When I got on a plane to cross the ocean and spend four months studying abroad in Seville, Spain, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Sure, I knew my living arrangements and what classes I was taking, but I had no idea how Spanish life was going to be, let alone, the Sevillan life. Quickly I fell in love with my new home. There were so many aspects of my life in Seville that made it so, so hard to leave. If I have to narrow it down to specifics, there are 6 distinct reasons why I loved my semester in Seville.
1. The Food
I absolutely love to eat (and I'm a picky eater!), and I didn’t really know what Spanish food was before I got to Spain. It took me a few weeks to warm up to the food, but now I crave these things on a daily basis. Some of my particular favorites were the traditional tortilla de patatas and my host dad’s zucchini puree soup and arroz a la cubana. I definitely ate my weight in gelato and churros con chocolate. I never imagined I would eat so many fried eggs in a four-month period. Even the lentils or croquetas, that aren't on the top of my favorite foods list, I’d give anything for an authentic Spanish meal right now.
|Churros con chocolate, my favorite Spanish treat|
Through CEA, I was fortunate enough to have a volunteer opportunity. I’m an elementary education major, so I was looking for any way to get involved in a classroom while abroad. My CEA study abroad Center placed me as a volunteer in a local school, Albaydar. Instead of being with small children, I was assigned to work with girls my own age who were also studying to become teachers! I had to teach a few lessons about education concepts (in both Spanish and English); I also got to help them with their English lessons. It was a rewarding experience for sure, and It was really hard to say goodbye!
|Me with my class on our last day together!|
3. My Friends
I was so fortunate this semester with the beautiful friends that I made. I met most of them in the JFK airport before we even took off, and met the rest in the first few days. I am so thankful for these awesome girls; not only did we travel the world together (I made it to 8 countries overall), but we also got to experience the Spanish lifestyle together! I am so thankful to always have someone to get tapas with, or walk by the river with, or go shopping with. My semester wouldn’t have been the same without them.
|My friends and I hanging out by the cathedral on our last night in Seville all together.|
4. The City
It may seem like a cop-out, but one of the main things that made me love my semester in Seville was, in fact, Seville. While Seville is a large city, you can walk to everything. Every day is warm and sunny, (especially in comparison to the Midwest), and while there are major tourist attractions in the city, it doesn’t feel like a tourist destination. The historic city center and the Plaza de España are some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. The people are friendly, the lifestyle is easy, and everything around you is both a historical artifact and a work of art. Nothing beats watching the sunset over the river with good friends!
|The Plaza de España, my favorite place in Seville.|
5. My Host Dads
The living arrangement I chose was the “casa de Seville.” I didn’t know what I was getting myself into at first, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My 16 housemates and I were beyond blessed with the best host dads ever. Fernando and Quique, two brothers, took care of us for an entire semester. They fed us, cleaned for us, took care of us when we were sick, and more importantly, made us feel like family. Some of my favorite memories are with my host dads. They would take us out to restaurants if there were only a few of us home for a meal and occasionally after dinner, they’d take the whole casa downstairs to the bar below our apartment to hang out. Some of my favorite evenings were spent hanging out in the kitchen with Quique and Fernando while they were cleaning up after dinner, practicing my Spanish. They really went out of their way to help me with my Spanish, staying late to talk with me almost every day!
|Me and my host dads, Quique and Fernando|
6. The Easy Spanish Lifestyle
Naturally, I am a high-strung, type A individual. I’m not afraid to admit it. Living in Spain has taught me to let loose and slow down. Things start later in the day, people move more slowly, and there’s a whole three-hour break in the business day reserved for eating, relaxing, and getting out of the heat. Grocery stores really only sell the necessities, but there are countless boutiques to shop, making sure your wardrobe is up to par with the fashion-savvy Spaniards. I fell in love with the long walks, sitting for hours in restaurants, and eating gelato on the cathedral steps. Weekends were best spent out with friends, living in the moment and not walking home until the sun came up. The Sevillan lifestyle was better than I ever could have imagined, and I miss that easygoing city every day.
|Walking by the Cathedral in Seville|
A friend said to me when I was deciding where to study abroad that “no one loves their city as much as students who go to Seville.” After coming home, I can 100% agree with that statement. I left a piece of my heart behind in Seville, and I’m already counting the days until I can go back to my second home.
Brittany V. is a CEA alumnae. She studied abroad in Seville, Spain in the Spring of 2016 and is currently a sophomore at Indiana State University.
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