California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
1. What surprised you the most about your host city and culture?
The rich culture in Seville, Spain surprised me. I didn't know much about Spanish culture until I came to Seville and saw the traditional flamenco dances, tried amazing tapas, experienced Spanish holidays, and interacted with many locals. It's quite the experience to embrace a new culture for 4 months and learn more about what the typical Sevillanos lifestyle is. I loved seeing how close people are in Seville. They maintain very close relationships with one another and have long lasting friendships. Walking around, I rarely saw people alone. They love company and surrounding themselves with family and friends. This ties into why there is barely any personal space in Seville. People walk and stand close to one another all the time. When you compare this culture to the culture in America that we have experienced for 20 years of our lives, it can be uncomfortable for some people or hard to get used to. However, I had no problem adjusting to this new culture and the new lifestyle I would be a part of. A surprising thing for me was how late people ate dinner, which was 10 to 11 p.m. People of all ages were out until 12 a.m. at the earliest, finishing dinner or listening to music at bars and restaurants. Seville is different from other parts of Spain because of the authentic culture you embrace and traditional Spanish language you hear and speak.
2. How has your study abroad experience shaped you today?
My study abroad experience has made me a better-rounded person and given me an appreciation for the things I have in my life. I have travelled to many different places abroad, not only in Europe, but also in Africa. Visiting these places teaches you so much about other countries and people around the world. With each country I visited, I stepped back and thought about certain things I would change or embrace about myself because of what I saw or felt from the people living in these places. I also came across some challenges and opportunities while traveling that helped me discover who I am as a person. Meeting people from other cultures and places taught me that the way I have been looking at the world isn’t the way everybody else does. It changed my perspective on certain viewpoints and gave me a sense of reality. Studying abroad in Seville has also made me become way better at speaking Spanish and communicating with people on many different levels. Coming from a Colombian culture and background, I never really knew how different Spaniards speak Spanish. I learned that there are about 4 different languages within Spain and many authentic accents of the Spanish language. Studying abroad and travelling helped me open my eyes and shaped me into a better citizen of the world.