A Beginner’s Guide to Sevilla

On the morning of January 15th, I woke up to sounds of a plane engine. Getting out of the hotel bed and walking over to the window, I could see the plane rising up over the O’Hare control tower and disappearing into the grey clouds hanging low in the sky. I was in Chicago with my family, awaiting my own flight not much later that morning. We were all getting ready to send me off to study abroad in Sevilla, Spain, for the semester.

After saying goodbye to my family, moving through security lines, and waiting impatiently at the terminal gate, I too disappeared into those same grey clouds. The whole ordeal to get to Sevilla took well over 24 hours. But several connecting flights, a slight delay, and a very confusing Lisbon, Portugal, airport did not stop me from reaching my final destination.

Now that I am here, I have experienced a nonstop mix of emotions, although almost none of them being negative. The beauty of the city and its people is breathtaking. Between the European/Moorish architecture, the historical landmarks, and the warm climate, I know I will never get tired of the view.

La Catedral de Santa María de la Sede
La Catedral de Santa María de la Sede

The people of Seville speak Andalusian which is Spanish, but with a fairly heavy accent depending on who you speak to. They speak with a lisp, and often slur their words together which can be confusing to understand but amazing to listen to. Their interesting words are often accompanied by hand gestures and body language that actually tend to say more than what they speak. Apart from the architecture, communication in Sevilla is a form of art within itself.

My host mother Isabel has been nothing but the sweetest, and the food she makes is amazing. My roommate – who is also a student – and I enjoy long extended conversations in Spanish over almuerzo and cena (lunch and dinner). Spaniards treat each meal like an event, taking hours to slowly eat their food and talk about life. Lunch is served at 3pm and dinner around 10pm.

Sevillanos are very approachable people. They drive fast, talk loudly, and eat in mass quantities. Los platos that Isabel makes for me at lunch and dinner are intimidating in size. All that being said, they are easily some of the warmest and most welcoming people I will ever meet. I have had the pleasure of meeting a few, and it has been great practicing my Spanish with people who are always both patient and interested.

This first week has been fast paced, but very exciting. After several orientations, guided tours, and meet-and-greets, I am finally feeling settled in. I am about to start my classes and get the ball rolling on a possible internship! There will be many more great things to come, but while I am here, I must always remember to live in the moment. Overall, I am beyond excited to see what this city has in store for me.

A fun video showing my flight to Sevilla and my first couple of days in the city.

Published by Andrew Schenkel

Class of 2021 CIEE Sevilla, Spain Business w/ minor in Economics, Spanish

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