Greetings from Sevilla!

Posted on September 8th, 2011 by

Hola! This semester, I am going to be in Seville, Spain. I like to call it Sevilla, because that is how the city is called in Spain. I am with CIEE Liberal Arts in Sevilla program. I will be taking some classes from CIEE and some classes at the University of Sevilla with other international students. I have been studying Spanish for two years and have taken classes until Spanish composition at Gustavus. My reading and writing is OK but listening and speaking is still very bad. I thought I was OK, until I got here, I realized that it is not. It is bad. But hopefully I will get much better by the end of the semester! I did not have a particular reason to choose Sevilla over other cities. It is one of those that I have heard of, and those that have the classes that I want to take. I did not choose Madrid because I think It is too big of a city and I would like something a little more of old Europe, and not Barcelona because the people speak Catalan, a different Spanish. It turned out, Sevilla is the best choice of all. My program does not start until today but I have been here for a while so I kind of have a general idea of what everything is like here in Sevilla.

This is me in front of La Universidad de Sevilla, where I will be taking some of my classes at.

The City

Sevilla is a beautiful city. There is the old European part with the Cathedral in the center. It is said to be the biggest cathedral in the world. I would not doubt that, because it is really big. The streets in the center areas are really narrow; sometimes cars cannot get in. A few people use mopeds to travel instead. Horses would be something people see a lot here in Sevilla too. Houses have a typical look of the old architecture. They usually have three or four stories in height and are really close to each other. People have rooftop in their houses and not gardens or back yards like houses in the U.S. When seeing the streets like that I had a feeling that this is more of a village rather than a city and that everything would be inconvenient. I was wrong. What I have seen is just the Santa Cruz area of the city, or the center. Sevilla is a big city, and it is still from a European country after all, it is has its modern side where all the shops and restaurant are. Sevilla is small and ancient where it wants to be and is big and modern where it needs to be.


Plaza Mayor. A place for people to hang out and talk with friends.

The Old and the New

The view of a Catholic church from Plaza Mayor.

The people

The people here are really friendly and talkative. People are on the streets all the time, and they talk a lot. You can go into groceries stores and will have to wait in lines for a while because the cashier would be talking non-stop to her colleagues, to the customers or sometimes just talking for the sake of not being quiet. Once I was looking for a bus to get to a hostel from the train station and there was this old man at the station who happens to know the route to every place in the city. He was happy to show every one how to get to the places they wanted. He got on the same bus with me. I told him I only speak “un poquito de Español” (a tiny bit of Spanish) but he kept talking to me as if I understood everything he said. When we parted, he gave me a hug, too kisses on two cheeks and wished me luck with my study.

The lifestyle

I have to say that Spanish people are pretty relaxed and laid-back in their way of living. School has not started for me yet so I do not know a lot yet about their lifestyles. But from what I have been told, people start to work around nine, until two, then they go home to have a “siesta” time. Siesta means nap, but during that time, people do not necessarily take naps, they go home to relax, see the family, have lunch. After siesta, they go back to work until seven or nine at night. Most shops are closed from two to six in the afternoon. They usually eat dinner at nine or ten, and if they go out to a bar, they go out at one in the morning. It is yet still September and most people are still on vacations so the bar are crowded all the time, even when it is Monday or Friday.


Friends and Orientation

Yesterday was the first day of orientation that I am having with my program. I got to know some new people, most of which are from the States. At this moment, people are still speaking English among each other and I am too. Well, my excuse is that it is the beginning; we need to make friends and it is so much easier to get to know each other in English! We are having our orientation in a hotel and I feel like I am on a vacation because everything has been easy and I am still speaking English all the time. That will have to stop soon because I am in a study abroad trip in Spain! I am moving into a homestay tomorrow and I am excited!

My orientation group having dinner with tapas!



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