After spending time and effort learning a language, going on a year abroad can be an extremely enriching and even life-changing experience. Here I will outline the most important things which I learnt last year living in Seville, in the south of Spain.
There is no doubt that my Spanish is much better now than it was before I left the UK. Although acclimatising to using Spanish as my primary language was difficult at times, I had become so comfortable in it by the end of the year that there are moments now when I feel I can express myself more freely in Spanish than in English. My knowledge of colloquial language also benefitted massively from the experience.
I spent my year abroad studying at the Universidad de Sevilla, and it was fascinating learning how university life works in another country. While some things were the same, others definitely were not – for instance, departments were arranged differently with modern and ancient languages all in the same Facultad de Filología, and lectures were twice the length that they were in the UK.
Although I had read about different cultural practices, living them was an entirely different experience. Over the course of the year, I actively engaged in the everyday parts of Spanish life, such as going out for an afternoon café con leche with friends or taking a siesta and tactically going out after dark when the sweltering