I Left My Bus In Quepos
I’m sure you have all seen the shirts that say,”I left my heart in (insert town here).” They’re funny, but I never thought I would buy one - until this weekend, that is. However, mine would need some alterations, to say, “I left my [bus] in [Quepos].”
After staying in San Jose for an entire 11 days, I had officially gone stir crazy. I couldn’t be in the city any longer, and my pale skin was begging me to take it to the beach. To my dismay, everyone in my API group was busy for the weekend. Whether it was that parents were visiting, biology trips were scheduled, or that they had no money, all of my travel buddies were out of the question. I was faced with an option, as one usually is. Travel alone or spend another boring weekend in the city. I did what any independent twenty year old would do while studying abroad- I decided to travel alone.
I’m not much of a planner, so that Friday morning, I picked a random location on the coast and googled bus times out of San Jose. I ended up deciding on Manuel Antonio with a bus leaving at 1:15. I said goodbye to my host family and was on my way.
At the bus station, I blended into the mob of people boarding the bus. As travelers got situated and finished clumsily putting their bags in the overhead compartment, I lowered my sunglasses over my eyes to play cool, to seem like I always travel alone.
The sun beat down on us through the windows of the bus, and thankfully, not being plastic, none of us melted. We did, however, sweat. As I stared blankly out the window, with the occasional, “Why are you going on a trip alone?” question popping in my head, I realized I had not drank that much water throughout the day. With every drop of sweat that collected on the side of my forehead, visions of me jumping into a large body of water filled my mind.
After three hours and a nap later, the bus whizzed by a sign that said, “Welcome to Paradise, Quepos & Manuel Antonio.”
"Hola, Paradiso," I thought to myself as I smiled an "I did it" smile. My view from the window consisted of coconut trees and an endless strip of beach, assuring me I really was in paradise.
People on the bus stirred about as they got their belongings together. The bulky bus traveled through narrow city streets until it eventually made it into a bus station. People stood up and waited to make their way through the aisle. Not everyone got up though, but I decided that if the majority of the people were getting off, it must be the destination.
I got my stuff, threw my backpack over my shoulder and marched off the bus like a confident little tourist. As I said before, I’m not much of a planner and I decided I would find a hostel when I got into town. I knew the name of a hostel and figured I would check for vacancy there first. After walking with a seemingly, ” I’ve been here before” look on my face, I realized I had no idea where I was. I asked a man with a shirt from the BAC bank of Costa Rica if he knew where “National Park Backpackers Hostel” was.
He laughed and told me, “This is Quepos, not Manuel Antonio”
A look of, “you’ve got to be kidding me,” spread over my face as I realized it was only a pit stop that the bus had taken.
I raced back to the bus station just in time to watch the bus drive off. As I waved it down, with a desperate, “but I’m a gringo!!” look on my face, the bus driver did nothing more than shake his finger “no” at me.
It was ruined. I had not even gotten to where I needed to be, and my first trip alone was already ruined.
I couldn’t give up, but I only took enough cash for the bus there. I was down to only credit card and no matter where you are in the world, public busses just aren’t savvy enough yet to take credit as payment.
So, with 4:35 on my watch and the sun slowly setting, I decided to trek. It’s one of the things I’ve learned over and over again while studying abroad - if you want something, you’ve got to go for it.
I asked two men on the road how to get to Manuel Antonio. They pointed me back to the bus station and began to tell me the times the bus came. I told them “No, I need to walk there.” They looked at me in amazement, as if saying, “silly gringo,” and told me it would take a long time. I told them to just tell me where it was. They raised their eyebrows and pointed to a giant hill and I was on my way.
Now let me tell you, I was a cross country runner in high school and was used to running long distance. I was OK with hills but never really enjoyed them. They were like Frosted Flakes when I was a kid - I could eat them, but I didn’t really like them.
These hills though, that separated Quepos from Manuel Antonio, were the largest bowl of Frosted Flakes I ever had to eat. They were so steep and the sun so strong, I contemplated what the news article would say about the U.S. boy found on the side of a Costa Rican hill.
The sun continued to lower and the hills continued to rise. Cars zoomed by and the ever teasing taxi drove by with a, “no credit card,” sign on its roof. My legs were sore and with each step, I thought it would be my last. I was just about to cave until I finally saw water over the horizon. It was beautiful. The setting sun painted the ocean a pastel orange and I knew that I needed to keep walking.
For the first time in 15 minutes, a smile passed over my face and I realized that I was truly being a backpacker. “Woohoo, I’m authentic!” I joked to myself.
