Allergy-Friendly Study Abroad Guide: Madrid, Spain

Luciana is studying abroad in Madrid, Spain while managing peanut, tree nut, milk, egg, fish, shellfish, sesame, sunflower, citrus, beef, and chocolate allergies. She is currently a junior at American University, where she’s majoring in International Studies. You can find her on Spokin @lucinoel and on Instagram @lucicostanzo

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Tell us about you!

Where are you studying abroad?
Madrid, Spain

How did you choose your study abroad location?

I chose based off of what made most sense with my major and minor.

Had you been out of the country before studying abroad and did you speak the language?
No, I had not been out of the country. I was at an intermediate level in Spanish going into the program. I am minoring in Spanish, so I came to Madrid partially to improve my fluency.

Did you plan anything ahead of time?

I researched Spain’s policy on labeling major food allergens. I also asked for accommodations that included having an in-unit kitchen in my student housing.

What are your best tips for studying abroad with food allergies?

Definitely do as much research as you can before hand. Also, when going out to eat, don’t be afraid to be very clear with the waiter when ordering.

What airline did you fly? How did you handle accommodations and airplane food?

I flew Iberia. I did not eat the plane food, but I brought my own snacks, including skinny pop, Pringles, and Sour Patch Kids.

Where did you live and how were meals handled?

I stayed in a dorm with an in-unit kitchen and bought my food at a grocery store.

What were your favorite spots in Madrid?

Mercadona: Everything was clearly labeled on the packaging, so it was very easy to see what items were safe for me and which was not. The store was also very clean.

Manero Madrid: Waitstaff is very helpful and friendly. While I did not eat here, I was able to get a drink here. I would feel comfortable asking staff questions about other menu items, including cocktails and food, in the future.

Supermercados Dia: While not as a large selection as other grocery stores, Día is also very well organized and does a great job at labeling all of their products clearing. Their products also have clear labels for items without gluten or milk products.


What other places have you visited?

I went to Dublin and Rome! My favorite spots outside of Madrid were The Abbey Tavern and Buddy Veggy Restaurant Café.

Besides the food, were there any fun experiences or favorite things you did?

Going to all of the local art museums + hiking in the different cities I traveled to!
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