It has been a whole month since I returned from my semester in Seville – time to reflect!
I will try to create a list with some tips which can be used for everyone, students who want to spend their semester abroad in Seville or think about traveling there.
Although Seville is a city in Europe with a lot of students and young people, do not expect English to be a common language. As I found out in conversations with Spanish students, English classes are not comparable to classes in Germany. It is rare to find a Sevillian who is able to speak English as fluent as you may be used to. Most of them tend to speak with a — characteristic but difficult to understand — Spanish accent.
Therefore, I highly recommend everyone to at least speak a basic level of Spanish and if not, to attend the intensive language course that is offered by the EUSA. Also, download the „PONS“-App or any other translating app for a quick help. Google Translator is not always the best option for vocabulary.
But if you really want to connect with the culture and people in Seville, I promise you, you do not necessarily need perfect Spanish. If you are a little confused by now, keep on reading.
An important and helpful element of your semester abroad in Seville is the open minded culture and way of life in Seville and Spain in general. If you approach someone with a friendly and open mind to start a conversation, most of the Sevillian people will make an effort to keep the conversation alive, even when you miss out on some words.
In the beginning, you may feel like people are constantly trying to intervene in your personal space and are suspiciously friendly, but don’t be afraid:
No one wants to rob you, annoy you or force you to be their friend. Seville and its people have a friendly, warm and welcoming vibe. It is easy to have a chat at any place, any time. This could mean supermarkets, the bus or with your waiter at a restaurant. Try to use these opportunities to connect with new people but also to practice your Spanish.
If I have learned anything from others and myself during my stay in Seville, it is the following: Choose the location of your apartment wisely.
Public transport in Seville means tears and frustration. If you do not want to ride the bike every morning for 20 minutes and rather walk to your university, check out flats in the area of „El Porvenir“ and everything near it. You will be close to the train station „San Bernardo“ and you have the opportunity to walk 5-8 minutes to university.
Also, dare to live with international students, habitants or a mixture of both.
A semester abroad is meant to be teaching you aspects of other cultures that you may or may not know. Besides, it will really help you learn a lot more authentic Spanish in a short amount of time and maybe create friendships all around the world as well.
4) Daily life
Let’s not forget about the daily needs; for example groceries.
Although, from the first impression,you may think grocery shopping in Spain is way cheaper than in Germany. But that only applies to some supermarket chains. I highly recommend the supermarket chain „Mercadona“. From my perspective, it is the supermarket with the biggest variety of products with decent quality to a normal price. Other chains like „Supersol“ or „Dia“ have way unfriendlier staff and tend to be very expensive.
As a recommandation, search for the local fruit shop in your neighborhood. The quality of vegetables and fruits is very good and it is the cheapest way to buy fresh ingredients.
In addition, everyone should use the time in Seville where great coffee is available at a very low price compared to Germany. You can get a really good cup for 1-1,50€. Being back in Germany and paying 2,50€ for a coffee which is not even half as good as the Spanish one hurts my heart.
Eating out as a vegetarian in Seville is not an easy task, but if you do some research, you can find delicious meatless options. I listed four of my favorite places in Seville that offer vegetarian and also vegan food. If you want to go for dinner with friends that do not want to miss out on some meat – don’t worry. All these places listed also offer menu items with meat.
- Rincon de Beirut
This Libanese Restaurant near Placa Nueva has a lot of delicious food to offer for every kind of taste. They offer a big variation of Arabic foods. My favorite was always the „Plato de la degustaction“ which is a plate to share for two people with a variation of vegetarian starters. They have great falafel, too! A tip from me; try the desert „Künefe“. It is one of the best deserts I ever tasted. In addition, they have a super friendly and welcoming staff.
A small restaurant that offers paninis, acai bowls and great smoothies. They have a menu with some suggestions, but everything they offer can be customized to your own taste. The prices are more than fair for fresh and healthy food which is prepared right in front of you.
The girls that work there are very friendly and the majority of the staff will either talk to you in Spanish or English. I suggest you to take everything as a take away – the restaurant only has two tables.
- La Bartola
The best place for a whole vegan feast! This restaurant in the old town of Seville has a lot to offer for vegans; sushi, dumplings, great dips or delicious vegetables – La Bartola has it all (also very good wine for a very good price). In addition, they have at least one vegan desert on their menu!
- Torch Coffee
One of the only modern coffeeshops that I could find in Seville. If you are looking for a place to work while you are working or you just want a delicious vegan cake – you will be taken care of by the Torch Coffee team (they also speak great English). They really love what they do and even roast their own coffee in the shop, visible for every costumer. It is truly the best coffee I had in Seville and is a great place to start or end a tour through Seville.