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alumni-Sydney_Schwaller

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Seville, Spain

Spring 2020

Sydney Schwaller, Alumni Ambassador

Alumni Ambassadors
1. What was your favorite course abroad?
My favorite course abroad was Seville: Culture, Identity, and Citizenship in the City. This course was my favorite because I was able to learn so much about the city I was living in. My teacher was wonderful and it was clear she had her own passion for Seville. We learned about Seville from centuries ago up until modern day Seville. This class was fascinating because we learned the history and origins or the city and all the hidden details we wouldn’t have known if we just came to visit for a few days. What made this course so special was it was interactive. My teacher had class periods where we would walk around the city to different neighbors and learn about specific buildings or the communities daily lives. I loved learning about Seville and this class made me appreciate the city even more than I already had. Attending a class abroad is also unique in that the teachers always encourage you to take full advantage of the city and the time you have. My teacher would always give us ideas on where to go and what to do and incorporate it in her lesson. I knew this was my favorite course abroad when one day, my teacher gave the class an assignment to just sit outside and observe the people and life around us and take notes. Doing that particular assignment, I sat by the river of Guadalquivir observing and taking notes, I became more aware of the city and people around me. It made me realize I was lucky to be there and have this once in a lifetime opportunity. This class will always stick with me for years to come because it gave me a deeper insight on Seville and for that I will always be grateful.

2. What were ways you found to experience the local culture?
My experience with the local culture abroad in Seville was more than I could have ever imagined. In Seville, I lived with my host mom, Susana, during my semester and was able to jump right into local culture. My host mom only spoke Spanish so this was a great opportunity for me to focus on my Spanish and grow as a Spanish speaker. I was lucky enough to live with my host mom and for her to introduce me to her neighborhood. The neighborhood I lived in was in Los Remedios, which consisted of families and hardly anyone spoke English. At first this was a challenge but I was able to gain confidence everyday. I was able to frequent the local coffee shops daily and even get to know the waitresses at the coffee shop I went to and recognized the other regulars that would come in . This really made me feel like I was living my abroad experience to the fullest by getting to know my neighborhood and the community that lived there. Along with this, I was able to experience a lot of the local culture by attending Flamenco shows and by going to restaurants and bars that had local musicians and dancers. This was a great way to see what Seville had to offer in terms of a great cultural experience. When studying abroad, something I learned that really helped me immerse myself in the culture was to never say no to an invitation to do or see something. Saying yes, even if I was tired and wanting to stay in, I never regretted the outing. For me, it was important to take advantage of all Seville had to offer, whether that be museums, Flamenco shows, or walking around and sightseeing. I have especially fond memories of spur of the moment invitations and having a great time learning and seeing more of my city. This also allowed me to meet people I never would have met if I didn’t put myself out there and spend my time abroad wisely.

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