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My name is Maddy Moody and I am currently a junior at College of Charleston. I am a communications major and arts management minor. I chose to study abroad with the CEA program in Sevilla, Spain. I knew I wanted to study somewhere in Spain so that I could practice and eventually become fluent in Spanish. I went abroad with no expectations, but I planned to fully assimilate myself with the Spanish culture. Before going abroad I watched numerous videos, researched the cultural norms throughout Spain, and read about the history of Sevilla. Most importantly, I looked on social media and found people who had studied in Sevilla and reached out. I am happy that I did this because I received a lot of advice and many lists of recommendations with things to do and the best restaurants to go to (almost everyone who has studied abroad has made a list)!

Sevilla is the birthplace of flamenco and tapas culture. Tapas culture is very important throughout Spain, especially in Sevilla. Tapas are like side plates typically eaten around 8 o’clock which is dinner time in Spain. Locals go from bar to bar to socialize and enjoy a tapa with a drink. The tapas in Sevilla are delicious! I would definitely recommend trying patatas bravas or paella. Dinner takes place much later in the day because lunch is the main, filling meal of the day around 2 pm. After lunch all shops and restaurants close for siesta. Siesta is a time in the middle of the day where everyone takes a nap for a couple hours. Typically, I do not take naps everyday but now I’m definitely a big fan of siesta.

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Adapting to Spanish culture was definitely more difficult than I thought. I took the metro every day to class which took around 30 minutes. I enjoyed taking the metro, but sometimes it was uncomfortable because in Spain personal space is not really a thing and it’s normal for people to stare for long periods of time, especially at Americans. I also noticed that everyone made an effort to look and dress nicely just for class or to go to the store. I decided I needed to ditch the sweatpants and actually try to look presentable for my 9 am. It became my goal to trick people into thinking I was not American, so I decided I would only speak Spanish. The more I adapted to Spanish norms, the less people would stare. I felt like Hannah Montana because I truly lived a double life in Spain. The more I assimilated with the culture in Sevilla, the more I felt a part of it. Sevilla became a second home.

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