What I’ve Learned About Food While Studying Abroad in Seville
This semester, I’m lucky enough to be studying abroad in Seville, Spain for four months. Before leaving my home in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I had a sense that I would be pushed out of my comfort zone daily to be completely immersed into Spanish culture. Little did I know that food would play an enormous role in my time abroad and this transition.
Photo by Anna Stone
On an average day, I’ve noticed how the day completely revolves around food and the act of eating. In the morning, friends and family gather outside bustling cafes, showered in the sunlight to enjoy a cup of the best coffee in the world and a warm piece of toast topped with jamon before starting their day. Midday, everyone indulges in the biggest meal before siesta, which isn’t complete without the most intricate and visually appealing charcuterie board. Around 9pm, the streets come to life and groups of friends spill out onto the streets to share tapas and indulge in a drink (or two).
Café Con Leche
Food plays a tremendous role in my time here because food is culture. If you didn’t taste the heavenly tapas, paella or gazpacho, did you really live in Spain? Traditional recipes have been passed down lines of generations in Seville and in order to gain the most authentic experience possible it is imperative to immerse yourself, and your palette to them.
Pasta Aglio Olio
Without a doubt, you will be deprived of some of your favorite foods. Sorry to shoot your dreams down, but avocado toast is not really a common thing here. That being said, you will try so many new dishes and some will most likely become your new favorite foods. Its easy to be apprehensive about food and decline to try things you’re unsure about especially in your first few weeks, but it is so important to try everything that is given to you because you never really know what you’ll like until you try it. I never would have thought I would enjoy squid and squid ink rice but hey, it’s actually really, really delicious.
Food is much more than just fuel for your body. Simply gathering around a table and sharing food is the perfect way to socialize- this is evident if you walk down the streets during prime tapas hours. People stay for hours, chatting about everything and anything; rarely touching their cell phones at all- a rarity in America. It is such a powerful sight to see how food has the ability to bring people together and serve as a basis for hours of flowing conversation.
So if you’re planning on studying abroad soon or just visiting a culture so different from your own, take advantage of every opportunity you are given. Test your limits; try everything once- your taste buds will surprise you. Treat yourself and indulge without guilt, even if that means going out for gelato almost every day (I am definitely guilty).
Click here for more articles by Cara Hutto!
Check out why Cara thinks you should be buying food locally, here.
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