As I took in the tropical views that made up Manuel Antonio and Quepos, I wondered what my mother would think if she knew her son was somewhere, kind of lost, climbing up the hills of Costa Rica, on the verge of night fall. I hope she isn’t reading this.
(A picture captured on my trek against sunset)
With the assurance of passing strangers, I kept hiking until I made it into Manuel Antonio. I was still 30 minutes away from the beaches and hostel. I was excited though, I was seeing so much of the town that I wouldn’t have got to see by bus (and I was burning off the McDonald’s I had for lunch). I passed restaurants, hotels, stores and the always beautiful, Pacific Ocean.
I was drenched in sweat, but was so happy. I wished my friends were with me to experience this hike, as if they were totally missing out on a two hour walk. I walked and walked until I eventually hit the bottom of the very last hill. The sun was practically down and I was finally on the base of the beach. People were everywhere, frolicking on the sand and capturing pictures of the sun as it went to hide behind the mountains. The glow of pink and orange covered people’s faces as I watched, nearly a prune, with the biggest smile on my face. I had made it to paradise.
The trip ended up to be my favorite trip yet. Manuel Antonio felt like Hawaii, but so much better. The food, the people, and the views made it such a comfortable place to be traveling on my own. At times, I forgot I had even gone alone. I enjoyed sunrises and sunsets, but in the warmth of the people all around me. I felt like a true adult and realized that I was able to travel by myself.
If you ever get the chance - travel alone! It’s so rewarding and you get to do what you want, when you want, how you want. However, please bring more than a credit card and double check if the bus is making a pit stop or if it’s the final stop - actually triple check. Remember too, when you think something is completely ruined or you’ve got yourself in a situation you can’t get out of, there is always an answer and usually something in your control. And finally, always have a pair of sneakers handy, because walking up those unforgiving hills in flip flops still haunts my dreams.
Albert Vuoso is a student at Salve Regina University and an official API Student Blogger. Albert is studying abroad with API in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Share your #apistudyabroad memories with us on this throwback Thursday! #tbt #studyabroad - API alum and Program Manager Julia
Bruised Arms, Aching Knees, Starry Eyes
Many of my friends from home and college are abroad this semester, and from the looks of their social media profiles, they are all having a great time. While wandering through the streets of the city of Paris, however, I have caught myself wondering why anyone would want to study anywhere other than here. This city is iconic. The landmarks, the history, the reputation, the pastries, the personality of the city; the only thing I seem to be missing out on in Paris is the glorious-looking pizza that friends in Florence and Rome are eating on the daily. That aside, I’m constantly giving myself mental arm pinches to remind myself that this is existence.
In addition to the ability to go out searching for Ladurée, only to stumble upon the Louvre, there is this ineffable ease to the city that goes unrivaled (save, perhaps, for Manhattan) in my experience. With our NaviGo cards, the entire city is at our discretion. I can leave my building and be anywhere in under half an hour. I find myself wishing that the two cities I live in at home could rival Paris in its sophisticated transportation systems.
Highlights of my first week in the City of Light:
Following directions across the Seine that happened to pass through the Louvre’s courtyard on a sunny day.
A late dinner under the Roue de Paris before taking it for a ride. I can’t think of any experience more breathtaking than seeing the city from above at 22:00 as the Tower glimmers behind you.
Walking through Sacre Coeur; slides in Art History don’t do its magnificence an iota of justice. If the hardest thing I had to do this week was try to find a doctor to diagnose me same-day for my knees ceasing to bend, then not being able to take pictures in Sacre-Coeur was a close second.
Paris may have more than its share of rainy days, this is true. But just before 7 each evening, the sky becomes a magnificent shade of indigo, regardless of how dreary it had been throughout the day. I tried to capture this moment (complete with full moon) the other night outside of Musée D’Orsay, but my phone just doesn’t do it justice.
The only thing that keeps me from falling head over heels into this dream vacation is remembering that my first day of classes is in the painfully near future.
Leah Kuttruff is a student at the College of Charleston and an official API Student Blogger. Leah is studying abroad with API in Paris, France.
Where Has The Time Gone?
I’ve been abroad for less than a month, but so much has happened that it feels like forever. I feel as though I’ve been all over Spain, and yet there’s still so much to see! Time is flying by way too quickly. Before I left the States, four months away from my family and friends sounded like an eternity, but with only three months left to enjoy Europe, I want to make the most of every single moment. Here are some unforgettable moments from my previous visits in Madrid, San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Cordoba, and Toledo. Take a look!
