University of New England Sevilla Semester Program
UNE students spend a semester in Sevilla studying pre-med and Spanish language and culture classes at the Universidad de Pablo de Olavide. They enjoy life outside of class with a variety of activities, clubs, volunteer opportunities and outings. The group visits the Alhambra in Granada and travels to Morocco to learn about the culture and connect with the UNE campus in Tangier....
Texas A&M Barcelona Art and Architecture Program
The Texas A&M Barcelona Art and Architecture Program emphasizes the interlinking roles of art, culture, and architecture, enabling students to explore the rich historic and multi-cultural context of Barcelona. The group visits the city’s cultural institutions and important architectural and historical sites, while learning about communication and design philosophy. The students travel to Madrid for the Photo España festival and to Bilbao, Sevilla, or Santiago de Compostela to photograph and learn about the art and architecture of these cities....
Austin Community College Spanish Language and Culture in Sevilla
Austin Community College students spent four weeks studying Spanish language and culture in Sevilla in a course taught by ACC faculty. The students practiced their Spanish skills by participating in the active summer life in Sevilla visiting cultural institutions such as the CAAC and the Museo de Bellas Artes. On the weekends, the students enjoyed traveling to nearby the beaches and towns to experience Andalucía....
Vocabulary to enjoy the Feria de Abril as a true sevillano
¡Hola a todos! I hope that you had a fantastic Semana Santa and that you are looking forward to our other great spring festivity: the Feria de Abril (April’s Fair)! This year, the Feria will start on April 30th at 00:00h and it will last for a week. Interestingly, it was supposed to start at that time on May 1st but, since it was going to mean that the April’s Fair was not going to be celebrated in April, the town hall organized a referendum so people could vote if they wanted it to start a day earlier. As usual, we want you to enjoy our traditions as a true sevillano. You have already learnt how to master the art of dancing sevillanas in our flamenco workshop and now what you need to know is this basic vocabulary related to the Feria de Abril:
- Alumbrao: it is the official start of the Feria and the moment when all the lights (including the portada and the farolillos) are switched on. It normally takes place on a Tuesday at 00:00 h but this year, as mentioned above, it will take place on Sunday 30th.
- Cacharritos: this is how we call the amusement rides of the Feria de Abril. They are located along the Calle del Infierno and it is the main incentive for children to come to the Feria. In addition, there are amusement rides for adults, such as the barca vikinga (Viking boat), rollercoasters, canguros (kangaroos…not the animal!), and the Ferris wheels.
- Calle del Infierno: it literally means ‘Hell Street’ and it is where the amusement park of the Feria de Abril is. This part is separated from the casetas and you will easily find it as you will be able to see the amusement rides −especially the Ferris ride− from afar.
- Casetas: they are the marquee tents where people meet to eat, drink and dance. Some of them are public but most of them are private. If you want to get into a private one, you need to know someone who is a socio (member) of that caseta and can get you in.
- Farolillos: they are the little and colorful lanterns located all around the Real de la Feria and switched on during the alumbrao. They are an authentic landmark of the Feria.
- Pescaíto: it is the night when the Feria officially starts. People gather in the casetas with their friends and family to eat fried fish for dinner before going to see the alumbrao.
- Portada: it is the main entrance to the the Feria de Abril and its lightning (alumbrao) during la noche del pescaíto marks the beginning of the Feria. Each year, it has a different design and in 2017 it commemorates the 25th anniversary of the celebration of the Universal Exposition of Seville (Expo ’92). The portada is the main meeting point for sevillanos, although meeting someone there is difficult because it is always crowded.
- Real de la feria: it is the enclosure where the Feria de Abril is located. It is divided into two parts: the part where the casetas are and the part where the cacharritos are.
- Traje de flamenca: it is the traditional dress worn by women at the Feria. It is a slim-fit dress that normally has some kind of print, such as polka-dots or flowers. Women combine them with colorful mantoncillos (shawls), earrings and brooches. Additionally, they wear flowers in their hair.
