Courtney Fraley is a student at Baldwin Wallace University and is an ISA Classmates Connecting Cultures blogger corresponding with a her study abroad office at Baldwin Wallace. Courtney is studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain on an ISA Spring 1 program.
Feels like I was just counting down from 100 days until I leave for Spain with my Spanish-flag-colored countdown chain. Then, it was down to the day before I caught my flight to Madrid when I had never been so nervous for anything in my entire life. I was preparing for my first time outside of the States, the longest period of time without seeing my family, and the accomplishment of a 7 year long dream.
Now, after 4 incredible months in Seville, Spain, I have been home for a week. I never thought about the day I would be back home. It is bittersweet, but being home has given me a few moments to reflect on my time abroad.
Many people have already asked me, “What was your favorite place?” After visiting ten countries and numerous cities, Sevilla is still my favorite. Most of the time, people are very puzzled by my answer because I have seen and experienced places like the Vatican, the Cliffs of Moher, Big Ben, etc. Granted those were bucket-list places, but Sevilla is a special place of its own.
I did not go to Spain so I could travel all over Europe. I went to Spain so I could better my Spanish abilities and delve into Spanish culture by stepping outside of my comfort zone. The beauty of traditional Spanish culture, in my opinion, can be found in Sevilla.
Tapas, bullfighting, olive oil, flamenco and sunshine are some of the most iconic symbols of Sevilla, but my favorite part was the people. The city is filled with the sweetest people I have ever met with the patience of a snail and sassiness as hot as a pepper. Their life motto is to live life and live it well. You can always find them in the cafés lining the streets with family and friends enjoying a warm coffee or cold Cruzcampo accompanied by a slough of tapas. Their animated conversations and laughter always made walks through the city an exciting experience. The people, whether it was my host family, Spanish amigas, or complete strangers, made every day a blessing and helped me grasp Sevillan life.
I may have arrived as a terrified Spanish wanna-be, but I left with a better understanding of myself, Spain, and this world.
un beso muy fuerte,