Rastro market every Sunday. She really loved walking throughout Madrid, getting to know locals, and exploring the city. Natalie would love to talk about anything Madrid and study abroad related, including any anxieties anyone may have with traveling or preparing to go abroad!
Phone number: +1 (708) 227-7519
Alex Peddie — Junior, Psychology and Criminal Justice
Alex studied abroad in Madrid for the Spring of 2023 and is currently a junior studying psychology and criminal justice. She lived with a host family with kitchen privileges and three roommates in the Moncloa area just twenty minutes on the metro from school and Sol. She spent much of her time exploring Madrid and staying close to home base but was able to visit family and friends in Ireland twice, as well as Barcelona, Amsterdam, London, Brussels, and Bruges. Overall, Dublin was her favorite city and always will be, so if you have any questions about Ireland let her know! In Madrid, she was able to practice her Spanish both in and out of the classroom. She also was able to take Flamenco with the amazing Yolanda, which helped settle into the culture shock and ultimately appreciate Spain so much more. Her favorite thing to do in Madrid was grab coffee at the Fix or Federal Cafe then go to Templo de Debod to watch the sunset and read. Feel free to contact Alex anytime with questions, comments, or concerns.
Phone: +1 (812) 568-1484
Jessica Rutherford — Junior, Mechanical Engineering
Jessica studied abroad in Madrid in the spring semester of the 2022-2023 academic year. She is majoring in mechanical engineering. While abroad, she lived with a host family. During her stay, she managed to plan trips to travel around Europe with her friends in addition to maintaining focus on her classes. Overall, she visited 10 countries and a total of 17 cities in Europe. She managed her funds well and took advantage of the hostels available to university students throughout Europe. She loved getting to explore the world and embraced the cultures, traditions, and cuisines of the places she visited. Her favorite place in Spain was Toledo for its more historic feel. However, if there was a place that sold gelato, you could bet she would stop for a visit. Jessica is excited to help other students wanting to study abroad and is more than happy to answer any questions they may have!
Sena Segbefia — Senior, Marketing and Psychology
Sena is a permanent student at the Madrid campus, and she will be returning in the Spring 2024 semester. She is double majoring in Marketing and Psychology, with a minor in Modern Languages and Intercultural Communications. For her first year in Madrid she stayed at a student residence (El Faro) and for her second year she rented an apartment with 5 of her friends. Sena, like most people, absolutely loves to travel and managed to do at least one trip a month during her time in Madrid. Traveling on a student budget can be difficult but when you find the right places and make use of the right resources it can be cheap, easy, and most importantly, fun. Something Sena misses about Madrid is how walkable and safe the city is. She found that in Madrid she could safely walk anywhere she needed to or from her apartment in Moncloa. Sena's favorite place in Spain is a little town outside of Madrid called Aranjuez. Aranjuez can be reached with the Abono Joven which is the student metro card in Madrid. In Sena's opinion, that card along with the phenomenal public transport in Madrid are definitely amazing parts of living in the city. Feel free to reach out to Sena with any questions you may have and she is super excited to see you in Madrid!
Ellie Skrobis — Junior, International Studies and Political Science
Ellie studied abroad in Madrid during the 2023 Spring semester at SLU Madrid. She lived with a host family who hosted eight girls. Her host family also hosted five boys across the hall in a separate apartment, so there were 13 students living in the building in total. She is studying International Studies and Political Science with a minor in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Ellie did a good amount of traveling, despite not having any plans when she arrived in Spain, while also spending a lot of time in Madrid and getting to know the city. One thing Ellie learned to love about Madrid was the public transportation. From her host family's location, everything was about a 25-minute metro away which made exploring the city very easy! Ellie’s favorite place in Madrid was a cafe called East Crema Coffee on Calle de Diego de León, it was a perfect place to study and get work done, especially during Midterms and Finals weeks, while drinking great coffee! Feel free to reach out to Ellie if you have any questions or concerns regarding studying abroad!
Phone number: +1 (414) 531-9783
Aisling Spellman — Senior, Physical Therapy (Exercise Science)
Aisling studied abroad during Fall 2022 of her junior year and is now entering the graduate phase of the Physical Therapy program at SLU with a minor in Spanish. In Madrid, she lived with a host family in Cuatro Caminos hosted by Sol Jimenez. She lived with another student from Baylor University. As an Irish citizen, she uniquely did not have to apply for a visa to study abroad. She spent many weekends traveling to places like Munich, Dublin, Rome, Seville and many more. When she wasn’t traveling, one of her favorite activities was exploring new cafes in Madrid. She would suggest La Bicicleta and Café del Arte for excellent cappuccinos and upbeat, friendly atmospheres. She also loved to go on walks in places like Retiro and Parque Oeste, especially at sunset. A memory of Madrid that she will never forget is when she walked through Parque Oeste at sunset and saw people dancing near a man playing the guitar. She decided to join in! She loves sharing her experiences with living in Madrid and tips about learning Spanish. You can email or text her if you have any questions!
Phone number: +1 (708) 248-0239
Nithi Vickraman — Senior, Data Science and Math
Nithi studied abroad in Madrid for the Fall 2022 semester and is currently an undergraduate student studying Data Science and Math with a minor in Computer Science. She lived with her host mom in a two-bedroom apartment in Cuatro Caminos and had no roommates. While living in Madrid, Nithi loved to attend events like concerts, soccer games, and performances. Something about Madrid that Nithi misses the most is the amazing public transportation; it was so easy to travel around the city on your own! Some of her favorite things included getting tapas at Pecaditos (the one by campus), visiting the National Museum of Romanticism, and thrifting in Malasaña. Nithi is so excited to get to know more students interested in studying abroad and would love to answer any questions regarding the process or living in Madrid!
Aryana Yazdi — Junior, Biomedical Engineering
Aryana studied abroad in Madrid in the Spring of 2023, she is currently in her junior year as a biomedical engineering student. She plans on becoming an Intellectual Property Lawyer after undergrad. In Madrid, she stayed in the El Faro dorms with a roommate, and her whole friend group were her neighbors in the dorm. While living in Madrid, she loved working with professors and learning more about their research. Especially Dr. El Mir with his recently funded research by NASA. She loved going to Gran Via and watching the hustle of the city. Aryana also visited other European countries, visited distant relatives, and explored new places — she even planned a spring break to multiple countries with the total coming out to less than 300 dollars! Aryana loved her time in Spain and Europe and is excited to help others achieve those experiences!