Wow! It is so hard to believe that I have been here for a week and a half already. In some ways, it feels like I have been here for WAY longer than that. But, then in other ways, the time has just FLOWN by! I know it will start to go by even faster when I get into a routine, which is scary! But, let’s not dwell on that 😉
This week turned out to be really busy, which is just the way I like it! We started our language and culture class (SEVI410) last Monday. The class is divided into two hour and fifteen minute classes (all in spanish). I start with the language component with our professor, Angeles, at 9:30am. This first class only has eight other students in it, so it’s really nice because we get individualized attention and spend the majority of our time talking about contemporary Spanish society. My second class with Fernando has about twenty students in it. This class is much more lecture-oriented and is focused on contemporary Spanish history, which is a lot of review for me since I took a class that covered some of the same information this last semester. Although I thought I wouldn’t have much work to do, we definitely do have homework (rough, I know). But, I have no actual complaints because it is all relatively easy (compositions, presentations, reading, etc.) and can be finished much quicker than work back at UNC.
I know that I will have more work when this two-in-one class finishes up in two weeks and I start classes at University of Sevilla. For the past week, all of the study abroad students have been struggling to pick out which classes to take at the university. The Spanish school system is divided into the different departments and does not function as one whole unit like colleges and universities in the U.S. As a result, it has been a pain in the behind to try to pick out classes in different departments because all of the departments use different schedules. Basically, the whole system is super disorganized. But, I ended up figuring it all out! Come the end of September, I will be taking: Spain Today, Spanish Literature since the 1700s, 19th Century Spanish Art, and Spanish Semantics.
After being in class all week, I realized how quick the days go here. By the time I get home from class, it’s time for lunch. I work on a little tarea (homework) in a cafe with friends and then I usually go for a short run. Before I know it, it’s time for dinner at nine o’clock. Maybe it goes faster since I’m less aware of the time here, who knows!
Highlights of the week:
- Exploring: Throughout the week, I’ve spent quite a bit of time exploring the city with friends and on my own. The city is so beautiful and there is so much more I need to discover.
La Plaza de España with Laura and Leigh
- Flamenco: There are a bunch of flamenco festivals going on right now in Sevilla. Last Monday night, a group of us went to a local bar and saw a flamenco show. It was really neat, but definitely different than I had originally expected. I thought it was going to be more dancing than singing, but it was vice-versa. The environment was very intense and much more serious than I thought it would be. I’m excited to try out some other places and compare it!
- Las Reales Alcázares de Sevilla: On Friday, our study abroad group took a little field trip to visit las Reales Alcázares de Sevilla, which is a giant palace and garden. I’ll let the picture speak for itself:
- Tío Pepe: On Saturday, a group of us took an hour bus ride to Jerez de la Frontera to visit the second most-visited winery in Europe, Tío Pepe. We got a two-hour guided tour in Spanish, followed by tapas. Although I wasn’t able to understand everything the guide said, I still learned a lot about how wine is made. The winery was absolutely GORGEOUS! After we finished our tour, we walked around Jerez for a few hours, which was probably the strangest thing we’ve done thus far in Spain because there was literally NO ONE on the streets other than us. This town takes their siesta very very seriously.
- Un intercambio: Today, I went to Burger King (yes, they have these all over the city) to meet up with Reyes and her daughter. This is the family that I met when I asked for directions last week while I was running. We talked in Spanish for about an hour and a half, which was amazing! Reyes (the mom) talks a little slower than my señora so I have no problem understanding her. I’m going to try to spend time with her three kids (Reyes-14, Lola-11, and Maria-5) twice a week so that I can work with them on their English and they can help me with my Spanish. It was seriously the perfect accident asking for directions last week and they live really close to me, so it is very convenient! Reyes is a private pilates instructor, so she told me she teach me some pilates throughout the semester 🙂 The kids are planning to show me the river area of Sevilla this Friday afternoon and take me to their favorite heladería (ice cream shop).
I’m really looking forward to another week in Sevilla! I have much trip planning to do! I’m trying to strike the right balance between staying in Sevilla for some weekends throughout the semester and traveling throughout different cities in Spain and the rest of Europe during the other weekends. So far, I have booked a trip to Portugal for the 5th-7th of October, Barcelona for the 11th-15th of October, and Paris for the 16th-18th of November. I will keep you all posted on what else I plan!
With love from Sevilla!
P.S. Did I mention that my señora is AWESOME?!