Week 2: Vamos a la Playa

My second week in Seville is coming to an end, and I am having the paradoxical feeling like I have been here forever, yet I can’t believe the second week is already almost over. This week we started our intensive program class which is a class we take with our program for two weeks to prepare for classes in the Spanish university.

I am in the Contemporary Spanish History class, and last week we discussed the end of the XIX century and the beginning of the XX. Starting class again has been a rude awakening because so much time has passed since I last was in school, and it feels like I should be on vacation since I am in Spain (also, the fact that I am not a big fan of history doesn’t help).

(Museo de las bellas artes)

Our class is entirely in Spanish, so I am getting a lot of practice hearing and speaking the language, and we are kind of learning what to expect when we start class because, from what we have been told, Spain has a very different teaching style from the United States.

Class is long (3 hours) and not over my favorite topic, but, on the bright side, everyday we spend the last hour going for walks around the city to see various monuments and learn about the history.

(Lying around in the park–I wasn’t anticipating this photo)

The other thing that gets me through the day is thinking about the ice cream I usually get after class. I love dessert and ice cream is easily one of my favorites, and I was lucky enough to end up with a group of students who share my affinity for sweets!

During the first week in the city, my friends and I tried various ice cream stores, and no matter where we stopped the ice cream has been delicious. My host family then told me about some store nearby that had they claimed had the best ice cream, which is actually make in-house everyday. I ended up passing by the store randomly and I stopped to get a cup and my life hasn’t been the same ever since. Villar, a tiny, understated heladeria about 5 minutes away from my house, has literally the best ice cream I have ever tasted in my life (and I have tasted a lot!).

(My Spanish friends Fran & Charlie took this for me!)

Ever since my first scoops of ice cream there, I can not eat ice cream anywhere else. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), Villar is a very short walk away, so my friends and I (or just me) often go and get some of the world’s best ice cream.

(Some of my closer Spanish friends, Javi and Charlie. They want to visit me in Texas!)

During this past week I also got to spend a lot of time with my group of Spanish friends. One night we went to one of my friend’s house, made sandwiches, and then met up in a park to have a picnic and roller blade and talk (rollerblading is a really popular trend here and I definitely want to get on the bandwagon!). Although it wasn’t a particularly exciting night, I had so much fun and I felt so lucky to get to hang out like any other Spanish student!

(Me and Sarah–The hotel was feet from the beach!)

Finally, at the end of the week we had a group trip to the beach! Saturday my entire program and a group of Spanish college students left to have a weekend of “language immersion” in Punta Umbria. Over the immersion weekend English was prohibited at all times and we had various organized activities with Spanish students to encourage conversation and to force us to work on conversing in Spanish.

(My Spanish friends! They came to the beach also)

I actually really enjoyed the only-Spanish rule because I usually feel weird talking in Spanish with my peers when we both are English speakers, but now I had no choice. We spent the day on the beach doing the activities with the Spanish students, and then at night, we all grabbed blankets and huddled around on the beach to play games and talk.

(Girls from our group)

At this point in the night I took a step back from everything and just thought about how cool it was that I was chatting with a bunch of amazing Spanish and American students while sitting under the stars on a beach in Spain. As I rush to class and start getting into the swing of things, it is easy to forget what a unique experience I am having, so I need to remember to take a step back every now and then and think, “You are in Spain! You are living in Europe! You live five minutes from the best ice cream shop in the world! This is awesome.”

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