The thrill of traveling to a new place is always something to look forward to. A change of pace, scenery and even language, for some, can feel a bit daunting. Here at the International College of Seville however, they do a great job at helping their students adjust. From day one, students are entrenched in Spanish culture that shows the diverse history of the land.
Stepping off the plane with your homestay address in hand, Seville is a modern enough city with orange trees lining almost every corner. BUT DON’T EAT THEM! Something you’ll either learn on your own or hear from one of the many helpful staff members. They won’t make you sick, but they are far from sweet!!
After a short introductory meeting in a classroom that seats the entire student body, we were given a light snack and then given the afternoon to get our bearings. While free time is not limited, the ICS staff made sure that the next 5 days would be filled with exciting, and delicious, activities. From our dinner at 100 Montaditos, the Andalusian breakfast at Cafe Le XIX, and the belly dancer show at the Arabic tea house, students can literally taste what it’s like to be a Sevillian. But eating was not the only thing the school had in store for us.
While the majority of homestays are within a short 5-10 minute walk from campus, you’d better hope you brought a comfortable pair of shoes with you. The college took us across several neighborhoods every day from Thursday to Monday so that we could see what the city has to offer. From the ancient castle of the Alcazar, to the largest wooden structure in Europe that was built for the 1992 World’s Fair. For a 360 degree view of the city, a few of us climbed Las Setas de la Encarnación where we saw that the Seville landscape is flat but expansive. Later in the week, to give our feet a break, students were taken to the Museo del baile Flamenco where we watched passionate performers share this traditional dance. We learned that Flamenco is not so much a rigid choreographed dance as much as it is a heartfelt exposé that shares the emotions of both the dancers and the musicians. Lucky enough for us, the ICS also signs us up for our own dance classes so that we too can learn and perform at the upcoming Feria de Abril.
As if all this excitement wasn’t enough, one of the capstone activities for Welcome Week was a cozy morning river cruise up and down the Guadalquivir river. Some students even got to interact with locals that joined us for that mornings rendezvous. Dancing on the boats was not a requirement, but you’d definitely look funny just sitting around as the music played, the sun shined, and all your other new friends were having fun.One of the last activities that the school had planned for us was a Tales and Legends walking tour where we got a small taste of the secrets hidden along the Catedral de Sevilla and the city.
In short, the International College of Seville has done an amazing job of helping incoming students adjust to life in their new home. And while the mid afternoon siestas have quickly become a staple for many of us, the time already feels like it is flying out here and it is hard to want to waste any of it.