27 February 2020

When we arrived at the school coach park at 11am in the morning, all of us were bursting with excitement. The thought of the warm sun, palm trees, and excellent food was all we could think about. When we arrived at the airport, our adventure began. Our flight was late in the evening, leaving us time to relax in London Gatwick, as well as to hang out together and buy snacks for the 2 hour flight.

The flight was a smooth one, and seemed to fly by, as before we knew it, we were in Seville! As we walked towards the coach outside the airport, I realised how green and pristine the grass was, and how clear the night sky was too, in big contrast to the miserable grey skies of England. The coach journey was only about 20 minutes long, and it took us to La Plaza de Cuba where our host families were waiting to pick us up. Each of them stood with welcoming smiles. None of them could speak any English (they could say hello at most) only Spanish, and we would later find out that language barriers are very, very real indeed – and must be broken down!

Two of my classmates and I were with an elderly lady called Dolores. She guided us through the streets of Seville, which were bustling with typical Spanish nightlife. Despite the fact that it was 11.00pm, couples were happily walking along the streets, and people were calmly drinking a coffee or having dinner out with their families (in contrast to England, where you would not want to walk around late at night at all). It was like it was day time! We arrived at a beautiful block of flats, all decorated with beautiful mosaic tiles, with small cobbled paths winding around them and orange trees dotted along each path. Our host spoilt us with a wonderful plate of pasta and chicken with homemade tomato sauce, before we showered and went to bed, tired out from the journey.

The next day we woke up after an excellent night’s sleep, and had hot milk and magdelenas for breakfast. Our host then walked us to a beautiful bridge linking Triana (the neighbourhood of Seville we were staying in) and the city centre. The bridge was beautiful, and the river flowing through the city- the Guadalquivir – sparkled in the dazzling sunlight. The water was very inviting, and I was tempted to jump in and join the rowers on the river, or the paddle boarders and kayakers – it all looked like great fun.

So we said bye to our hosts for the morning, and walked to CLIC, the language school we would be attending for the week. Along the way we saw some beautiful buildings, and had a great view down the river. Upon our arrival we were greeted very warmly by our teachers for the week, and had our first set of lessons that were completely in Spanish. After that we had lunch with our families, as we would do so for the rest of the week. I was treated to some wonderful meals, like paella, chicken soup, and a lot of meat!

Each day after lunch we had a cultural activity, and they were truly all amazing experiences. Trips ranged from visiting the biggest Gothic Cathedral in the whole world, Seville Cathedral, going up La Giralda (a tower dating from the 10th century) going to a paella cooking class (where the paellas where heavenly) and seeing Seville from 104 meters high, (and also being deafened by its really loud bells) as well as taking a bike tour of the city, visiting Los Reales Alcázares (the palaces of Seville) and learning about past Arabic influence in Seville, Spain, and Spanish as a language. (They also left behind some wonderful buildings, such as the many towers and churches dotted around the city that used to be part of mosques.)

The best thing was definitely exploring the city at night – it was amazing that it didn’t feel dangerous at all and amazing being part of the chilled Spanish nightlife atmosphere, as well as eating churros con chocolate until midnight. We also got to see some flamboyant flamenco dancing, and walked through the iconic neighbourhood of Triana, a neighbourhood full of pottery and mosaics.

The last day was an especially sad one, knowing that we’d be leaving the wonderful sun and palm trees behind. After having our last lessons and last lunches with our families, we set off for the airport, for another late flight. By the time we arrived in London it was well past 11.00pm, and those who weren’t being picked from the airport wouldn’t arrive at Abingdon until past midnight!

We had a great time in Seville, and we are so grateful for the hard work Señora Pradas put in to organising the trip, and for Mrs Cottam for coming along to help. I definitely recommend it to any 2nd year planning to do Spanish in the 3rd year – and if you are not planning to do Spanish, then think again! Trust me it’s worth it!


Written by Jonathan Ochero

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