My summer abroad was truly an amazing experience. I studied abroad in Seville, Spain and am so grateful I chose this city and country to study in. Spain is a place where tradition, culture, and entertainment are bursting with life. It is a country full of passion and pride for what their history is and what the country also offers today. I was pleased to meet locals from Spain and Seville to learn what their daily life was like. There are many things that are very different from the U.S, but learning and embracing these differences is what lead to my overall growth as a person this summer. I enjoyed finding out the quirks of the culture, trying the most authentic food, and experiencing Spain’s well known night life the best.

One interesting quirk in the Spanish culture is the level of seriousness they have with the concept of “siesta time.” Upon arrival, my friend and I were dragging our luggage through the cobblestone streets of Spain in the middle of a very hot afternoon. When suddenly my first experience of culture shock set in. A man came out to his balcony and shouted “¿sabes que hora es?” meaning “do you know what time it is?” in a very angry and annoyed voice. It was then that I realized we were in the middle of siesta time in Spain, and everyone was most likely in their homes trying to sleep away the heat. We laughed at the time, but as the weeks went on we knew exactly how that man felt about his interrupted nap time.

The food was also a highlight of my study abroad trip. With CIEE, they took us on two different excursion outside of Seville. We visited Cadiz, Ronda, and Bologna. As we traveled to different cities in Spain and also as we explored Seville, out instructors (who were Sevillianos) always gave us the best food and wine recommendations. The seafood of Spain is the best seafood I have had to this day. Every ingredient was fresh and homemade. Although the taste was delightful, the presentation of the food is head turning to an American. Most of the time if you ordered fish, this meant the whole fish: eyes, head, everything. Though it was shocking at first I am so glad I got out of my comfort zone to try new things.

The night life in Spain was one of my most memorable parts. Entertainment like Flamenco shows, concerts, and bullfighting were things I will never forget about Spain. Though bullfighting was very hard to watch, I will always be grateful to have experienced one of the most traditional aspects of Spain’s culture. Another very traditional aspect of Spain is Flamenco. Seville is the very heart of Flamenco culture, so there was always a show to see. The passion and excitement the dancers and singer had for their art was so compelling.

All in all, I would not change anything about my study abroad experience. It helped me form better language and people skills while creating some of my most treasured memories. I am so thankful for the scholarships I received in order to be a part of this study abroad program.

Cassie Whittakerl is majoring in Communication with minors in Spanish and International Studies. She spent the summer of 2018 studying abroad in Seville, Spain through CIEE. Cassie had the following to say about her time abroad, “Study abroad, learn, travel, and experience as much as you can while you are young. The memories you will make and the knowledge you will receive will be one of your most treasured parts of your life. Take advantage of every moment you have in this phase of your life.”

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