A Day in the Life of a Student in Sevilla

My school days typically start out in the same way. I’ll wake up an hour and 30 minutes before class, factoring in the time it takes to travel to my destination. Somewhere in the middle of my morning routine, my host-mom will let me know that breakfast is ready. Contrary to your usual morning meal in the U.S, a Spanish breakfast only consists of two things: jam on toast and coffee. It is meant to be a lighter meal so you can look forward to the feast that is biggest meal of the day, lunch.

After I have said goodbye to my host-mom, it is time for me to make my way to class. Generally, I bike everywhere I go using the city’s public bicycle rental system aptly named Sevici (Se- like Sevilla, vici – meaning bike in Spanish). On occasion I do like to walk or take the bus if my legs are feeling tired. Although, nothing beats having the wind blow through your hair on a bike.

Now where I bike to exactly depends on the day. Mondays I go to the Math Department of the University of Sevilla. Unlike Wofford, the University of Sevilla’s facilities are spread out over the entire city, similar to USC – Columbia. From where I live, the Math Department is 30 minutes away, that is if I keep a good pace. However, it is honestly a highlight of my week because the path is so scenic. I get to pass by the old tobacco factory that now houses the English and History Departments, and most of the bike path is right by the river Guadalquivir. And that is not even mentioning how charming the STEM part of campus is.

Although I am only taking one math class, it is a direct enrollment course, meaning the students are mostly Spaniards. Another challenge I have discovered is that the norms of academia are much different than those of the U.S. It is expected that the brunt of the work necessary for learning should be done outside of the classroom. We only meet twice a week, once for a 2-hour lecture and again for a 2-hour lab. This means I have to set aside some time to review the notes that are published online before I attend class and any other materials I am unsure of (I am looking at you Linear Algebra). Though, I am sure the class will work to my benefit as I have had to learn how to program in MATLAB, used by many engineers and scientists.

The beautiful center of CIEE’s student center

When I am not at the University of Sevilla, I am at CIEE’s student center, where the academic culture is similar to what I am used to. These classes are taken with other students studying abroad, mostly from small, liberal arts colleges like Wofford. I have met students from Minnesota, California, Iowa, Massachusetts, and more places all over the country. Together, CIEE’s classes offer a nice change of pace from the difficulty of my direct enrollment classes.

After school, I’ll head back to my homestay to have lunch, where the television is always on as it is a common joke to say that the TV is a member of the family. Afterwards, I will sunbathe on the balcony or take a nap if I am feeling tired enough. There is not much to say about the apartment itself other than it has all your basic ammenities (except a dryer and dishwasher), plus a balcony. Life in my homestay has actually been rather enjoyable! I am getting along well with my host-mom and I will often talk to her about whatever interesting or noticable thng that has happened that day. Apart from her and I, one other student in my program, James, lives in the homestay with me, who has quickly become one of my closest friends here in Spain. I am very lucky to have such wonderful people in my life and I am so grateful for them (I have not had a chance to suggest a photo together yet so here is a photo of my “roommate” and me).

My roommate and I in the town of Aracena

My evenings are truthfully variable. Wednesday evenings are spent taking lessons in flamenco guitar, now that I have found myself a teacher! I have only taken one lesson so far, but I am excited to see what I can do at the end of the semester, especially since taking lessons was one of the main reasons I came to Spain. Mondays and Tuesdays have me occupied by my philosophy class from 6:00-8:00 pm. It is not exactly ideal but it is a much preferable alternative to having class on Friday. Speaking of which, my Fridays are entirely devoid of class, allowing me to spend even more time traveling to cities like Ronda, Granada, Aracena, Madrid, and more, which I plan on posting about in the future because there is so much to say!

My free time is a mixed bag of doing activities through my program, studying, working on summer plans, calling loved ones, hanging out with friends, clubbing, watching tv, and practicing guitar. However, my days all end in my room lying on my bed comfortably, ready to face the next day.

Here is a look at my room in Sevilla

And that is about it! Overall, my life is not that different than my life at Wofford. I still go to class, eat, study, and hang out with friends. When it comes to the minutiae though, life can look a little different from my life in the U.S. However, I am loving it! I still can’t believe I get to study in a whole other country. It makes me glad I decided to study abroad and I highly recommend it if you ever get the chance. The logistics of figuring out everything to do with classes can be taxing. Although if you can get over that hill, it is a fantastic time, while still counting for college credit too! Anyways, stay tuned for my next post and be sure to check out my peers’ blogs as well! This has been a Day in the Life of a Student in Sevilla. My name is Ethan Montes. See you next time!