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Reflecting on life in Seville Part 2

Asia works at Ecologistas en Acción as a General Assistant

Photo curtesy of Asia of Spinach Harvest - helping in harvesting spinach at the local school. Children have sown it themselves and sold the harvest at the school's market.

'Time flies when you’re having fun they say. And truly it was fun and still I cannot believe that’s the end of this journey. But what a journey it was. Apart from soaking in the sun everyday I was blessed with meeting a lot of new people, mostly elders from the allotment I’ve been working on for last three months. They have been putting a smile on my face every day when they have been cheerfully shouting: ¡Buenos dias guapita! Apart from complimenting me every day, they have also told some interesting stories, gave me a lot of advice on how to take care of vegetables and kindly shared their own produce. At work I’ve learned heaps of useful knowledge about organic gardening methods and had many opportunities to practice my Spanish with my supervisor, other people working at the allotments and children at schools I’ve been working at. Children were the most eager to speak Spanish with me and I’ve taught them some Polish words in exchange.

Living in Seville has been a bliss. As we’ve entered spring, the temperatures during the day have changed to be really pleasant and there is nothing nicer than sitting in the park in the full sunshine with a book in your hand. Seville has so much to offer in terms of music and culture. In my free time I went for walks by the river, saw some flamenco shows and jazz concerts, kayaked Guadalquivir river at night, explored local markets but above all enjoyed some delicious tapas. Seville has very good public transport connections so it’s very easy to escape the city for a weekend. On my days off I went to Cadiz, Aracena, Ronda and San Pedro - all of them less than two hours away from Seville. Since I don’t feel I have had enough of Spain just yet, after a short visit to London I will be returning to Andalucia to explore its beautiful nature. My plan is to visit wild beaches of Cabo de Gata, mountains of Sierra Nevada, Caminito del Rey and many more incredible landmarks that locals have recommended to me. I feel that I’m equipped with enough Spanish to help me find my way and make new friends. ¡Olé!'

Photo curtesy of Asia at Sierra de las Nieves - enjoying the views as the sun is setting down over the peaks of Sierra de las Nieves mountains

Evan works at Doñana Biologica Station as a Research Assistant

Photo curtesy of Evan of a White Stawk at Doñana National Park

'Overall, working in the EBD has been a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience. I have gained a good base level of GIS skills, which I’m sure will prove to be valuable later down the line as a I continue training as an ecologist. I have been out to the field on numerous occasions, with various research groups. This has been a great opportunity to learn about other research that goes on here, whilst also seeing some amazing landscapes and wildlife!

The EBD is a very pleasant work environment, full of interesting people from all over the world, working in a vast array of different fields of biology. I have felt very much like a part of the team that I have been working with (Laboratorio SIG y Teledetección), and I will be sad to move on. Despite leaving next week, I will continue collaborating with the project in which I have been working on, once all of the data has been revised.

I am very content with my life in Seville. I feel that I have improved my Spanish a lot since being here, owing largely to my work placement and the intercambios which I have been regularly attending. I have made some really great friends during my time here, from both the Erasmus plus group and others who live in the city, and I hope to stay in contact with everyone when we all go our separate ways.

After leaving Seville, I will be carrying out another internship based in the Strait of Gibraltar Natural Park with an organisation called Fundación Migres, in Tarifa. The task will involve participating in various monitoring programmes of migratory birds through the strait of Gibraltar, as well as conservation work for threatened birds living in the surrounding areas. This site is one of the most important points in Europe for migratory birds, as it marks the closest point between the continents of Europe and Africa. I will stay here throughout the duration of the summer and then return to the UK to start a master’s degree in Ecology and Conservation at the University of East Anglia, starting in early October this year.'

Photo curtesy of Evan of a Sleeping Barn Own at Veta La Palma

Richard works at Centris School

Photo curtesy of Sophie

'I have enjoyed the experience of working at Centris Language academy. The internship has mainly involved observing and supporting the existing teachers, and while I feel it would have been beneficial to have more responsibility teaching our own classes, the director, Olga, has been accommodating to put on extra speaking classes for us. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the teachers Michael and Matthew, and Olga. I have particularly enjoyed getting to know the students at the academy and now feel confident to apply for a full time teaching position.

