Hello. I am Charleson Pernell, a senior Global Studies Major here at Salve Regina University. Global Studies Majors, here, are required to do a semester abroad in order to graduate with this major. I decided to do mine my senior spring in order for it to not interfere with fall football, although I recommend doing it earlier. My Capstone was on the Education and Training Programes policies in Andalusia Spain (the region in which Sevilla is located).
For some this may be your first time traveling alone. For me, it was the first time I had ever left the country and the first time I had ever flown alone. Now I am older (22) and felt safe, but you do get butterflies meeting the people in your program for the first time and you future host parents/roommates. I would expand more on this, but I think the experience is different for all. As long as you are respectful and polite you will have a good transition into your living quarters.
ISA does a good job with integrating you with your peers prior to moving into your permanent residence for the semester. We spent a few days in Madrid after arriving in Spain. The hotel is very nice and they typically put you in a room with your roommate for they semester whether it is homestay or residencia. Madrid is a beautiful city and a great way to get accumulated into Spanish culture. The places you go are beautiful and hold some of the worlds greatest pieces of art.
After your integration time in Madrid you are sent off to Sevilla to move into your homestay or residencia room. I will speak about my homestay experience briefly. My host mother Lola is a sweet lady. When we met her she took us on a short tour around Triana and moved us into the house. The next day she walked us through the park and to school. I know it may sound childish. A 22 year old senior being walked to school. What you have to understand is that people in Sevilla are proud about their city and want to show off it beauty. Life in Spain, at first, takes some getting used to.
-Shut of lights and be respectful about water and electricity consumption. People in Spain are a lot more energy efficient and leaving on lights and taking long showers is seen as disrespectful.
-Look Out For Bike Lanes! on sidewalks all throughout Sevilla there are lanes dedicated for people on bicycles. They don’t like when people are in their lane and not paying attention!
-Cars and scooters drive much closer and faster. Scooters will weave in and out of traffic and its not taboo here, but once the crosswalk light is green they always stop and wait for people to walk by. They are very aware of pedestrians.
-Explore! When I first arrived in Sevilla I was stuck in a routine of going out to the same places and walking the same routes to school. Take the time to go to areas you haven’t been, because you will be surprised at how much of the city you are missing!
This first post is really just me getting used to this whole blogging thing. Much more happened in the first month of my time here but school and other excursions will be talked about in my next post. I thought these were the most essential and important things I learned within my first month of coming to Spain. You will be surprised as how much little tips like this will make you fit into the city much easier.
Charleson (Mick) Pernell