Eden is from Kansas and is studying Advertising and Spanish in college. She studied abroad in Seville, Spain, for a semester through World Endeavors.
How do you feel looking back on your experience in Spain?
Honestly, it was the best semester I’ve ever had. I met so many people and learned so many things. I created a new interest in this culture that I knew nothing about. I found a new love for a different country.
What was your first impression of Spain?
There was a football game when I arrived and everyone was in the streets greeting each other with a kiss on the cheek and eating dinner outside. I thought, “Wow, these people are so open and happy. The culture is so different.”
How was your homestay experience?
My homestay family was so amazing. I still talk to them all the time. There was the mom, and her 13 year old daughter, and there was also a student staying with us who was from Venezuela. My host mom was so laid back and helpful. She would ask, “Can I clean your clothes?” or “Let me pack you a lunch,” and I would say “No, no, no!” She would even pack food for my backpack when I would travel around. When I was leaving for the airport on the last day, they all came to the train station with me and I burst out crying “I don’t want to leave you guys!”
Did your Spanish improve over the course of the semester?
Definitely, and speaking and practicing with my home stay was a big help. It took me a while to become really comfortable with speaking, but people were really nice if I stopped them to ask a question. By the time I was on the plane back, I was on an American flight but I was still thinking and speaking in Spanish!
Tell me about the school you attended.
Pablo de Olavide had a lot of character. The school was not like my university in the US; it was smaller and the classes had no more than 15 people in them. The people at the international office were so nice and they would help you with everything. My classes were really cool too, I learned a lot about culture, phonetics, and the things that you can’t learn anywhere else. You have to be there with actual native speakers to really learn a language. I had a very personalized experience; I liked the personal touch of professors knowing my name. I miss it now that I’m back.
How was the food in Spain?
Oh my goodness, I love the food! I really miss eating little meals with tapas – they had it everywhere. The churros are the best churros anywhere in the world!
What was a typical day for you in Spain?
When I woke up I would take the bus to class and depending on my schedule, I would meet up with a couple friends to sit by the river. Plaza de Espana was my favorite place to sit and do homework, play guitar, and hang out. My friends and I would go to the park and set up a hammock, play Frisbee, and pretty much just hang out. Weekends would be traveling, going out to get tapas, or going to the clubs and bars. It was so much fun. I never – not once – spent a whole day inside the house. I was always out in the city. In Seville there was always somewhere to go with beautiful weather.
Did you get to do any traveling?
I went to quite a few places. I went to Gibraltar, Morocco, London, Dublin, Rome, and Paris. In Spain you get two weeks off in April, so the first week I went to London and Dublin and the second week I went to Paris and Rome. I only had classes Monday to Thursday, so I got to do a lot of traveling on the weekends. Seville is a popular cultural destination for tourists from other parts of Spain, too, so during the two week break there is a big celebration there that is worth seeing.
What made you want to study abroad and specifically why in Spain?
I’ve wanted to study abroad since I was very young. My older sister went to France and I saw her pictures and thought “I want to do that!” I picked Spain because I was interested in Spanish and I love European history. I wanted to go to Stockholm, at first, but it was really expensive. I thought if I went to Spain I would be in the middle so I could do some traveling around Europe. Although at the beginning Spain wasn’t my first choice, it was definitely the best choice. It was the perfect fit.
What advice would you give someone traveling abroad?
Just have fun. Wherever you’re going, make sure you look up something about the culture. Be spontaneous! Why go somewhere and not experience the real place if you have the chance to?
How did you hear about World Endeavors, and why did you choose World Endeavors over other programs?
I heard about it through my study abroad office at Kansas State. World Endeavors was one of the most affordable programs. Cost was definitely a big issue in choosing World Endeavors, but the final thing was seeing the classes that the university offered and the fact that it was in Seville.
Most important thing you gained from your time abroad:
I gained a greater appreciation for other cultures, and a greater sense of independence.
What do you miss about Spain now that you’re back?
I miss having a siesta every day, if that counts! The culture is different, you just adapt to it naturally. People in Spain are closer; there’s not as much personal space. Everyone is one big family. I like the feeling of going outside and striking up a conversation with an old man on the bench; there was a greater sense of community there.
Anything else you wish to share?
World Endeavors was so helpful and explained anything I needed to do. If I had a question, World Endeavors answered it right away. It was a perfect relationship for me. World Endeavors kept me updated even when I didn’t ask to get updated. I would definitely recommend World Endeavors to anyone that wants a life-changing experience!