If you are thinking about studying abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, you have a variety of options in Latin America and Spain. Traveling to Seville, Spain was one of the best decisions I made in my college years. I decided on Spain for a variety of reasons to spend a semester learning Spanish, improving my communication skills and experiencing different cultures along the Mediterranean. I hope if you are thinking about traveling to Spain or taking a semester or year to study there, these reasons will help guide your decision.
1. Experience a different pace of life.
The Spanish lifestyle in general has many differences to the United States. Some would say there is a slower pace of life in Spain, with not much stress or busyness. However, most people in Spain have their own busy schedules, focus on work and experience a faster pace of life. If you study abroad, you will definitely experience this, but on the one hand, there is much freedom in studying abroad. With traveling to a new place, we let go of our prior priorities and commitments to organizations and receive a lot of free time that can translate into a slower pace of life. This is wonderful to experience in Spain, to help redefine our priorities in life and take in life’s moments in a slower, more reflective way.
2. Learn a second language.
Going to Spain is a huge opportunity to improve your Spanish. From participating in exchange programs to meet local students to going out at night to taking classes in Spanish, there are a variety of ways to immerse yourself into a second language. If learning a foreign language has been a dream, traveling to Spain is one way to really focus on your skills. Tip: If would like to practice your language skills more, try living in a smaller city that is less internationalized to not be distracted by English speakers and to have more opportunities to practice your language. Try Seville, Valencia, Cádiz, Granada, Huelva or Salamanca.
3. Surround yourself with beauty.
I didn’t know how much beauty I would discover in Spain. Then I went to Sevilla, Cádiz, Barcelona and so many other places where I was able to soak in city and coastal life and uncover the creativity in architecture and art. If you are looking for some creative inspiration, Spain will satisfy.
Related Post: Off The Beaten Path: Seville, Spain Travel Guide
4. Uncover an incredible and interesting history.
From Roman times to colonization, Spain’s history is long, dramatic and important to understanding the world on Spanish soil and globally. In Southern Spain, we see a mix of three different cultures and religions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Spain has had many ties with North Africa and the Mediterranean, so it is fascinating to see how it all comes together.
5. Explore the rest of Europe and North Africa.
And guess what! If you travel to Spain, it is the perfect spot to travel to other countries in Europe and even North Africa. Experience the cultural differences and friendliness of the people across seas and across two different continents. Traveling is a huge part of studying abroad, and if you would like to see more of Europe, Spain is a great starting point.
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6. Find hidden treasures in Spanish street markets.
While many cities are famous for street markets, I found that some of my favorite ways to talk to people and experience more of the local culture was through visiting street markets and talking to artists, business owners and families. Street markets boast homemade, hand-crafted and beautiful items that not only make great souvenirs, but support the local economy. Spain has many street markets, including a famous one on the historic street of Feria in Seville. It’s like walking through a thrift store, but on a different level!
7. Eat all the food.
Spanish cuisine is so delectable. You can never go wrong with some tortilla española (basically a Spanish omelette with potatoes inside) or the variety of tapas in Spain. The Spanish diet is largely influenced by the Mediterranean, with staple foods including seafood, legumes, fruits, hams and vegetables. And also, the olive oil is wonderful there–and used in everything. The Spanish cuisine is generally on the healthier side, which also made me feel better about eating so much food!
8. Drink great coffee.
I started drinking coffee in Spain and their cafés con leche (coffee with milk) are so good. While they are smaller in size than a typical Starbucks, I found that it was the perfect amount for keeping me awake and alert throughout the day. I now wish I could drink it more often!
9. Meet wonderful people.
I loved seeing the social culture of Spain and being greeted by friendly people in the city. I loved the focus on family and loving one another. While many people get different perceptions of friendliness of people in Spain, I felt welcomed into a culture that wasn’t my own. Even meeting people not from Spain and hearing their stories are some of my favorite memories of my time in Europe.
10. Enjoy the nightlife and festivals year-round.
Whether you dressing up in sequins and glitter for Carnival in Cádiz or wearing a flamenco dress for Feria in Seville, the festivals in Spain are a huge part of the culture and very fun to experience. In the springtime around Easter, there are many festivals during Holy Week as well as preparations for spring festivals. Get dressed up, go out dancing and relish in these exciting times!
Bonus: Redefine your vision of the world.
Studying abroad in Spain is what you make out of it. If you go in with a focus to learn, to humble yourself before a new culture and to be open to new things, make sure to reflect on your experiences to see how you grow. It’s all about the journey, and Spain is a unique spot to dig deeper into your purpose and your worldview. It’s a crazy adventure, but worth it all the way. ¡Vamos a España!
More Posts About Spain:
- First Steps: Choosing to Study Abroad
- Why I Decided to Study Abroad (And Why You Should Too!)
- Lessons from a Semester Abroad
- Studying in Spain: Travel Summary & Highlight Video
- Packing Essentials for Studying Abroad in Europe