Everything happens for a reason, and this semester in Sevilla was no exception.
I was supposed to spend the semester in Grenoble, France, a small city in the French Alps, and up until around November, I thought that was where I was going to spend my semester abroad. I had taken French in high school, and I knew that France was somewhere I could see myself enjoying, so I applied a year in advance only to be rejected two months prior to leaving. I remember running to the study abroad office in a panic, scared that I would have to spend the next semester in California rather than Europe. Thankfully, my counselor calmly replied, “You can go to Paris or Sevilla. Let me know in a week what you decide.”
I spent the whole night researching Paris and Sevilla, comparing schedules and courses offered while watching study abroad videos from both cities. By the end of the night, I was still a bit overwhelmed but already fairly keen to the idea of Sevilla. Sure I hadn’t heard about the city before that day, and yah, I wasn’t sure whether to spell it “Sevilla” or “Seville,” but I liked the schedule and courses offered. After consulting my mom, I also came to the realization that I didn’t want to be in a big city like Paris, wanting home base abroad to feel more like home. So that was it! I was going to Sevilla!
That night and the week following when the shock of my changed plans (I am not a flexible person. Shocker.) still had me a bit shaken up, people kept telling me that it was all going to be okay. One night, my roommate came into my room and said, “You know, I know this is cliche and all, but I feel like when you’re abroad, you’re going to realize that this all happened for a reason.” Those words stuck with me through the next months as I scrambled behind everyone else to prepare for my semester in Spain.
Finally, January came and I packed my bags for Sevilla with absolutely know idea what to expect. As I went through the semester, I kept waiting for something big to happen--some sort of sign to confirm that I was in the right place. Maybe I’d take a course that would changed the path of my career. Maybe I meet my friendship soulmates. Maybe I’d fall in love with Sevilla and decide I wanted to move there. Throughout the semester, I patiently waited for that moment to come, but to my disappointment, it never did.
However, in retrospect, I realize that instead of one “aha” moment, I had had many moments of clarity throughout the semester confirming that I was absolutely in the right place. These moments came sporadically yet frequently. They happened when I ran along the river, stopping to take in the view and have time to myself. They happened when I found myself laughing harder than I had in years with friends I had just met a few months before. They happened when I travelled to bigger, colder cities more similar to Grenoble or Paris, realizing how safe, affordable and warm Sevilla was in comparison. They happened when I had bad days and my friends in Sevilla walked with me through those moments. They happened when we danced the night away until five in the morning. And they happened as I regretfully prepared to leave the city that had stolen my heart.
So yes, I wasn’t “supposed” to be in Sevilla, but God or the Universe or maybe even something deep inside of me knew that in fact, I was. This city and the people I met there have turned Sevilla into my home away from home away from home. Now I can confidently say that there’s yet another part of the world that has a piece of my heart. Thank you Sevilla for an unforgettable semester abroad. I promise I’ll see you soon.