I studied abroad in Seville, Spain with Academic Programs International for the 2016-2017 academic year. This program stood out to me because of the options to take both courses in Spanish and in English, live with a host family, and the included excursions! The program began in Madrid with an orientation, and the program staff was very helpful and informative. We left Madrid and went to Toledo, El Escorial, and Cordoba on our way to Seville by bus. This beginning orientation was a great way to become acquainted with the other students in the program, and see more of Spain than you maybe would on your own.
Universidad de Sevilla is a centrally located university in Seville, and it's close to many shops, restaurants, and historical sites. I was able to take some traditional and non-traditional courses, and received credit for all of them. My favorite classes included Painting in Literary Seville, a water color class, and Literatura y Cocina, a combined literary and cooking class. I also took some incredible history courses that actually involved a lot of time outside of the classroom, at historical sites and museums in and around Seville. I think that the classes were challenging in that many of them were long lectures entirely in Spanish, but the workload was very manageable.
I chose to live with a host family in Seville, and I think that this really added to my overall experience. My family consisted of a host mom, a host grandmother, and a host uncle. I also had an American roommate, another student from API. The family provided all of our meals, and also provided a lot of helpful information about the city. If you are looking to really improve your Spanish, choosing to live with a host family is the way to do it! I ate most of my meals at home, which meant a lot of my time was spent in Spanish conversation with my host mom.
My favorite aspect of my program with API was the availability of such incredible excursions, all included in the program! This is something that really sets API programs apart from other program providers. I was able to see and experience so many things in my host country that I know I would not have even known about otherwise. My favorite excursions include a trip to Extremadura, where we hiked 13 miles to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery, and a trip to Aracena to make bread. The international excursions were incredible as well, and during the 2016-2017 year we went on an excursion to Paris and to Lisbon. Although the excursions are constantly changing, no matter where you go with API, you'll have an incredible time.
If you are considering studying abroad in Spain, Seville is a lively, warm city with close proximity to an airport, which is important if you are planning to travel during your time abroad! I looked at many of API's programs in Spain, but the proximity of an airport was a deciding factor for me, as well as the size of the city. Seville has a population of about 700,000, which means that you'll never run out of things to do or see. The excursions and affordability of API's programs in particular really sold me, and I'm so glad that I made the decision I did! Having the ability to take a wide variety of courses in both English and Spanish also helped me to find credits that would transfer to my home university. I was able to finish my Spanish minor at the Universidad de Sevilla, and am now participating in the Global Leadership Academy through API, to continue integrating international experience into my final year at my home university. I could not recommend studying abroad with API more!