Hannah Olevson - 2013 Program Participant

Hannahs friends, that also studied with API in Seville, in front of "Las Setas" (mushrooms in English)
Hannah’s friends, that also studied with API in Seville, in front of "Las Setas" (mushrooms in English).

Why did you study abroad in Seville?

Ever since I was young I remember wanting to study abroad, but never had a specific location in mind. During my freshman year of college I decided to pick up a Spanish minor and Spain seemed like a logical place to study because of the language and proximity to other countries in Europe. I specifically choose Seville because it was the perfect sized city, and I knew a few friends that loved their time in Seville.

How did you decide on API as the right program provider for you?

As I was researching different programs in Spain I remember meeting and speaking with someone from API at our study abroad fair. After we spoke, I knew API was the program I would study abroad with because of their focus on students. I quickly realized API goes above and beyond in the support they provide during the application process as well as on site; and the value they provide overall with excursions, homestays, and the variety of classes. 

What was your living situation in Seville like?

I had the opportunity to stay with a host mom and a roommate, another API student. My host mom reminded me of my grandmother and is one of the most loving people I ever met. She taught me more about the Spanish culture, food and language than I could have ever hoped. It was great having an American student in the home as another support system and someone that is now a lifelong friend. 

A Flamenco show in Granada

During an API excursion to Granada, Hannah attended a Flamenco show held inside a cave.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in Seville?

Transportation. I traveled a fair amount during the weekends and I found myself in broken-down buses and delayed trains more often than I anticipated. Through those experiences I learned how to roll with the punches and I met so many interesting people along the way.

What lasting impact has studying abroad left on you?

Studying abroad was the best decision I ever made because I learned a great deal about global perspective as well as myself. I was faced with so many daily challenges, such as buying coffee at a cafe, that I was forced to develop skills I would not have otherwise. In addition, my time abroad made me open my eyes to the world around me and I developed a greater sense of empathy as I was able to see differences through another lens.

Overall, my experience is what fueled my desire to continue traveling to learn about and embrace other cultures. 

What should future participants know about this API program?

Future participants should know the value that API provides with all of their programs. My time abroad was fulfilling and I learned a great deal from the unique excursions, but what really sets API apart are the pre-departure and re-entry services. Before I left I had access to a toolbox of services which helped me brush up on my Spanish and prepared me for my time abroad.

After I arrived back in the states, API offered countless ways for me to share my story, such as the student blogging program, or participating as Campus Advocate or Peer Mentor. At API, they know the importance of sharing your story and go to great lengths to ensure that API students continue to be lifelong learners.

Students posing with their host mom.

Hannah’s API roommate, and lifelong friend, posing with their loving host mom, Victoria.

If you could study abroad again with API, where would you ago?

If I had the opportunity, I would choose a semester abroad in Havana, Cuba. I can thank one of my Spanish professors for igniting my interest in Cuba and Cuban history. Plus, I have heard it is quite beautiful!