Experiencing Semana Santa with your 5 senses
¡Hola de nuevo! After 3 months in Spain (yes, time does fly) you are more than ready to experience one of our biggest festivities: Semana Santa (Holy Week). As some of you have already realised, Semana Santa can be quite confusing and even daunting. There is a lot going on at the same time, and that is why we want to help you understand it and make the most of it. Although Semana Santa has a strong religious background (as a commemoration of the Passion of Jesus), it is also a cultural and social event that can be enjoyed by everyone. To understand it better, we recommend you this comprehensive post from a former mentor: http://servicesabroad.com/studentblog/?postId=1260/semana-santa-sevillas-biggest-holidays Sight: procesiones, pasos and nazarenos If you are in the city center during Semana Santa, you will definitely see at least one of the over 50 processions. They are religious statues representing the Passion of Jesus on enormous pasos (floats) carried around the streets by costaleros (bearers) and accompanied by hundreds (or even thousands) of nazarenos (penitents) who hold candles. The itinerary of these processions (from their home churches to the Cathedral and back) can easily be found on the Internet and the local newspapers. Hearing: bandas, marchas and saetas (and silence) Some processions are silent, while others are accompanied by a choir or chapel music, and a lot of them feature a band (banda) following the float and playing hymns (marchas). Along the itinerary, talented individuals may express their feelings towards the procession by singing a religious, flamenco-style song called saeta, which is often sung from a balcony. Silence is also a key element at Semana Santa, since it is a way of showing respect and appreciation for the processions. Everyone must remain silent when the float arrives and, in some particularly grave processions, during the whole time. How to identify if that is the case? If the penitents are dressed in black, it can be a sign, but the best idea is looking around and behaving like the Sevillanos. Smell: incense and flowers The strong smell of incense, an aromatic essence meant to purify, accompanies every procession. It is carried by young boys (or girls) called monaguillos who spread it in front of the pasos (floats) during the whole itinerary. Floats are also decorated with fresh flowers in gracious bouquets. Touch: crowds and no touching The city center can get quite crowded during Semana Santa, since everyone wants to see the pasos on the first row and some areas are of restricted access. Try to avoid big crowds and, if you get trapped in one (bulla), be patient and collaborative. Another important thing is that you shouldn’t touch the floats. Although some people do it, it can damage the float decoration and thus it is not a good idea. Taste: torrijas and pestiños As you know from previous posts, in Spain we love eating, and Easter is no exception. Torrijas and pestiños are always present at our homes during these days. Torrijas, like French toasts, are prepared with honey, eggs and wine. Each family has its own recipe (claimed of course to be the best). On the contrary, pestiños are made of flour, but are also covered in honey. [caption id="attachment_1348" align="aligncenter" width="300"] These torrijas were made by my grandma (and, of course, they are the best)[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1349" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Pestiños made by cloistered nuns[/caption] Now you know a little bit more about Semana Santa, but we encourage you to go a see pasos and, whether you are a religious person or not, to embrace this very different experience.
Spain’s rich cultural heritage
¡Hola a todos! I hope you’re having a fantastic beginning of your spring semester here in Seville. As you might have already noticed, in Spain −especially in the region of Andalusia− there are still traces of all the civilizations that once lived in the peninsula. One of the cultures that had more impact on the south of Spain was the Islamic one. The Iberian Peninsula was almost completely conquered by Moorish Muslim armies from North Africa in the early 8th century, and they remained here until 1492, when the Reconquista was completed and the Catholic Monarchs −Queen Isabella I of Castille and King Ferdinand II of Aragon− expelled the last Muslims living in the sultanate of Granada. All that happened a long time ago but we can still physically see this part of the Spanish history and you, as students of our Spring Program in Seville, have the chance to visit two of the major monuments of that period: the Alcázar in Seville and the Alhambra in Granada. Real Alcázar de Sevilla Located right next to the Seville Cathedral, the Alcázar is a beautiful royal palace that serves as an example of the mudéjar style. It was originally built for the Moorish Muslim kings and it’s still used by the Spanish Royal Family as its official residence in Seville. What’s more, in 2015 it became the set for some episodes of the well-known TV series ‘Game of Thrones’. How many rooms of the Alcázar can you recognize in the first episodes of season 5? [caption id="attachment_1325" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Alcazar de Sevilla[/caption] Alhambra de Granada This impressive nazarí palace is located in Granada, the city in which the last Muslims lived before being expelled. Its rooms are richly decorated and its Court of the Lions (in Spanish, patio de los leones) has become one of the landmarks of the city. Apart from these beautiful palaces, the Islamic period also left an indelible imprint on our language. Some everyday words such as almohada (pillow), aceite (oil), aceituna (olive), café (coffee), or naranja (orange) are derived from Arabic! [caption id="attachment_1326" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Alhambra de Granada[/caption]
FESTIVAL DE LAS NACIONES
New cultures are always something exciting. If you like travelling or meeting new people, you will like the Festival de las Naciones - Nations Fair. This is a very popular exhibition of countries around the world, and it is located very close to all of you, at ‘El Prado de San Sebastian’, Sevilla. The name should sound familiar to you because it is also one of the metro stops. El Prado de San Sebastián is a really nice park and it is where the festival takes places every year. This year, the Festival de las Naciones takes place in Seville from the 16th of September to the 30th of October, and it is open until 12pm. The entrance is free, and there is no limit of people. There are plenty of food stands and souvenirs stalls. You can find here different types of clothes or presents, but it is very traditional to buy some of the handmade jewelry from other countries. Some of these are Argentina, Colombia, The Philippines, United Kingdom or Japan, but there are many more. Once and again, it is a special day for a country, and the performances or events turn around this particular nation, for example the day of Sweden or the day of Mexico. But this festival it is also related to the music. Throughout the month and a half that is set up in Sevilla, there are some music performances. Most of the artist are not very well-known and the entrance is free. In my opinion, the coolest thing is the tribute to other artist, like David Bowie (10/27), the Beatles (10/15), Amy Winehouse (10/1), Michael Jackson (10/8) or Freddie Mercury (10/8). El Festival de las Naciones is an obligatory stop if you are in Sevilla during Fall semester. You should try the different and exotic kind of food (you can try the kangaroo burger!), and maybe buy something artisanal for you. Do not miss it!
Why don’t we go there?