My first stop in Europe was in Spain’s capital city, Madrid. There, I saw the El Palacio Real, which was a real treat. I was awestruck by the massive space, the beautiful rooms and the incredible ceilings. Later that night, I enjoyed a tasty dessert from a local churrería. Who knew fried dough and hot chocolate could taste so good?
The Royal Palace
Churros and Chocolate!
The next stop was the monastery at San Lorenzo de El Escorial. My tour guide made that outing quite memorable with an interesting mix of facts about King Felipe II and his family, witty remarks on the architecture of the building and incessant taps, nudges, grins and winks to whomever was nearest him at the time.
San Lorenzo de El Escorial
La Mezquita-Catedral de Cordoba was more beautiful than could be captured in a photo. The incredibly detailed ceilings were definitely a personal favorite. I found it particularly interesting to see the several layers of Catholic and Moorish influences in the architecture, from the elegant Arab striped arches to the Roman columns made of pure marble, granite and other precious stones, from the grand depiction of Christ’s crucifixion to the subtle beauty of the natural elements in the Muslim chapels.
Catholic influences in the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba
Juxtaposition of the columns and arches
Representation of the Crucifixion of Christ
Muslim chapel showcasing the use of natural light
Toledo, in my mind, will always be the home of the best Sobrasada ever! It was deliciousness, more specifically, pureed spicy sausage and succulent Brie cheese on top of a toasted piece of bread with honey drizzled on top. Yesterday, I walked past a café that serves this dish; I am certainly going to get a taste of that. One notable site was the Barrio Judío (Jewish Quarters) with historic tiles appended into the stone from centuries ago.
Sobrasada de Toledo
I have more than enjoyed myself thus far, and I can’t wait to see what the coming months have in store!
Sasha Jervay is a student at Virginia Commonwealth University and an official API Student Blogger. Sasha is studying abroad with API in Seville, Spain.
Yesterday we went for a 20k hike through some villages near Granada called Las Alpujarras. These villages are scattered throughout the Sierra Nevada mountains. After the Moors fled Granada, Las Alpujarras was the last place they lived before eventually heading back to Africa.
To this day, people still live in these little houses with flat roofs, carved into the mountainside. The villagers still sell products made out of things that can be found in the mountains and live mainly on the resources provided by the land. Walking through the small villages seems as if time has completely passed it by, so many things seem to have gone unchanged.
The group we hiked with were was a group of strangers that had one thing in common, they love senderismo (hiking). It didn’t matter how different we were, we were all on this trek together. This type of camaraderie was something I was looking for on my journey to Spain. No one knew each other, yet we swapped stories, food, and language tips.
The sights we saw were simply amazing. We passed over a Roman bridge that has probably been there for over 2000 years, along with the ruins of abandoned houses that were precariously perched over gorges and riverbanks. We collected random fruits and nuts such as madroños (persimmons) and castaños (chestnuts, did you know that they fall from the trees in these little pointy cases that look like hedgehogs all balled up and you have to carefully crack them open?). It doesn’t get much more natural or organic than picking it out of the untouched mountainside.
Besides the amazingly beautiful hike, the hidden architecture forgotten by time, and the incredible wild snacks, we also stumbled upon a fountain called “El Fuente de Salud”, or the fountain of health. This was a fountain that perpetually flows from some natural stream water that you can use to fill up your water bottle. However, the water that flows from this spring isn’t just any old water. It’s actually SELTZER. Or at least it tastes like it anyway. One strange thing about this seltzer is that it doesn’t bubble. This is because it isn’t real seltzer, but instead tastes like it because there is a high iron content in the water. (Fun fact: drinking water with too much iron for extended periods of time will disintegrate your teeth! That’s why in Spain, they have a different accent. They make a “th” sound instead of the “z” because at one point in time people couldn’t make those sounds because they had lost their teeth due to iron-rich drinking water. As time went on, the habit just stuck). Something enchanting about this fountain is that the magical water is untransportable. After a few days of being bottled, the mystical properties disappear and it is transformed into regular water.
Another fountain (or rather, series of fountains) we stumbled upon also had strange tastes. There were 5 different streams, the one to the far right is just plain water, as you go farther left, the intensity of the taste of the water increases until the one on the far left tastes like a penny.
Next week we’re trying to go on another hike. All I can say is that this one gave new life to my soul. After sitting around freezing in Granada, it felt amazing to get out of the town for a little bit and up on the mountains, where I could hike in little more than a sweater.
