Tuesday, August 3, 2010

No Me Dejado

I felt like a foreigner before I even left the US. I got off my flight from San Diego to Chicago and entered the Iberia Airlines hub. Suddenly, everything was in Spanish. The majority of the people on my flight to Madrid were obviously from Spain, and I, with my blond hair and blue eyes, obviously was not. It was the first time I felt nervous about my three week trip to Sevilla. I doubted my speaking skills and worried the language barrier between me and my host Señora would lead to many problems. All of these doubts left my mind as soon as I arrived at Hotel Bacquer for the CIEE Session III orientation. I was greeted by friendly Spaniards and a group of American students who were just as nervous and excited to be there as I was.

During our two day orientation we were introduced to Sevillan and Spanish culture. We also ate more tapas than anyone should in a two day span. After our orientation, I moved into my homestay with my host Señora,

Concha. She cooked me homemade Spanish meals everyday. It was incredible. I also took a class through CIEE called El Legado de Al Andalus. The class gave me a history about the Muslim, Christian, and Jewish cultures in Andalucía as well as the opportunity to take field trips around the city. I also got to take day trips to Córdoba and some provinces of Sevilla.

As if the trip wasn’t good enough, I was also in Spain during the World Cup. I got to experience Spanish fútbol at its finest when La Roja became los campeones del mundo de fútbol with their

World Cup win. I watched the game in a huge outdoor auditorium with my friends and the majority of Sevilla’s college aged population. People were in the streets all night long celebrating.

I also got to take weekend trips with CIEE to Málaga and Jerez. We tasted wines at the Tío Pepe factory, visited the Picasso museum in Málaga, went to beautiful beaches, and saw tons of churches. The one weekend I had free I went to Lagos Portugal with a group of friends. It was a fun beach town in the very south of Portugal.

I’m not really sure what my absolute favorite part of the trip was. After the first week everything felt natural to me. I had my frutería where I bought fruit everyday, a little market where I bought my Príncipe cookies, and a restaurant I went to on Wednesdays for a Euro jarra of tinto de verano and a bocadillo. I got a complete cultural immersion, made great friends, and visited amazing places. Did I mention I get 3 credits for all of this?

- Brittany Dawson, #4

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