[caption id="attachment_1286" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Alameda de Hercules[/caption] Everytime we move into a new city we try to look for a place where we can feel comfortable, free. Some people choose a coffee shop, some others a specific bench in a park. Some others, like me, choose an entire neighbourhood. During your stay in Seville you will see many other places, but for me it is particularly the Alameda where I feel that thing I was talking about before. The Alameda de Hércules is a square in the city center that has never been much famous. However, it has turned into a very interesting place nowadays. Located in the Macarena district, it has become a boheme place where you will find people of all styles and races. You will also notice that is the young people who come here mostly. It was supposed to be a park, but due to the floods that used to happen, it never grew any grass. So you can only see the cobbled floor with little spaces in between where grass was supposed to grow. There are also many benches all around where people come maybe just to talk or maybe to play an instrument. Besides, you can identify the Alameda because of the four columns located in the square: two at the front and two at the rear. These columns are from the roman period and they were brought in their entirety from an excavation close to the Cathedral. You will also recognize it because it is a green area with poplar trees (which translation, Álamo, gives the name to the place) all along the square. The place nowadays is full of pubs all around, with affordable prices and lot of concerts too. There is also a cheap cinema with special offers on Wednesdays. At least once a month they organize some markets with different themes, it could be a normal fair, or a handmade products one, or a secondhand clothing. In wintertime, even though it does not snow in Seville, from late December until February you can go there and do some ice skating or have a hot chocolate! So if you ever happen to be in Seville and have nothing to do, you can always come and see what’s happening that day, I’m sure you won’t regret going!
Feria, ¡a bailar, a bailar, alegres sevillanas!
Welcome to one of the most important weeks in Seville. If you are not studying here, don’t worry, you have a whole week for coming and enjoying it! This year La Feria begins on Tuesday 12th April (00:00) with “el alumbrao”, which means that all the bulbs decorating “la portada” (the main entrance, easy to see from Calle Asunción) are turned on. This night is known by all Sevillanos as “el pescaito” (the little fish) because they eat fried fish inside the “casetas” (the green and red striped tents) and then, at midnight they enjoy “el alumbrao”. Despite being at the Feria from Monday night, remember that La Feria officially starts on Tuesday. You won’t see any lady wearing a flamenco dress until Tuesday at the Spanish lunch time. [caption id="attachment_1273" align="alignleft" width="300"] Portada Feria de Abril 2013[/caption] But, how did this tradition begin? The fun fact is that the first organizers were a Basque guy called Ybarra and a Catalan guy named Bonaplata in 1846. Originally, it was a three-day cattle`s market, but after lots of years, Feria has become a seven-day event taking place in El Real de la Feria (next to los Remedios neighborhood) where flamenco, fun, and culture are mixed all in one. Don’t panic! If you are not into dancing, you can also go to “calle del infierno” (Hell street), which is a kind of carnival with rides and games. The name of the street is due to the mixture of loud noises coming from each ride! But be careful! It’s too easy to get lost. Close to the portada you will find an information desk where you can get a map. La Feria during the day is more familiar: you can gather with family and friends inside the casetas for dancing, eating, singing and drinking. The typical food is based on tapas (Spanish potato omelette, serrano ham, cheese, fried fish, shrimps, montaditos…) and the popular drink is called “rebujito” (litttle mixtures), which consists of a mixture of Manzanilla (fino sherry) and Sprite or 7Up. La Feria stays faithful to its origins, that’s why you will see fitted out horses and majestics chariots, which are allowed to be in La Feria from midday to 8:30pm. [caption id="attachment_1272" align="alignright" width="300"] Horse chariots[/caption] You may have heard that almost all the casetas are private; this means that you need to be a member or have a membership to get in. You can also get inside if you are accompanied by a member. It is very typical to go to the caseta of the cousin of the friend of the friend of your friend or just sneak-in some caseta saying your friend is inside. However you can find some public casetas where everyone is welcomed! Here you have the list of public casetas:
- UGT - A. Bienvenida, 10
- PSOE Andalucía - A. Bienvenida, 79
- Distrito Casco Antiguo - A. Bienvenida, 97
- Área de Fiestas Mayores – Costillares, 10
- Distrito Nervión-San Pablo – Costillares, 22
- "La de to er mundo” – Costillares, 77
- La Esmeralda – Costillares, 82
- Distrito Sur - I. Sánchez Mejías, 61
- Herms. del Trabajo - Joselito El Gallo, 109
- P. Andalucista – Juan Belmonte, 196
- La Pecera – Pascual Márquez, 9
- PP de Sevilla - Pascual Márquez, 66
- CCOO. Sevilla - Pascual Márquez, 81
- Distrito Macarena - Pascual Márquez, 85
- Distrito Triana - Pascual Márquez, 153, 155, 157.
