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3 posts from September 2011


Student's eye view: first days in Seville

These photos were taken by Kelly Cho during the early days of the fall semester at the CIEE Study Center in Seville. Kelly is a finance and economics major at Penn State University and she is paticipating in the CIEE Liberal Arts program.


Looking down the Avenida de la Constitución in Sevilla's historic central district

A ham vendor at the Mercado de Triana, a market just west of the Guadalquivir River

Sevilla's streets after dusk


Kitchen disasters

This post is by Katy George, a journalism and Spanish major at the University of Oregon. During the fall 2011 semester she is participating in the Communication, New Media and Journalism program at the CIEE Study Center in Seville. This post originally appeared on Katy's blog.

So today I learned three things:

1. If you hunt through a Spanish kitchen, you can find ingredients fit for the best of light meals, no shopping required.
2. Spanish homes are not required (or at least not inclined) to have smoke alarms.
3. If forgotten under a broiler long enough, bread WILL catch fire.

Needless to say, it’s been an interesting evening.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up for a second. Today was one of those days where I really was not interested in doing much after siesta time. Usually I’ll go for a coffee, wander the shopping district, or at least go for a run, but for whatever reason I just felt like chilling with Elisabeth, my host mom’s friend who lives with us. But around 7:30 I started feeling a little antsy. Elisabeth was out doing some grocery shopping and I’d browsed through one too many pages of Tastespotting, and something needed to be done.

Originally, I’d planned to make my first meal after Asa—my host mom—got back tomorrow from her long birthday weekend in Madrid. I wanted to show off my skills, after all. But today it occurred to me that maybe I ought to familiarize myself with the kitchen first. And since I was bored, I decided to give dinner a go. I knew there was the better half of a bell pepper lurking around, as well as bread and copious amounts of olive oil. Obviously I thought of roasted red pepper bruschetta and scuttled off to see what else could be thrown into the mix.

What I came up with was a mix of the peppers, capers, rounds of goat cheese, and—most surprisingly to me—anchovy fillets. Anchovies tend to get a bad rap in the US for being salty and smelly, but here they’re a staple. And having never tried an anchovy (I know, I know, and I call myself a foodie) I thought it’d be a great experiment. But of course, in my life something always goes wrong.

Roasting the peppers went fine. So did mincing the garlic (wielding very large knives have never been my strong point, so I consider this an accomplishment) and dealing with the oily, fishy fillets. But as I was slicing the peppers after I’d peeled them, I noticed a very strong burning smell. My heart sank—there was no way I’d put the bread in already… right?

WRONG. I guess I must have thrown the slices under the broiler after I took out the peppers, so they’d been in there for nearly FIFTEEN MINUTES.

I whirled around to open the oven door and smoke was pouring out. I probably already knew at that point what I was going to find, but it still surprised me—the bread was actually on fire. I had to pull out the pan and pour the water in the glass I was drinking from in order to put it out. Yikes.

Crazily enough, the underside was still raw, but there was no saving the slices. I threw them out just as Elisabeth came in from talking on the phone. She started laughing when she saw all the smoke, which I was frantically trying to wave out the open window. All in all, not my most impressive moment. I can at least be relieved Asa wasn’t around to see me nearly decimate her gorgeous kitchen.

But all’s well that ends well, as we had some more bread squirreled away and I had plenty of time to toast some new pieces—slowly this time. And the moral of the story goes like this: Even when things go really really wrong, they can usually be fixed.

The finished product!

Click here to continue reading Katy's post on her personal blog and check out her recipe for bruschetta with roasted red bell peppers, anchovies and goat cheese.


Settling in

This post is by Yvonne Marquez, a magazine journalism major from the University of Texas at Austin. During the fall 2011 semester she is participating in the Communication, New Media and Journalism program at the CIEE Study Center in Seville. This post originally appeared on Yvonne's blog.

Today marks a week since I arrived in Seville, Spain and it feels like I’ve been here for a few hours or a few months all at the same time. Without a doubt it has been a whirlwind adventure from the very beginning.

302789_10150277338988364_706778363_7893428_455586_n I never flew internationally so for me it was such a tiring experience. I didn’t sleep the night before and I had a 6 a.m. flight to Dallas. Then I had a 9-hour layover in Dallas where I slept on some couches, people watched and ate McDonald’s. Finally I boarded the plane for a 9-hour flight to Madrid and to my misfortune had to sit between two big old men. It seemed like I would never get to Spain.

But you know, I got there, went through the whole passport shebang and was finally in Europe. Then I had to wait four more hours till I got to Seville. Thankfully the airport had a shopping mall so I walked many laps around the terminal and was even more fascinated with people watching at this airport.

When it was time to board the plane to go to Sevilla, I was so relieved and anxious to arrive. I boarded the plane and immediately closed my eyes. By the time I knew it when I opened them we were landing. “Bienvenidos a Sevilla,” the stewardess said. Thank God I finally made it.

I had orientation for the next couple of days with the rest of the CIEE Communication, New Media, and Journalism group. There are seven girls from all across the United States in my program. We stayed at the Hotel Petit Palace which was very beautiful and very close to the CIEE headquarters. For the first couple of days we wandered around the Casco Antiguo de Sevilla, which is where we live. It is a labyrinth of streets lined with cafes, bars and stores.

Our two awesome student guides, Maria and Pablo, gave us a tour of their beautiful city. They told us about the main landmarks of Sevilla, where to eat, where to drink, where to buy necessities. We also experienced some awesome tapas and staple food with Maria and Pablo. They are like Radio-Television-Film students at the Universidad de Sevilla. I find it funny that I can tell they are comm students. I think it’s their sarcasm for some reason.

The CNMJ group at El Alcázar de Sevilla

On Wednesday I finally got to meet my host family. I was pretty nervous to meet them on top of being jetlagged and tired. My host family consists of a mother named Esperanza and a father named Antonio. I also have two host siblings, Clara who is 14 and Antonio who is 17. I feel they are not a typical family in Sevilla but then again we live in such a modern world, who knows what’s typical. I was expecting a little old señora who catered to me and took care of me like a grandma would. Instead I have a host dad who cooks instead, a host brother who has long hair and collects vinyl records, a rebellious younger host sister who listens to screamo/rock and then English pop songs and a very quiet host mother. They are a very nice family and the father asks me the most questions. They are very interested in my background as a Mexican American and the Valley. They don’t understand it, which I don’t blame them ...

If you can see the red star, you know where I live.

Click here to continue reading Yvonne's post on her personal blog.