My three months in Sevilla are sadly coming to a close. I can’t even begin to comprehend the impact that this experience has had on my personal growth and my life outlook moving forward, so I think the best way to reflect on this past semester is to share some Spanish practices that I’ll be bringing back with me to the United States.


Walking
According to my Health app, I walk an average of 5 miles a day in Sevilla – 5 times the amount I walked back in the United States. Although my feet were begging for mercy during the first week, I now love living in such a walkable city! It helps me feel so much more connected to my surroundings and healthier than I’ve ever been. Though it’s not as practical in suburban America, I will try my best to keep walks in my daily routine.


Bread
Though I won’t have my host mom to bring me hot bread from the panadería down the street every morning, quality bread has definitely become a staple to my diet. My favorite breakfast of all time, tostada con tomate rallado y aceite de oliva, will definitely be my go-to when I’m nostalgic for a light Andalusian breakfast – always with a café con leche de avena.

Appreciating life’s simple pleasures
Before Spain, I can’t remember the last time I sat down for lunch without an assignment staring back at me or went to a coffee shop without my laptop or schoolwork. In Andalucía, the right to rest is so much more appreciated than in the non-stop culture of the United States. The majority of andaluces have the opportunity to enjoy an uninterrupted lunch, stroll, or café without feeling like they’re falling behind. Although it was sometimes challenging to get used to the collective pause of the afternoon siesta and Sundays, I survived without 24-hour superstores and now admire the devotion to gifting people with rest.


Social Connection
Spanish leisure activities are completely constructed around the desire to socialize and connect with friends and family. During peak hours, bars and cafes are filled with large groups of friends crowded around a table chatting until closing time. On sunny weekends, the grassy areas of El Parque de María Luisa are covered with friends lounging on blankets playing cards and eating snacks. Of course we do all of these things in the United States too, but I personally have become much more extraverted and eager to spend quality time with people during my time in Sevilla. When I get home, I’m so excited to spend as much time as I can reconnecting with my family and friends. To everyone with ICS, I appreciate all of the laughs, lessons, and memories that we have experienced on this journey together. Adiós por ahora, Sevilla, I’ll be back!