I studied abroad in Seville, Spain in the fall of '09. I went because I wanted to learn Spanish, but also because I wanted to experience another culture and learn more about other parts of the world. During my semester abroad, I visited Morocco, Barcelona, Caceres, Trujillo, Merida, and various other cities in southern Spain. Each of these trip taught me different things about Spanish (and Moroccan) culture, but the best memories I have of study abroad are from the time I spent in Sevilla.
I lived with a house mother named Carmen. It was just the two of us in the apartment, so we had to learn to make conversation and be respectful of each other's schedules/personalities. We certainly had some bumps in the road, but living with her was one of he most enriching learning experiences for me. She only spoke Spanish, so I had to constantly be practicing my language skills. Also, she had a much different perspective on Spanish culture than the Spaniards I met who were my own age, so I was able to get a fuller picture of Spanish life.
Most days, I would wake up, take the bus/tram to school, and have my morning class. Then I would spend some time with friends, go home, eat lunch, and go back to school. Then I would have an afternoon and/or evening class, then go back home for dinner. The school's classes were conducted only in Spanish, so they were definitely challenging. We were encouraged to discuss our classwork in Spanish and to participate as much as possible. The Center also had internet access and several computer labs to facilitate not only homework, but also keeping in touch with family and friends from home.
The Center also had excellent teachers and staff who made adjusting to Spanish life much easier for me. I got sick several times while abroad, and they were all incredibly understanding and helpful in getting me to a doctor and helping me with insurance. Getting sick while abroad is very difficult because you are without all the comfort and amenities of home, so it was great to have a support system like the one at CC-CS.
Ad far as free time, I did a lot of walking from place to place, and most of my memories with friends from study abroad are from walking around the city and stopping in a random cafe for a coffee of glass of wine. Sevilla also has a vibrant and exciting social world, full of clubs and cafes/bars to explore. Spanish culture focuses on being out and about in the city, rather than inside the home. So, it is easy and fun to meet Spaniards who are generally understanding about grammatical errors/cultural faux pas made by abroad students.
Overall, my experience was fantastic. I call upon knowledge and experiences that I got while studying abroad every day, and I am thrilled that I chose CC-CS as my program.