Becca Mincieli is a student at St. Joseph’s College and an official API Student Blogger. Becca is studying abroad with API in Granada, Spain.
People watching-v;[pee-puhl—woch ing]: the act of observing others. As an avid people watcher, arriving in Spain has been a sensory overload. The populated streets, crowded metro and dimly lit bars are an absolute jackpot to anyone who enjoys this hobby.
The women in Madrid are so chic. Two weeks in and I still cannot get over how perfectly put together each and every woman I see here is. Whether it’s their bootie heels or their glamorous jewelry, Spanish women are always dressed to the nines.
The men have surprised me even more with their keen sense of style. As I walk around my residencia, it is common place to see the Spanish men in nice button down shirts, fitting jeans and dark leather shoes. I cannot help but appreciate their efforts (and success) with their fashion, especially coming from University of Dayton where Nike is the only brand they seem to know.
The Spanish attire isn’t the only thing to catch my attention. The close proximity of the people here intrigues me. Walking down the street, you see women holding hands as they window shop and friends chatting together with no personal space to spare. In America, we are socialized to leave an arms-length between us when we converse with others and that holding hands is just for couples. This is just what we have become comfortable with but I am learning to accept that personal space just isn’t something that exists in this country.
While I can’t help but staring sometimes, it seems as though spaniards have a past in people watching as well. For the first week I was in Madrid, every time I rode the metro I was positive there was something on my face due to the extensive stares I received. People on the metro are not shy about glaring at you. With my extremely pale complexion and reddish hair, I’m just short of being an alien. The inhabitants of this beautiful city are just as interested in my differences as I am with theirs which fuels their stares.
As these next few months roll by, I’m sure that my hobby of serious people watching will continue and will contribute to my understanding of the people here.
Annie Grizzell is a student at the University of Dayton and an official API Student Blogger. Annie is studying abroad with API in Madrid, Spain.
Conquering the First Weeks
Stepping off the plane and walking through the Madrid terminal, it suddenly hit me that after a year of waiting and months of planning, I was finally in Madrid.
Before I left, people warned me about the differences between the European and American cultures and told me to not feel surprised if I am highly overwhelmed at first. That being said, I came to Europe prepared to be shocked by the world I was about to be welcomed into.
To my surprise, I did not encounter the type of “culture shock” the people told me I would have. I am not looking around like a lost, hopeless puppy (even though I do admit I have been lost a fair amount of times while I’ve been in this country). Instead of watching the world go by, I am doing my best to embrace myself within the culture that surrounds me.
The best advice I can give to anyone studying abroad or who plan to at some point in their lives, is to be open-minded. You can sit there and be disgusted by the food (which may not even look like food most of the time) on your plate or you can dig in and try it, because who knows when you will eat next, right? Instead of complaining about all of the walking you are doing, look around and take in the scenery, because you never know when you might see that view again.
The best part about being in a new country is that you can discover fascinating things all around you. I never truly appreciated architecture, until I was walking around the Plaza del Sol in the heart of Madrid. On my run through Retiro Parque, I was surrounded by breathtaking landscape and heard the sounds of all of the native Spanish birds who seemed happy that there was finally a bit of sun shining.
Remember the one thing you can control is your attitude, so stay positive, explore and make the most of everything!
Allie Heraty is a student at the University of Dayton and an official API Student Blogger. Allie is studying abroad with API in Seville, Spain.
Adios, Ocho En La Mañana
My one month mark in Costa Rica has finally been met and although that signifies a lot, it mainly means that my month-long Spanish class is over! But, it’s not as sweet as it may sound. Although my body is excited to no longer be woken up at 6:30 in the morning, my brain will miss the early morning stimulation of learning a new language. I remember sitting in the office of my study abroad advisor back home and learning that I had to take a one month, intensive Spanish class. ”No way”, I thought to myself, “that will totally ruin my trip.” But as the month has come to an end, I can safely say that the class only enhanced my trip and made it possible for me to navigate around the country and communicate with my host family.
The Spanish classes at Universidad Veritas are split into a basic level, an intermediate and an advanced level. Despite taking a year of Spanish at my home university, I was placed into the basic level. Although I was bummed out about the placement at first, it turned out to be the perfect way to reinforce what I had already learned. When I took the course in college, I never thought I would actually use the language. It was one of those in one ear and out the other kind of deals, learning enough to do well on a test. Thankfully, I did learn a lot more than than I thought and it made me look fluent amongst all of the beginners.
