Sevilla, Spain: An Unforgettable Learning Adventure Past Review

By (Biology, General., Presbyterian College) for

Pablo de Olavide University: Seville - Hispanic Studies Semester

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Definitely! I got to experience another culture. I got to be thrown into situations in which I was challenged to figure out solutions. I learned how to survive in a foreign city (that is, how to use a map, how to figure out a cities transportation infrastructure, how to find an affordable hostel, how to plan a trip with friends, etc.). I feel like study abroad has definitely improved me! I would do it all over again for sure!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The host program at Pablo de Olavide was very well organized. They all spoke English and they were more than happy to help out with any problem that might have come up. They were also very active in trying to get the exchange students to participate in cultural and language-practicing experiences. Also, there were Spanish student interns (who spoke English) that helped to integrate foreign students into the culture of Spain. My expectations were definetly met. The only thing I would suggest is maybe making more contact with the foreign student before they arrive in the host country so that they feel less anxious as they depart from home.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My housing was arranged through Pablo de Olavide. I was only told that I had a roommate, but then later found out that I would have 3 other housemates living in the same apartment with me. All of them were Americans. I lived in Los Remedios. I felt it was a very safe area, mostly quiet. The location was excellent...about 10 minutes walk to the center of Sevilla and a 15 minute metro ride to Pablo de Olavide University. It only took 3-5 minutes to walk to the metro. Los Remedios was really an ideal location to live in Sevilla. I was very lucky! As far as my host mother goes, she was beyond great. She treated me as if I were her own daughter. However, I know that some other exchange students did not get the same quality of housing that I recieved.

* Food:

My host mother was very receptive to our likes and dislikes. Lunch was usually the best meal of the day, with 2 courses (usually a soup or salad and then a meat dish). I would definitely recommend going out for tapas tinto de verano in Sevilla. On Wednesdays, a restaurant named Monteditos would have mini sandwhiches and tinto de verano for only a euro a piece.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Semana Santa and Feria de Abril were definitely cultural highlights for me! There was a field trip to Ronda, a small town about 2 hours from Sevilla, that I highly recommend future exchange students to attend. The cliffsides in Ronda were unforgettable.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt that Sevilla was very safe. I was comfortable walking around Sevilla at night with a small group of friends and never felt threatened or uneasy. However, it's always good to walk with someone for precautionary protection. I did not need to get any vaccination to go to Spain. While in Spain, however, I did get sick with flu-like symptoms twice. The second time I got sick, I decided I needed to go to a doctor, and my host mom helped me to get in touch with a private doctor nearby. I could have used the public healthcare system for free, but that required that I go and register as a temporary resident of Sevilla in order to get a public health card (which I didn't feel up to doing). My private doctor appointment cost 45 euros and the appointment was conducted in Spanish (which wasn't bad...I just had to brush up on my symptom vocabulary). He gave me a prescription and I brought it to my local farmacia, where the pharmacists gave me the appropriate medicine. I definitely noticed that all of the American exchange students in Spain went through a bit of a "cold" phase where everyone came down with a moderate cold for a little while, which I guess is expected since all of us where in a new environment that our bodies had to adjust to.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? My room and board (3 meals a day from my host mother) was covered by my scholarship at PC, which transferred to UPO, so I am not sure how much that costed specifically. I budgeted about 250 euros every 2 weeks. When you withdraw money from your account through an ATM machine (which were very easy to find in Sevilla...there were alot of them), you definitely want to take out large sums at a time, since the ATM fees can be outrageous. Also, I should point out that I traveled ALOT to other countries besides Spain (Portugal, England, Ireland, France, Italy) while I was abroad, which explains why I budgeted for 250 every 2 weeks. Most times I did not spend all of the 250, so it would just role over to the next 2 weeks. I always tried to make sure that I had more than I needed just in case.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Just be aware of the exchange rate between euros and dollars. Sometimes you end up spending more than you want because you are thinking in dollars when you are spending in euros. Also, use Ryanair and skyscanner to find cheap tickets (and buy them as early as you can! aka plan your trips early).


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 202 - Intermediate II Spanish
Language acquisition improvement?

You could practice Spanish with your host family (actually, it was really a requirement since the host families only spoke Spanish), your fellow classmates from America, and also with the intercambios (Spanish students who wished to practice English with a native speaker while you practiced Spanish with them). I did use Spanish in my everyday became second nature by the end of my time in Spain. I would have to say that not many people outside of Pablo de Olavide University spoke English. My host mother did not speak English, nor did the average person on the street. Some Spanish students around my age, however, were very proficient in English.

If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Just go! You won't regret it :)