Stories that Shaped Us: Growth and Exploration in Seville, Spain
Marisol Jara-Amparan is an ISA Seville alumna and an ISA/TEAN Global Ambassador at the University of Denver whose experiences abroad during the Fall 2021 semester gave her a new perspective on life and the world.
We reached out to learn more about why she chose to study abroad with ISA Spain and how the experience has impacted her, both during her trip and long after returning home. Check out her unique story below and hear her advice for others wanting to follow a similar path!
What inspired you to study abroad, and why did you choose Seville, Spain?
If I am being honest, I almost did not study abroad – I was applying during the prime time of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I thought that my experience would be ruined because of it. However, the idea of studying abroad was always something that excited me, and my friends encouraged me DAILY to give myself the opportunity if it was possible. Surprise surprise, I ended up applying and it was the most amazing experience ever. I choose to study abroad in Seville, Spain because I wanted to choose a Spanish-speaking country and I also wanted something more lowkey that was not a big city. The program in Seville was the best fit for me because there were excursions that ISA would take us on around Spain, which meant I could get to know more of my host country. Also, I knew from previous students that traveling to and from the Seville airport was super easy and cheaper when traveling around Europe. For me, all the signs were there, and I made the best choice in studying abroad in Seville.
What did you learn about yourself through these experiences and how did your time abroad impact your understanding of the world?
The biggest thing that I learned from my experience abroad was patience. Every time something did not go according to plan or something unexpected happened, I would tell myself, “It’s all a part of the experience.” This would not only help me get through the situation, good or bad, but it would allow me to reflect and think about my next steps. Understanding this meant learning that we all must be patient with not only others, but with ourselves. There are things that are out of our control, and we can only choose to react to what we can control, which is what we decide to do after. I have applied this to life after coming back from study abroad, and sometimes you must be okay with not having your best scenario work out.
What is one of your favorite memories or stories from your time abroad?
One of my favorite memories was in the first days of being in the program in Seville. We had several tours around the city and even to our school. However, my favorite memory is of walking through the Cathedral de Sevilla and the Real Alcazar; these were two pivotal moments for me where I said, “Wow, I am actually in Europe.” It was crazy to think about the possibility in the first place, and now I was living the life for the next four months. I felt as if I was living in history walking through the Real Alcazar and entering that Cathedral in Seville.
What is something that all students studying abroad in Seville must do before returning home?
A must-see and must-do rule of Seville is to go see a flamenco show. I was able to see one and it was breathtaking and intense. I have been to live shows before, but flamenco is a different kind of art for Seville. It is commonly known as Spanish cultural attraction, but it is not something that should be overlooked.
What are you up to now? How did studying abroad play a role in this?
Study abroad could not have come at a better time for me. I came back to my home university to start my core major classes. It was just what I needed because I felt replenished and rejuvenated because of my experience. I am an ISA Global Ambassador on campus, and I get the chance to talk to students not only about my experience abroad, but also tell them how they could get there and have that study abroad experience themselves. ISA was a great support to me throughout my process, which sometimes is crucial for some students, such as first-generation students like myself.
Any advice for students interested in going abroad to Spain?
For studying abroad in Spain, I would advise students to make time to travel around Spain itself. The country is so diverse; I am sure you will be amazed at what you can find in different cities. This was something that I loved about ISA programs too – with the excursions, you got to see the different sides of Spain. Another piece of advice is to have walking shoes for all occasions. There are few times that I can say I did not walk somewhere, so having walking shoes around Spain is a must. Also, make friends with Spaniards; even thought it might be difficult to connect with them at times, it is worth it to get to know your host city well.
Inspired by Marisol’s journey and want to discover your own while immersing yourself in a study abroad program? Fill out your details below to let our team know and we’ll help you find your adventure today!