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....
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!
One of the perks of studying abroad is, no doubt, traveling. No matter which city you choose to study in, you will see many others during the most memorable months of your life. Airport, train station, bus station, or ESA trips – that is all you need to travel. Last weekend, UNE students in Sevilla had the opportunity to travel to one of the most charming cities of the southern part of Andalucia: Granada. Despite the unexpected rain upon arrival and check-in, we had a wonderful time exploring the most pintoresque places of such an enchanting city that was, once, the only Moorish Kingdom during the Spanish Reconquest. And the thing is that Granada’s legacy is full of art, history, and charm. What you should not miss:
- Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens. What was at one point the palace of the Moorish King is now the most stunning piece of Mudejar Art. Located in the top of a hill, the views from and of the Alhambra are always a memory to keep along with the detailed decoration of its rooms, pillars, doors, windows, and gardens.
- Albaycin. Opposite to the Alhambra is this neighborhood where the snake-shaped streets takes you back to the Moorish invasion. From the San Nicolas viewpoint you can have wonderful views of the Alhambra at the same time that gypsies play their guitars, sing and dance Flamenco.
- Tapas. If the Alhambra and the Albaycin are considered historical, Granada also keeps serving tapas as traditional as it used to be. Whenever you go to a tapas bar in Granada, you just need to order a drink – and you will automatically receive a free tapa! This is no doubt such an experience as you never know which tapa you are going to get.
- No doubt, Granada is a must when visiting southern Spain.
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]
Morocco, the country that impressed us all
I have never thought when I first applied for being a mentor that I’d be the one who would have the chance to visit Morocco. One might think that being originally from Cadiz, at the very south of Spain, I had visited this country many times. But for some reasons, I’d never made it to Morocco, until we headed there with the UNE Seville students. On the way to Morocco we were all tired, since we had to get up at the crack of dawn that morning, but the excitement of arriving in Tangier made the bus ride a pleasant one (the guys were looking forward to be reunited with their UNE Tangier friends, who had been visiting Seville the week before). When we first disembarked at harbor of Tangier, we were warmly welcomed by Abdeslam, our guide for our stay in Morocco. He first took us to lunch in DARNA, the Women’s Association in Tangier, where we started a Moroccan dining experience that would last three days! After the meal they told us about the goals and aims of this association. Then we met the UNE students from Tangier to play Scavenger Hunt, as a way to discover the city. I have to confess that this wasn’t my favorite city during the trip, but there were some spots that left me enchanted. We spent the last hours of the day in the UNE Campus in Tangier, where we enjoyed a great dinner and shared long talks. Some decided to go out and enjoy the Moroccan night, while others went to bed to get some rest for the following days. The second day of our trip started with some bad news: not only it was time to say goodbye to our UNE Tangier friends, but also our coordinator Ruben had to go back to Spain because of personal reasons. Fortunately, we still had the support and company of our guides Abdeslam and Lynn, the founder of ESA, who we got the pleasure to share this experience with. It was a long day, full of adventures: a camel ride in Cape Spartel; a stop in the only point of the world where the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea meet; followed by a short stay in Tétouan, where we enjoyed some couscous for lunch and visited its souk (bazaar); and ultimately a stop at a viewpoint on our way to Chefchaouen. However, the best part is yet to come. We were warmly welcomed once again by Akram (whom we have had met during lunch in DARNA), our coordinator in Morocco and also my host brother in Chefchaouen. We were served some delicious Moroccan tea and yummy pastries by Asid, Akram’s mom, a wonderful woman that made us all feel like at home. Then we met the other Moroccan host students and all went to visit Chefchaouen’s city center and its citadel. On our third day in Morocco, Abdeslam took us to the most beautiful spot I’ve been to in years. We went through the beautiful blue and white streets of Chefchaouen and even had to hike a little until we got to the top of a hill, where we got to see even better the beauty, which this little city has to offer. Afterwards we had some Moroccan tea, visited a weaving workshop and enjoyed another yummy Moroccan meal at Akram’s aunt’s house, where all the girls attended a henna session while being delighted in an Ansalusi music performance. The evening was all about going shopping and buying souvenirs, which would make us remember those wonderful days in Morocco. When we went back to our homestays, we were once more surprised by the dinner Asid had prepared for Nikitta, Leah, Akram and me. The day came to an end with a photo session where we put on typical Moroccan dresses and a visit to another wonderful spot in the city, where Akram and his friends took us to admire a sky full of stars. As the time went by, I got more and more impressed by Morocco and kind of fell in love with this country.
No wonder it’s a World Heritage Site!
