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It's Se-vee-ya, Not Seville: A Reflection on My Semester Abroad

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As my time abroad in Seville comes to a close, I’d like to reflect on my experience. I am so fortunate to have been able to study abroad in Seville. I loved the cities I’ve visited, but each time I return to Seville, I’m overjoyed to be home. This past weekend, my friends and I went to Barcelona and couldn’t stop talking about how people from our hostel were going to visit only Barcelona when in Spain. I loved La Sagrada Família and Park Güell, but I didn’t feel that I was getting a truly Spanish experience. Seville is a unique treasure, and that trip confirmed my choice of city.
 Some of my favorite people, in Ronda, Spain
 
 Rome, Italy

I’ve learned a lot during my time here. Because I’ve been lucky enough to travel to ten (10!) countries, I’ve become an experienced planner. When traveling, you need to book flights, hostels, and visits to important places; plan rides to the airport; budget for food, activities, and city transportation; determine when restaurants, cathedrals, parks, and museums are open; and make sure everyone on the trip agrees to all of these decisions. It’s a lot of work, but I feel incredibly confident traveling now.
 La Plaza de España (I'll miss you most!)

On a personal level, I’ve gained some key social revelations. Because the people in my program have a finite amount of time abroad - and we have been very aware of this fact (please let us stay longer!) - none of us are interested in exclusion or drama. Everyone has been receptive towards the other people in the program. Our experiences together have been heightened by our openness to new friendships. I hope to keep this mentality with me in the US. I generally try to avoid drama, but often hesitate to reach out to others or go out of my way to make new friends. I want to remember that when I’m open to new people, life can be more enjoyable and fulfilling.
 The beautiful backstreets of Seville

Living in Seville for the past four months has also taught me there are more options in life than I thought. It can sometimes be stressful to come from a fast-moving culture and integrate into one that’s a bit slower, but it allows you to re-prioritize and re-imagine your future. Spanish people tell me all the time that people in the US live to work, not work to live. Although I feel I do well in fast-paced environments, living here has given me the opportunity to make sure I’m spending time with people I love and continuing to invest in experiences I enjoy.
 Chefchaouen, Morocco
 
 Wonderful people, in London, England

I know that memes about study abroad kids say they’ll pronounce Barcelona like “Barthelona” and tell you without solicitation about how their life changed abroad. I laugh at those, but I suppose I’m now a part of that stereotype. These past four months in Seville taught me a lot about myself and the world I live in. I think studying abroad here has truly been the best decision I’ve ever made.

And it’s Se-vee-ya, not Seville. ;)

 

Kelly M. is the Spring 2018 MOJO Blogger in Seville, Spain. She is currently a Sophomore studying Communication & Marketing at Clemson University.



Kelly McKeon is the Spring 2018 CEA MOJO Blogger in Seville, Spain, and is currently studying at Clemson University.
 
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