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Sevilla: First Impressions

by Anna Murtell Thursday, January 28, 2016

Today marks exactly three weeks so far in Sevilla! It has definitely been a roller coaster ride. Sometimes I feel like an old pro that has been here for years, but I still have many moments where I’m thinking “What did I get myself into?” Here are my biggest takeaways from these crazy three weeks:

1. Worst-case scenarios WILL happen.  On the 18-hour trip from Minneapolis to Sevilla, I had plenty of time to run through worst-case scenarios in my head (and contemplate just how terrible airplane food really is). One of my biggest fears was that I somehow wouldn’t be able to get to my homestay and I would be left wandering the streets of Sevilla. Well, wouldn’t you know, my taxi driver brought me to the wrong address. After ringing the bell and telling a very confused resident that their exchange student was here, I was left standing on the sidewalk with a giant suitcase, an ugly cry face, and no concept of how street names or numbers work here. Luckily, a concerned citizen saw my ugly cry face and giant suitcase and must have thought “Oh boy, another confused Americano”, and kindly directed me to the right building.  Luckily, that was the most disastrous moment of my arrival here, but it definitely showed me to expect the unexpected.

Sadly, not my homestay, just the amazing Alcazar palace in Sevilla.

2. The whole bread situation. When I heard that bread is a major part of every meal here, I was more than a little excited, because Olive Garden breadsticks are my everything. However, even I am a little bit shocked at the incorporation of bread into mealtimes.  Basically, bread can be dipped into literally everything and anything, and it’s not an actual meal if there isn’t a giant basket of bread on the table. When I hesitated about taking the last piece of bread one lunchtime, my host mom told me that if there isn’t “a mountain of bread” in the house, my host father, Fernando, gets very nervous. Basically, it would be very hard to be gluten-free in Spain.

3. You’ll make some amazing new friends.  As cheesy and clichéd as that sounds, it’s totally true.

Me and some new amigos in front of third largest cathedral in the world, Catedral de Sevilla.

4. Finally, you WILL get served fish that still have their heads, eyes and all.  They will literally look like the fish that are fed to the dolphins at Sea World. And your host family will crack up when they see your reaction.  It’s all just part of studying in Sevilla!