- Distrito Este - Pascual Márquez, 21
Semana Santa: Sevilla’s biggest holidays
Hello everyone! We are already in the middle of your semester in Sevilla (You made it!). Now, are you ready to go in depth into one of Sevilla’s biggest holidays? Semana Santa (Holy Week) commemorates the death of Jesus Christ, and it last a whole week, from Domingo de Ramos till Domingo de Resurreción. Even if Semana Santa has a really strong religious background, everyone can enjoy it despite their religious beliefs as it is a type of art that makes Sevilla look like an outdoor museum during this week. As you all should know by now, Sevillanos dress up in Domingo de Ramos and more importantly, we wear brand new clothes! We do that to greet the beginning of an important week in Sevilla and the change of season (Spring is coming!). Although Domingo de Ramos means Palm Sunday, in Sevilla we carry olive branches instead of palm tree ones. Incense is also key element for Semana Santa. El monaguillo (a young boy that helps in the church) carries the incense and walks in front of the pasos (floats) to purify the way that the procession is going through. Semana Santa in Sevilla is nothing without the strong smell of this aromatic essence. In Sevilla we have a popular name for those who really love Semana Santa, we call them capillitas, but they prefer to call themselves cofrades. If you want to see Semana Santa with a capillita you better be prepared to walk through shortcuts in order to see every single one procession. They know which marcha (special music played by the bands - although not all the floats have music) belongs to which hermandad (brotherhood or churches), the colors of the nazarenos’ costumes (nazarenos are members of the hermandad), and they are more than able to distinguish each talla (carving). Even though Semana Santa is a Christian tradition, nowadays it has became a cultural event where people enjoy listening to the marchas and seeing the different carved figures. But children can also enjoy this holiday! If you hear ¡nazareno, dame un caramelo! it means that children are trying to get sweets from the nazarenos. You may even hear them threatening the nazarenos by singing "nazareno, dame un caramelo y si no me lo das, te pego una patá". It is not that they are actually going to kick the nazareno but it is a rhyme a 5 year old kid can make. Making wax balls is funny too, each Semana Santa children make a ball out of aluminium foil that they can get from wrapping their merienda or bocadillo and ask nazarenos, who are holding a lightened large candle, to pour over the aluminium ball some melting wax. By the end of the week children want to have the biggest and more colorful wax ball. They also keep it for next Semana Santa in order to make it even bigger. [caption id="attachment_1263" align="aligncenter" width="304"] Nazarenos[/caption] An iconic moment is Thursday night (from Thursday to Friday morning), the so called La Madrugá. Everyone who likes Semana Santa is ready to spend all night long awake to see pasos. On Thursdays is the only time in the week that the floats go out after midnight, because Jesus Christ was crucified on a Thursday night. The most important hermandades that take out their floats this night are La Macarena, La Esperanza de Triana, El Gran Poder, El Silencio, Los Gitanos and El Calvario. As in every aspect of Sevillanos lives (like Sevilla and Betis in football), there has to be a rivalry between two neighborhoods, in this case, resulting in a competition between which Virgin is more guapa (beautiful): La Macarena or La Esperanza de Triana. Judge yourself and make your own choice! [caption id="attachment_1262" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Virgen de la Esperanza Macarena[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1265" align="aligncenter" width="200"] Virgen de la Esperanza de Triana[/caption] Three days after being crucified, Jesus Christ resurrected. This day is Domingo de Resurección. Maybe you are wondering what is the difference between this day and the rest of the week. La Virgen de la Resurreción (The Virgin of the Resurrection) is the only one that you will see that is not crying or looks very sad! Because finally her son is alive. In Spain every holiday comes with a special food. In case of Semana Santa there are two desserts: torrijas and pestiños. Both of them are covered in honey, but torrijas are made of bread and pestiños out of flour. [caption id="attachment_1261" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Pestiños[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1264" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Torrijas[/caption] For now everything seems amazing, but the worst it can happen in Semana Santa for a Sevillano (specially if you are a capillita) it’s the rain. As we get closer to Spring, it’s common to have some rain in Sevilla, and Semana Santa is a talisman that attracts it. As the floats are covered in really expensive clothing and the carvings are very old and valuable, brotherhoods don’t take them out if it’s raining. We have to keep in mind that all the nazarenos, costaleros (who carry the floats on their necks) and devotees have been waiting for a whole year to make their procession, so if it rains everybody feels devastated. It’s not uncommon to see all of them crying on TVbecause it may have rained in the previous years and they can’t take out the procession either this year. Now you know a bit more about one of our biggest traditions and whether you are religious or not, whether you like art or not, it is worth to see at least one paso! I encourage you to find your own capillita friend and explore the city in the chase of some processions.
Getting to know more about fall semester’s national holidays
One of the few stereotypes you might have heard about Spain before coming to study abroad to Seville is that people in Spain are always on vacations and never work. This isn’t quite true, although I should say we have 12 paid holiday days, in addition to the legal 22 paid vacation days every worker is allowed to have. Concerning national holidays, you might already know you’re going to have a long weekend (in Spain we call it puente) this week, but what is it about? October 12 is the National Day in Spain, also called Día de la Hispanidad or Fiestas del Pilar. It’s also celebrated in other Hispanic countries, as it’s the day Christopher Columbus (or Cristobal Colón, as we call him in Spanish) set foot on the Americas for the first time. To commemorate this day, the King of Spain raises the Spanish National Flag, followed by a military parade in Madrid. In fact, Zaragoza is the place where a big celebration is made out of it, having into account the Virgen del Pilar (Virgin of the Pillar) is their patron saint. However, in the rest of the country, most people show no excitement about this celebration, and use these holidays to travel, visit the family, or just relax. As well as that, the weekend we’ll spend in Morocco (October 30-November 2) will coincide with another puente (long weekend), since November 1 is the Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints’ Day). This day is just for families to remember their friends and relatives that are already gone. Christian families celebrate this day by going to church and going to the cemetery to put some fresh flowers by their relatives’ graves. In addition to this, before the Día de Todos los Santos we celebrate Halloween, as you could have imagined. Although we didn’t use to celebrate Halloween some years ago, now is getting more and more popular. It isn’t exactly the same as in the States and there are some big differences regarding customs, decoration, parties, cakes, etc. For example, you dress up as a witch or as a vampire to go to a Halloween-themed party and you won’t find houses and buildings decorated with pumpkins or spider’s web. And last but not least, before Christmas Holidays, we have two more national days! December 6 is the Día de la Constitución Española, the day our current constitution was enacted back in 1978, right after the 36-year-long Dictadura franquista (Franco’s dictatorship) got to an end. On the other hand, December 8 is the Día de la Inmaculada Concepción, patron saint of the Spanish Marine Corps or just Infantería Española. Since these two dates are so close to each other, there are usually some long holidays. There is a full agenda of events and shows to celebrate all along this puente in Sevilla too, like the seises, the tuna concerts, etc. If you’re wondering what those things are, the seises are a group of ten children who dance and play music in front of the Cathedral. This event only takes place three times all over the year and it goes a long way back to the XVII century. Regarding the tuna concerts, it’s not about the tuna fish making music, but a tuna in Spanish is a musical group composed by university students. This is all regarding the fall semester’s holidays. If you want to know more about the Spanish and Andalusian holidays during the spring semester, you’ll just have to let us know!