Another great thing about this month of Spanish was my professor. Although she didn’t know much English and we didn’t know much Spanish, genuine personalities transcend language gaps. She always made us laugh and made sure that we were actually understanding how to communicate in Costa Rica. The class was for 4 hours a day, but we did so many things within that time that it never felt unbearable. If we weren’t practicing for a presentation or learning new vocabulary, we were out and about learning more about the Spanish language and culture. One time, my teacher took the class for a walk through a local neighborhood where we went into local markets, schools and a fire department. It was a wonderful chance to see the town through a local’s perspective and to get to know our professor outside of the class. We also watched a fantastic Argentinian film, “El Sueno de Valentine” and another time we played musical chairs while answering questions in Spanish. We even took a field trip to a nearby city and toured a prestigious church in Costa Rica, La Bisilica de Nuesrta Señora de Los Angeles.
Every day was something different and it was great way to meet other people at the university. The kids in my class were a lot of fun and by the end of the time we all became a close little unit. I don’t think there was one Spanish class that went by where both us students and the professor did not share a laugh together.
Although the class is over, I know that my professor and the friends I made will be contacts of mine throughout my trip and maybe even back in the States. Our professor told us to contact her if we needed anything throughout our time in Costa Rica or if we ever needed a recommendation back at home. As for my friends in the class, our time together gets to continue in different ways. Sometimes, I see them out on a Thursday night, or I may run into them on a morning walk to school. No matter the occasion, it’s always nice to bump into a familiar face. I have that Spanish class to thank for a lot of my adjustment here in Costa Rica. Having a routine and knowing I would be surrounded by positive people, with the goal of learning a new culture, made it possible to keep on waking up with a purpose. It also eased my fears of not knowing the language in a foreign country and made it possible for me to interact and share stories with so many awesome Costa Ricans.
Albert Vuoso is a student at Salve Regina University and an official API Student Blogger. Albert is studying abroad with API in San Jose, Costa Rica.
As expected, this semester never ceases to bombard me with many new firsts, both exciting and challenging. However, in an effort to fully capitalize on my time abroad, I have embraced these moments of firsts and said, “¡Bienvenidos!”
Some of the most memorable “firsts” I have experienced thus far have taken place during my weekend away in Granada. For those unaware, Granada is a province in southern Spain situated at the base of the Sierra Nevadas. The character of Granada is unlike any other region in Spain I have visited. It is embedded with deep Moorish roots, which can still be seen throughout the city. Mosques, Arabic architecture and a prevalent Muslim population abounds this unique and trendy town. I zestfully took part in Granada’s ‘free tapas’ culture and was awed by its omnipresence of Flamenco dance.
I was fortunate enough to experience an intimate Flamenco performance en las cauvas (the caves) of Granada. I have researched, read and watched videos of Flamenco prior to my trip, but nothing can compare to seeing it first-hand. The dancers, guitar players, and singers reveal their raw emotions through this amazing folk music. The passion in their faces, in their songs and in their body movements is absolutely remarkable. Through music and dance, a story of love and heartbreak was told. The costumes were extravagant: red and white ruffle dresses, flowers, and fans for the women and suits for the men. I was honored to experience this essential piece of Spanish past and present. Truly a noteworthy first!
My weekend was met with another exciting adventure. Wanting to completely appreciate the Muslim influence of Southern Spain, my friends and I decided to spend a couple hours at an Arabic Bath House. What a relaxing, invigorating and culturally enriching experience. The spa was designed with traditional Islamic geometric patterns: horseshoe archways and star-shaped tiles. Aside the baths were sitting rooms with pots of the most delicious hot tea infused with sweet honey. It was certainly not your typical city excursion, but most definitely worth the detour.
As I reflect upon my weekend in Granada, I am becoming increasingly eager to see what “firsts” and adventures await me next. For now, I am an off to a weekend in Cádiz! Hasta otra!
Marisa McCann is a student at Salve Regina University and an official API Student Blogger. Marisa is studying abroad with API in Seville, Spain.
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner in America
When I read that I would be spending my semester in Paris in a dormitory, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. The word “dorm” did not seem to fit in the rose-tinted vision in which I regarded Paris. But after spending a bit over a month here - hence, lots of reflection time - I don’t think I would have it any other way (with the exception of a large penthouse in the 16ème arrondissement)!
The dorm where I live, the Fondation des États-Unis (with my friends, casually called The Fondation) is located in the 14ème arrondissement, across from the beautiful Parc Montsouris. It’s one of several international houses that surround Cité Universitaire, a private foundation that welcomes foreign residents, mostly students and other academics who are looking to live in Paris without the extensive (and expensive) housing search.
