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5 Things I Never Expected To Learn Abroad


This summer, I studied abroad in Seville, Spain to meet the language requirement for my Spanish major. And I somehow managed quite well with some unexpected near-catastrophes.

1. How NOT to drive a manual 

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There are these lovely "White Villages" of Andalucia that were close to Seville--the only problem is that you have to drive to get there. When my family came out to visit me, rented a manual and at one point had to actually have a nice Spanish man drive the car up the impossibly narrow and steep road because we kept killing the engine. 

2. The process of seeing a doctor

<No, I don't have a picture, because who takes a picture at the doctor's office?>

I most certainly never saw myself learning about the Spanish healthcare system, but when you have to go to the hospital because you're sick, you learn a lot of new vocabulary (yes, I'm fine and it was nothing serious).

3. What a "djelaba" is 

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Yes, I knew I was going to Morocco, but I didn't really think about not knowing ANY of the language. Luckily we had a tour guide who spoke english. And he wore a "djelaba", a traditional robe-like form of dress for Moroccan men.

4. That you can't get a latté, machiatto, or frappucino at your local coffee shop 

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Really? This is down to a science in Spain. I used to get a daily "manchada" during my coffee break (little coffee, lots of milk). Needless to say I love Spanish coffee!

5. How to bike in a dress

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To commute to my internship, I often biked in the mornings (when the weather was a bit cooler) using Seville's bike sharing system. Of course, I had to bike in my work clothes so that was a bit of a challenge, as were the pedestrians who walked in the bike lane, the oversized strollers, and the rollerbladers.

Of course, even through all of these experiences I loved my study abroad experience and highly recommend it to everyone!


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