City Guide to Spain: Seville (Sevilla)

Seville (or Sevilla), the capital of Spain’s southern region of Andalucía, has been a vibrant cultural and artistic center for centuries. Still the true home of flamenco and bullfighting, some say that the city’s very air is infused with tradition. Seville is more than a city, it is an experience.

Size and Feel

With just over 700,000 people (2003), Seville is the fourth-largest city in Spain. At times, Seville can feel like a larger city by virtue of its lively cultural calendar and nightlife. Complemented by the constant influx of tourists to this popular destination, the inhabitants of Seville are many, varied, and socially active.

Because of its popularity amoung tourists, Seville has unfortunately succumbed to a crime problem larger than its medium size might indicate. Petty theft and pickpocketing are far more prevalent than in other small and medium-sized cities.

Spanish Language Situation

While the Andalucía region does not have any of the language conflicts of Barcelona or Valencia, a thick accent can make communication with the people of the region more difficult than in central Spain. Specifically, the locals will drop the “s” on the end of many words. However, the people of Andalucía have no problem understanding students who have learned Castilian Spanish with a typical Madrid accent.

Seasonal Variations and Climate

Just like Madrid, the best times to study abroad in Seville are fall and spring. The summer can become unbearably hot, spurring the locals to head south to the coast for more temperate weather. April is fiesta month in Seville, with the Feria de Abril attracting partiers from all parts. Winter brings rain and slightly cooler temperatures, but remains mild due to Seville’s southern.

What’s Great…

  1. The crowded, winding, narrow streets of the city center dotted with small plazas and exuberant Spaniards will lift the spirits of any dull soul.
  2. Seville’s famous Alcazar, a massive 1100-year-old castle looming over the city.
  3. The atmosphere of spending time in a place with such rich and varied history makes a lasting impression.

What’s Bad…

As long as you don’t become a victim of thieves, it’s hard not to enjoy Seville.

  1. The petty crime problem focuses on tourists and visitors, so be careful not to become a target while you’re there.
  2. A hot day in Seville might drive you to hitchhike to the coast to escape the beating sun.
  3. The tourist population can seem to outnumber the Spanish residents at certain times of the year in the town center, making it harder to practice your Spanish.

Full Description

Seville is as authentically Spanish as any place in Spain. Not only does the city uphold Spanish traditions such as flamenco and bullfighting better than any other, but it maintains an atmosphere of celebration year-round. The people always make time to stand and chat with friends and new acquaintances on the street, and hard work rarely consumes people so much that they’re unable to enjoy the evening. The people of Seville embrace life.

As a setting for learning Spanish, Seville will inspire you. The city’s cathedral and the Alcazar are majestic buildings of the highest caliber. These famous buildings are complemented by the charm of the old, winding streets of the city center. When the city explodes with celebration during the Feria de Abril or other holiday, you will wish you could stay forever.

If you don’t mind living without a beach and the idea of spending time in a city as large as Madrid is daunting, then Seville is a great option for studying abroad. The conditions are top-notch for learning Spanish and absorbing the culture of Spain.

Suggested Schools

Don Quijote in Seville – Part of a world-wide network of language schools, Don Quijote in Spain integrates culture, activities, sports and even cooking into their refined and effective Spanish programs.

Instituto Alhambra – A premier Spanish language school in Seville, offering flexible course length and tuition policies, along with high-quality teaching.

Giralda Center – Long-standing language school in Seville offering great shared housing and a long history of happy students.

Instututo San Fernando – Sister schools in Cadiz and Seville offering courses designed to university-level specifications combined with cultural activities.

Carpe Diem – Small, friendly language school with locations in central Madrid and Seville that attracts an interesting international crowd.

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