7 Reasons to Study Abroad in Seville
Why Seville is the Perfect Destination for Any College Tourist
Spain is such a vibrant and culturally rich country to explore. While the hustle of cities up north draw the attention of several college tourists; the slower-paced cities in the south have their own special allure. Seville, in particular, has so much to offer.
Spanish food, in general, is incredibly delicious and usually college budget-friendly. Spain is known for their tapas, which are foods served in fairly small portion sizes. Tapas are perfect when you want an affordable and light meal, or can’t quite decide between multiple things on a menu. If you want to sample different types of Spanish cuisine, tapas are a way to do so without breaking the bank, or ordering more than you can finish. You could also order several to split and share with friends at a group meal. One of Seville’s many claims to fame is jamón ibérico de bellota, a really fine ham made from pigs that eat an acorn diet. You will see jamón ibérico on so many menus, and know that it is considered to be the finest quality. For really affordable tapas, check out 100 Montaditos to try 1€ sandwiches with jamón iberico, manchego cheese, and other fillings.
The Day Trips
Seville’s location makes it an ideal starting point to travel to other countries. Portugal is only a one hour flight away; and you could either take a plane, or a bus and ferry to Morocco for another adventure. You could also visit another notable city in southern Spain to have a nice day trip. Granada is a wonderful place to visit if you want to see Moorish castles like the Alhambra, beautiful street art, and purchase jewelry from artisans in open-air markets. You could also make your way out to Aracena to take a guided tour of the famous Gruta de las Maravillas , or Grotto of Marvels.
Seville is home to wonderful festivals that allow you to observe cultural traditions, and are perfect if you want to be able to participate in a unique and long-standing tradition. One of the most notable festivals is Feria de abril de Sevilla. Seville is a very Catholic city; and Feria begins a couple of weeks after the Holy Week and Easter celebrations end. Feria lasts for six days, and you can head over to the banks of the Guadalquivir River to see the tents, drink some sherry wine, and watch people dance. If you explore shops around the city center, you can find replicas of Feria posters from artists dating back to the 19th century that make gorgeous souvenirs, and show off how much of an influence flamenco has had on the city.
The museums and historical sites in Seville’s city center are absolutely breathtaking; and some of them are actually castles. The Reales Alcázares de Sevilla is a popular spot to admire the intricate Moorish arches. Visitors can spend hours roaming around the lush gardens and admiring the ornate fountains. The Catedral de Santa María de la Sede is equally stunning, and is the home of Christopher Columbus’ tomb. Once you’re finished admiring more traditional museums, you can go to the Museo del Baile Flamenco to learn about flamenco dancing, and even watch a performance.
This point is particularly important if you plan on traveling to several countries, or want to avoid tourist season by traveling in the winter. Since Seville is in southern Spain, and fairly close to the Mediterranean, the weather is consistent and warm. Seville is known for its very mild winters with a couple of days of rain. If you’re studying abroad or travelling during the winter, Seville will definitely be a warm environment, not only because of the weather, but also because of how welcoming the people are. I was surprised by how easily I made friends who were willing to invite me to cultural events.
Seville is a great place to be able to view old and modern architecture in very close proximity. While several buildings have a distinctly Moorish influence, structures like the Metropol Parasol, commonly referred to as Las Setas de la Encarnación, bring a modern and airy life to the cityscape. Seville is full of historically significant buildings, and is even home of the building that’s the setting for the musical Carmen.
The tapas in Seville are far from the only things that are offered at low prices. Living and shopping in Seville, in general, tends to be incredibly affordable and perfect for college tourists. Most shops are open from 10am-2pm, then take a siesta and reopen at 5pm. One of the biggest shopping centers in Seville is right around Plaza Neuva, where you can find lots of well-known stores, as well as local chains. While these places are good for basics, trying out smaller, individual shops and open-air markets will help you find the best deals. When I lived in Seville, I loved shopping near Plaza Neuva, but knew that the best deals would be at the small boutiques near residential areas. If you explore in the neighborhood of Triana, you can find an artist’s market by the bridge where local creative sell their brilliant work, often for 25€ or less. It isn’t unusual to be able to get a cab or a beautiful garment for 10€ or under in Seville.