¡Hola todos! It’s surreal to think that I’ve been in Seville for a full week now. Things haven’t gone swimmingly at all here, but I’m still enamored with this city. My best advice to those interested in studying abroad, is to turn all of these mishaps that might occur into an opportunity for language practice. Let me regale you with some tales of my crazy first week in Seville.
1. My (Almost Lost Luggage)
Upon arrival in Seville, everyone received their baggage either at the luggage claim from Madrid or the United States. Slowly but surely, everyone grabbed their luggage, but my suitcase was nowhere to be found. Frustrated, I went and described my suitcase to an airport employee. He proceeded to find my suitcase on the luggage claim for a flight from Krakow. It’s still a mystery how my luggage ended up there, but thankfully it wasn’t lost! I also want to thank the stranger from Wisconsin who helped me re-check my bags in Madrid and locate my luggage in Seville. Never underestimate the kindness of strangers!
2. What to Do if Your Host Family Doesn’t Show Up
Right off the bat, this will most likely not be a problem that you’ll face while studying abroad. After arriving in Seville, my program, CIEE, provided bus transportation from the airport to our neighborhoods. I got off the bus with two other students, but there were only two host families at the bus stop. CIEE explained to me that there was a miscommunication with my host family about the time of my flight. In the meantime, I stayed with an orientation guide – a local student from the University of Seville- at the pick-up site and tried chatting with her in jet-lagged Spanish. Although I was extremely confused about the whole situation, it was incredible being able to apply everything I’ve learned from my Spanish classes and “la mesa de conversación” at Wisconsin. Forty-five minutes later my host family arrived and all was well. If you ever find yourself in this situation, just remember to stay calm and enjoy your first glimpse of the local culture. Like the Spanish say, “no pasa nada.”
3. Tech Troubles
To top off an exciting first week in Spain, my computer decided to break down. This meant taking an impromptu trip to the Apple store! Let me tell you, I already have a highly difficult time understanding technical jargon in English. Thus, going to the Apple store and communicating my tech problems in Spanish was a huge challenge. I put my language skills to the test, and luckily the sales clerks understood that my mouse was broken. I purchased a separate bluetooth mouse for my computer, and my laptop is up and running for now! Even though I was upset my computer broke down, I learned that my Spanglish can take me a lot further than I ever imagined. It is undoubtedly intimidating to speak with locals in your second language, but the sales clerks and other Spaniards have been incredibly patient. Definitely try and speak to locals as much as possible while you’re studying abroad. It’s worth the effort!
Although this week has been hectic, it’s also been one of the best weeks of my life. The weather here has been sunny and in the mid-60s every day, quite a pleasant change from the polar vortex enveloping Madison right now. Moreover, I have plans coming up to visit Córdoba and will be touring the Royal Alcázar of Seville tomorrow. The next time I write to you, I’m sure I’ll be accustomed to life in Seville and things will be going much