Defying the rain and the cold, we set off to Granada early on a grey Saturday morning. The sleepy faces son gave way to exclamations of amazement as we approached Granada and the sight of the snowy Sierra Nevada greeted us. Thanks to the great location of our hotel, we were able to check in and leave for a short stroll and lunch before leaving for the Alhambra. Granada is a splendid city, with its Moorish stlye and the inviting smell coming from the tea bars. After this short break we hurried to catch the bus that took us to the Alhambra. Neither the chilly wind nor the rain could defeat us on our way through this haunting palace. Fortunately, we had a really great guide who made sure we didn’t miss a bit of the monument’s bountiful history. No wonder it’s a World Heritage Site! We were taken through a maze of sumptuous chambers and charming fountains, where we learned about its history and took plenty of pictures –big shout out here to our guide and photographer, Robert. However, all good things must come to an end, and so did our visit to the Alhambra. A short walk downhill, trying not to fall, as it really was a steep slope, and we were back in the city. We had some free time until dinner, so we took the chance to do some shopping –which included bargaining for scarves, purses, or Arabic handwritings. Some of us even got to experience holding a huge parrot on our shoulder! There was this Street packed with tea bars, and some of us chose to give them a go and treated ourselves with delicious Moorish-style teas at a cosy Alhambra-like bar. Granada is a city with a captivating atmosphere that leaves no one indifferent. Just like Sevilla, it’s filled with history, but it still keeps that romantic air that makes it different. Granada is full of life, specially of students, and, as I was telling some of the girls, it is the birthplace of many of Spain’s most famous music bands. It is also worth mentioning the succulent dinner we got to try. Pasta, seafood, all kinds of meat, special meals for our veggies… We could choose among plenty of mouth-watering dishes, thanks for choosing that restaurant, Rubén! On Sunday we enjoyed what was, in my opinion, the most beautiful part of the trip, and of Granada, actually. The final day began with a walk from the cathedral, passing by Paseo de los tristes on our way to the viewpoint, where we were delighted by a marvelous sight of the city spreading below. Oh, and also by a skinny dog wandering about. After some more shopping and another tasty lunch, we got ready for the journey back. It had been an intense stay in Granada, short but rather fruitful. Before coming back, some even had the strength to go hiking around the city! Some were asleep a minute after hopping on the bus, but their sleep was son interrupted by the wows as we got a final glimpse of Granada, with the white peaks of Sierra Nevada on the background. All in all, I think Granada is a must see for anyone visiting or, actually, living in Spain. Sadly, the trip was for a weekend only, though I really hope the UNE students enjoyed it as much as I did!
If you go to Granada once, you will definitely go back
I wanted to start writing this the night before heading to Granada, but who was I kidding? The night before a trip you are excited and everything is chaotic, so definitely, it is not a good time to write. Doing this trip as an ESA Mentor means a lot to me because I am in love with this city and I wanted to share this feeling with the UNE students. As I had foretold, the trip was marvelous despite of the fact we only spent one night there. #1 Day: Saturday It was extremely early in the morning and the weather wasn’t cooperating with us. However, our first adventure together (ESA Sevilla coordinator Rubén, ESA mentors and UNE students) had already started. After a three hours bus ride, we arrived in Granada. So, as soon as we got our rooms at the hotel we were ready to walk around the city and have lunch. Some of us decided to go for tapas to recharge our batteries: when you order a drink in Granada, you are given a free tapa. We had to try it! Then, the Alhambra and Robert, our wonderful tour guide, were waiting for us. The Alhambra is a Moorish palace and fortress where different Muslim emirs lived until the Catholic Monarchs (Reyes Católicos) reconquered the city. Every single detail in its architecture and gardens amazed us and we felt as if we had traveled through time. Next stop: a walk around narrow and steep streets, full of leather bags, beautiful and colorful lamps, handicrafts... We felt like we were in Morocco, even haggling worked sometimes. At each corner, we could discover so many different features… from surprises and beautiful scenes for artsy pictures, to graffiti covering old walls. It was getting darker and it was time for dinner. We all had a splendid one together, after which we still had energy to enjoy Granada’s nightlife. #2 Day: Sunday A sunny Sunday ‘greeted us’ and invited us to enjoy our last hours in Granada. After breakfast, we went to the Paseo de los Tristes to admire the Alhambra from a different place. Then, it was time to be ready for hiking in order to arrive at Mirador de San Nicolás (Saint Nicholas viewpoint). Amazed by the spectacular view of the reddish Alhambra and the snowy mountains in the background, we stayed there a little while. Friendship started to be obvious in our group pictures. Finally, it was time to have lunch and say goodbye to this amazing and lovely city which fascinates people from any culture, country or age. But don’t worry, people from Granada have an expression: ‘if you go to Granada once, you will definitely go back’. So let’s believe this statement and we all will be back soon!
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.