13 Reasons to Study Abroad in Sevilla, Spain

13 Reasons to Study Abroad in Sevilla, Spain

Living in another country is just... amazing.
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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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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Everyone Should Visit Rome At Least Once In His Or Her Life

The atmosphere of the city truly makes you feel like you're in the middle of a movie set.

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I am writing this article while sitting on a bus heading from Rome to the airport to catch my flight to Paris and it has given me some time to reflect on my last few days here. After spending quite a bit of time here, I definitely think that If you get the opportunity to travel to Rome, you should do so, you will not regret it. You may be asking yourself, why is Rome so special and fantastic? Isn't it just home to the Colosseum, the Vatican, and some good Italian restaurants? The answer is no, Rome is so much more than that, it's fabulous cuisine, jaw-dropping architecture, fantastic attractions, and it truly makes you feel as if you've been transported back in time and are in the middle of history.

While in Rome, my family and I had the opportunity to visit both the famous Sistine Chapel and the Colosseum. Both of these incredible attractions made us feel as if we were really there, in Ancient Rome and in the presence of Michelangelo as he painted the ceiling of the chapel. In addition, the jaw-droppingly gorgeous architecture added to the beauty of the city. From the Trevi fountain to the capital building to the statues in the Vatican, every structure made me look up in absolute awe. Truthfully, it is well worth going to Rome just to see the beautiful architecture.

Furthermore, the atmosphere of the city truly makes you feel like you're in the middle of a movie set. Everything is so picturesque that you feel like it isn't even real like it's a facade. One day my family and I stopped to have a snack at this small restaurant that was situated on a quiet street and we all kept remarking at how it was so beautiful (and how the food was so good) and especially how it felt like we were on the set of a movie, with how picturesque and quiet it was. Simply put, the sights of Rome are breathtakingly beautiful! Everywhere you look you find more "hidden gems" that add more and more beauty to an already incredible city.

In addition to talking about all of the beautiful architecture, great attractions, and amazing atmosphere, how can one go to Rome and not talk about the food! The food in Rome in indescribably good. The pizza, while very different from what you typically find in a pizza place in the United States, is extremely fresh and delicious. The pasta was absolutely amazing and much thicker than what you would find in America. The vegetables were extremely fresh, especially the tomatoes which were very red and actually much sweeter than I anticipated.

Overall, from its architecture to its atmosphere to its attractions to its food, going to Rome was an incredible experience. And it was definitely an experience that I will never forget! I will definitely be back for another experience of a lifetime! Now it's on to Paris and then London. Ciao, for now, Rome, and Grazie (that's thank you in Italian) for everything.

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