The People Make the Place

The first 24 hours after my mom dropped me off at O’Hare airport in Illinois were scary, fun, hectic, and disorienting. Upon arriving at the first airport of the upcoming 4, I struggled to check in and check my bag. That was when I began to worry if I was taking on more than I could handle. However, this fear quickly lessened when I reached my gate and realized that the majority of passengers were CIEE students that were also headed to Sevilla. 

We all stuck together throughout our Chicago and New York flights and got to know each other by navigating the airports. It was pretty cute until we all went into survival-of-the-fittest / everyone-for-themselves mode at the Madrid airport when we had to run to catch our Sevilla flight. It was fun to travel with a big group like that, but that also meant that when we messed up… we messed up big time. It must have been 70 or more of us students who stood at the wrong baggage claim area for about 15 minutes until we realized that was only for European citizens.

Yesterday afternoon after arriving in Sevilla, my host picked me up. She speaks Spanish very fast and with an Andalusian accent, but she is extremely kind and understanding when I’m communicating with her. She let me know that she’s been purposefully annunciating and talking slower to help me, which is so sweet and at the same time scares me for how fast she may talk once I start to settle in. She has a 30-year-old daughter who is just as friendly and gave me a list of places that are “obligatorio” for me to visit. This host family is absolutely wonderful and I am so grateful to have been placed here in Triana with them.

My view from bed in my homestay room
My view from bed in my homestay room

Orientation began today and we had a tour around Sevilla. Traffic here is chaotic and fast and there are many different modes of transportation. Walking seems to be the most common but all around there are bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, cars, trains, horse-drawn carriages, etc. A big theme of our tour was, essentially, how to not get hit by any of these things. 

Tomorrow, we will continue orientation and see more of the city. I do look forward to getting over the initial fears and culture shock so I can start to really explore and learn about Sevilla. Fortunately, the students that I’ve met so far have shown me that I’m not the only one feeling these things and the CIEE staff and my host family have made me feel so welcome and loved already. So far, the Sevilla experience has been nothing short of incredible and I’m very excited for what’s next to come.

Published by isabel.santos

Class of 2023 Psychology and Spanish Double Major CIEE Seville, Spain

Leave a comment