Often, Proctor en Segovia students punctuate a trimester of living and learning abroad with a trip to southern Spain with resident program directors. This term, Alejandra and Ross and the Fall 2023 Proctor en Segovia group traveled to Sevilla, Andalucía, a city that certainly has 'personality,' a complex history, and a rich cultural heritage. Learning is perhaps most powerful when students who have been engaging with material for weeks are given the opportunity to experience it first-hand in daily life and by visiting monuments and museums.
Khadija '25 - A Journey of Senses in Sevilla
Sevilla is a city where the sun's warmth embraces your skin, where history is everywhere you look, and where every step leads to a different feeling. I stepped off the bus in Sevilla and instantly felt the warmth on my skin. It was a big change from the chill in Segovia. It was a mood booster, to say the least, and it put me in a happy state of mind. Sevilla had a charm that went beyond just the weather. It was a city where history and amazing architecture merged in ways that blew my mind. As we roamed around, I found myself in awe at the incredible churches and cathedrals. The detailed carvings, majestic domes, and colorful stained-glass windows and 'azulejos' or tiles were beautiful. I'd seen historic sites in Segovia, but Sevilla's architectural wonders were a whole new level of greatness.
The one that stood out was the Real Alcázar of Sevilla, the royal palace. It was like a beautiful blend of different architectural styles, from Islamic to Gothic and Renaissance. Walking through its halls and peaceful gardens with their perfect bushes was so pleasing to my eyes that we couldn't help but take tons of pictures. The city was huge, and every turn felt like a new surprise. The streets were like a maze of charming alleys, cozy cafes, and colorful shops. I might've gone a little overboard with shopping and ended up with a bag full of clothes.
The city's vibe was just something else. As I strolled through it, I was greeted by palm trees blowing in the warm breeze. It felt like a tropical paradise, and it was hard not to be excited. It was the kind of experience that made me appreciate the warmth and the sense of summer in my bones. But Sevilla had a unique scent, too. The air was filled with all sorts of smells, reminding me a bit of the busy streets in summertime Boston. There was the aroma of street food, flowers, and every now and then, a whiff of the citrus fruits. But there was one smell that stood out – the not-so-pleasant odor of manure from the horses that pull carriages the many carriages around the city for the tourists. Sevilla was a magical mix of different things, from its jaw-dropping historic sites to its lively streets. It brought me back to Summer, which is when I'm happiest. My short time there was a journey that was uplifting, and it gave me an even wider lens into Spanish culture and history.
Eli '24 - Comparing Sevilla and New York City
Upon traveling to Seville, I was instantly struck with a sense of familiarity. Although it was my first time visiting this city, I felt closer to home (New York City) than I had been in Segovia. As I immersed myself in the enchanting streets and absorbed the vibrant culture of Seville, I couldn't help but draw parallels between the two cities, recognizing shared traits that made me feel surprisingly at home. One of the first aspects that struck me was the dynamic energy that exists within both Seville and New York. The lively streets of Seville, accompanied by colorful buildings and a constant chatter of locals, mirrored the same "vibe" of Manhattan or the lively neighborhoods of my neighborhood in Brooklyn. It was definitely a contrast to the atmosphere of Segovia, which seemed to move at a slower pace. In Seville, the constant noise brought me back to my life in the Big Apple.
The culinary scene in Seville also struck a chord of familiarity. The diverse array of tapas bars and restaurants was comparable to the multicultural culinary landscape of New York. Whether eating Spanish, Italian, or even Mexican food, I found the same spirit of experimentation in Seville as I do in New York. In Seville, much like in New York, the people became the heartbeat of the city. The warmth and friendliness of the locals created an immediate sense of community, reminiscent of the diverse and welcoming neighborhoods scattered across New York's five boroughs. During one of our local excursions, my friends and I encountered street performers who reminded me a lot of the ones back home. The people here, including the street performers, shared the same friendliness and energy as the people in New York.
The arts also played a significant role in shaping my Sevillian experience, drawing parallels to the vibrant cultural scene of New York. Seville's rich history of flamenco and its visual art scene, showcased in museums and gardens, echoed the pieces found in the galleries of Chelsea or the theaters of Broadway. Both relatively old cities for their countries, Seville and New York share many similarities in this regard. As my time in Seville unfolded, it became increasingly evident that, despite the geographical and cultural differences, the city was greatly similar to my home city of New York. Despite visiting Madrid prior to this trip, I never felt so close to home before visiting Seville.
Marion '25 - Beauty in Every Corner
When we first arrived in Sevilla, I was surprised by the temperature change. Although it was only a ten-degree difference, it felt much hotter. We waited for the bus to arrive and bring us to the hostel. After we had put our things down, we met with one of the Spanish teachers' friends. His name was José, and he showed us around the city. He took us past the cathedral and the castle, which sat very close to each other. Both were very pretty, but my favorite part was walking the narrow streets. Looking down at them, the porches on either side were inches apart.
Over the next couple of days, we visited the church and the cathedral, and walked to the top of the tower of the cathedral. Since it was a tour, we learned a lot about the construction; interestingly, the construction of all the stained windows and arches was mapped out by the Romans on the roof. There were multiple levels to look out from on the cathedral, but when we stood at the top, the whole city was visible. All of the buildings we could see were beautiful, along with their terraces. Afterwards, we walked inside the castle, and the square, and all of the tiles on both the facade and the interior of the castle were gorgeous. We spent a lot of time walking around and admiring the structures that had been built so long ago. It was very different from anything we would see in the United States. Everywhere we walked in The Real Alcázar was full of history and beautiful arabesque designs and architecture. It was certainly a great place to see the past being reflected in the construction and design of the castle.
Henry '25 - Exploring the Rich Tapestry of Sevilla
Last weekend, my Proctor group and I visited Sevilla, a city steeped in history and culture. We explored iconic landmarks like the General Archive of the Indies, The Cathedral of Sevilla, Real Alcázar, and the Plaza de España. Each site had its unique charm and rich history, captivating us with its stories. We also enjoyed Sevilla's famous cuisine, indulging in delicious meals at charming restaurants. One night, we tried a special pasta dish unique to the city, savoring its flavors and cultural essence.\
Looking back, this trip was unforgettable. Sevilla's blend of history, art, and food left a lasting impression on us. I highly recommend this enchanting city to fellow travelers, as it offers a captivating journey into Spain's cultural heritage.
- Off-Campus Program
- Proctor en Segovia