And it’s a remarkably nice room, considering that most affordable lodgments in Paris are extremely cramped. Although the room comes with a rather large desk and two chairs, the bed has become my (comfy!) home of choice, and the room has definitely grown to be “my own.” The walls are free to be decorated, granted with putty or tape that leaves no trace. I viewed it a little bit as a blank canvas, and so far, maps are becoming my favorite décor, as it reminds me a little bit of my room back in Massachusetts.
Even with that said, I don’t want to make it seem like the Fondation is anything like an American university dorm. It is very, very, very different, and I say that coming from a rather unconventional college. Cité U prides itself on being multicultural, and many of the houses participate in exchanges by hosting students who are not necessarily from the house’s “own” country. There are plenty of French people who live in my hallway, as well as Belgian, Russian and Algerian students as well, along with a number of others who I haven’t met – yet! You still get your daily dose of Francophone practice living here.
I’ve crafted a list of things that will ease your move-in to the Fondation if you happen to live in this dorm during your stay in Paris!
Fondation survival kit
- Instant coffee. Tea drinkers have it easy here, but there’s no coffee maker in the communal kitchen. Unless you’re looking to possibly buy a coffee maker at the Darty or an otherwise similar store, instant coffee grounds are a must for your mornings.
- The RER B schedule. The dorm is conveniently located right outside of an RER station and Tramway 3A (Pont du Garigliano/Porte de Vincennes). The RER is insanely convenient – and, accordingly, insanely crowded on rush hours – so it will be helpful to know exactly when the next train comes and when the last one comes into Cité U.
- Cozier bedding. The Fondation provides complete bedding to its residents, which is a huge relief. When you move into your room, there will be two flat sheets (or one fitted and one flat sheet if you’re lucky), a fuzzy blanket, a heavier blanket, and a pillow with a pillowcase. However, if you’re looking for ultimate comfort, I’d advise picking up another pillow and maybe even a throw blanket – it will definitely help out if you’re staying through the colder months. You can find these at Comforama or a similar linen store. Extra: get a towel, the Fondation does not provide these.
- A clothesline and clothespins. This will be great if you want to save some money on drying clothes (the machines do cost money) or have delicate pieces in your wardrobe. There’s plenty of space to create one near the beautiful open windows that all rooms have. You can find both at Carrefour market, HEMA, et cetera.
- Your kitchen kit. Don’t forget to ask API about this item! For a 20 euro deposit, API will loan you an extensive bag full of cookware essentials so that you can make your own meals. The communal cookware in the dorms isn’t always available, clean or abundant, so having your own is essential. Buy your own sponge and dish soap to take care of these items.
Marisa Benitez is a student at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and an official API Student Blogger. Marisa is studying abroad with API in Paris, France.
API alumni! Show us your #studyabroad memories and tag them #apistudyabroad and #tbt!
One Big Happy Family
When I learned I would be living in a residencia in Sevilla, I had no idea what to expect. I had heard from others that were previously on the program that it was a unique experience, but that was as far as my knowledge went on the subject.
When we arrived in Sevilla, our host mom picked us up from the bus stop. She was instantly welcoming and even helped us carry our bags, which was no easy task. I found out I would be living with 13 other people, 8 on my floor and 5 upstairs. We eat meals together, mainly dinner, which is when most people are home; this can be tricky because there are only 10 chairs at the table. It definitely gets a little competitive, not only for food, but also for hot water and Wi-Fi. However, there are so many upsides to a residencia. I’ve been able to meet so many new people, not only from API Usev, but also from API Pablo and other programs. I probably never would have met these people if I wasn’t living with them, and it has made my experience so much better to have a bigger network in a new city. We are able to go out together and bond with our host parents, who are incredibly sweet and love to show us pictures of their grandchildren or tell stories of their past students. They have been hosting students in a residencia setting for 37 years! Basically, you could say they’re pros.
Having a group of people to come home to at the end of the day and hang out with has been an added bonus to the abroad experience. Last week, we went as a group to get churros and chocolate, and we brought them home to eat with our host parents. It truly is like coming home to one big happy family. I love the residencia lifestyle and wouldn’t have chosen to live in Sevilla any other way.
Sarah Scheinholtz is a student at the University of Michigan and an official API Student Blogger. Sarah is studying abroad with API in Seville, Spain.
Nun traffic #studyabroad #rome
That is a really old thing up there #studyabroad #rome
Freshness #studyabroad #Rome