There’s a saying in Seville that goes “Sevilla tiene un color especial”, quite literally meaning Seville has a special colour. I’ve now come to realise that saying isn’t literal; there is no special colour that paints the houses, but that Seville has a special place, or “colour”, within Andalusia. Here’s why:
The streets are lined with orange trees and tapas bars, which stand serenely as the hustle and bustle of city races by. The heat from the sun coats every terrace, and casts shade on ever plaza. The beer is served ice cold, and the food delicious. Seville is a jewel in Spain.
Living in Seville has been both rewarding and at times challenging. If anyone were to ask me for a recommendation for a year abroad, I would fully advertise Seville as the place to be.
I am currently studying at the Universidad de Pablo de Olavide or UPO, for short. UPO, isn’t the best place on earth I have to admit, however what the university lacks, the city makes up for. Seville is the capital of Andalusia, a large province of Spain. I study various modules at UPO, from translation to humanities, however, all are taught in Spanish.
For those that study Spanish, the Sevillan accent is very thick, and arguably the most evolved dialect of Spanish in Spain. I hopped off the plane and jump into the cab arrogantly with my prexisting knowledge of the language propping me up in this new world. This too quickly established confidence crumbled rapidly after conversing with the taxi driver. I remember sitting there thinking: “I am doomed.” However, after a few weeks, you quickly adapt to this heavy Spanish, and even start using their idioms and expressions; “illo”, “demasiao”, and “en plan” to name a few.
The times when I am not at uni, I spend outside in either Plaza de España, drinking a can of Fanta lemon or by the river for botellón. The weather in Seville is marvellous almost all year round. Daytime temperature averages at around 27 degrees. Pack sun cream because, if you’re like me, you will burn to a crisp.
The nightlife in Seville is amazing. There’s so much variety. I thought upon coming here that I would be limited in terms of where I can go out. There are at least 3 districts renowned for partying: Alameda, Alfalfa and the centre. Furthermore, there’s a club for every type of person. If you like dressing up and dancing to the cheesy yet catchy reggaeton, then Utophia is for you. If you want something more casual with more English music, Abril is your choice. Or maybe just bar hopping around Alameda is you thing. I recommend Los cien cocktelitos for a drink before going to the club, they sell a litre of cocktail for €4, and they are absolutely lethal.
The experience of living in Seville has given me the longing to go travelling, especially around Latin America. I have friends here from Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro and I’m desperate to go and visit the other side of the Spanish pond.
I think it’s rather cliché to say that the Year Abroad is the best year of your life. However, what I will say is that it makes me want to go out there and explore the world, learn more about other people, and see it for myself. I came here and I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do in life, I’m a take-it-as-it-comes kinda guy. Now I know. What I want to do, where I want go and how I want to do it. Some play it safe on the merry-go-round, some go for thrills on the rollercoasters.
In terms of how a year abroad has aided my career prospects, I would say that the confidence that you learn is a priceless skill that I have now been awarded. Being in a foreign country is a sink or swim situation. Therefore, you learn to swim, and by swimming you gain so much confidence. Furthermore, I’ve made friends from all over the globe, which in terms of careers, are possible future career connections. You never know if that person from Germany will be a future business partner or need your skills in the future.