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The NewSLU

SLU-Madrid Clubs: Uniting Students from Far and Wide

SLU-Madrid’s activities and club fair helps visiting and permanent students form new connections and friendships through shared interests.
Amelie Van Hess
Community Gardening Club leader Mackenzie Oleary (left) and Green Bandana Project member Lucy Lally (right) talk to new students about their clubs.

At the turn of the calendar year, many students on Saint Louis University’s Madrid campus face a complete life reset, including a new country, language, and university. As people come from hundreds or thousands of kilometers away from Madrid, some wonder how they can quickly adapt to their new academic environments. 

The answer? School clubs and activities. 

Visiting students, like Maddie Underwood from SLU’s main campus in St. Louis Missouri, are often faced with the daunting task of balancing academic and social lives on top of extracurriculars at SLU-Madrid. Despite this challenge, students can find this effort more than worthwhile. 

It’s a great way to get really into the community here in Madrid,

— Maddie Underwood

“My professor said to check out a lot of the clubs because it’s a great way to get really into the community here in Madrid,” says Underwood. “Obviously I’m here to travel too, but I want to learn as much as I can about the culture here, and one of the ways I can do that is coming to this club event.”

Student Life staff member and club coordinator Victoria Taylor, famously known amongst her colleagues as the “Queen of Clubs,” strongly believes that joining clubs, especially as a visiting student, is one of the best ways to assimilate amongst their peers.

“It can be scary,” says Taylor. “You leave things that are familiar to you, your friends, your family, whatever sparks joy in [your] life. [You] miss that. Having the activities fair at the beginning of the semester is an opportunity to meet new students and form a new tribe of people who can become lifelong friends.”

Students can participate and find clubs that pique their interest at the clubs and activities fair at the beginning of each semester, and this year 30 clubs were represented in total. A few of these clubs at the activities fair gave students a real-time taste of the projects they worked on in past semesters, such as a programmed device from the engineering club to draw illustrations onto a piece of paper from a computer screen. 

A device coded by the engineering club to draw different images such as a cat onto paper from a computer. (Amelie Van Hess)

Recruiting new members at the club fair may be the key to the long-lasting success of newly developed groups, such as the engineering club.

“This club in particular is offering a lot of hands-on experiences for people looking to develop their knowledge,” says Esteban Archambault, a mechanical engineering and computer science student at SLU-Madrid. “We want to look into more aerodynamic stuff [this semester], like a plane design and a wind tunnel.”

The vast and growing number of new clubs may be intimidating to some, but if there is anything that Taylor suggests to students, it is to try it before you knock it. 

“Take a chance on yourself,” says Taylor. “Take a chance on you but also on other people because you never know. It can change your whole trajectory on what you think life is.”

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About the Contributor
Amelie Van Hess
Amelie Van Hess, Staff Writer and Staff Photographer
Amelie Van Hess, a junior, majors in communication with a minor in Spanish and Marketing. She has taken every journalism course offered at SLU Madrid.

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