Over the past month, I have done an extensive amount of traveling and exploring different parts of Spain, Europe, and Africa. I’ve travelled to the majority of Andalusia (southern Spain), multiple cities in Morocco, and made my first trip to another European country! While the weekends have been jam-packed with new experiences, I’ve really missed spending as much time in Seville. Traveling from Thursday to Sunday every weekend maximizes the time I can spend in other cities, but really hinders the amount of time I’m able to spend in Seville. Coming abroad, most people seem to focus on all of the traveling they can do when within Europe. Having chosen a European city, I definitely planned to take a lot of trips when I signed up to come to Seville, but I’ve begun to realize that being able to spend time in your own city abroad is much cooler.
The past 4 weekends I’ve been traveling outside of Seville to some amazing new places. While I definitely have missed Seville during my time away, I’ve also had some great experiences. In Granada I was able to enjoy tons of free tapas, walk down the Sierra Nevada mountains, and sleep in a hostel. In Morocco (truly the experience of a lifetime) I took a ferry over the Strait of Gibraltar, rode a camel, tried on traditional Moroccan dresses, walked around Chefchaouen, and learned a few words in Arabic (would love love love to learn more someday!).
In Barcelona I walked around las Ramblas, swam in the Mediterranean, and ran a marathon. While all of these experiences and sight-seeing opportunities have been wonderful, I think the best part of studying abroad is the opportunity to live in a European city.
In all of the different cities I’ve traveled to, most of my friends and I walk around and plan to go to the major tourist attractions. Going to Barcelona, I had to see the Sagrada Familia. In Paris, the Eiffel Tower was obvious. While I definitely think this is important to do, these aren’t the main things I’ll look back at from my time abroad and appreciate the most. Spending two or three days in each of these cities, all I have time to do is see the major tourist attractions. I’m able to say that I’ve seen the Alhambra, but experiencing the culture in each of these different cities is much more different. Most of the things I’m able to do in other cities is superficial. For that reason, I’m glad I’ve enjoyed my time spent at “home” in Seville. Most of the things I’ll remember most about being abroad will be things I did in Seville – getting drinks along the river, living in the dorms, and time spend with all of my friends. In the future, I hope to return to Europe and see places I’m not going to be able to visit (super bummed that Greece isn’t going to happen), but I don’t think I’ll ever have the opportunity to live in Europe for an extended period of time again.
The past couple months living in Seville, I’ve become comfortable and accustomed to the lifestyle and people and weather and all the aspects of the city. I’ve seen el Alcázar and Plaza de España (Seville’s major tourist attractions), but I’ve also been able to understand the city on a deeper level. With the weather warming up, and Semana Santa (holy week celebrations) and Feria (Seville’s weeklong festival along the river) coming up, I’m excited for all the time I have left to experience living in such an extraordinary city!