A night at the Festival de las Naciones in Sevilla
Last night we experienced “Festival de las Naciones” and had a blast. Our mentor, Maria, organized the night, and five girls from my school attended. First, we walked through many of the different shops and found lots of different kinds of souvenirs. We bought jewelry, wallets, paintings, clothing and many other things that will always help remind us of our time here studying abroad in Seville! Seeing all of the different shops made us realize the vast variety of culture that exists throughout the world. After shopping, we explored the different countries and the food that they offer. We checked out what type of food each of them was cooking, and finally decided to head to South Africa and taste something new…Crocodile! It was an interesting experience, and there’s certainly a first time for everything! We decided that the crocodile tastes a bit like both chicken and fish and we all enjoyed tasting something new. Attending this festival made me realize what a wonderful time it is to be here in Seville, and the unforgettable experience of studying abroad.
Urban groups in Sevilla
After three weeks in Sevilla, UNE students have had the chance to explore the city and start to understand Sevilla’s culture. When it comes to talking about culture and a new place, the very first things that come to your mind are: history, monuments, the local language, art, or food. But what about locals, their appearance, and their lifestyle? Have you realized not everyone looks the same? Twenty-four hours after their arrival in Sevilla, most of the students had the same opinion about sevillanos: “most people are really stylish”, “they seem to be dressed up all the time”, and - what impact me the most - “we don’t think there are different cultural groups here, everyone looks similar.” Then, it is time to show them some of the several urban groups that can be found in this city full of contrasts. The first are what we call canis. Canis wear gold (or fake gold jewelry) - the more gold they wear, the better. Nike sneakers and athletic clothes mark their style. They also love baseball caps and piercings. They like to get their cars pimped. If you see them, try not to get into trouble. The second urban group are the góticos or gothic. They are similar to those in the USA: they wear black clothes and like pale skin. They may also have some piercings. Sevillanitos make up an interesting group. These are (mostly) men who are really proud of their Spanish/Andalusian origins - that is the reason why they wear clothes with Spanish flags. They love buttoned shirts, polos, and boat shoes. You will distinguish them by their sideburns and their hair covered in gel. The last urban group are hipsters. Hipster fashion is international. In the city, you will find some places where they love to go. Vintage stores, libraries or art galleries and restaurants are some of their favorites. Beards are a must-have for men, and tattoos are also accepted. In short, whenever you walk in the city, pay attention to the people and culture around you and you will realize not everybody looks the same. These are just descriptions, written in a funny way. Please, do not feel offended and enjoy the Spanish life and its people!
Sarah Hoover: “Seville is more similar to western culture than I had anticipated”
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. 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. 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. 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. 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.
A visit to the CAAC, Andalusian Center of Contemporary Art
[caption id="attachment_884" align="alignnone" width="283"] Monastery of the Cartuja. Photo by Amalia Ordóñez.[/caption] Since 1997, the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo has been considered one of the main places that house contemporary masterpieces in Andalusia. It’s located in the Monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas, better known as Monastery of the Cartuja. This area, where the monastery is now, was first born in the 12th century, when the Almohads set up several ovens to fire clay. Little by little the Cartuja got built by some members of the Sevillian aristocracy that were established there, as well as some figures of the Church. However, it was in the 19th century when an English businessman, Charles Pickman, purchased the Cartuja and transformed it into a pottery factory that would become world-renowned. [caption id="attachment_885" align="alignnone" width="288"] Chimneys used in the former ceramic factory. Photo by María de las Heras[/caption] In 1992, it was held in Seville the Universal Exhibition, an event that led to the conversion of the pottery factory into a cultural center, today known as the Andalusian Center of Contemporary Art. What surprises the most about this center is the contrast between its buildings (mostly chapels, a church, some indoor patios, as the ones in the Alhambra in Granada and the Alcazar of Seville) and the abstract paintings that are exhibited in its rooms. [caption id="attachment_886" align="alignnone" width="323"] Entrance to the Monastery. Photo by Cristina Esquivel.[/caption]
A picnic day at the María Luisa Park
Some people say there’s nothing like Sevilla in the Spring. It’s the city’s most cherished season, when the scent of the orange blossom fills the streets and the warmth hasn’t yet reached stifling temperatures. So, it is just the right time for sharing a good meal with our UNE friends, international students and some Spaniards. The picnic we had last Saturday was the first activity the mentors organized ourselves. Each group contributed with something, though I must say I totally surrendered to the charms of Cameron’s salad and Cristina’s group chocolate cake. Hats off to Maria’s pie as well! Tortillas, the beloved croquetas, chips, some cold gazpacho, chorizo and cheese, cold meats… There was plenty to choose from, and some of us ended pretty full, but it was totally worth it! Among so many mouth-watering stuff we had the chance to talk and catch up on each other’s lives. We also had some guests –French, German and Spanish students- with whom we had some laughs. It’s always good to meet new people! Not everything was about the food, though. Some of the UNE students got to learn a typical schoolyard game: 1x2. Soccer was also present –of course it would, we are in Spain! All in all, I would say the atmosphere was perfect –sun for the warmth-craving foreigners and a gente breeze for us, the food was absolutely tasty and the setting was beautiful –the charming Parque de María Luisa, with its coaches passing by and the sound of the hooves on the background. It was a pity that most of our UNE friends had to leave earlier because of their midterms, but anyhow we spent a pleasant Saturday together, and I truly hope we get the chance to repeat the experience sometime!
