Hannah Armentrout - 2014 Program Participant

A view of the Triana bridge at sunset in Sevilla.
A view of the Triana bridge at sunset in Sevilla. Photo by Hannah Armentrout

What was the deciding factor in choosing ISA over other study abroad programs?

I chose ISA over other programs because they offered everything that I was looking for at an affordable price, but the real draw for me was the program trip to Morocco. I really wanted to see the country, but I also knew that I was not prepared to take the trip by myself or with friends. As I found out later, there were other companies that offered excursions from Sevilla to Morocco, but most of them were weekend trips and none of them could hold a candle to the experience that I had with ISA. Camping in the Sahara with some of my closest friends was one of the best experiences of my life, and worth every penny.

What are some things that other students planning to study abroad in Sevilla should be aware of?

Other students going abroad to Sevilla should be aware of a few things. First, it is actually cold during the winter. It's not feet-of-snow cold, but it can get cold; bring a waterproof jacket. Don't forget a good pair of slippers, and brace yourself for the Andalusian accent. Make sure to sign up for an intercambio (language exchange partner), and keep trying if the first one doesn't work out! My intercambio was one of my best friends abroad.

What makes Sevilla stand out as the best place to study abroad in Spain?

Sevilla is the best city to study abroad in Spain for so many reasons. In the south, people are more open and friendlier, which is very important when you are a foreigner trying to connect with the local culture. Sevilla is affordable and the capital of Andalucia, which is the heart of what we typically understand as "Spanish” -  especially flamenco and bullfighting. I preferred Sevilla because, although there are a lot of American students, Sevilla is large enough where you feel comfortable without feeling limited. I loved just wandering around the winding streets of the city, and during my last week I was still discovering new things.

What was the most rewarding class you took while in Sevilla?

My favorite class was called "Mundo Árabe-Islámico," in which we studied the Arab-Islamic world. The class was taught in Spanish, providing me the opportunity to improve my language skills while learning about a topic that is still in the news every day. The historical background that I learned in that class has provided me a framework that has helped me to finally understand what is happening when I watch the news. 

What did you gain from studying abroad with ISA?

My time abroad has changed my perspective on the world, and on my home. For the first time, I feel like I really understand what it means to be American, in a domestic and global context. I also gained a level of confidence communicating in Spanish that has, perhaps more importantly, given me a love for the language that I never had before.

I’d also like to say that ISA took care of every detail during my time abroad, and the directors are some of the most wonderful people that I have ever met. ISA was the only program that I heard of that provided its students with smart phones, price included, for the duration of the program.