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Sarah Hoover: “Seville is more similar to western culture than I had anticipated”

11th May, 2015 ·

I study Sociology with a concentration in Applied Social and Cultural Studies. I’m originally from Wilmington, Delaware (the proud home of Vice President Joe Biden), right outside of Philadelphia.

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Seville is more similar to western culture than I had anticipated, and I live a very comfortable life in Spain. The weather is always sunny, the people are friendly and the food is amazing. Now that it’s spring, all of the beautiful orange trees are blooming and the whole city smells like orange blossoms.

My host mother, Gumersinda is one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever met and treats me just like her daughter. She takes care of me when I’m sick and scolds me when I don’t wear enough layers outside! It’s great staying with a host family because I’m learning Spanish so quickly and get to talk to Gumersinda about her family and her daily life.

Plaza de Espana Edit

Sevilla is a very traditional city and Sevillano’s take pride in their heritage, so I love learning about the culture of Andalucia, such as the flamenco dancing, bull fighting, or cooking. We had a cooking class with ESA a few weeks ago and learned how to make Paella, which is my new favorite food!

University of New England: similarities and differences in comparison with UPO

UNE is a small, private university which is a lot different than UPO. Pablo de Olavide does a great job in taking care of their international students, such as planning excursions like hiking trips to Cortegana, tours of a local olive oil factory or trips to the movies. They also set up language tables during the week where you can practice your Spanish, and have a strong intercambio program so the American and Spanish students can meet and talk together. UNE is also devoted to helping us make the most of our college experience, so it’s nice feeling taken care of in both countries.

Why Sevilla, Spain

I’ve always had a love for travelling, and I’ve known I wanted to study abroad since I was in 9th grade. One of my main goals right now is to be fluent in Spanish, and when I found out we had a program with our school to go to Sevilla, it seemed perfect. Shortly after coming here, I fell in love with this great city and its people, and now I feel I found my purpose of studying abroad.

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I would highly recommend coming to Sevilla to study or travel. When I first decided to come to Spain, I talked to many people and asked them their opinions on Sevilla. Every person I spoke to said Sevilla was one of their favorite places to visit, and I finally understand why. Sevilla is so rich in culture and life and positivity. The atmosphere and lifestyle of Spain in general is more relaxed than the United States, and I’m constantly reminded that there’s more to life than rushing around getting from place to place. Walking down the street you see people young and old sitting in the sun enjoying a nice café con leche or a sweet pastry. The city is full of families walking together, moms pushing strollers and children running around playing with their siblings. The many parks of Sevilla are full of people running, picnicking, and just enjoying the day. Living in Sevilla teaches me to live fully in the present and make the most of each day I have here in this paradise!

Cultural shock?

As I mentioned before, my host mother is amazing. She makes me all of my meals and does my laundry. She used to be a chef, and she makes some incredible dishes for meals. I’ve been very fortunate and haven’t had any culture shock with food or routines. Spaniards eat lunch and dinner very, very late compared to America and for some people this can take some getting used to. Usually I eat lunch at home around 3:30 and dinner around 9:30 or later. For me, it wasn’t a difficult process because I’m used to eating dinner late with my own family, but my friends have all adjusted very quickly and now it seems totally normal to them.

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Returning home will be hard, but I’m planning on taking parts of Spain with me. I’ve picked up many great new perspectives on life, and have realized that there are different ways of living than just the one you’re born into. I can’t wait to cook traditional Spanish food for my family, tell my friends about the newest European style and make sure to take the time to enjoy the day for myself. Living in Sevilla these past few months have been truly wonderful, and I know when it’s time to go home, although sad, I’ll forever keep Sevilla and the friends I’ve made along the way close to my heart.

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