Who Am I:
Eleanor Masinter, BC’18, Economics Major and Spanish Minor.
Where am I studying/Why?
Hola from Sevilla, España! First of all, I chose to study abroad because I am a Spanish minor and mastering the language is extremely important to me. I chose Sevilla because it is honestly one of the most beautiful places in the world. After being in NYC for 2 years I decided to trade in my fast-paced, big city life for a more relaxed vibe. Here, I am living with a host family (Maria, Paco and their two dogs) in a residential area across the river from the center of the city. Living with my family has been a phenomenal experience. While at first it was a bit awkward, I quickly settled into the routine. Living in a homestay also forces you to speak the target language at all times, which forces you to get accustomed to living in another country. My host father is also a huge football fan, so one perk of living here is that I get to watch every La Liga game.
What are three essentials to pack?
Packing the right stuff is a vital part to your study abroad experience. country The three things I have found most useful while here are the following:
- Headphones: Europe is loud and doesn’t have airconditioning so most of the time you have your windows open. Having a good pair of noise canceling headphone can make all the difference in the world.
- Comfortable shoes: Having a pair of comfortable walking shoes is super important. Everyday I walk about 30 minutes to class on cobble stone roads. Without comfortable shoes my feet would be riddled with blisters and my wallet would be empty from all the cabs I’d need to take.
- A debit card with a low transaction fee: This is something that I did not pack but am highly regretting. Every time I make a purchase with my chase card I have a 3% transaction fee. Opening a new bank account or getting a new credit card is much easier to do while in the States. This will save you a headache and a lot of money.
How’s the food?
- The food is pretty different, but good. My senora makes most of my meals for me and she is a pretty good chef so I am lucky that regard. I found that I eat a lot more carbs and fats here than I do back home. The three main foods here are bread, olive oil and jamón, which while good at first gets old pretty quickly. It is also very difficult to incorporate vegetables into your diet in Spain. Eating habits here are a lot different as well. I usually do not eat lunch until 2 and dinner until around 10. In America we usually eat when were hungry; in Spain you eat when it’s time to eat.
What’s the nightlife like?
- The nightlife in Sevilla is actually a lot like the nightlife at Columbia. We usually start pregaming around 10:30 with a bottle of wine on the river. After that we hit up a few bars around the city. Something a bit different than home is that we usually end the nights at a Discoteca. The nights usually end around 4 or 5 in the morning (though it is not unheard of to come back at 7 or 8 am). Spain is also a marathon and not a sprint. The first weekend here I ended up getting body shots taken off of me and I am still recovering.
How are the people?
- The people in Spain are some of the best people I have ever met. They are kind, resilient, and love life. People here always seem to be celebrating something, and you can always find someone dancing on the streets. They are also some of the most beautiful people in the world, which I attribute most to their attitude and constant beach tan.
What are two things that they do as a society that’s so different than USA?
- There are so many things I want to put here it will be difficult to pick just two. First of all, people in Spain do not eat the skin on a peach! The first time I ate a peach in front of my host parents they looked at me like I was some sort of Alien. Another big difference between here and the States is that there is alcohol everywhere. Our first night here a bunch of us went to an ice cream store and it had a fully stocked bar in the back. You can get a drink almost anywhere in this country.
Must Dos while abroad:
- Try all the food! Even if it looks weird, you will regret not taking a bite!
- Get to know your city/country. While traveling across the globe is an amazing opportunity, being abroad is one of the only times you will be able to LIVE in another place. Take advantage of what you have around you. Go to local festivals and events and truly immerse yourself in the culture.
- Take risks! Being abroad can be scary and difficult to adjust to but the best experiences are sometimes the ones you were apprehensive about at first.