By Ava Carnevale
¿Qué pasa, Union College? The 18 of us, plus the dashing Professor Pilar Moyano, want to wish you well from beautiful Seville, Spain.
No need to be jealous because our lives are pretty much the same here as they were back in Schenectady. However, instead of walking over puddles, snow banks and obscure objects from the weekend’s festivities, we walk across a gorgeous bridge lined with palm trees with the sun rising and glistening off the river, passing through hundreds of years of history. While umbrellas, boots and jackets might be necessities for all of you, however, for us, they are just taking up space in our rooms and suitcases. [pullquote]“Our lives are pretty much the same here as they were back inSchenectady…”[/pullquote]
Beautiful Schenectady does have fun things to do, but a trip to Denny’s, a ride down the street to Wal-Mart or a journey to Crossgates does not compare to our weekend excursions: to beautiful Ronda, the ancient Roman ruins of Itálica, Pilar’s hometown of Córdoba, the Alhambra of Granada, the capital city of Madrid, to our late night adventure to Cádiz for Carnavale or even to our nightly excursions of eating countless tapas while meeting the locals.
The houses here may be smaller, lacking heat and/or hot water, each containing a plethora of house rules and a small but manageable language barrier; the people may speak faster, may not eat the same foods that we do (no peanut butter, late night Skellar or West Brunch) and may have a different sense of fashion. However, making exceptions and compromises, removing ourselves from our comfort zones is a challenge we conquer each and every day in order to integrate ourselves into their culture.
No matter what we do here in Seville, we are always enjoying ourselves and learning so much. With anything we do, whether it is stepping outside of our houses or buying a café con leche, we are forced to become part of the Spanish world. Studying in a cross-cultural setting, submerged in a new way of life filled with jamón, chocolate and pan y queso is the experience of a lifetime. Day or night, we prowl the narrow streets of this old city with memories of America lingering in our minds. Each of us possesses a new appreciation for things at home, realizing we are NOTT at Union; we are alive and thriving in España.