Poco a Poco
A student's southern Spain experience
by Kerrie Bell
Senior, Spanish major
This year I decided to take the leap and study abroad! I wanted to study abroad in Spain since high school, so this has been a dream come true and such a blessing! Not only have I gained great friends through the study abroad program, but I have also gained new knowledge and perspective on the world. Traveling really does impact people!
I chose to study abroad in Sevilla, Spain. It has been the perfect environment to improve my Spanish (even with the difficult accent). My host family has helped me enormously. While I have been here, they have helped me feel at home as well as answer questions about the language and customs (Ironically, my host mom’s name is Ada!).
Time really has flown by. I have seen so much in Spain and look forward to returning and seeing more in the future (perhaps via a Master’s degree)! Some of the places I have visited include: Madrid, Toledo, Córdoba, Granada, Cádiz, Barcelona, Gibraltar, Lisbon, Ronda and Santander. While all of these places were interesting and impressive, my heart will always belong to Sevilla. Actually, Sevilla’s slogan is “No me ha dejado,” meaning the city has not left me. This slogan is found throughout the city (photo to the right). When pronounced in an Andalucian accent, the middle word sounds like madeja, or a skein of yarn; so, the skein was used to make the symbol shorter.
Not only will I miss the city, but the people I have met. It has been a blessing to have an intercambio (language-partner). I helped Magdalena with English and she helped me with Spanish. When studying abroad to improve language skills, you have to talk to the people! Not only is it fun, but helpful. I learned about many cultural topics through my intercambio. For instance, I learned a lot about Feria, which is a week-long festival in Sevilla. This yearly week-long event is the epitome of Andalucian culture; there are decorated horse drawn carriages, live flamenco bands, dancing, food, drinks, a carnival, and more! I went to Feria with Magdalena, and was able to wear one of her flamenco dresses. It was so much fun!
I still have a lot to learn, but I am even more motivated to keep learning! I hope to improve my knowledge of Spanish every day. As my host mom says, “Poco a poco” (“Little by little.”). Well, hasta luego!