Acclimating to Life in Sevilla By MacRae Richardson (Spring 2024)

Sevilla is a great homebase for travel. You can spend your weekends exploring different cities in Spain (I recommend Granada) or even touring other countries (it’s really easy to visit Portugal). But, if you’re like me, you might not have the funds to hop on a plane every weekend. Luckily, there is more than enough to do in Sevilla! I’ve spent most of my weekends here and still haven’t seen and done everything there is to see and do. Taking the time to learn about and invest in Sevillan culture is one of the best decisions I have made during my semester here. Below are several of my tips for getting to know this beautiful city!


1. Don’t be afraid to be a tourist. It is tempting to complain with the locals about the sheer number of guiris filling the streets. But, the tourists are here for a reason; Sevilla is beautiful and full of history. Don’t be afraid to join the crowds lined up outside the Real Alcázar. Take the time to marvel over the Cathedral and climb the 35 ramps to the top of the Giralda. Learn something new about history or art in one of Sevilla’s numerous (and cheap) museums. If you’re too proud to simply be a tourist, you miss out on a lot of opportunities.

2. Commit to making mistakes. Here in Spain, it’s nearly impossible to make detailed plans. You’ll quickly learn that the more flexible you are, the better a time you’ll have. Sometimes these half formed plans lead to the best results. For example, my friends and I wanted to attend a women’s soccer game. The online ticket sales page was not working, so we decided to go to the game and see if we could purchase tickets at the stadium. On the bus there, we met some very helpful locals who helped guide us to the stadium entrance. We weren’t able to get tickets, but we were invited to watch the game from a hotel restaurant with huge windows overlooking the field. It wasn’t what we had planned, but it was so much fun!

3. Take advantage of free fun. Several museums here offer free entrance to students (or if the discount only applies to EU students, some ticket sellers will accept an EU study visa). There are also a number of local parks where you can walk, feed the ducks, or play some pickup soccer. Plaza de España is another great place to spend an afternoon; there are almost always flamenco dancers and street performers. I also highly recommend having a photoshoot with your friends. It’s a great way to spend time together and you have fun souvenirs!

4. Remember that a trip doesn’t need to be far away (or expensive) to be fun. One of my favorite weekend activities was an all day trip to Itálica. Only 45 minutes away via city bus, Itálica is the site of a Roman amphitheater (second in size to the Colosseum) and other ancient ruins. My friends and I spent the day hiking through ruins and marveling over the intricate mosaic floors and Roman ingenuity. A ticket to visit the ruins and onsite museum only cost 1.50 euros!

5. Spend time with your host family. My señora has taken me on several walking tours around her neighborhood, Triana; she is a fun and knowledgeable tour guide. I also love to spend time with her in the kitchen where she teaches me about Spanish cooking. One of our first weeks in Spain, my roommate and I went to our señora’s gospel choir concert. It was such a fun way to get to know her better. 

6. Make a list of things to do and actually follow it! There is a plethora of foods to try, things to see, and experiences to have. I recommend keeping a list of things you want to do. When somebody from church or school suggests an activity, add it to the list. That way, if you have a free weekend, you can consult the list and find something to do. I have spent several weekends trying new restaurants and visiting new parks simply because somebody recommended them to me and I added them to my list.

Of course, in addition to these activities, you should take advantage of the ability to travel. Travel is convenient and cheap. But, know that in order to fully take advantage of your time here, you ought to spend some time getting to know your new home away from home!


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