Introducing… ESA Mentors![caption id="attachment_808" align="alignnone" width="515"] ESA Sevilla mentors Amalia, María and Cristina. On the right, Matt, UNE student (photo: Sarah Hoover)[/caption] One of the most exciting additions to ESA programs in 2015 are the new ESA Mentors. ESA Mentors are local university students that are sharing their culture and vision of their city with students on our programs across Europe. What is an ESA Mentor? According to Wikipedia, «mentorship is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person». In our case, ESA Mentors are more knowledgeable about the local culture. That's why we think including them in our programs is a great way to help American students have an outstanding experience abroad. ESA Mentors:
- Support the goals of ESA
- Invite ESA students to get involved in local activities
- Organize and lead certain ESA activities
- Propose activities outside of the planned ones
- Communicate with students through social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram
Interview with Rubén Díaz — ESA Sevilla Coordinator
ESA: Can you tell us about the experience you had taking students to Morocco this past spring 2014? Where did you all go, what did you do? RD: We traveled to the North of Morocco over a long weekend, from Thursday to Sunday. We started with lunch at DARNA, The Women’s Association of Tangier, a community house helping local women in need. Later on, we explored Tangier and its most notable landmarks: the Grand Mosque, the Kasbah, the Petit Socco, the Grand Socco, the Spanish Consulate, the American School of Tangier, the Tangier American Legation... Did you know that the American Legation building was the first American public property outside of the United States? We also visited the old city of Tetouan and its unique medina. And we stayed at host family houses in the blue city of Chefchaouen in the Rif Mountains. Over the weekend, we enjoyed a guided tour through the city, we hiked, we weaved, we rode camels, we had a henna workshop, we had lots of fun during an Andalusian music performance and we delighted in the Moroccan cuisine (the couscous, the harira soup, the bayssar... mmmm!!!). The whole weekend we were accompanied by Abdeslam, our guide, a wise man that introduced us to Morocco: politics, economy, social habits, traditions, gender issues, etc. We definitely made the most of the weekend. ESA: How did the students respond to the experience? RD: Very positively. Most of them described this trip as “terrific” or “by far their favorite experience of the entire semester” - many of them said it was “unforgettable” and “life-changing”. The weeks before the trip they all were concerned with what kind of accommodation, food or communication they were going to have in Moroccan houses. By Sunday, they all shed tears when saying good-bye to their new friends. ESA: What did you hope the students would get out of the trip? RD: As novelist Chimamanda Adichie warns, “We risk a critical misunders- tanding because of the danger of a single story”. I hoped that the students would understand that there is not a single story of Morocco, likewise there is not only one Spain, but many. As one of the students said while crossing back the Strait of Gibraltar, “You realize that although we live half a world apart, everyone is actually more alike than you thought”. Mehdi, Doua, Zaid, Abdeslam, Anuar, Akram, Chaymae... the Moroccan students they met - and lived with for four days - shared with them their stories, their thoughts, their fears and their hopes. And they realized the differences are much less important than the similarities. ESA: Do you remember a moment on the trip when you thought, this is a truly beneficial trip for these students? RD: There is a photo that is able to envisage that moment when I thought “Yes, this is what I was hoping for them to experience”. We arrived in Chefchaouen and headed to Doua’s house. Doua is a smart English Litera- ture student at the University of Tetouan and was born in Chefchaouen. She usually helps us coordinating with the host families, so her family house is a sort of a main office before students move in with their host families. So there we were, altogether having tea and pastries with Doua’s parents and the other Moroccan students who arrived to pick them up. With open arms and a welcoming atmosphere, there was no room for fears, just smiley faces and laughter. ESA: Did the experience in Morocco bring something to you on a personal level? And on a professional level? RD: Every time I travel in Morocco I learn new things on both a personal and a professional level. In general, the way we perceive the Arab world is contaminated by stereotyped images and preconceived ideas in which we shouldn’t naïvely trust. The reality is much more complex and complicated. And not always easy to be unveiled and deconstructed. I believe that the personal stories I have the opportunity to hear in first person when I am in Morocco help me expand my horizons. And what is education but expanding horizons? ESA: You will be taking more American students to Morocco with ESA in the future. What hopes/aspirations can you project on those trips for the exchange between the two cultures? RD: Metaphorically, I would like them to close their eyes and observe what they see. I hope we can spend as much time as possible with the Moroc- can students, listen to them, make things together, get involved with their community and share as many thoughts and experiences as possible. I think it was John Dewey who once said that education is not preparation for life but life itself. My aspiration is that these trips become an important part of the students’ lives.
