Rebecca Alfaro is a student at the University of Denver and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Sevilla, Spain.
It is sad to say that my days in Sevilla, Spain are limited. The past four months have flown by like no other, but are filled with wonderful memories and experiences that I will never forget. Cherishing my time here has made me think back to this time last year when I was deciding on where to study abroad. The possibilities were endless. There was something to be excited about in every country I came across in my application process. Yet, after weeks of deliberation I chose Sevilla as my number one choice. But why?
My number one reason: Language.
I lacked confidence and practice in my Spanish language-speaking abilities, and decided to push myself to advance to the point where I could truly call Spanish my second language. After four months, I am glad to say that I feel 100% more confident in my Spanish-speaking abilities. There was also a comfortable aspect in choosing a Spanish-speaking country where I knew I could understand the primary language to a certain extent.
My second reason: Personal Ethnic History.
Whenever I am asked about my racial ethnicity I often identify as a Mexican American. A few years ago, however, my family made me aware of Spanish roots in our blood line. Therefore, I chose Spain to personally explore my identity and cultural heritage, and I have not been disappointed. There is much to love and cherish about the Spanish culture.
My third reason: Exploring the “Hispanic” and “Latino” concept.
My Mexican roots have led me to unconsciously compare Spain’s culture to my experience with Mexican culture, and the differences were far more apparent than the similarities I imagined between the two. There is so much to the concepts and idealizations between “Hispanic” and “Latino.” To put the entirety of Spanish, Mexican, and Latin American cultures in a bubble is far too generalizing for the stark contrasts between each unique culture. I am excited to continue to explore these concepts even after my time in Sevilla has ended.
My fourth and final reason: Spain is a country I knew little about.
Before my study abroad experience, I knew very little about Spain as a whole and even less about the city of Sevilla. I was excited about this, knowing I would have the chance to delve deep into a new culture. I have been pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the Spanish culture by deciding to embrace all that it has to offer.
The world awaits…discover it.