Madrid is  already No.1 Erasmus destination in Europe. A lot of business around this fact have been created. Lately the Spanish capital welcomed thousands of students from across the world to what is becoming one of the most attractive cities for students in the south of Europe.

The special day of celebration, which included concerts, raffles and a number of stands offering everything from career advice to expensive pizza, was organised by none other than the recently elected and controversially liberal Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena.

In an open welcome letter to all students, published in Spanish, English and Chinese, the mayor offered students ‘my warmest welcome in the name of all of the madrileños and madrileñas that make up this city, capital of hospitality, culture and life’. The mayor also made an appearance at the event itself, which was held at the city hall in the Palacio de Cibeles, where she was seen brimming with energy and enthusiasm.

This year, it is expected that almost 80,000 ‘foreign’ students, including 45,000 from abroad and 30,000 from other provinces within Spain, will unload their bags full of books and settle down in the capital for a year. They will also hit the city’s multiple bars, nightclubs and growing number of coffee hangouts, providing a significant boost to the local economy.

Regardless of her other controversial pronouncements, a Madrid alcaldesa who so wholeheartedly welcomes young people to her city is certainly a positive thing for such an ambitious city.

by Max Long