Going abroad for your first time can be scary, messy, and challenging, and I have a whole list of things that I wish I knew before studying abroad in Spain. Spain is one of the most welcoming and sociable countries in Europe, known for its never-ending night scene, long siestas, and delicious tapas. Be
Adjusting to life in Sevilla: Candidate Blog
Meet Sophie M., our Adelante Official Blogger, as she begins her Medical internship in Sevilla, Spain!
¡Bienvenidos a España!
My name is Sophie Marcom and I am an Adelante Abroad internship candidate from the US. I live in North Carolina and am about to start my third year studying Medical Anthropology, Spanish and Chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill. Though it was cancelled, I had planned to study abroad with my university in Sevilla in 2020. This past February, I decided to explore some different options that were more affordable and flexible. My original plan was to find a backup program in case my university canceled again, but after just one phone interview with Adelante I had already made up my mind to pursue their internship program instead.
I have been living in Sevilla since May 15th and will be here until August 7th. Though I have studied Spanish in a classroom, I had never been to a Spanish-speaking country before my arrival. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous to throw myself into a new language while moving across the world by myself. After my 24-hour journey, the first thing I did when I got to Spain was sleep. I remember waking up from my “siesta” at 10 PM and realizing that I needed to eat. My roommates had yet to arrive so I ventured out on my own. I was surprised to see so many people of all ages out in the streets just starting to eat dinner. I didn’t know that in just 24 hours, I would be among them, “paseando” through the streets until midnight with my roommates and new friends.
Though I knew a good amount of Spanish before coming, I was not prepared for all of the small cultural differences. The first time we went out to dinner, we ordered sangria (which we later found out is only a tourist drink) and sat at our table for 30 minutes waiting for them to bring the check before realizing that we had to ask for it. The past four weeks have been full of similar learning moments at restaurants, grocery stores, school; basically, everywhere that we have been.
Parque de Maria Luisa (left), “Las Setas”/ “The Mushrooms” in the center of Sevilla (right)
When walking around during my first few days, it seemed that we were face-to-face with a different historical monument every time we turned a corner. I quickly realized that we lived very centrally, just a few minutes away from Real Alcázar, Catedral de Sevilla, and the beautiful Parque de Maria Luisa. I was also only a ten-minute walk from my language school, CLIC, located right next to the city hall (Ayuntamiento).
I started my classes at CLIC on my third day in Sevilla. I was definitely not expecting to make as many friends as I did when I was there, but even now that I am done with my classes I still find myself going back to visit my friends and teachers. I made friends from Holland, England, Switzerland, Japan, Korea, Germany, and China through school. It isn’t uncommon when hanging out with them to hear four different languages being used to communicate. I have learned so much about the customs and ways of life in other countries that I never would have known without these new friends from my language classes. During my first two weeks, I also made several Sevillian friends through my roommates studying abroad at Universidad Pablo de Olavide. I definitely was not expecting it to be so easy to meet people!
CLIC Language School (left), Palacios Nazaríes at the Alhambra in Granada (right)
During our first weekend here, we took a two-day trip to Granada, where we visited the Alhambra and the Capilla Real de Granada, among other places. A pleasant surprise about Granada was the free tapa that comes with every drink that you order! On my way home from Granada, I struck up a conversation with the Spanish boy sitting next to me and we ended up speaking in Spanish for the entire three hours back to Sevilla. I was very surprised at my ability to hold a conversation for that long!
The following weekend one of our Sevillian friends drove us to Rota, Cádiz, for a day. This beach, about an hour and a half from Sevilla, is where you can find Naval Station Rota, the largest American military community in Spain. We played a game on the beach where we had to guess who was American and who was Spanish, which turned out to be very easy. Most recently, we visited Madrid for a three-day weekend, which was amazing. Though we had to spend 12 hours on a bus to get there and back and walk 30 miles around the city, it was worth it. My favorite part of our trip was exploring the Parque del Retiro at sunset.
Though we have been on many weekend trips, Sevilla has come to feel like home. I can feel the time flying past and already know that I will be so sad to leave in two months. I am trying to make the best of every day here and immerse myself as fully as possible into the wonderful Sevillian culture.
2021 Medical Intern in Seville, Spain
Exploring the Parque del Retiro in Madrid
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