Dylan Pittman stands near Seville's 12th century Moorish minaret, la Giralda, which has since been converted into a bell tower and incorporated into the city's Gothic cathedral.
Overseas Study Program
Dylan's majors: Spanish, Political Science and Economics
Term abroad: Spring 2010
Reason you chose this program: I wanted to experience the history and beauty of southern Spain while learning the Spanish language of Latin America. Thanks to the linguistic characteristics possessed by Christopher Columbus' crew, the Spanish dialect spoken throughout Latin America is very similar to that which is spoken Sevilla and other cities in Andalucía.
Favorite classes: The Image of the United States in Spain: 100 Years of Stereotypes and Myths
Describe the housing situation: My homestay family consists of 10 younger siblings, one cousin, two parents, and a dog named Pachita that wears clothes. There is never a dull moment.
Best Memory: Attending an all-day barbecue hosted by one of my Spanish friends. Although high-speed winds and hard rain forced us to move the food inside, we still managed to have a great time. From the empanadillas, to the paella, to the many unidentified appetizers, Spanish barbecues are nothing like those in the U.S. To cap off the night, one of the guests brought out his guitar and initiated a sing-along by playing songs typical of Andalucía.
Biggest Surprise: I knew soccer was a big deal in Spain, but Sevilla takes it to a new level. There is a very serious rivalry between the city's two major teams - Sevilla FC and Betis. Each team has their own army of diehard fans that do not always greet each other with smiles and kind words.
Experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock: During the beginning of the semester, I could not quite get used to the Spanish custom of eating lunch at three in the afternoon. Fortunately, Spanish lunches are as enormous as they are delicious, so my culture shock, or culture hunger rather, was not such a problem.
Complete this sentence: If I could do it over, I would... have bought soccer cleats and played pick-up games with other students and Spaniards. CIEE organizes weekly games in basketball and soccer.
Greatest Challenge: For me, rolling my R's continues to be one the most elusive aspects of Spanish phonetics. There is no use asking a Sevillano to teach me either. They simply look me in the eye, state how easy it is, and proceed to roll an R for an obnoxious 15 seconds. Just like that, huh?
Fact about your host country that you think people would be surprised to learn: It is extremely common here for people to believe that the U.S. has not yet sent a man to the moon. Politely bring this topic up in front of any group of Spanish people and listen to the arguments that they propose.