A Little Snippet on:
My Study Abroad Experience in Sevilla, España
By Eric Odynocki
Instead of a book report, I have been asked to write a little review or reflection of the spring semester I spent abroad in Spain. To begin, I suppose it would be good to explain that ever since high school I have had a dream, as cliché as it sounds, to study abroad for a semester in Spain. After planning and working furiously towards this goal throughout college, the opportunity finally became fulfilled this past spring semester. While my own university had several programs in Spain, I opted to participate in the program that another SUNY school offered in Seville, a provincial but very historic city in the culturally rich southern region of Andalucía. I think I made the right decision since I could not have asked for a better experience: it seriously was the best time of my life… well, at least so far.
There were some difficulties when going through the paperwork for applying to the program such as supposed missing documents and some miscommunications as to how long the visa process actually took. Other than that, though, I was able to arrive in Spain without any stress and begin my semester abroad.
For orientation, eighteen other students and I spent two days in Granada, another Andalucian city, and then two days in a resort in Marbella, a vacation spot on the Costa del Sol with beautiful beaches. Afterward, we arrived in Sevilla where we settled into our quite spacious apartments in the modern center of the city. I was fortunate enough share an apartment with three other individuals who I came to know more as siblings than as suitemates.
We were foreign students in the University of Seville system, and the literature and history classes we attended, which were all conducted in Spanish, were held in the Old Factory of Tobacco. It may not sound so pleasant, but in actuality, the building was constructed back in the eighteenth century and looks like a palace with patios and courtyards with fountains and corridors of red and black marble columns. The fact is that it used to be a factory where all the tobacco from the Americas was made into cigarettes and was later converted into academic space for the University of Seville in the 1950’s. The building is so impressive that its main courtyard with its picturesque fountain inspired Merimée to write his famous Carmen.
The city of Seville itself is, as a song says, a marvel to behold. The old part consists of winding twisting, not roads, but alleyways with bleach white houses dating back to the seventeenth century. Parks perfumed with purple flowers and filled with whispering fountains, such as the Parque María Luisa, are stitched throughout the city and the broad avenues are lined with orange trees that seem to be sprinkled with creamy white blossoms that give off a sweet fragrance during the spring. The majority of the days were sunny and warm, allowing for lively evening outdoor activity in the cafes and bars that are everywhere. One of my favorite pastimes in Seville was going out with friends to drink a café con leche.
Now that I look back on my four months abroad, I feel as though it were not even real, but a dream. There would not be sufficient space on this page to describe all the adventures and cross-cultural discoveries that I enjoyed while away. So, I think I will conclude by simply saying that if one has the possibility to study abroad, (because, for the love of all things intelligent, it is expensive) to go ahead and do so. I assure you it will be one of the best experiences of your life.
Gardens of Sevilla’s Alcazar (castle)
La Plaza de España
La Calle Agua (Water Street)
Entrance to the University of Sevilla