Sevilla (Seville) is a smaller city with a population of about 690,000 people, located in southern Spain’s Andalucia region off the Guadalquivir River. It is famous for flamenco dancing and its various landmarks including the Alcázar, The Plaza de España, the Cathedral, La Giralda, and many more! (Also home to the filming of Star Wars and Game of Thrones)! Here are only a few reasons why you should consider studying abroad in Sevilla!
It is beautiful!
Of course this can be said about many cities, especially in Europe, Sevilla is actually gorgeous (although I may be biased)! The numerous landmarks and narrow, cobblestone streets provide more than enough photo ops and social media worthy pictures. A quick hour and a half bus ride to the beach and you get the best of both worlds: city life and beach relaxing.
It is great to actually practice your Spanish!
Many study abroad students are attracted to larger cities where English is often spoken. This makes it hard to fully immerse yourself in the culture and learn the language. Homestays are the norm here in Sevilla which helps you learn both the culture and the language more in depth. Additionally, you will need to use Spanish outside of the city center, which is a great way to practice!
The people in Sevilla are SO nice.
Sevillanos/as, which is what the people of Sevilla are referred to, are known for being super nice!! They love their city and their culture and are super eager to share it with you. They open their homes to international students and want you to fully immerse yourself into the experience by trying new foods, learning more Spanish, and living as a Sevillano/a would.
There is so much to do in Sevilla.
Although Sevilla may not be as big as Barcelona or Madrid, there are still plenty of things to do and many sights to see. There are many neighborhoods to visit such as Nervion, Triana, Los Remedios, and many more! I have already been here for 3 weeks and still find myself discovering new areas of the city and visiting new landmarks. There are plenty of landmarks, museums, parks, gardens, and other touristy locations so be assured that there is something for everyone!
When I first got to Sevilla, the weather was pretty much unbearable. It was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit everyday, and many of the homestays have no air conditioning. However, this weather only lasted about 2 weeks, and it has already cooled down. While I have friends in other cities in countries in coats and jackets, I am continuing to wear my summer clothes and shoes so I am not complaining! By December the coldest it should get is around 50 degrees, which is like a beach vacation compared to Boston’s winter!
You can walk everywhere!
Yes, Sevilla is a city, but very walkable and easy to navigate. A car is not needed and there is a grocery store and mall with everything you could need inside within a 10 minute walk from me. They have bike lanes all throughout the city which are used a considerable amount by both bikes and scooters. The city is flat, which is great for walking in the heat. The metro is very easy to use with only one train in each direction. There are also busses and trams to get you around the city. Uber, Cabify, and taxis are also cheap and reliable here which is perfect for traveling and nights out.
It is a safe city.
Of course, studying abroad is about having fun, but it is also important to consider the safety aspect as well. I feel safe walking alone through Sevilla and even asking locals for directions if I need help because they are so nice here. I have 3 keys: 1 to get into my street, 1 to get into my building, and 1 to get into my apartment! The biggest crime here is pickpocketing, which can be prevented with vigilance and care. Also the most accidents occur from vehicles, so as long you take precautions while crossing the bike lanes and roads, you will be okay!
Okay, at first I was having trouble deciding on where to study abroad, but when I heard that Spain had a designed time to nap, I said “sign me up”! Siesta is the time between 3-5 PM everyday where shops and restaurants close down and people stop working. It is meant to be a quiet time, but in the summer it is taken very seriously and literally where people actually nap since it is usually the hottest part of the day. I am a nap enthusiast so this is right up my alley! Right after lunch (which is around 2:00 and the biggest meal of the day), it is completely acceptable to nap for 2 WHOLE HOURS! I mean, it doesn’t get better than that right?
I don’t know what took me so long to mention the food, but THE FOOD! TAPAS, TAPAS, TAPAS!!! These are small plates that you can share with friends to try new foods or grab a quick snack in between meals. Although meal times take time to adjust to, the food is really good and you can always stop for some tapas or gelato if you get hungry.
For me, I am not a huge fan of spicy foods, which is why I think I like the food here so much because they do not use many spices. They are famous for their gazpacho, which is a cold soup, traditionally eaten in the summer with tomatoes and peppers as the main ingredients. They are also known for the famous “tortilla de patatas” which is essentially an omelette with potatoes, eaten for dinner. My host mom cooks a very healthy cuisine for me daily which I love and appreciate!
The social life!
Although this may be the final reason on my list and I could keep listing more, I will end here for your own sake. The social life in Sevilla is always popping! My host mom and sister are always going out to meet with friends. It is customary to meet with friends on the streets at a local bar or cafe and not in one’s home. This is easy to do since drinks and tapas are cheap compared to America.
Additionally, a cultural difference in Spain from America is that restaurants are meant to spend uninterrupted time with your friends and/or family. With that being said, there is no waiter that keeps coming up to your table. Instead, they come to take your drink and food orders, and anything else you will have to flag them down for (and yes, that includes the check!). This can make going to restaurants a super long ordeal, but it is a good place to spend a lot of time since they do not kick you out. Since drinks and tapas are cheap, you can order a coffee or a tapa and stay at the restaurant for a couple hours before getting the bill to pay and leaving.