13 Reasons to Study Abroad in Sevilla, Spain

13 Reasons to Study Abroad in Sevilla, Spain

Living in another country is just... amazing.

For the last two weeks, I have been in Sevilla, Spain, studying abroad with a group of 13 from my school. We lived with host families so we ate authentic Spanish foods on a Spanish time schedule (oof), attended classes for three hours a day and then went to two activities each day, ranging from touring the Cathedral or La Giralda to surfing and salsa lessons.

Without a doubt, these were the best two weeks of my life, and I would recommend it to everyone.

1. The history is amazing...

Christopher Columbus' tomb in the Cathedral of Sevilla!!!

We saw businesses that were founded in 1732 - before America - and touring places that had centuries upon centuries of different cultures, religions and experiences layered on top of each other was mindblowing.

2. ...and you've living within it.

The Cathedral of Sevilla and a really cool lamp post!!!

One of the items on one of our scavenger hunts was literally to "go to Calle Marmoles and find the three pillars that were built by the Romans". And we did, we found them between two houses and then we just moved on. ???!??!??!!?

3. The people are so sweet and so welcoming.

Emily went up to a street band and told them she plays the tuba as well... and then they invited her to play with them!!!

Asking for directions? Wanting an answer to a question about a Sevillian legend? Wondering what time it is? Literally everyone will talk to you and help you out, especially if you ask them in Spanish.

4. The food is the best.

Fruit from the Mercado de la Encarnacion in Sevilla!!!

Everything is SO FRESH - people go to the markets every day to buy new bread, and ordering juice means that it gets juiced in front of you. Also, bread, coffee, fruit and tomatoes are necessities in the Spanish diet, so you absolutely cannot go wrong.

5. You gain an incredible cultural understanding...

Everyone buys things from street vendors!!!

Spanish culture isn't TOO different from American culture, so it is easy enough to relate to it, but it is different enough that you appreciate the fact that the way YOU do something is not the only way to do it - a vital lesson as you enter the workforce.

6. ...and try to assimilate into another culture.

Tandem biking in el Parque de Maria Luisa!!!

Beyond the fact that it's SUPER COOL you're LIVING IN ANOTHER COUNTRY, it is even cooler when you realize you are starting to become like a Sevillana - bargaining for lower prices at the market, discovering quicker routes through side streets and picking up a juice before class.

7. Adaptability is a real thing.

Us kayaking... so we eventually made it!!

If something doesn't go your way, you have to do... something. There was a time we were trying to get on a bus to go kayaking on the Guadalquivir River and we didn't realize you had to buy a card BEFORE you got onto the bus. We found out when the driver yelled at us in Spanish that was too quick to understand. Eventually, we realized it and got on another bus with our correct tickets and arrived exactly at the right time to kayak... adaptability!!

8. Walking. Everywhere....

Biking over the Bridge to Triana!!!

We averaged eleven miles a day (and it was usually over 100 degrees Fahrenheit). Nobody drives cars, either - it's either walking, riding a bike or driving a motorcycle - so, to really live like the locals as we strove to do, we walked too.

9. ...but you really are able to take in everything.

This super cute street we found and loved shopping on!!!

Several times, we stopped and just took pictures of flowers hanging off of balconies or laundry fluttering over the street or the curve of the buildings that somehow was perfect with the faded yellow paint. Everything about this city is beautiful - everything.

10. There is so much to do.

Parque de Maria Luisa -- parks are given a lot more care, attention and prominence in Spain than in America, and they are always open to the public.

First of all, Spanish culture means late nights, so restaurants are open until at least midnight or one in the morning, but the parks also never close (and Sevilla, at least, is extremely safe), so one can always go walk in the park in the middle of the night. In the daytime, cafes and stores are abundant, and the number of historical stops along the way, as well as extremely low prices for really anything, mean that you cannot ever be bored.

11. You can do your homework on the steps of some of the coolest places in the world.

Plaza de España!!!

Learning about history was so crazy because, like, you pass that palace four times daily on the route back and forth from home.

12. You question your own culture.

Why DON'T we have tea markets like this?

All of our teachers, families and guides had never been to America and didn't really speak English, so we were forced to explain a lot of our misgivings, confusion or general amazement in Spanish. And somewhere along the way, while explaining cultural differences to somebody who doesn't understand your country in a foreign language, you start to question... why DON'T we include tax in the price tag, like Europe does? Why ARE our school buses yellow? Why DO we prefer Coca-Cola with processed sugar instead of cane sugar?

13. The friends you make are for life.

The students from Johns Creek High School on our last day of classes at Centro Mundo Lengua!!!

Although I went with a group of people from my school, I really did not know most of them, and I left the Atlanta airport feeling as if I was truly leaving behind my family. We had done everything together, and I genuinely feel, in the words of a friend who came on this trip, that "I am excited to know them all forever. To never not know them". And we left many friends behind in Sevilla, people who I know I could return to and be welcomed with open arms.

Cover Image Credit: Thousand Wonders

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."

It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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Day Four In Italy: Florence

This is the day we learned the history of everything


Waking up bright and early we first took the tour bus to the country side of Florence where we visited a medieval town full of shops that lined a beautiful countryside.

CountrysideBrooke Burney

We spent about three hours here just looking around, buying things, and taking pictures. Once the three hours were up, we went to a winery where they explained how they made wine with the grapes in their vineyard.

In the vineyardBrooke Burney

After the tour, they fed us lunch with some of their wine. Then, after we ate, we passed through their wine shop and took the bus back to the Piazza della Signoria. On the way back, our tour guide was telling us about Michelangelo and his time creating the Statue of David. We had to stand in a line for about thirty minutes but when our time came, we were thrilled. We entered and saw artwork from many different artists. However, Michelangelo had a hallway of his own that was mostly filled with unfinished sculptures of statues with David being at the very end.

Statue of DavidBrooke Burney

After the tour of the art museum, our tour guide took us to the square where the churches were and gave us a history lesson on them. He gave us a background on the pictures that were painted on the doors and what they represent.

Brooke Burney

After this tour, we went back to our hotel where we were able to go eat dinner. My friends and I went back to the small square we first went to and ate in a small pizza joint.

Italian pizzaBrooke Burney

If you ever go to Europe, keep in mind that they have a hard time splitting orders. As we were sitting at this table, we asked for separate checks but they made us pay separately on a single check, which was kind of funny watching three American girls pick through their euros.

After dinner, we went back to our hotel to pack for the next day. To the train station, then Pompeii!

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