Hello, hola, bonjour, good day!
A few days ago I asked on my Instagram stories for any questions about my experience studying abroad. If you are new, welcome! I am just finishing up my first semester of my senior year of college. I spent a wonderful semester at La Universidad de Sevilla in Sevilla, Spain. I took classes taught in English and Spanish, mainly focused on culture and arts.
LET’S JUMP INTO THE QUESTIONS
Top 3 styles/trends abroad?
I love this question. The style in Spain, and in Europe in general, is just so fun. My balcony was directly across from a boutique – they were constantly changing the displays. Spanish fashion is constantly changing. I was quick to jump on board with some of the fashion trends I saw girls wearing here… seriously. During my first week here I bought one of these bags – they sell them at a ton of boutiques in Los Remedios.
Another trend I’m a huge fan of is platform converse. I noticed a lot of girls wearing them here! Black, white, high top, low top… I ordered a pair to my American address. They’re way more expensive in the stores here. And my third favorite fashion trend that I’ve totally fallen in love with is cropped flare jeans. I bought way more than I’m proud to admit, from Mango and Zara.
Any customs/lifestyles you want to bring back to the U.S.?
I love how relaxed the Spanish lifestyle is. The work-life balance is incredible and something I would really appreciate. The shops in my neighborhood, and many throughout the city, close for a few hours daily for siesta. Sundays, everything is closed besides a select few shops and pharmacies. I wish we placed greater importance on relaxation and family time in the United States. The neighborhood I lived in had a lot of families. I’d often see kids of all ages, even young adults, holding hands with a parent or grandparent when walking. Every time I saw this, I felt my heart grow a little bit, I swear. I wish we would see it more in the US.
things you missed (besides Logan Porter)?
Logan Porter! Oh wait… okay. Ah, this is hard, I didn’t really miss much. I missed eating dinner early – 8:30-10PM is the norm here. I was pretty quick to adapt to this though. Another thing I missed was going to a department store to get all my errands run at once. Here, I would go to a market for groceries, a pharmacy for health products, and a special store for school supplies. I didn’t necessarily mind this, but it’s surely less convenient.
Did you ever get lost?
In Sevilla, no. It took me about five days to understand the layout of the city. It’s a really comfortable size, and you can do everything by foot. Besides going to and from the airport.
Favorite Spanish food?
I have eaten some damn good bread here in Spain. My favorite dish to get out is a tapa, espinacas con garbanzo. It’s a traditional spanish tapa of cooked spinach with chickpeas, sometimes served with an egg on top. I can’t wait to make this for my family at home… I also really enjoyed gazpacho during the beginning of the semester when it was more seasonal.
Favorite city you visited?
My favorite city besides Sevilla would have to be Lisbon. I loved it so much and can see myself spending part of my life out there. I loved the size of the city, the culture/diversity, the hills, the tiles, and the art.
I also really loved Rome, I wish I got to see more of Italy. It felt like home, the food was amazing, and I just love the Italian language and culture. This is a great segway to the next question…
Best food you ate abroad?
So easy. This gelato from Giolitti in Rome.
We ended up going twice.
My friends and I ran in the rain from our Airbnb, and it was worth getting soaked. We walked up to the counter in the dark, romantic gelateria, and each got a ticket for a small gelato. “Piccolo, per favore”. With the ticket, we headed to the back where the gelato is served. There were easily over thirty different flavors, with a good amount of dairy free options. They also had boozy gelatos, a full bakery, and a bar.
The first night I got a scoop of dairy free dark chocolate and a scoop of dairy free pomegranate. I had every intention of respecting my stomach but then the man behind the counter asked if I wanted the fresh cream on top. I remembered my professor telling me to try the fresh cream, and I knew I had to. It was so worth it. This picture speaks for itself, I think.
We went back the next day and I got a scoop of lemon and a scoop of blueberry. No dairy this day… one night of an upset stomach was enough. I wish my mom was there because she would have LOVED it. Especially the lemon.
Advice for picking a city to study in?
It’s funny because I don’t really know how I stumbled upon Sevilla. I was originally thinking Madrid, but I knew I needed a smaller Spanish city. I didn’t really consider any others, I just saw Sevilla on the list and thought “This sounds good!” I recommend doing research about things that are important to you and your study abroad program. For instance, check out the climate, the cost of living, the classes offered, the safety, and the accessibility.
Did you get homesick?
Shockingly, not really. I was too busy to really think about home. I expected to be terribly homesick the whole time. I adapted well, but I did feel homesick here and there. I spent my first weekend abroad in Madrid, and the culture shock made me want to go home. A few days later, I adjusted, but it was overwhelming for sure. I’d say that I felt more “ready to be back” than homesick. I felt this way after Rob visited and when the holiday season began. I still wish I could be here longer though… 3 months was NOT enough.
Hardest cultural difference?
Personal space, or lack thereof. OMG. Personal space does not exist at all in Spain. AT ALL!!!
Best city to shop in?
I did most of my shopping in Sevilla, mainly because I was taking weekend trips with low-cost airlines that didn’t permit additional luggage. However, I would have to say Paris. So many good luxury high end stores, and cool boutiques. Also – there were some really good vintage shops here too.
I answered the main questions that I thought would be beneficial for anyone planning on traveling abroad to know! I’m always a comment or email away if you have any burning questions about my experience abroad, haha. I love answering questions so this was fun! All the best,