After Three Months in Seville, I Can’t Stop Thinking About Moving to Spain

Seville, Spain (Image: Alev Takil,  Unsplash )

Seville, Spain (Image: Alev Takil, Unsplash)

All it took was a month. One month back in Michigan, fresh off a seven-week backpacking trip across Europe, and there it was again: the travel bug nipping at my heels. And even though the Great Lakes State makes a compelling case, it was powerless to keep me grounded. I needed a new adventure and moving to Seville, Spain, for three months would be just the thing.

Located in southern Spain in the breathtakingly beautiful Andalusia area, Seville was actually a place I hadn’t even known existed until last year. It was back in June, when my backpacking trip was just getting underway, that I received a call from a friend while wine tasting in the Burgundy region of France (an absolute dream, by the way). She told me about a teaching opportunity in Spain that I might want to look into; it didn’t take much convincing on her part.

I’ve learned that when life gives you lemons, you better squeeze those babies for all their worth, because, more often than not, you end up making some of the best lemonade you’ve ever had. Following some back-and-forth emails, a series of interviews, and lots of paperwork, I was signed up to teach for three months in Seville. A sweet, sweet glass of lemonade, for sure.

While there, I stayed with the most fantastic host family in the world. Their patience with the language differences, openness with their home, and overall love and kindness are things I will never forget. Though I’m absolutely positive you won’t find a better one, I’d still highly recommend staying with a host family if you ever have the opportunity. It is certainly one of the most effective ways of immersing yourself in another culture.

When I wasn’t spending time with my amazing hosts, I was teaching English to children between the ages of 3 and 8 in a Waldorf primary school. My role involved speaking with the children while doing different activities, my favorite being making bread with the kids on Thursdays. Maybe it isn’t your thing, but I can think of almost nothing better than sitting at a table full of 5-year-olds eager to knead some dough on a hot Spanish morning.

First day of class! (Photo: Melissa Smith)

First day of class! (Photo: Melissa Smith)

Being a native English speaker in a room full of Spanish speakers was both humbling and slightly overwhelming at times. The kids’ eagerness to learn and the patience they exhibited with my Spanish speaking difficulties was amazing, though. And then there were the families, so excited to have a native English speaker working with their children that they went above and beyond to ensure I had the best experience. It almost goes without saying, but if you have the opportunity to volunteer in another area of the world, do it!

It seemed crazy that after just two short weeks in Seville I was able to envision myself living there long term, but the Spanish have truly figured out how to live their best lives — and it is contagious. Life in Spain moves at a perfect pace: the days are filled with work in the morning, siestas in the afternoon, and tables full of tapas in the evening when the sun goes down.

It’s not uncommon for people who travel to Seville with the intention of simply visiting for a short amount of time to end up staying for years. In fact, I met a handful of travelers who had done just that while I was there. The thought of trading in my return ticket for a lease on an apartment and an extended visa definitely crossed my mind more than once.

Spain is infectious, and I’d go so far as to say Seville is the cherry on top of it all. Moving to a foreign country long-term probably would be a little overwhelming, but I’m guessing it would be very rewarding, too, and I’m super tempted to give it a try. For now, though, I’m back in Michigan, dreaming of those siestas and Spanish sunsets.

-Mel