This post was written by Jennifer Krems, who is studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain.
Two weeks ago when I arrived, I would have never guessed how comfortable I now feel in Sevilla, Spain.
On the day of my midterm for my intensive advanced Spanish grammar class, I woke up at 12:30 p.m. because my alarm did not go off as planned. My class had started at noon and in a panic, I frantically looked for the phone number of the CIEE center. I explained in Spanish what had happened and assured the woman on the other end that I would take a cab and get there as soon as possible. The woman responded calmly by saying, “tranquila,” meaning relax. She said I could just tell my professor what happened when I got there and everything would be fine.
If something like this had happened at GW, I don’t think anyone would be telling me to relax. Most likely they’d tell me to be more responsible and to get a new alarm clock.
This incident was indicative of the way of life here in Andalucía. Unlike in D.C., people are rarely in a hurry. On my rush to class across the bridge from Triana to the center of the city, I pass many businesspeople chatting at coffee shops that appear to be carefree.
When I was deciding where to go abroad last winter, a friend told me that studying in Sevilla changed her life because she learned how to relax. She said her trip taught her to not get stressed out all the time and to simply enjoy life.
At GW we complain about the line at Starbucks and the food at J Street – which I’ve heard is better now. But here, everything is much more carefree. People are much friendlier, including cab drivers, which shocked me at first.
Sevilla is beautiful and although it is a city with a population close to that of D.C., in some ways it feels much more like a small town. On my first few nights out here I missed knowing most people when you go out, but now that I’ve been here about two weeks,
I’m always seeing familiar faces and meeting new people. Sevilla is a hub for students just like D.C. and when I go out, one of my favorite things is talking to British students and being able to wow them with the line from “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” – “You sound like you’re from London!”
Already in just a few short weeks, I have greatly improved my Spanish, made amazing friends and had experiences that wouldn’t be possible if I had stayed at GW this semester. Though there are parts of GW I miss, I know that this is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am going to make the most of it. But don’t worry, I’ll be back in the Smith Center wearing my Colonial Army shirt by the time basketball season starts to heat up.