A chronicle of a Granada Trip
Waking for an early morning of long bus rides, us UNE students had no idea what was in store for our little adventure to Granada. After a two hour trip southeast of our home in Seville, I found myself in a beautiful city, nestled in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Quite a change from Seville, we stepped off the bus into a cloudy and damp atmosphere, a nice cool breeze rolling through the streets. The walk to our hotel was a brief, yet beautiful view; the buildings and streets of Granada were so different from those of Seville, a perfect mixture of modernity and antiquity. A quick stop at our hotel and we were off on one of those Rubenesque adventures (featuring long walks through beautiful scenery, uphill, through rain). Honestly, from the moment I stepped onto the street, I fell in love with this city. We walked through these old gothic-style gates, stepped over puddles and weaved through the umbrella salesmen to head to the main part of the city. Looking upwards, relief statues littered the buildings, marble and stone eyes following us as we traversed the streets. [caption id="attachment_743" align="alignnone" width="515"] Halie Pruitt[/caption] At one point during our walk we passed what we assumed was a statue, but instead was a beautiful street performing angel. Although living, this angel blended in with her surroundings so naturally that it was difficult to pick her out at first! [caption id="attachment_744" align="alignnone" width="343"] Halie Pruitt[/caption] Even during this “short” tour of the city, you could see the obvious connections to Morocco. Although the walls and buildings in the main part of the city were highly ornate buildings with Spanish influence, the small shops squished on either side of the walkways had Morocco spilling out of them. The tea and herb shops, the foreign dialect ringing in my ears, and, above all, HAREM PANTS. Obviously we saw the typical city sites-- Cute puppies and street musicians-- but the city was so different than what I had experienced previously. We could walk down a roadway and see crumbling antiquated buildings and bridges that have probably been there for hundreds of years, turn our heads and see new buildings and geometrically shaped street lights. But grabbing tapas and checking out the stores could not prepare me for the wonder that Granada held for us-- The Alhambra and Generalife [caption id="attachment_745" align="alignnone" width="515"] Halie Pruitt[/caption] Now, I’ll be real with y’all, I was so extremely exhausted that I wasn’t sure I could survive out at the Alhambra. This feeling didn’t change until we reached the top of the hill and saw cannons and palaces. Looking at the sheer magnitude of these buildings really put my mind in its place. We were standing on these grounds, looking across the empty lands and looking back on a small part of history. Before we entered, our tour guide told us how there had once been several buildings akin to the Alhambra that had been blown up-- these were the only ones that stood today because a one-armed man went around to diffuse the explosives. I got excited. We hadn’t seen the inside of the buildings yet, but if this man was willing to single handedly diffuse explosions and defy the regime, they must have been worth it…. they must be amazing. Words cannot describe the wonder found within the body of the Alhambra. I have visited monuments, I have seen exquisite architecture, and I am close friends with beauty. The transition from the exterior-- a very plain brick structure-- to the interior was astounding. The walls were laden with highly ornate floral designs, all in plaster with extreme attention to detail. The ceiling was crafted with ornate wooden panels, designs and geometric patterns etched, visions of the night sky overhead. With the arabic on the walls and the faded colors, I felt as though I had stepped into another world; the pale white of the plaster became laden with colors of days long since past and revealed its true beauty. Rather than listening to me fumble at an attempt to describe what I feel is one of the true wonders of the world, you should just book your plane ticket now and head out to Granada. [caption id="attachment_746" align="alignnone" width="515"] Halie Pruitt[/caption] As the sun slowly set on our first day in Granada, we began our hike to the Generalife. Meant to be a summer house for the Nasrid kings in Granada, the Generalife was surrounded by luscious gardens, gigantic hedges, and lengthy pools. Reaching the top of the hill where the actual summer house was located, we were followed by the fragrance of summer roses and honey suckle. Once we entered the building, it seemed as though the sun had stuck around long enough to grace us with the perfect warm array of yellows and oranges. Too comforting, in fact, because at this point our little group was ready to fall asleep on the closest hedge or friendly looking rose bush. And so our little tour ended here and we walked down from the mountain back into town. Dinner with Ruben is always a spectacle. Returning from the Alhambra, we had a short time to get ready and head out. Leaving the hotel, we heard music and cheering. A festival? Upon further examination, we had walked into a crowd of seniors dancing classically in a square close to our restaurant. It was an omen of a great night for us UNE students. Dinner consisted of 2 fantastic plates and dessert. Dessert obviously caused the largest debate among our group, but we eventually were able to order and complete our meal. Tuckered out from a fabulous day featuring amazing food, sights, and conversation, this girl was ready for bed! Opening my windows the next morning provided me with a pleasant surprise. Jackie and I had been given a room on the 4th floor with a spectacular view of the city. Not awake long enough to enjoy this sight, we were whisked off on another one of Ruben’s adventures! Here is a note of warning, if you ever see Ruben with this face, be prepared for a hike. [caption id="attachment_747" align="alignnone" width="515"] Halie Pruitt[/caption] So, we began our uphill adventure. With slopes steeper than your average mountain (or so it seemed) we traversed the streets of Granada to get the perfect view of the city. On our way, we spotted unique graffiti and people who were not dying from the incline. [caption id="attachment_748" align="alignnone" width="515"] Halie Pruitt[/caption] However, once we reached the top, we understood why Ruben had brought us here. Guitar players surrounded the plaza that had a perfect overlook to the Alhambra. The sun of this early day lit up the hazy sky and left all content to take pictures and pet adorable puppies. We were released from Ruben’s custody (JK <3) and split up to shop and eat on our own accord. I enjoyed an afternoon of shopping for scarves and pizza with Amelia until heavy rain forced us back to the hotel. Making the best of an unfortunate situation, we settled down at the hotel lobby and watched movies. Soon the rest of our group returned, bustled in by the wind and rain as well. Thus came an end to our Granada experience. Visiting Granada has been one of my favourite experiences throughout my life, and makes me even more excited to visit Morocco and our fellow UNE students! I really enjoyed spending quality time with these guys, and can’t wait to have more adventures!
