Isabel Wilson

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Global Studies and Hispanic Literature & Culture; Minor: Marine Sciences
Program: UNC in Sevilla
Location: Sevilla, Spain
Term: Spring 2020


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I knew that I wanted to study abroad in Sevilla ever since high school. One of my high school Spanish teachers told me about her experience studying abroad there during her time at Carolina and it really made me want to experience it for myself. Between that, and and taking language courses here on campus leading me to thinking of how cool it would be to speak the language in Spain, I knew Sevilla was the way to go for me. Additionally, being a Global Studies and Hispanic Literature & Culture double major, I knew I would be able to receive credits in both of those areas through Spanish courses abroad.


What did you learn about yourself?
Through this experience, I learned that I truly thrive off of learning about untold histories and the simpler things in life, like walking the streets of Sevilla learning about the ports and talking to my host mom's friends. I felt as though my eyes were really opened to the depth of the culture in Sevilla and the spirit of certain individuals (like my host mom) to immerse me, a foreigner, in all she knows. This experience led me to enroll in a flamenco class of my own in Sevilla and just compelled me to soak up as much of the culture as I could during my time abroad.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
One of my favorite memories from my program is going to watch my host mom's weekly dance class. She takes classes in bulería, a style of flamenco, to prepare for the Feria with a group of women, and she proudly invited me to come observe one week, less than a month into me being abroad. Her class was at a studio on the other side of the river, and we walked and talked the whole way there. Along the way, she was pointing out historical buildings and teaching me about the city. She was stopped on the streets maybe 3 times by other women, her friends, and they chatted for a couple of minutes each time. I remember that she introduced me as her "hija americana" to each of them. It was so cool to see the unique flamenco dance style and the importance of the culture, her companions, and the city in her life, as well as her willingness to show me around an area so foreign to me.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
I would say that going abroad is likely going to be full of uncertainties, you just have to learn to roll with the punches because so many things are going to be out of your control. I would also advise to not be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and say yes to doing things, because the truth is you may never have another chance to do those things, and getting sent home due to covid has truly reinforced this idea to me. Being abroad when covid hit was difficult to cope with, and the fact that part of my experience was taken from me is hard to come to terms with. However, I am satisfied knowing that the time I did spend abroad was well spent and I had so many amazing experiences. Don't take anything for granted and be smart!


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