1. MOST SHOCKING CULTURAL DIFFERENCE YOU HAVE RUN INTO?
"Studying abroad is way less glamorous than people described it to me, and I had a really hard time adjusting. There was a period of time where I felt like I didn't have any friends and I was just super homesick. I might have had some unrealistic expectations but everyone hypes up studying abroad so I felt like they were justified. I arrived and was kind of like okay where are all my lifelong friends and glamorous studying abroad adventures?? I adjusted my expectations, met my soulmate bff, and now things are great! That was the biggest shock for me, that it's actually hard to study abroad."
2. WHAT IS ONE OF THE SILLIEST TOURISTY MOMENTS YOU HAVE HAD?
"I was on my way to class last week, and I was riding a bike. There is this really great (but also evil) bike subscription service in Sevilla. It's called Sevici and you pay like 30 Euro for a year membership and you can rent a bike from any station all over the city and after 30 minutes you have to return it (or pay a small fee for more time.) So I'm just merrily on my way to my 9 am death sentence, and I see this bump in the park I usually cut through, and I'm like...I got this, because 85% of riding a bike is confidence and usually I resemble Bambi when on a bike but today I was feeling quite full of myself. So, I take on the bump and my purse (with my laptop) goes flying out of the basket and I had to stop and pick it up. It was really quite shameful but only about 10 people were around and so I just hustled, picked it up, and got out of there. After that, I was riding along the tram line, there's this tram that runs from the business school to the el centro (the center of the city,) and I'm passing by the cathedral so I'm almost at the plaza where I can park my bike, and my wheel gets stuck in the rut where the tram goes and I just fall flat on my face. Luckily, I caught myself with my hands but it was literally SO embarrassing. This adorable little old man comes running over and in rapid-fire Spanish is asking me if I'm okay, which was the sweetest thing ever. I was so flustered I just kept saying Estoy bien estoy bien! After that, it took me a few days to ride my bike again! I have a love-hate relationship with the bikes here because they are really heavy and a lot of times they have broken pedals, brakes, or seats because so many people use them and just trash them."
3. BEST FOOD YOU HAVE EATEN?
"There's this little bakery that's only 30 seconds from where I have a couple of my classes, and it has the best chocolate croissants in the entire world. All of the guys that work there are like really gorgeous and they know they have the best baked goods in the city. The place is called PANYPIU, for those of you who are considering studying abroad in Spain, this is a huge pro for Sevilla.!"
4. FAVORITE SPONTANEOUS ADVENTURE AND WHAT YOU DID.
"I went to Morocco this past weekend with my program and it was very interesting- I highly recommend it! My friend/hotel-roommate Leanne and I are constantly searching for opportunities to explore and we decided to explore the hotel we were staying in, since we have "guides" (bodyguards) the entire time we are out and about, we aren't really allowed to wander off and explore. We found a way up to the roof and got to look at the city and it was so beautiful. It was probably our most successful attempt at exploring/adventuring and it was so much fun."
5. BIGGEST TAKEAWAY SO FAR FROM STUDYING ABROAD?
"My biggest takeaway from studying abroad is that your attitude is the most important determinant of how much fun/adventures you are going to have. You can be in Europe and not have fun if all you do is sit in your room and expect amazing things to happen to you. It's so important to understand that your actions and words have a huge impact on your own experience. I was kind of miserable the first few weeks because I was just feeling sorry for myself, but everyone goes through a difficult transition period at first and it's really important that you stay positive and use everything as a learning experience. You will look back and laugh at yourself eventually so it's important to keep that in mind whenever things don't go according to plan!"