Global Experience Bursary: Seville

14 July 2020

Nikki received funding from the Global Experience Bursary and spent three weeks in Seville, Spain.


My three weeks spent in Seville, in Southern Spain, was a much-needed break from London, where I spent most of my year and had very much come to associate with work and studies. Aside from being immersed in the language through formal classes that took place every morning to early afternoon 5 days a week, I also got to explore a tiny fraction more of the Sevillano way of life through school-organised cultural activities. These included guided walks through the city (with a teacher/guide who knew a lot about the city’s history in various aspects), Tapas tours and exploring some of the city’s museums in my own time. What was most noticeably different about Seville for me was the considerably slower pace of life there, and I quickly adjusted myself to the local habit of taking afternoon naps – or siestas – in the afternoons, and going out to explore only after the afternoon heat had dissipated slightly.

It is truly difficult to experience the relevance of learning a language until you visit somewhere where you can use the skill regularly. While there is a considerable Spanish-speaking population in London, English remained the easiest way to communicate with most people I have met there. However, in Seville, from the get go, I was placed in a shared flat accommodation with three others from different parts of the world, and for some of whom Spanish was a much more comfortable language to speak than English. This worked out really well for all of us, since defaulting to using English when we could not express something in Spanish was not an option most of the time. For me, going through the struggle of trying to find alternative ways to express myself – for instance, by hand movements, producing sound effects or explaining what I wanted to say in simpler Spanish – has been such a rewarding experience over my time in Seville. Ordinary tasks, such as talking to our landlady, referring to ingredients and utensils in the kitchen or having chats over dinner together necessitated the use of Spanish and so I had practice aplenty outside the classroom. Above all, my time there also gave me an important reminder as to why I got inspired to pick up the language in the first place; being able to see its practicality in action was all the more motivation to continue my studies of Spanish.

Admittedly, in just three weeks of spending time in Seville, there leaves much more that could be learnt about the Spanish language for me. Nonetheless, I have taken away a much increased confidence in my ability to not only speak the language, but also to find answers to doubts that I might later encounter in my continued study of Spanish. Beyond that, spending three weeks with newly-made friends over a Summer has allowed us to become a tight-knit bunch, and we will forever hold the memories we created close to heart while struggling to grasp the language. This opportunity was in large part made possible thanks to the Global Experience Bursary, for which I am grateful, and I hope others in the future will have similarly positive experiences with their time abroad.


By: Nikki Tanu