Living in Seville and getting to know the city and its people has been the main highlight of the experience. It is truly a wonderful city and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to live here, which has come to an end all too soon. I have enjoyed taking in the culture and history, visiting most of the museums and historical sites. However, the best part has been discovering the huge variety of cafes and bars and spending free time eating and drinking in the sun. I will certainly miss my daily commute of cycling beside the river and watching the sun set from our apartment balcony.

Seville has also provided a great base for discovering nearby cities. I have recently visited Cordoba and Cadiz and even managed to spend a weekend in Madrid. It is testament to my fondness of Seville that after spending a weekend away, returning felt like I was coming home.

My Spanish has greatly improved (starting from nothing). I am now confident in ordering food and drink and able to communicate, all be it at a very basic level. Intercambios have been a great way of socialising, catching up with members of the group and meeting fellow residents of Seville, and of course, practicing a little Spanish.

When I return home, I will certainly be looking to apply for more English teaching positions, probably at Summer schools in the UK, with the intention of returning to Spain or another Spanish speaking country in September. After this programme, I feel not only confident in surviving on my own abroad, but looking forward to another adventure.'

Molly works at Queens College as an English Teacher

'My work placement in Mairena has definitely been intense, but very rewarding at the same time. I've had to deal with a lot of new situations, and have felt out of my depth at some points, but overall I am incredibly happy and grateful for the opportunity I have been given here. It's really helped me grow as a person to be a teacher and have that responsibility, as I'd never done it before. Every day is interesting, as you never know what funny things your students will come out with, and it's so lovely when you notice your students remembering the things you've taught them before. I really feel equipped for any future jobs I might have in teaching, and I'm excited to have learned so many new skills that I can develop and work on.

Life in Seville has just been incredible, especially these last few weeks as the weather warms up. It's such an amazing city, and being able to call it home has been a real privilege; I would never have thought that part of my commute to work would include walking past one of the largest cathedrals in the world, which is such a stunning sight to see. There is so much culture and history to explore in Seville and around it; the nearby town of Italica is something I recommend to everyone, as it's an old Roman city and archaeological site where you can see beautiful mosaics and an amphitheatre. I've also made some friends here that I think I will care about for a long time, and I'll be very sad to say goodbye to them, as well as to Seville. It's definitely going to be a culture shock being back in the UK, where you can't just walk outside in shorts and a t-shirt and get some delicious food and a drink at a bar a couple minutes away from your home.

I'm off to university in September to study Modern Languages and Linguistics, which I am very excited about as I'll be studying Spanish and I've definitely improved a lot here, not to mention having picked up an Andalusian accent, which I would say is like a Spanish person picking up a northern accent in England! I will certainly be returning to Seville in the future, and I think it's got a place in everyone's hearts now as such a lovely, safe, sunny city to spend endless hours drinking tinto de veranos (red wine with lemonade) and eating delicious tapas.'

Photo curtesy of Molly

Gregory about life in Seville

'I love Seville and the lifestyle. As a teacher, I have been starting work in the afternoons which has made alarm clocks a thing of the past. I wake up when my body is ready and I still have plenty of time to do what I need in the mornings with time to spare to enjoy the persistent sunshine. Finishing late hasn't been a problem as Seville is always busy up until after midnight so you're never missing out on the fun!

My Spanish has improved a lot but has a long way to go! Fortunately, all of the people I've met at language exchanges have been very patient and supportive with my attempts at Spanish and I'm sure I'll continue to improve as long as I continue to go out and chat with all the new friends I've made.

Having already completed a degree and a teaching qualification I have no intention of returning to England as I have secured a job in one of Seville's largest and most reputable language schools. The prospect of a higher cost of living and unpredictable weather holds no appeal for me!'

Photo curtesy of Richard of Richard & Gregory

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