Being in Sevilla has been the greatest adventure and experience I’ve had so far, from meeting people I wish I could spend more time with, to being in places I never imagined being, Sevilla has definitely had its up and downs, things that make me love it, and some things that I wish were different.
What I love:
- Well I mean, there is no need to say this, but Sevilla is probably one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been in. Its beautiful buildings, narrow streets, and cultural sites always make my walks one of a kind. From all the cities I’ve been to in Spain, Europe, and even South America, Sevilla is definitely on top of my list, it is my FAVORITE PLACE.
- You get a small town feel in a big city. Sevilla is an important and big city, yet the architecture and infrastructure of it make it feel as if you were in a small town where everyone knows everyone and everything is within reach.
- With that said, in Sevilla, I can walk anywhere… I probably only took an uber/taxi/bus when going to the airport or if I was out very late at night and had to walk home alone. Despite some places being 30-40 minutes away from home, even the farthest walk feels like a short one, because there is always something new to see, and a picture to take. I LOVE walking around without a destination (something I never thought I’d say in the U.S., where I use my car to go anywhere and everywhere).
- The people here are so friendly and kind. From my host family, to the professors at the center, to the students at the university, and people I met while out and about, everyone is so kind and willing to strike a conversation. Also, there aren’t enough words to describe how kind and welcoming my host family is- I can truly call them family.
- Sevilla is full of history. This is something we definitely don’t have in many parts of the States. Most of the cities in America (despite being majestic and incredible) don’t have the kind of history that Sevilla has, because everything is so modernized (not saying there’s anything wrong with it), but Sevilla has made such an incredible effort to keep all the historical sites- the Cathedral, the Alcazar, Torre del Oro, etc alive and in a condition that allows for us to see them in great shape, even centuries after their construction. Every corner has some history behind it, and I love love love hearing about it during dinner from my host dad, or in my classes.
- THE FOOD. BUENISIMA… Somehow, despite eating A LOT, even more than I do in the States I have managed to lose some weight- still don’t understand how. Not only is the food my host mother makes for us incredible, but whenever we go out to eat I am always amazed by the quality, variety, and price of the food. Tapas are probably the best thing ever invented.
- The Sevillan lifestyle is AMAZING!! People take their days one at a time, they enjoy time with their families and their friends… In Sevilla, no matter how busy people are they always have time for a “copa” and to see their friends in the midst of their busy days. They love to have “sobremesa” -the entire family stays in the table for a long time after eating to talk about their day, or whatever is going on in the community. They aren’t afraid of spending time doing things that don’t produce money, because even though Sevillians are very hard working people, they also love spending time with their family, and enjoying the small things in life.
- And of course, I absolutely love the culture. People here are so happy, and love dancing, singing, being loud, and truly “living to the fullest”. People of any age are not afraid to break out in dancing in the middle of the floor, whether they have been dancing their entire life, or only dance on the weekends with their friends they love to dance. One of the most important events in Sevilla is Feria, a week-long event in which people dress up, dance, sing, and enjoy with their families and friends. This year Feria starts on May 4th and goes until may 11th, so I will be writing more about it, and my experiences later (SO SO SO EXCITED!!). Another big event is Semana Santa, which will take place starting this Sunday (April 14th) and which I will also be writing about.
What I miss from the States:
As humans, we are creatures of patterns and consistency, so studying abroad in a different country can sometimes be hard even for the most flexible people. In my case, it didn’t take me very long to get used to the culture and lifestyle of Sevilla, and as my host mom said I blent in as a sevillana in no time. With that said there were a few things that I definitely missed from the U.S. and things that I wish would’ve been different.
- Smoking regulations. Holy cow, this was probably my biggest and only issue with Sevillians. People smoke A LOT, and everywhere. As I walked on the streets there was always someone in front of me who had a lit cigarette, and while holding it between their fingers always sent their smoke back to me. I think the U.S. has many regulations on where people can smoke, and I’ve never seen people smoking in the streets and public places where non-smokers are around, but here they are everywhere.
- Stores being open on Sundays. Here, most stores are closed on Sundays, and although I completely understand the reasoning behind this and think it’s a great way to encourage family time, it was sometimes inconvenient…
- Along with many businesses being closed on Sundays, the schedules in Sevilla sometimes threw me off. Many places closed during “siesta” time, so from around 2pm-5pm people went home to eat, and rest. There were more times than I want to admit when I walked all the way to a store just to realize that it was closed.
What I didn’t enjoy were small things compared to how much I love Sevilla, and they didn’t take away from my experience, or make me love Sevilla any less. I think Sevilla is the perfect city to study abroad, and of course, visit and I hope everyone is able to visit this city at some point in their lives.