Hospital Universitario Virgen Macarena
[caption id="attachment_733" align="alignnone" width="515"] UNE Sevilla students at the hospital[/caption] Last September 19th 2014, UNE students were given a tour of the Macarena Hospital (forever more called “the hospital” because that is one long hospital name). The hospital is located in the Sevilla’s city center and is quite large, at least comparatively to hospitals in Maine. While at the hospital, we were allowed to observe patients on kidney dialysis, enter a cardiovascular operating room, and visit several labs. Needless to say, we geeked out. Aside from observing cancerous vs non cancerous cells under the microscope, my favorite part was the operating room and the “man behind the curtain room” (I made up this nickname… It’s not actually called that!) Just outside the operating room is a n area with cameras recording all the cardiovascular operations happening within the unit. Doctors from the hospital can watch, analyze, and share their successes and failures with doctors around the world- which is quite amazing! It certainly is a progression in healthcare as the sharing of knowledge is vital for innovation. Spain’s healthcare system, like every other industrialized country in the world EXCEPT the US, is universal. That means that every individual in Spain has access to healthcare and the government pays for (at least some) of the bill. While many Americans believe that universal healthcare is “socialized,” it’s really not. Moreover, I think it bodes well to point out that the US currently ranks the worst out of the top 11 wealthiest country… Oh, and we spend the most money. Not to mention, even with the implementation of Obamacare (which, in my personal opinion, is a step in the right direction) 8% of our population will still remained uninsured! placing even larger strains on an already broken system. But those are just my thoughts… What are yours? This semester, I am taking a Medical Anthropology class that looks at medicinal practices from countries across the globe. So far, a major theme has been the differences between Eastern medicine and Western medicine. While eastern takes on a more holistic, natural method, western medicine is science based and largely treats the human body as a “machine” to be fixed. As a purely scientific mind, I am struggling to see the wider view of eastern medicine. Yet, I recognize that there are benefits to both methods. Which method is the “best” and how do we decide that? Moreover, what are the implications for healthcare worldwide?
Jenna in Sevilla
Jenna Selander arrived in Sevilla last January to study at the Pablo de Olavide University for a semester program. Jenna studies Medical Biology at the University of New England (Maine, US) and has always been very interested in Spanish culture. When she was in high school she met a foreign exchange student from Spain that sparked her interest in the culture differences between the United States and Spain. >>"Sevilla stood out as being a safe and beautiful city that was filled with culture. It was also very easy to coordinate because of the outstanding efforts of my global education office and ESA." The biggest difference between Jenna's daily life at home and in Sevilla is the pace. >>"At home I rarely made time to appreciate the beauty found in each and every day. My daily life was constantly jammed with activities and classes. In Sevilla you don’t have an option but to slow down because the sites found around every corner are so outstanding you can’t help but stop and appreciate them." Besides the pace, Jenna finds the meals very different in Sevilla compared to home. >>"In Sevilla, lunch is the biggest meal, and breakfast and supper are very light. Home it is almost the opposite, with lunch being my lightest meal. Additionally the times are different with lunch and supper much later. I found I prefer this way of eating! That might also be because my host mother is some sort of cooking prodigy." Apart from attending several courses at the Pablo de Olavide University, Jenna says she is thoroughly enjoying her internship at the Hospital Quirón that ESA facilitated for her. Quirón Hospital is a group of hospitals with specialist in almost every field. They have outstanding facilities with modern technology and remarkable staff. >>Jenna thinks her internship is challenging above all: "It has forced me to learn Spanish very quickly and use that newly obtained knowledge every day. Not only have I been able to experience the hospital environment first hand but I have also been lucky enough to shadow doctor patient Spanish-English translations, and speak directly with the people. At some points I have had to translate for the patient myself!!". She also administrates surveys to outpatients, inpatients, and emergency room patients. "This is where I get the most of my practice speaking Spanish. Every once in a while I will be lucky enough to get into great conversation about anything from American History to my hometown in Caribou, Maine. I also shadow workers of the international office that work to improve communication between the Spanish doctors and the non-Spanish speaking patients. I found myself looking up to them almost immediately because of their proficiency in multiple languages and their professionalism." How has Jenna's experience contributed to her academic training so far? And how has it contributed to her personal life?
>>"I see this internship as one of the most valuable aspects of my study abroad experience. Even though I am in another country, my internship has allowed me to stay on track and work towards my goals of pursuing a career in the medical field. I have had more exposure to the hospital environment here in Spain than I have at home. Personally I have really been able to mature with this experience, from people skills to the Spanish language. I am very thankful to have been granted this opportunity while studying abroad."At ESA, we believe in travel with a purpose. Jenna Selander is without a doubt a perfect example of this concept.