Kristyn Rice (Indiana University) - Fall 2010
During the first week of orientation into Sevillan life and culture, the Assistant Director, Viriginia, had us write down our goals and expectations of our semester here in Sevilla. Like everyone else I wrote that I would like to travel around Europe, dance flamenco, find a Spanish novio (boyfriend), and eat paella—all while bettering my Spanish and knocking out a few business courses along the way. I am happy to say that during the last four months I have been able to accomplish the majority of these goals. The only one I faltered on was the elusive novio, but I was so busy having so much fun doing everything else, I wouldn’t have had much time for him anyways.
CIEE encouraged us to really take advantage of the opportunity to get to know Sevilla, Andalucia, and Spain and organized many excursions to help us do so. What I really appreciated were the visits to local businesses because they tied in what we were learning in class to the real business world in Spain, while also giving us a chance to step out of our “American bubbles” and associate with Spanish students around our age. The latter was the best part because not only were we able to practice the language, but we could also compare college life between our respective countries and then enjoy the cultural night life that Sevilla has to offer with our newfound buddies.
One such excursion that particularly comes to mind is the one we took with the International Marketing class to a local winery, La Gitana. We got to tour the winery, have a few samples (along with some cheese that the CIEE staff painstakingly cut for us), and see firsthand how a Spanish business operates on a local and international scale. Through our questions and participation we were able to impress our guide with our Spanish-speaking skills and our business acumen. He even let me attempt to pour a glass of wine straight out of the barrel (which definitely is a lot harder than it looks)! Our professor prepared us well by giving us information on the business beforehand and was there along with other CIEE staff to share the experience with us. Then, on the bus ride home, the Spanish students patiently taught us some popular Spanish songs and attempted to teach us a few simple flamenco moves. It was an overall great experience and every time we see each other we laugh and sing the few lines that managed to stick with us.