Kira C. studied abroad this past spring semester in Sevilla, Spain for over three months. She attended Universidad de Sevilla where she took classes for her language studies major. There were some struggles she faced early on, but she found ways to get around them by cherishing every moment. She hopes to inspire others, especially those with disabilities, to take advantage of this type of opportunity like she did. Read about her inspiring adventures below:
My name is Kira and I was a language studies major. I’ve recently graduated after spending a semester abroad in Seville, Spain where I studied at the University of Seville. Going abroad was amazing, liberating, and difficult. While Spain is a first world country, they lack a lot of the infrastructure that the United States has for people with disabilities. They do not have as many laws regulating and enforcing handicap accommodations as well.
Going abroad with a physically disability meant learning that most places did not have ramps, or handicap bathrooms or elevators. It meant learning to pace myself, teaching friends how to help me and ignoring strangers’ stares. It meant learning to insist on accommodations rather than passively accepting what I was given.
Despite the challenges I faced, I spent a lot of time exploring and stepping outside of my comfort zone, especially when it came to food. When I first arrived in Madrid, I had failed to learn the terminology for food allergies. I went to order at a restaurant with a few girls I had recently met and was failing to explain my allergies and necessity for a menu change when one of the girls intervened. She simply pointed to the food on the menu and stated “she eats, she dies.” After that the waiter was pretty willing to make the necessary changes.
Nevertheless, every place I traveled to has a food associated with it. For me, Seville will forever to linked to my host mother’s lentil soup. In Paris, I ate macaroons under the Eiffel Tower and tried snails for the first time. Italy was filled with a long list of gelato flavors. Barcelona was humus sandwiches made at the hostel. Each place has a taste, an experience, that made my trip so incredibly memorable.
Overall, the parts I enjoyed the most about my trip are mostly composed of little moments: buying a bouquet at a flower market in Cadiz, listening to my Spanish abuela sing to herself, sitting and reading at the Plaza de España. I move slowly, which means my life sometimes moves slowly too. But just because I live at a slower pace does not mean my life is stagnant, I simply get more time to cherish the little things.
Kira studied at Universidad de Sevilla through an affiliate company, ISA. If you want to see yourself study abroad next spring, make an appointment with a study abroad advisor to receive an application. Appointments can be made by visiting our website! Applications are now being handed out, but if you are interested in Spain you have an early deadline!