History major Elizabeth (Liz) Kelly, ’19 is currently studying abroad in Seville, Spain. One Thing After Another would have loved to interview her in person in sunny, southern Spain, but settled for a long distance conversation about her studies and travels. She had just gotten back from a weekend trip to Paris when the conversation began.
Q: What brought you to Saint Anselm College? How did you decide to enroll here?
A: I came to Saint Anselm based on the opportunity to pursue a liberal arts education and continue as a student-athlete. I play lacrosse. Being able to balance sports and academics was important to me, and Saint A’s was the perfect fit.
Q: What made you decide to be a history major? Has something in the major stood out thus far?
A: I chose to be a history major because I am interested in law school. Aspects of the major, such as reading, analyzing, comprehending, and writing will be helpful in preparing for a career in law. In regards to the history department at Saint A’s, I have really enjoyed all the professors I’ve had. I would say that my history professors strongly influenced me in choosing this major. They have made all the history classes I have taken interesting and intriguing!
Q: Tell me about your program in Spain.
A: I am studying at the University of Sevilla in Sevilla (or Seville, as it’s referred to in English) which is located in the Andalusian region of Spain. It is an important city in the history of Spain and the world because all people and imports coming from the New World had to pass through this port. I study mostly with other American or English students in classes taught in both English and Spanish. I came here with a program called ISA (International Studies Abroad) who have been super helpful in this crazy transition, and I’ve also planned many excursions for us to see other cities in Spain.
Q: So you have gotten to travel while studying abroad?
A: Yes, of course! Traveling in Europe IS SO EASY. In Spain, I’ve been to Madrid, Toledo, Cadiz, Barcelona, and, of course, Sevilla. I’ve spent the last two weekends in Munich and Paris. Finding deals to make travel easy and affordable is not at all difficult, and this is definitely the opportunity of a lifetime. I have plans within the next couple weeks to visit Lagos (Portugal), Amsterdam, and Morocco.
Q: Being in Spain must be pretty exciting right now with the Catalan independence vote and the police violence in response. Are those events affecting you in any way?
A: The independence referendum in Catalonia has obviously been a huge topic of conversation here, and there are Spanish national flags, along with democratic “Si!” flags (supporting Catalan independence), everywhere. Every local Spaniard has an opinion on this matter. On the anti-independence side, people argue that Catalonia IS a part of Spain and should remain that way. If Catalonia leaves Spain what is stopping every other region from doing the same? On the pro-independence side, people argue that Catalans are culturally different from the rest of Spain, and their unique culture should be recognized as such.
The weekend of the vote, my friends and I actually went to Barcelona because we had to travel from there. We were in Barcelona the Thursday before the vote and the Monday after the vote, and we were able to tour the city, go to the beach, and arrive and leave from the airport completely unaffected. We are aware of the police violence that occurred, but were surprised to see how “normal” everything appeared the day immediately after the vote.
Q: What is it like to be an American in Spain? Do you find people ask you questions about American politics or culture?
A: Being an American in Spain has been interesting. The second people hear my accent, they ask me my opinion on Donald Trump, and are eager to tell me how entertaining they think his campaign was and how his presidency is. I have been told that all we do is complain and work in America, and I am starting to believe they are right.
Q: Is there something you are looking forward to doing before you come home?
A: I am definitely looking forward to visiting Morocco. I think that will be a very cool experience and unlike anything I have seen before. I also am looking forward to the Christmas season and how that is celebrated in Spain as well as the United Kingdom.
Q: Is there something you miss about the US or the Hilltop?
A: Honestly, I am so happy to be here. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to study like this, and there is constantly so much to do that I don’t even feel like I’ve had the opportunity to miss home. The weather in Sevilla is so beautiful, and I am honestly dreading the day I have to leave. I will be happy to be back with my friends and family come December, but until then I am going to try and make the most of every day I am here!
I would 10/10 recommend the study abroad experience to anyone who can make it work with their schedule. To realize how small I am in this huge world, and how much more there is to do and see outside of my tiny and protected reality, has been a beautiful and eye-opening experience. Especially for people who are trying to excel in another language, the only way you can truly learn it is to immerse!