The International College of Seville’s Fall 2019 students have been presented with the uniquely advantageous opportunity to study, travel, and participate in a multitude of exciting activities all while immersing ourselves in the beauty of Seville’s art, food, language, and culture. While I was nervous about leaving my hometown and shed many tears in the days leading up to my trip to Spain, the amazing people and places that I have had the pleasure of coming across in my travels have made me feel right at home nearly 4,000 miles away.
My first night in Seville was spent with my roommate and our lovely host family. We enjoyed drinks and tapas at “El Cepo,” a small bar/restaurant located next to our homestay. Severely jet lagged after nearly 10 hours of traveling, I remember still having trouble falling asleep out of excitement for Welcome Week and all of the activities that we had to look forward to.
The week that followed my arrival to Seville on Wednesday, September 18th consisted of various tours, activities, and foods that have cultivated a profuse love for my new home. Welcome Week began Thursday evening with a tour of ICS students’ new neighborhood “El Porvenir” that ended with a tapas reception dinner with ICS professors and staff at “Los 100 Montaditos.” The overwhelming joy I felt while enjoying tapas, french fries, and drinks in the company of my new professors, advisors, and peers dissipated any fear I had of being an ocean away from my loved ones for the next three months.
My Friday morning began with a “Desayuno Andaluz,” which consisted of bread with various toppings and spreads of our choice paired with coffee or one of many different teas served at the well decorated and trendy bar/restaurant Le XIX. While I am extremely fond of a traditional American breakfast complete with pancakes, eggs, and bacon, I was surprisingly satisfied with the small (and delicious!) Andalusian breakfast variety. That evening, ICS students, professors, and staff met once again to experience Arab culture at the “Tetería Bagdad” in Triana where we enjoyed exotic teas and an enticing performance of Arabic dance. The next morning, my roommate and I, who had both unfortunately fallen ill, walked through the historic shopping district of Seville to meet our peers and ICS professors and staff for churros at Las Setas. My roommate and I returned to our homestay after enjoying the delicious fried dish to rest before seeing the most electric and awe-inspiring Flamenco show at the Museo del Baile Flamenco later that night.
On Sunday, ICS students took a trip to Praia de Marinha in Faro, Portugal through the amazing tour agency We Love Spain. The beach trip, filled with games, breathtaking views, and fun, was overwhelmingly beautiful and wonderfully refreshing. I remember thinking to myself fairly often throughout the day about how lucky I am to be surrounded by so much beauty and so many amazing people. I was, and still am, in disbelief of the opportunities I have been given to experience not just the majesty and magic of Europe but of the amazing professors, staff, and students at ICS as well.
Welcome Week ended with a guided tour of “Tales and Legends” in downtown Seville on Monday and a luxury boat cruise down the river on Thursday. Through my experiences during my first week in Seville alone, I have learned not only about its rich history and culture, but also about respect, responsibility, and friendship as well. I have fallen so deeply in love with this everything this beautiful city has to offer, and I am so excited to make more amazing memories of this semester that I will cherish for a lifetime.