“Now we definitely have an international Facebook”
BED UPR: Nicole Ferrer
University: Universidad de Sevilla
Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura (ETSA)
Location: Seville, Spain
Duration: 6-12 Months
TOS[ser]s: Maria Fernández & Valorie Alicea
Posted: May 2013
Q & A:
“Visit and study different architecture, as well as, new people.” [Nicole]
“Experience and learn about Spanish culture.” [Yanick]
“It was the perfect opportunity to meet my family from Italy and at the same time travel and learn from new countries.” [Beatriz]
What was the selection process like?
“We spent many days researching about everything … starting with the university, its facilities, cost of living, transportation, places of interest, etc.” [Nicole, Yanick & Beatriz]
Did the University facilitate lodging or did you make arrangements?
“No, we each traveled with a few days in advance in order to find a place we liked and could afford.” [Nicole, Yanick & Beatriz]
What was the first thing you did?
”Find a map to locate the university and places we were interested in visiting” [Nicole, Yanick & Beatriz]
Did you meet other exchange students?
“Yes, we literally have an international Facebook now … we met people from Poland, Italy, France, Spain, and Mexico… “ [Nicole, Yanick & Beatriz]
How was the relationship with the Spaniards in and out of the university?
“At first it was hard to make friends at the school; but eventually people showed interest and I was able to make many friends in and out of the university” [Beatriz]
“My experience was very similar … initially the students weren’t very social, but as time passed, we were able to get to know people from the university and outside. Specially the older people were always very friendly.” [Nicole]
Were you able to travel to other cities? Where? What type of transportation did you use?
”Yes, we traveled a lot and were amazed by the great variety of transportation … the ferry, bus, metro, bicycle or even walking … definitely transportation wasn’t an obstacle. Even so, we got the chance to travel all around Europe by only taking the train.” [Nicole]
“It was definitely mind blowing to be able to say … ok, well, today I want to visit Portugal, or Barcelona, tomorrow Granada or Morocco … and for it to be that easy and accessible” [Yanick]
What places did you visit?
Sevilla, Marruecos, Lisboa, Sintra, Cordoba, Barcelona, Irlanda, Londre, Valencia, Granada, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Praha, Budapest, Vienna, Munich, Milano, Verona, Venezia, Piza, Florencia, Roma, Madrid. [Nicole & Yanick]
España: Sevilla, Madrid, Granada, Cadiz, Jerez de la frontera, Cordoba, Huelva, Bilbao, Asturias, Barcelona, Santander … Portugal: Lisboa, Albufeira … Alemania: Munich, Berlin … UK: Londres … Italia: Roma, Florencia, Venecia, Padova, Ferrara, Bologna, Pompella, Salerno, Pisa, Milan, Bergamo … Grecia: Atenas … Francia: Paris, Lille, Dunkerque … Belgica: Brujas … Suiza: Basel, Klosters, Berna. [Beatriz]
What destination do you remember most?
“Barcelona, Florence & Portugal” [Nicole & Yanick]
How did you manage to balance architecture studies with tourism and Spain’s party life?
“In our case, we weren’t party goers … apart from studying, we enjoyed spending our free time traveling and getting to know new places” [Nicole & Yanick]
What did you like the most about the Spanish culture?
“I loved how they appeared to take things so relaxed, despite the crisis … the wine hour was sacred and teenagers got the chance to gather and chat as a way to clear their minds from all the stress.” [Nicole & Yanick]
Did you feel secure in Europe?
“We had a few moments in Barcelona where we felt a bit insecure; but the majority of the time we felt safe.” [Nicole & Yanick]
What was your opinion of Spain’s culture initially? Has it changed?
“My impression of the Spanish didn’t change much; because prior to the trip I was told that there was a difference between the north and the south part, being that the north tended to be a little more rough and the south more cordial.” [Nicole]
“For me it changed, because I thought they were going to be more serious or conservative; but on the contraire they are very similar to us Puerto Ricans, who like to be loud and be around music…” [Yanick]
Would you have stayed longer?
All agreed on wanting to extend the trip’s length, but at the same time, they felt the need to come back to their family and home.