Tamara’s Experience in Spain

June 14, 2022
API Seville Student

Meet Tamara Anderson, an API Alum who majored in Marketing at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota. She studied abroad in Spain, and we were lucky enough to ask her a few questions about her experience with API. Read on to learn more about studying abroad in Seville! 

Was this your first time leaving the country?

I’ve left the country before because my mom is from the Philippines, so I’ve been there a few times. However, studying abroad was the first time I traveled by myself. I was inspired to study abroad from the international students on campus at Concordia. I went to a study abroad fair, and there were South Korean students speaking at the event. After hearing their experiences, I thought I should try it out!

What made you decide to study in Spain?

I picked Spain because I wanted to practice speaking Spanish. I wanted to go to Spain as opposed to South America because I wanted to go somewhere a bit farther from home. I also wanted the opportunity to travel on the weekends. I was split between studying abroad in Madrid and Seville; I had a friend in Madrid, but I decided I wanted to meet new people. Madrid was also a lot bigger than Seville, so I thought it would be easier for me to transition to a smaller city.

Did you have any anxieties about traveling abroad?

My biggest anxiety was telling my parents about my plans to study abroad. They didn’t want me to go, but I was able to provide them with resources to calm their nerves. I used the API chat to see what I could do to make my parents feel more comfortable with my program. API provided a blog post about the founding mothers, and it helped to ease their anxiety! 

How would you describe life in Seville?

Seville is laidback. The weather is mild, and the walkability is great. Where I come from, you have to drive everywhere and you don’t see lots of people outside. My host family was accommodating to the fact that I didn’t speak Spanish well, and they even took care of me when I got sick! I had a host mom, her sister, and her mom, so it felt like I had three moms. 

What are some things you learned professionally?

After studying abroad, I was interested in pursuing a career in international education. My study abroad advisor helped me a lot, so I always thought I could work at a university doing something similar. I wanted to help other students go abroad because I had such a wonderful experience. 

What were your favorite places to explore?

I liked walking through the downtown area with all the shops, beautiful parks, and fountains. One of my favorite memories occurred during the first week when passing the Plaza de España. We stumbled upon an event with tons of flamenco dancers. We were watching from a distance, and when we turned around, couples around us started dancing. It seemed like everyone knew how to do this dance; I felt like I was in a movie!  

How did you cope with homesickness?

The first couple weeks were great, but the homesickness set in at the end of the first month. However, once I adapted to the situation, I didn’t want to leave! I felt more confident in my adaptability and flexibility. I also found that the people who surrounded me contributed a lot to my experience in Seville. I found that building a sense of community and belonging was important to me. Even now, outside of my study abroad experience, I don’t take my friends for granted!

What advice would you give to someone interested in studying abroad?

Watch videos about other students who study abroad. Collect all the knowledge you can about the study abroad experience and the country you want to go to. There are plenty of resources to familiarize yourself!

How did API support you on your trip?

API provided a lot of resources before and during my experience. With orientation and access to on-site directors, you have everything you need. I didn’t have to worry about organizing excursions or housing. API took care of the little things, so I didn’t have to worry about it!

Anything else you would like to share?

I’m always surprised when students opt-out of the excursions because it’s already paid for with the program costs. Visiting Granada was one of my favorite excursions because the city is beautiful! The on-site director came with us, gave us great guides, and shared activities that we may not have discovered on our own. We also didn’t need to worry about organizing a group because all the API students go together! 

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