Spanish Studies Abroad appreciates the feedback we have received from students who have remained onsite during their study abroad experiences this spring. We thank them for sharing these honest words of encouragement and positivity for others during this difficult period. We also want to commend our dedicated host families, onsite staff, faculty and partners who have helped ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students who remain abroad.
In this series “Student Stories: Studying Abroad During COVID-19,” we’ll be sharing Q&As from students and how the quarantine affected their study abroad experience. If you studied abroad this spring with SSA and would like to share your experience, please email us at [email protected].
Anthony Hitchcock | Eastern University
2020 Seville International Studies at UPO Spring Semester
Where are you currently quarantining and with whom?
I am in a Residencia with a roommate from Brazil who mainly speaks Portuguese, with whom I communicate using the little bit of Spanish we both know.
How are you spending your time most days and how have your study habits been impacted?
I usually have a pretty consistent routine. I wake up around 9, fiddle on my phone until about 11, and then work out on our azotea (rooftop) until around 12:30. Shortly after, our food gets delivered to the residencia. I then eat, and spend the rest of the day studying, with time here and there for Netflix or other entertainment, of course. As for my study habits, if anything, they have improved, since I am in no rush to be anywhere. I usually clock out around 1:30am.
What has been the most challenging aspect of this experience?
The experience hasn’t been too challenging for me. I’m pretty introverted so I enjoy having all this me time. I would say, though, that the biggest struggle I’ve faced is not being able to fully express myself in conversation, simply because there really isn’t anyone who I can have a face to face conversation with in English. Being able to express yourself fully is something we take for granted, and it is only when you are deprived of it that you realize how important it is.
What has been the most rewarding?
It has definitely been rewarding to be able to devote more time to learning things outside of the normal college curriculum. I’ve been able to read a bunch of books, watch informative YouTube videos, or just get curious on the internet over random things. What has been most rewarding, though, is to be able to walk outside, now that the quarantine is being eased, and know that the decision to stay in Seville was the right one.
What new things have you learned?
I’ve learned things not really specific to Spanish culture, but more about humans in general, both positive and negative. What I will discuss here is that I’ve realized how much potential we have when all work together. In Spain, everyone followed the quarantine rules and worked cohesively to prevent covid-19’s spread. I remember I was going to the grocery store during the start of the quarantine and normal citizens, not even the police, would question where I was going from their balconies to make sure I wasn’t dilly dallying. Now our restrictions are being eased and everything is looking up. If we can somehow all come together, our world will really be something.
Any advice for other students finishing their spring semester in quarantine right now? (at home or abroad)
My advice for those of you finishing your studies in quarantine: don’t take this time for granted. There is so much you can do with it to improve yourself, whether that is by learning more from your classes or by sincerely self-reflecting, which I think is as important as anything else. I hope we never experience another worldwide shutdown, but this is a golden opportunity to do what you want to do to better yourself, so don’t waste it.